Where I said that the Flash is anime

As I said elsewhere, the Flash is imitating many of anime’s most embarrassing cliches. Most especially harem anime in particular. Harem anime revolve around a lot of relationship/couple teasing especially whenever it’s between the protagonist and various women while you have jealousy, there’s little possibility of break-ups, out-of-wedlock births and STDs. Why because fuck commitment and long-term relationships.

The Flash qualifies to some extent even as Caitlin Snow and Iris West have dated other men before. Barry Allen gets treated to several women, whom he dates and flirts with to some extent be it Caitlin, Iris, Linda or Felicity. If Wendy appears in the Flash, the Flash will take on even more similarities to established harem works like Tenchi Muyo, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute and Love Hina.

Even at this point, the Flash has taken on some of anime’s most embarrassing cliches including underwear shots, incest, dumb protagonist getting stronger and of course harem anime style couple teasing which panders to the fans’ obsessions with shipping characters. One will wonder when wil the Flash will start pulling a School Days/Nice Boat moment especially when Caitlin Snow attacks Barry for cheating on another woman. Only time will tell and the Flash’s Nice Boat moment would certainly get it cancelled any time soon.

The selfishness and self-centeredness of fandom

Fandom is a community based on sharing your enthusiasm for a programme/actress/singer/book with other people but the problem with fandom is that it’s very self-centered and selfish. I remember reading a post where you have people crowing that their fandoms have more people than any of these countries never mind that most people don’t give a huge crap about fan fiction.

Really, not too many people offline care about your fandoms and who you’re stanning for. You can go as far as empathising with your fave but you’ll never speak for them whenever you impose your opinion on him/her. It shows you how entitled a lot of fandoms are and why it leaves bad impressions on people. A good example would be the Bronies. The franchise that they like is My Little Pony. There’s nothing wrong with it and it probably had spergy, weird fans before if the Encyclopedia Dramatica article on MLPArena is any indication.

When the Bronies came, it just made things even worse. But similar things can be said of their general anthropomorphic animal loving counterparts, the Furries. I could say similar things about many other fandoms that are so entitled that they end up influencing an industry to cater to them. It makes bad business sense as not too many people are into what they seriously are into. The other problem with fandom is that it’s practically unproductive as there are much better things to do and to care about.

I spent a lot of my time indoors using the computer and I now regret doing it. I get bored of using my own computer and I really want to have something better to do. It coloured my view on fandom, especially online fandom and why I think it’s a real waste of time especially when that fandom is touted as revolutionary and thought-provoking when the majority of it is practically for fun. Cosplay is for fun. Fan fiction is for fun. Fan art is for fun. It’s amateur stuff in the truest sense of the word. It may not be well-done but the person is still having fun.

Then you have a bunch of annoying fans who think that their fandom is thought-provoking and revolutionary. True they do have impact on industries but when they do talk, they often talk about themselves and not the impact that their favourites have on them and everybody else. So this is a problem with aca-fandom in particular but it can be applied to everything else. Hence, fandom is good when it’s really having fun and not being too overly serious and pretentious about it only to reveal itself as unproductive and often about the fan, never the idol in question.

The problem with and limits of stanning

Stan Wars is a very honest, albeit comical website on obsessive pop music fans who think they actually know about the musician in question (albeit by imposing his/her bias instead of empathising with said diva), start pointless discussions and comparisons over which diva is better and son on. The word stan is a combination of stalker and fan, stemming from Eminem’s song of the same name featuring Devon Sawa and Dido.

The website has two articles about these know-it-all Stans though I could have done something similar personally. As said in one article on why stan wars are both educational and pointless, several stans sometimes get their information out of where and when combined with the lack of any real empathy for his/her favourite, it can be misleading and it says more about the fan than it does about the diva in question.

As I elaborated in a post about my favourite musicians, I try to understand things from her experience and what she said in USA Today by extrapolating something similar in the Philippines. You can be a dog owner and look down, despise or avoid all the other dogs. Not all Filipinos are like that with their dogs and not all of them eat dogs. While not all dogs here in the Philippines are strays, they’re almost always outside thus left to their own devices for most of the time.

They do come in from time to time while purebred dogs tend to have a novelty value due to their pedigree even if they can also be used for more utilitarian purposes. As I said before, Britney Spears is like that. She’s afraid of bigger dogs, which is why she likes much smaller dogs better even if it’s not always the case in some photo shoots and at one point her relatives kept bigger dogs however for strictly practical purposes. Though I don’t know if she changed her mind at this point and I’m afraid of pestering her.

