We Remember Love is my…opponent? (and other allies)

It's really a fight against yourself.

Let us be clear about this from the outset. A vote (in the, you know) for We Remember Love on Monday is a vote for two posts by me. It’s a vote for two posts by Cuchlann. It’s a vote for dialogues in which lelangir and Shance play considerable parts. It is of course a vote for a whole goddamn lot of posts by Ghostlightning, who has contributed to Super Fanicom posts both thoughtfully imaginative and imaginatively thoughtful. GL comments here often, and WRL is one of the few places I comment with any semi-regularity.

I won’t play the part of the angsty underdog because 1) my enterprise and Ghost’s are pretty well entwined, and 2) owing to Ghost’s considerable skill at writing, forming webs of connections between bloggers, and somehow finding the time to blog while working and having a kid, he deserves the win. He’s invested more into blogging than I have — it’s as simple as that.

Or maybe it isn’t. I have another, somewhat more selfish reason for appreciating Mr. GL.

When he came upon this blog back in the Dark Blogoages, he was immediately sympathetic to what we did here. Let’s call it cerebral blogging — it is not by necessity academic or intellectual; it’s letting your mind take detours. Sometimes long detours through things not many other people enjoy. But that’s what we like to do.

I was content simply to keep doing it, to keep putting it out there for people to find and judge as they saw fit. Ghostlightning would walk up to you, shake your hand, and recommend a whole bouquet of blog posts, some of which might seem inaccessible if it weren’t for his suggesting them as one friend suggests things to another.

I think his way was better. His way opened minds. His reach meant that he could open a lot of minds.

And now cerebral bloggers are everywhere. A whole host of people contributed to this — IKnight, 2DT, Michael, 8C, animekritik, etc., etc. — but I give Ghost a lot of credit, networker that he is, for helping some of us realize that we weren’t the only ones doing what we did, that we didn’t have to be isolated pockets of bloggers writing about anime and lit theory, or anime and philosophy, or porn anime and linguistics. We could all get together and be the “anime and stuff” crowd.

Maybe this getting-together is what germinated The Untold Story of Altair and Vega.

Altair and Vega: They're too good.

What pisses me off about this blog is that it came to be when I was on involuntary hiatus, and so I didn’t even know about it until a few months ago.

No. What pisses me off about this blog is that it didn’t exist in 2008.

As an example of what goes down over there, I could point to a post with a long, descriptive title implying an involved examination to follow. One of the most recent is called “Acchi Kocchi, Ben-Day Dots, and the American Comic Style.” There’s, holy Jesus, there’s a post comparing Eureka Seven to the novels of Lloyd Alexander.

I’m not going to offer you any of those, though. I want you to take a look at a post innocuously titled “Mysterious Girlfriend X Episode 3.”

It seems typical enough when you encounter it on the front page. Bitmap expresses opinions, and I like Bitmap, so I give his opinions some thought — that’s what episodic blogging is. Then you view the post in full, and, wait, okay, we’re talking about magic realism now? That’s a pretty tough topic, there. It’s not an uncontroversial genre by any means. It’s about as good as a five-paragraph summation can be, though, relating magic realism to the show at hand while — no, now we’re talking about fanservice. While perhaps more straightforward a topic (or perhaps not), it’s certainly big.

I like this topical jumping-around. It challenges you to rethink the use and usefulness of the episodic format (something Ghostlightning has also done). But, really, it’s not as though these writers are wholly reconfiguring episodic blogging. I suspect they’re still being somewhat faithful to it. I suspect that, for them, an account of the experience of watching an episode necessarily includes these other topics. That’s how they consume. That’s how I consume, too.

The thing about Altair and Vega, though, is that I would’ve devoted some time to it anyway, tourney or no tourney. I follow several of the eight(!!!) writers on Twitter; I already pay attention to what they have to say. I should point out a few other mental-detours-style blogs that I found because of the tournament itself — the point being that, though it can get nasty, the thing at least serves its primary purpose.

Here’s one I didn’t quite expect: Beneath the Tangles.

Beneath the Tangles: Animeing it up with JC.

