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May 22, 2012 / Bradley

The Virtue of a Good “Fuck You”: Anime Fandom Needs Assholes, But Whiners Isn’t One of Them

Remember this article?

The year is 1989, and my grandpa’s electrical engineering expertise is called upon to fix a neighbor’s misbehaving radio. With the screws out, the clunky off-white box comes apart, revealing something much more sinister than a burnt-out wire or loose capacitor: to everyone’s disgusted surprise, the problem burst out in the form of a massive cockroach colony. As the adults fumbled for a can of dichlorvos, I was struck by a curious feeling of dissonance. The radio, a versatile informer and entertainer, brought urgent news, classical concerts and chess matches to a populace spread far and wide. It was a tech enthusiast’s toy box and a traveler’s portable companion – but none of this mattered to the roaches, who just wanted a dark, enclosed environment to shit up. Left to their own devices, the insects did an impressive job of multiplying, at the cost of permanent damage to the radio’s original – intended – functionality. Likewise, the rank-and-file anime blogger set up shop in search of an isolated refuge from reality, until enough of them accreted to establish a warped structure of discourse that has very little to do with exchanging ideas or opinions.

This was written in 2009, by a guy I’m pretty sure doesn’t even write about anime anymore, though as I re-read this post, it would be a shame if he wasn’t still writing about something, somewhere. Near as I can tell, this is probably ground zero for Colony Drop’s reputation as assholes, a reputation they embrace. The site only updates intermittently, probably tied to if school is out and how knee-deep they are in other projects, but that spirit lives on elsewhere, on Tumbler and Twitter. I haven’t always liked Colony Drop, and still find some of their opinions off-base or annoying, but they never, ever fail to be interesting. And years after being mad at them, and finally coming around, I have to admit, they provide a voice every fandom needs: the asshole.

We all need a check on ourselves and our excesses, and that goes for us collectively as a fandom. And as much as it hurts- actually, because it hurts- the simple fact is that one of the most effective ways to change people is to mock them, mercilessly. This mentality is not limited to the schoolyard, it’s pretty much everywhere, as a consequence of us being social creatures who hunger for other’s approval.

Which brings me to one of the small dramas still simmering in the AniBlog tournament:

Is the author a retard or is he simply retarded?

This is one of several choice quotes from Dark_Sage of Whiners.pro, a parasitic site that thrives on being an asshole. I wasn’t aware that this site existed until the tournament, when he started reviews of every website up for polling that day, including my own. He has said fairly nice things about me, and his approval seemed to correlate with a bump in my race against Krizzlybear. Thanks for that, I suppose, but I’d rather not have the approval of a poisonous, gutless child whose wit somehow manages to be smaller than his vocabulary. He is an example of the opposite of what I’m talking about: an asshole with no clear cause or idea of his own beyond spitting purposeless bile.

What’s bothersome is the site has a decent idea, and should bring out exactly the kind of conversation the AniBlog tournament needs: here’s what all you motherfuckers are doing wrong. But any insight is quickly buried under grade F, common denominator insults, and when he has nothing to say, he simply piles them on. People like this give a bad reputation to a good “fuck you.”

A good “fuck you” is entirely about the point you’re trying to make first, and the insult secondary, such that the insult comes naturally. But when the “fuck you” gets top priority, that’s just childishness. A good “fuck you” is a form of community service, even if it doesn’t use those exact words. It might actually be better to steer clear of cursing when writing one, if only so one does doesn’t have a crutch to lean on. Directionless rage has no impact and helps no one, even as a form of self-therapy. But sharpened, focused, and legitimate rage can do as much good as a thoughtful post on the same subject.

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11 Comments

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  1. wavedash / May 22 2012 5:18 pm

    While I agree that D_S is a giant attention-whoring prick, I think overextending this observation to his fansub reviews isn’t fair. His reviews tend to be pretty accurate (and, dare I say, informative), despite being filled with insults. And in the end, I think that’s what matters the most because that’s what his blog is for, despite being populated by tournament stuff lately.

    • Bradley / May 22 2012 6:10 pm

      No comment on his fansub reviews, since I don’t speak Japanese. This was intended to be entirely about his blogging reviews.

  2. schneider / May 22 2012 6:02 pm

    I keep on thinking that Dark_Sage is rooted in the deep 4chan/fansubber tradition of trying very hard to look cool, while putting others down with childish insults. Sadly, he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, so it comes off as straining to the point of hemorrhoids.

    • K / Jun 12 2012 12:33 pm

      It’s not so much a 4chan tradition. If you want to find people who write like D_S, you’ll find plenty more on rant-filled sites or the most unregulated forums.

  3. Reiseng / May 24 2012 1:09 am

    Interestingly enough, I managed to squeeze some semi-useful feedback out of D_S, but yeah, I guess his criticisms did on occasion read like rants composed of swear words and little else.

    I do agree with you on the whole we need assholes thing. Someone should try and fill that role!

    • K / Jun 12 2012 12:24 pm

      To paraphrase one of my favourite writers. It would be like saying Sherman doesn’t have a point about ‘war is hell’ because he used the ‘h word’

  4. Dark_Sage / May 30 2012 2:38 am
  5. Name goes here / Jun 11 2012 8:39 pm

    How can a website thrive on “being an asshole”?

    • K / Jun 12 2012 11:43 am

      The most famous examples I can think of are either Maddox or ‘Men are Better then Women’. The former is being an asshole with comedy. The latter is being an asshole for the comedic reaction.

      • Name goes here / Jun 13 2012 1:26 am

        You missed the point. Authors (such as Maddox, whose writing is very entertaining) can be assholes, not websites. Back to watching the NBA Finals.

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