In here, I did my research based on what she said and what goes on here when it comes to the dichotomy between pedigree dogs and outdoor mongrels. There are other fans that do the same but some stans have a habit of pulling things out of nowhere which makes their discussions and arguments pointless and self-centered. Another problem with stan wars is that when it comes to influence it doesn’t and needn’t to correlate with commercial success.

You can be very influential by the virtue of having several viral hits if Psy is any indication. While he released songs before he did Gangnam Style, the latter is what made him into a star and spawned several covers and parodies. In the age of online piracy, one can exert a lot of influence by having fans seek unreleased songs though usually it’s the more dedicated ones doing it. While having lots of Internet hits doesn’t always inspire offline success, that doesn’t underestimate whatever influence a diva might have on her fan.

It gets odder when you realise that there are some people who experience a surge in success in years due to some hit or quirk. It could be a sign of their influence but a diva can be influential without relying on hits and even classics. Then we get to the next problem: stans are in the minority. They’re very vocal but they’re not numerous in real life. There are varying degrees of obsessiveness. One can collect news reports and unreleased songs of said diva but not participate much in forums. Nonetheless a weird fanatical obsession with a certain diva can be unproductive, especially if that’s one of the few things a person cares about.

The greatest limit to stanning is that it’s trivial. A diva’s real influence on the person isn’t centered on the person himself/herself but how satisified s/he is. It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t sell records anymore or if she’s not popular anymore but she still has spark and she still has a career. Maybe nowhere near her peak but still an impact to be reckoned with. Several stans exaggerate things either by overestimating or underestimating things though I could be guilty of the same.

There isn’t anything wrong with liking a diva. It’s not a matter of taste, it’s a matter of not obsessing over her or any other diva to the point where it consumes your mind and your love for her starts to become all about you. Divas are successes because they appeal to a lot of people, not just stans and stans are a minority. That’s why stanning is pointless and useless. It’s none of your business so don’t crow about it.

What She Said

Based on what I read, while it sounds contradictory at first but it’s clear in one interview that the pop singer Britney Spears admits that she’s not good with other animals other than her own. Emphatically, she said that she’s scared of dogs other than much smaller ones and some say that she’s allergic to cats.

Various stans have a weird habit of projecting their views and biases on the people they like and while the actual singers may be contrary, even contradictory as I could be guilty myself but then again the woman is rather reserved in person. However going by the interview and other official sources, she admits to being bitten by bigger dogs and in addition to having allergies, she could simply be looking for a pet that she can easily take care of.

She might not be that irresponsible but she’s a very busy person so she wouldn’t have time to care for a bigger dog. She’s got a family of her own. It’s also likely that when she meant by ‘scared of other dogs’, she might pose with a bigger dog but might still be uncomfortable with them in reality.

To give you a similar experience, while this is not always the case a lot of Southeast Asians either look down on, despise or avoid both stray dogs and mongrels. If some of them have these dogs, it’s because they’re cheap and useful. Purebred dogs can also be useful but they are esteemed higher for their novelty value. But there are some people looking to counter this discrimination and stigma if the rebranding of such dogs as ‘aspins’ and ‘Singapore Specials’ are any indication.

Or that Britney Spears isn’t so much of a general dog person as she’s specifically into puppies and small dogs. That’s not only consistent with reports and that interviews but also in older fan profiles where her favourite animal is enlisted as ‘puppy’. Her other relatives have bigger dogs but they’re usually supposed to do real work. Case is closed.

A European Perspective

There is a wealth of anecdotes about Americans in Europe and many of them are of European descent. However to find a European perspective on America that isn’t Anglophonic (British and to some extent, Irish) you’d have to type those keywords in other languages to give you a good idea of things.

I remember reading a translated report about a Swede living in America for a while, I can summarise his post in here. He said that there is a wide variety of fast food in America, the people work insanely hard and lots of them own dogs. A good number of Swedes have dogs but whatever enthusiasm they have for them gets tempered by reports of said dog getting poisoned rather frequently if you hang out at Swedish websites for long.

No doubt that the Italian, German and French perspectives on America would be pretty different as well. About as different as their cultures are. It’s also a safe bet that linguistic differences can help distinguish things. There’s a theory in linguistics saying that cultures with similar or the same languages are more likely to share several things in common than those with disparate ones. It’s inevitable that America and the British Isles are very connected.

Sweden has a stronger connection to its neighbours and to an extent, German and Dutch speaking Europe than it does with America. So you’re more likely to encounter such depressing or shameful reports in those languages than you do in English from my experience. Not to mention that a Swedish language article either about Sweden or America can help give you a better idea of what the Swedish perspective is like.

That isn’t to say that one is more culturally ignorant than the other even though a country with a smaller population will know more about its larger counterpart than vice versa. It’s just that a European non-Anglophone perspective can help better examine that culture and mindset on the cheap. Go to non-English language websites extensively and it’s inevitable that experience will influence you.