I shouldn’t be able to get much out of this blog. Right? “It is,” says the sidebar, “the meeting point between anime and Christian spirituality.” In case you haven’t been counting, I’ve used the Lord’s name in vain twice already, once even before the break. Suffice to say that the faith and I had a falling out some years ago.

Well, give it a chance. It’s often more compelling than you might think.

First of all, many posts are thoughtful recommendations of other posts. They’re goddamn gosh darn useful. I wish only that these posts were more easily searchable — say, if there were a dedicated “Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere” tag.

Second, the posts here are often concerned with people. And that doesn’t mean only consumers of [anime x] or [manga y]. Maybe this is because TWWK, unlike many Christians I’ve known, has bothered to learn the Gospels; you may remember that Jesus Christ also concerned himself with people. It’s an interesting perspective, at any rate, and one I often like. Sometimes this results in humble anecdotes; other times posts spring up at the intersections between art and personal theology. Many posts deal with problems, and I like problems. In fiction, I mean.

I can’t really agree with the proposed solutions to those problems. But, again, if the bloggers at Beneath the Tangles bring Christian ideas to the experience of watching anime, that’s what I want to see in the posts.

You want something a little more eclectic? Here’s Anime B&B.

Anime B&B: I randomly picked a random banner.

In the interest of fairness, you should know that Marina is a grad student focusing in children’s lit. She could be a serial murderer (though she probably isn’t) and I’d still think of her as a kindred soul.

But, yeah, these posts are all over the place. I mean that in a good way. People with too many passions interest me.

There’s a whole section about food, for example. Sometimes recipes are included, but this isn’t a cookbook. Everybody has to eat, and people’s interactions with and attitudes toward food can say a lot about them. Anime is fertile ground for someone interested in food culture. Marina digs deep, makes connections, and brings in a fair but not distracting amount of personal experience.

Anyway, eclectic. It’s hard to recommend one post. On the front page is a post about mythology and seduction, and one about improvisation, and — hey, Hemingway! Now that’s within my sphere of expertise.

But I won’t elaborate. To focus on one post might obscure the real strength of this blog. Marina knows a lot about a lot of things. She appears willing to learn what she doesn’t know. Blogging is learning. That makes her more of a kindred soul than her degree program.

I’ll let the next blog introduce itself.

Lemma (Greek λήμμα; from mathematics) is a proposition proved or accepted for immediate use in the proof of some other proposition.

Submodality is the smallest building block of our thoughts something that helps us remember what we have seen, heard, felt, smelt, and tasted both externally and imagined.

So, Lemmas and Submodalities.

Lemmas and Submodalities: And theorems and memes and modes and, and...

It’s a high-concept title for a blog that’s quite accessible. I don’t know what SnippetTee’s background is, but L&S is another eclectic affair. Here’s the philosophy:

… [M]y themes were usually taken from a small content, and then explored and amplified based on my understanding of the world and my senses.

Yes! This is a great one-sentence definition of what I mean by “cerebral blogging.” I also like the idea of focusing on minutiae; if 99% of life is inconsequential, the amount of inconsequential things is…consequential. Or something. The point being that I like SnippetTee’s posts about everyday things in anime.

For example, here’s a post about coffee culture. I realize that’s not exactly a small matter, depending on how you look at it, and the post doesn’t neglect to mention that. But drinking coffee is also a personal act. I don’t exactly judge people based on how they make their coffee in the morning, but that information does give me a kind of benign impression. It’s something I’m curious about, in other words. The post in question has a nice way of moving from the global to the local.

You might also like that SnippetTee’s posts aren’t text-heavy. You could read one at work without getting caught, which you may not be able to do with a post by, say, myself.

Regrettably, the blogothon has nearly ended. There’s only one blog left, and it’s called Baka Laureate.

Baka Laureate: Writer writes!

Krizzlybear fancies himself a writer, and he comes at anime from the perspective of someone who constructs fiction. This is true of me, actually, though the amount of writing I’ve managed to do lately might suggest otherwise. This is why you’ll sometimes see posts here about storytelling choices that work for me. I’m taking notes.

