I was reading this post over at RIUVA and was thinking how unscientific it was compared to many of tj_han’s posts in the past. Yes, I know it was done by this new guy called G-Man but perhaps he should try to be like his boss?
First and foremost, human logic is usually inaccurate when it comes to more complex and accurate deductions. For example when humans used human logic purely in the past, everyone thought the world was flat. Human logic is unable to reveal the truth in anything and people who indulge in logic usually only satisfy themselves. And if you tried to preach the world is round, you would be rounded up and EXECUTED.
Things are not so bad nowadays. For example, if you go around preaching Otaku culture owns pop culture anytime (like for example openly saying “HIRANO AYA OWNS AND AVRIL LAVIGNE IS F*CKING DUMB”), the most that society does nowadays is ostracise you and not engage in criminal execution. But the fact remains that using your own logic will not lead you to the truth.
However, most people would rather indulge in logic because it is fact that the truth hurts. Logic dictates “anime is cartoon porn” but if you experience some eroge adaptions like Kanon or AIR, you’ll see how much more complex and beautiful eroge is than being mere porn games or animation. This is why experience, or theory, is superior to human logic anytime in most situations.
This is the fallacy of the post itself and some of the comments made on the blogpost such as this one:
“A true loser then allows his self worth and self-esteem to be measured by other people. He is held hostage by perceptions of others that can never be satisfied since those very same perceptions are means by which they keep others lower on the totem pole vis a vis themselves. If you meet one criteria, another will simply be invented. Look yourself in the mirror. Are you happy with what you see? If not work to improve yourself in a way that you feel is best. Hold your head high. You are not an “otaku”, a “nerd”, a “loser” or whatever any one else decides to label you. You are you and if you are happy with being you then the labels everyone else tries to pin on you becomes nothing more than hollow echoes.”
Lets examine this comment using sociological theory.
One sociological theory dictates that the reason a deviant (in this case, Otaku or cosplayers) deviate is because he or she derives more utlity from the deviation compared to conforming.
Utliity is a general term used in social sciences to indicate a reward that a particular social group receives when it behaves in a certain manner.
This sociological model also dicates that when an individual in society conforms, he or she receives a formal or informal societal incentive. However, when an individual deviates, he or she receives a formal or informal societal sanction. This system exists to prevent deviant behaviour is perceived as very harmful by the authorities to society (formal sanctions) or perceived to be harmful to society in general (informal sanctions).
Formal rewards and sanctions are enforced by the law. For example in Singapore, the formal incentive for studying hard in school is heavily subsidised rates for further education. A formal sanction would be a fine imposed on the populace for littering (yeah, I know littering fines are infamous in Singapore).
Informal rewards and sanctions are not enforced by the law, and thus can actually be more effective since they can’t be “broken” so called. For example, you will receive an informal sanction in the form of a stare on the train when you dig your nose. You will also generally be praised and respected if you declare yourself an avid runner, since this is recognised to bring an overall positive effect on society.
Otakus and cosplayers generally receive a f*cking a lot of informal sanctions if they try to talk about their hobbies in public. The reason is basically because most people think cartoons and comics and dressing up as your favourite characters are an escapist waste of time and thus is harmful to society (I personally duno wad’s so great about cosplay). There are no formal sanctions on Otaku since it isn’t officially proven that this our hobby is a waste of time, and the fact is that it isn’t.
So coming back to the comment, the labels that “normal” people pin on you are very powerful informal sanctions. They are enough to make many think twice about becoming Otaku. Even if you “look yourself in the mirror and change your appearance”, if you continue to try and talk too much about your hobby in public, the informal sanctions will keep flowing in and you might eventually break and think you are a loser.
The simplest method to evade these sanctions is not to reveal too much of yourself initially and subsequently when it comes to social situations, since it is only sociable to impose informal sanctions and rewards throughout a conversation. Otherwise, it would be quite difficult for a conversation to exist in the first place.
This brings me to the flaw of informal sanctions. Because they are not yet evaluated by the authorities, you should think twice before conforming to an informal sanction. I personally feel that it is sad that many people in Singapore will never get to experience the greatness of Kanon or Suzumiya Haruhi due to these sanctions.
So why do Otaku continue being Otaku? Obviously because the utility derived from engaging in such a hobby far exceeds the possible informal sanctions that can be imposed. And when the older technophobe generation fades from this dimension and loses their conservative hold on the internet-faring younger generation, I do hope that such sanctions will be greatly reduced for the sake of a better world.