A non-Anglophone European perspective is much needed when it comes to both continental Europe and America but similar things can be said of anywhere else.

Masochistic Romanticism

It seems like masochism and romanticism go hand in hand for aboos, especially aboos of foreign cultures and countries. Masochism in the sense of wanting to receive pain and romanticism in having idealised preconceptions of things. It makes sense why abooism is in practise, both masochistic and patronising. Certain people tend to be attracted to places and countries that might ironically reject or spite them.

There are some African Americans who go to Africa to find a better life never mind that there’s this comedian sharing a joke about two people. The African American says to the African “welcome to the motherland” while the latter says “escape the motherland”. Not to mention several Africans think of the New World diaspora arriving there as being Westernised. No surprise that in a sense, many New World blacks have loosened their sense of ethnic belonging due to slavery and colonisation.

Unsurprisingly in Liberia and Senegal, the most Westernised people are the Creoles who even recreated the Jim Crow laws in the former. It wouldn’t be surprising that most non-Japanese anime fans are still thoroughly foreign both in mindset/upbringing and country of origin no matter how long they’ve stayed in Japan or how well they know their Chinese cartoons. Japan is a xenophobic nation that thinks even if an immigrant has become a naturalised citizen, s/he is always the perpetual outsider.

Then Japan has its own problems with class and indigenous minorities like the Ryukyuans and Ainu. It can be applied to any other country. Finland, Sweden and Norway with the Sami People. Ireland with Irish Travellers and Irish-speakers. Germany with Romani, Sorbians, Frisians and Low German-speakers. France with Bretons, Basques and African immigrants. The list goes on and on. It also speaks volumes about how well they know about those places as well as their biases though I’m probably biased myself.

It still proves my point that aboos are ultimately misinformed and patronising towards the things they should know about. It wouldn’t surprise me that people get put off of Japan and anime because of some deranged anime fan. It can be applied to anything else as long as it raises the blood of those who actually know better.

So Much Facepalming

I’ll coin the term “Wacky Weeaboo Syndrome” for people who develop very romanticised yet weirdly patronising and condescending views of foreign cultures. It can be easily cured as long as the person recognises that culture’s or country’s flaws as well as regretting being aboo for something. It’s based on the Internet slang for weeaboo, which means an anime fan with delusional ideas about Japan.

One can be aboo for Scandinavia and outgrow it, only to end up realising its problems though I could be describing myself here. Anybody can be aboo for cultures and countries but paradoxically speaking the more oppressive or problematic a country or culture is the more it tends to attract delusional, crazy people.

Sort of like with what weeaboos are to Japan, some people harbour romantic notions of that country despite not recognising its shortcomings and that those countries aren’t much better on average or could be much worse. It’s a fallaciously masochistic line of thinking that one country might be more accepting of one’s tastes never mind that it might be disappointing if one were to prolong his/her stay there.

It’s as paradoxical as it is masochistic because it lacks any real awareness, including self-awareness of what’s going on. It’s also bad because it’s patronising and not too many people who live in those countries can relate to such statements because it’s false but the same thing can be said of slanderous beliefs. Japan is not without its problems including xenophobia, serious classicism and racism towards longstanding minorities, misogyny and victim-blaming.

Japan too is not without stray dogs, though like in Israel and France you’re more likely to encounter them in less populated, rural/suburban areas like in Okinawa and Hokkaido. These are not without reports of said dogs attacking both livestock and wildlife as well as attempts to capture them and cull their numbers. I get these from Japanese language websites using the Japanese character for wild dog (yaken).

Like I said about France before, it’s not that dog-friendly either in that when it comes to stray dog attacks, you have people who shot them and others who think that they cause more trouble than wild animals do. Just go to the Buvette website using the keywords “chien errant Buvette” as well as Sophie Bobbe’s essay on stray dogs to give you an idea. Countries like Sweden, Netherlands and Germany aren’t dog friendly but that’s got to do with frequent reports of dogs getting poisoned. Due to the random nature of poison attacks, it can be hard to find the perpetuator as well as the actual motivation behind it.

They’re not without ethnic discrimination, be it immigrant xenophobia or historical mistreatment of longstanding ethnic minorities like Frisians, Samis, Basques, Irish Travellers, Romani and Sorbians. I’m not bashing those countries I’m just pointing out that these countries might have flaws most people outside of these places don’t readily recognise. There lies the problem with aboos. They should know better but have a weak grasp of actual problems. Even I myself can be prone to this.

Ultimately, it takes both cynicism and research as well as actual experiences in these places to understand the actual problem’s extent.