It’s more explicit over there, though. There’s even a Writing category. This isn’t the entirety of Baka Laureate — there’s episodic content, too — but the writing bits interest me most. It’s not always easy to communicate thoughts on the creative process. Note that so much writing advice, professional, academic, or amateur, lands on the spectrum between hot air and bullshit. Best to learn by doing.

These aren’t really advice posts, fortunately. “Finding your Voice through Fanfiction” might seem advisory, but I read it more as an account of personal experience, and it’s a nice overview of the fanfic endeavor. I always appreciate it when bloggers take on fan fiction; I suspect it’s more significant an activity than its representation on the blogs would suggest. And, concerned as I am with structures, I also like the posts about discrete storytelling elements — here’s one about premise.

Hang on. Let me catch my breath.

Okay.

It took a while because I wanted to do these bloggers some shred of justice, but I mean to say simply that, while I always felt like I was in good company writing the way I did, the good company has expanded. The Aniblog Tourney inevitably forments drama, yes, but it also forms networks in a Ghostlightningian way. And if I failed to discover you via the tourney but you think I’d be interested in your blog, please do introduce yourself.

One more thing: a salute to Sir Ghost on the eve of battle. I only have an axe, but I’m proud to face the Gundam.

Leave a comment

21 Comments

  1. Lucky you published first, because my tourney post will crush this kumbayah lovey-dovey thing you did.

    Reply
  2. I’m really humbled by your words about our blog. I’m glad that you find that we really try to connect with people. I don’t do as much self-reflection as I really should, but this is certainly an approach I want to take and hope to take, so I’m happy to find that a thoughtful voice sees this in the writing.

    And thank you for giving the blog a fair shot, even though our thoughts on religion are very different.

    Oh, and to add to the Ghostlightning love fest, while I’m not sure he affected my writing (not at the start at least), I can say he was an encouragement as I began blogging and continues to challenge me as a writer through his wonderful posts. Also, strangely enough, his was the only still-existing anime blog I’d ever visited prior to my own decision to start blogging.

    Reply
    • That’s the Ghost magic. He makes you want to do, and do better.

      I’m mostly irreverent, but I do try to keep an open mind. And in this case it’s a matter of honesty. I want to see what really, honestly goes on in people’s heads when they watch anime. I get the impression that you’ve done that, and so you’ve given me what I want, even if it didn’t come in a package I tend to expect.

      Reply
  3. I’m glad to be familiar with all the blogs you discuss, and have to support you in all of your observations of them (though I blushed pretty heavily at the discussion of mine). I am very glad that I entered the blogging scene when I did as there are plenty of editorial-type writers out there who align with my preferred reading material. My only wish is that I could have somehow delayed 2DT’s retirement!

    Reply
    • I’m glad to be familiar with these blogs now, too! And, yes, I think we all would have chained 2DT in our basements if we could’ve. Or, no, wait –

      Reply
  4. krizzlybear

     /  7 May 2012

    I think this is the only feedback I’ve gotten regarding the writing sections of my blog. For the most part, a good portion of my audience feedback comes from the editorials, which are probably the more well-recognized posts, but I do take particular interest in writing about writing, which I should definitely do more of. Don’t think yourself as being alone in regards to recent lack of writing, this Aniblog tourney has sucked all of my time away from doing writing for myself.

    As for writing advice, I sometimes like to see myself as the kind that doesn’t so much tries to give advice, but rather, share what I’ve learned through my own writing. I don’t claim to be the next Stephen King (or Nisio Isin, to be more culturally apt), but my goal is pretty simple: write a novel that people will enjoy. By observing things in fandom that objectively contribute towards both an enjoyable and substantial story, I can apply those elements to writing and hopefully make something that is at least worth taking the time to read.

    Thanks a lot for the shoutout. While I did make it through this round, something in me hopes that I don’t pass the group stages, just so I can get back to doing what I love to do.

    Reply
    • Sorry I skipped over your editorials here. Time constraints, you know — I was trying to get at some of the more unique or distinctive aspects of these blogs. A few bloggers have talked about fiction in the past, but I haven’t seen it much lately.

