If Only We Could Become Fans of Moderation

Dave Merrill recently posted a survey and history of the seedy, unwashed, giant underbelly of anime fandom in the US. In it, he gives examples, taken from various anonymous contributers, of the people who are often referred to as “that person.” Each anecdote leads me to be grateful that I did not turn out to be the one to take others down through ill personality or whatever, but at the same time I find myself reflecting upon each description. I can see a bit of myself in pretty much every person described, but I also realize that it’s because of the fact that I can only see “a bit” of myself in them that makes all of the difference.

I can relate to the guy who carries his video game consoles with him to every meeting. I can see a person bringing his precious consoles along constantly, hoping for someone to say, “Wow, is that a Neo-Geo?” And then the person would gladly pull it out and a good time would be had by all, and they’d think that console-carrying guy is pretty swell. But then if console carrier never has the initiative to simply propose that they play some of his games, then he’ll still be waiting passively. When presented with someone like this, we’d probably say something like, “Get some confidence, chum.” Lack of confidence and drive is a hallmark of dorks everywhere, after all. It’s dangerous advice, however, when you consider the example of the guy who gives out his own Inspector Gadget porn to everyone.

Inspector Gadget Porn Distributor is what can happen when you tell someone with deep shame that it’s okay to be shameless, that it’s okay to be confident in what they do. The problem isn’t that he draws the images, it’s that it becomes the singular focus of his interaction with fellow anime fans. I believe that not only fans but people in general should not be defined by a singular purpose, as no person is that devoid of depth. And yet, are fans not defined by their obsessions, their ability to take things further than others? How far is too far? It’s a strange dilemma in that we have to learn to constantly set and then break our own limits.

I know that it sounds weird for the person who writes Ogiue Maniax, a blog with obsession in its very title, to be talking about things like tact and reservation, but I think it’s the combination of obsession/devotion and desire for variety in me that has brought me to this place. And while I don’t have the confidence to say that I have the patience or ability to help those fans who are truly in need of an awakening, what I can say is that I hope we can all help to moderate each other.

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6 thoughts on “If Only We Could Become Fans of Moderation

  1. The problem with “Inspector Gadget Porn Distributor” was… well, he had a lot of problems. He eventually did jail time for child molestation. He’s dead now, though, so his problems are over.

    I feel a certain amount of responsibility, though; at the time he was inflicting himself on the local fandom, I don’t believe there was a point in which any of the more responsible fans sat him down and said, hey, showing pornography to minors is a bad idea for several hundred reasons. Hey, your behavior needs changing, that’s why people are rude to you and make fun of you. I realize that it’s not fandom’s job to be parents, but at the same time, if we’re going to complain about the behavior of fandom we ought to take a little responsibility to try and fix the things we see that are wrong.

    My problem with the guys with the Neo-Geos in their backpacks, apart from leaning against and breaking windows, is that instead of taking up half of the space of the anime club, any one of them could have reserved a meeting room for the Neo-Geo Fan Club and had their own meetings where they could play video games to their hearts content and be as noisy as they liked. (Not that they couldn’t have done this at home, but that’s a whole different story). But for some reason, they preferred to tack their video game fan activity onto the anime club. They were noisy, disruptive, occupied large amounts of limited table space, did not stop game play for business meetings and announcements, and generally behaved as if they were video-game playing strangers who happened to wander into our anime club meeting while they were hauling all their worldly video game posessions around on their backs.

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  2. It is interesting, because once you take out the common factor that everyone in an anime club supposedly likes anime, what else is there is the important part. And I guess a question is how can people bring out what else is there to others, since it can be hard to talk about anything else than just anime in this case. And it can be difficult to talk to other people just in general.

    In college, I didn’t want to be just typecast as “that person that likes anime”, so I tried hard to let people know that I had other interests, and so on and so forth. But how many people want to try that hard? :P

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  3. I think it has less to do with the actual thing the person is obsessed with, and more with the fact that the person is so obsessed about only one thing, that freaks ‘normal’ people out the most. More succinctly, it’s the obsessiveness and not the actual obsession that weirds people out.

    I love watching anime and freely admit it. But I’ve never been derided for it, because it is not my complete life, practically walking beside me everywhere I go. It’s something I spend a lot of my free time doing, but it doesn’t define me, nor does it dominate my discourse with other people (even fellow anime fans).

    We can all easily relate to someone liking something a bit ‘different’, but it becomes truly hard to relate to someone whose life is dominated by one single thing. Titling your blog ‘Ogiue Maniax’ is hardly obsessive. Dressing like her daily, preaching her gospel every minute of the day, and living in a house littered with her image would be obsessive. I doubt you got it that bad!

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  4. >Titling your blog ‘Ogiue Maniax’ is hardly obsessive. Dressing like her daily, preaching her gospel every minute of the day, and living in a house littered with her image would be obsessive. I doubt you got it that bad!

    There’s not enough Ogiue merchandise (or fanart) in the world for me to even hope to accomplish that.

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