      Yeah, you’ve basically figured it out, I think. If people learn to write by reading, then people will learn to write by reading things you’ve written if they like it enough to read it. Entertainment is rightly your first concern. Can’t disagree with your approach.

      Good luck in future rounds — or, ah, bad luck? May whatever kind of luck you want be yours. There.

      Reply
  5. Thank you for the mention, I’m flattered and honoured to see my blog together with the sites that I respect. Just like you. when I was starting, Ghostlightning, gave me some very useful blogging tips. It was really unexpected that’s why such kindness is something that I’ll never forget.

    As for my background, I happened to be a math major and that’s where I got my blog’s handle. They sound fancy that’s why I used them. ^^

    Once again, thanks for taking time assessing my site and good luck in the tourney.

    Reply
    • Ghost is the best person to ask if you want to know anything about the actual activity of blogging. He pays attention. And, as you said, he’s willing to help.

      Ah, math! My only weakness!

      No, in all seriousness, I’ve come to realize that math is pretty damned cool sometimes. For as many computer science majors as there are among us, you don’t often see bloggers doing mathy things. I like it!

      Reply
  6. Your match is the toughest yet. I’ve written for WRL also, and in other contexts with ghostlightning. We wrote together on Oi Hayaku and he has NTR’d my blog as well. I get exactly what you’re saying with the expanding usefulness of the episodic format.

    But at the same time, I’ve always admired what you do here, even when the subject matter crossed into stuff that was well beyond my realms of knowledge (which is most of the time). I’ve found your accessibility of late to have gone up exponentially, and I don’t know if that’s intentional or just coincidental given subject matter (I’ve seen and thought a lot about Utena, for instance) but it doesn’t really matter. Same end result. I just wish you posted a little more.

    Reply
    • I’ve found your accessibility of late to have gone up exponentially

      YESSSSS

      I guess it’s intentional in that it’s…er, what I intended. But it helps that I’m done with school now. I always wanted to come across as standing outside the ivory tower making disingenuous tsuntsun faces at it, but it turns out that’s easier to do when it’s true.

      As much as I dick around on Twitter, which I guess is the only place I interact with you these days, I genuinely appreciate your approval. And not just because you’re the blogodad. Long ago you unearthed some secret balance between funny and insightful that makes heads explode. And jeans…cream? No, let me think about that one.

      I wish I posted a little more, too. Maybe it’ll happen — I’m hoping this new job cuts out about an hour and a half of daily driving.

      Reply
  7. Jay

     /  8 May 2012

    Stop the tourney! You have my appreciation, my gratitude, my thanks and my respect. STOP THE TOURNEY!

    LOL. No srsly.

    Reply
  8. I didn’t expect this post to turn out this way. I take my hat off to you for praising others and encouraging your readers to read other blogs rather than simply advertising yourself. I have just realized that there is a circle of Ghostlightningians(sp?) around, though I’ve already known these blogs. If I may add, I think Moe Fundamentalism can easily fit into this group :)

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comments. And, yeah, I absolutely intended to talk about Moe Fundamentalism, too. It’s up there in my bookmarks with the others. But I forgot. Because I’m dumb. For those interested (and everybody should be): http://akirascuro.wordpress.com/

      Reply
  9. animekritik

     /  9 May 2012

    I guess cerebral blogging is when the blogger’s brain hurts as s/he writes each post, and then good cerebral blogging is when the reader’s brain doesn’t hurt as s/he reads each post. I’m sure I’ve got the first part down pat at least :D

    Could we compare ‘lightning to the Holy Ghost then? This ethereal person that inspires people to write and stuff? Hmmm….

    I think this is the perfect place and time for me to make a prediction: Animanachronism will unhiatify itself when the Code Geass OVA comes out. The day is at hand.

    Reply
    • It took me a bit to parse “unhiatify,” but, yes, that would be a gift from the blogogods. Let us pray to the Holy Ghost(lightning) and, if he wills it, it shall come to pass.

      Someone should write a post about the messianic themes in Ghost’s oeuvre. It’d be easy — you’ve already supplied the conclusion!

      Reply

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