‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world
It is a good lesson — though it may often be a hard one — for a man who has dreamed of literary fame, and of making for himself a rank among the world’s dignitaries by such means, to step aside out of the narrow circle in which his claims are recognized, and to find how utterly devoid of all significance, beyond that circle, is all that he achieves, and all he aims at.
—Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Scarlet Letter
It was inevitable.
I’m sorry, everybody. To you who read this post, you know what I’m going to say.
From the start, one million seven hundred eighty-four thousand two hundred and sixty-seven minutes and 1111 posts ago, for the precocious eighth-grade 12-year-old and the puerile chuunibyou 16-year-old today, O-New has been an adventure. Day in, day out, every single day brought something new.
At first, they were semantically meaningless (I made that post solely so I could celebrate O-New’s birthday three times each year). Yet, already, my current nature shone through; the endless comment-whoring, the obsession with contentless daily posts and of course, the endlessly rambling self-disorganizing reflections and obnoxious textual tics…!
2010 was a year of…. nothingness. I wrote some posts about
Maplestory *puke* gaming, some quasi-essay posts about schoolwork, and LOTS of themeless caret’d links. It’s a surprise I didn’t quit, even after only getting 10 daily views after three months. To think I had the audacity to recruit people even then….
Almost overnight, O-New transformed from a friendless schoolkid’s rant outlet to… an anime blog. How I still remember that first episode. By then, I was quite well immersed in the Touhou fandom, courtesy of my (still weeaboo) brother, so anime was the next logical extension. I had already previously covered the 1st Aniblog Tourney, which undoubtedly led to my following several blogs. I forget which was my first, but it had quite the memorable .gif of TK spinning into the air. From then on, it was all anime. Ever since then.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore.
It was still a transition period when I made my first manga post (incidentally, about 85% of all manga I have ever blogged were cancelled WHILE I BLOGGED THEM). I honestly loved that 2010 summer, when all of us would get together and each post whatever we wanted. O-New was not a solitary experience. I could never have gotten this far without my frien—ACTUALLY NEVER MIND. Out of our total 223,157 views, that pedo bear image has been clicked 9,824 times. The article itself, 2,798. The HOME PAGE OF O-NEW itself has barely four times that many views. Houraiguy is probably the only person who pumps out consistently HQ posts… though he never consistently pumps them out.
Eventually, as high school started, I cut down on the number of posts. My obsession became a compulsion; my compulsion became a repulsion; my repulsion became a fried plantain. Half-organized tagging systems, meticulous and useless. When did I first start Rewriting History? When did I first think O-New’s temporal structure mattered more than its literary content? I don’t really know, since the earliest post that mentions it (out of 274) could’ve been written years later. Notice the similarities between these querulous whines and my current plaintive sighs; people really never change.
And so I gradually stopped.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
Or not. The rush of excitement, the surge of passion, that brief moment of intellectual, literary, psychological, and emotional transcendence in the midst of a post. I couldn’t stop. Not even after writing a 11,505-word season preview. My best, most drunken writings surfaced then.
And so it continued. I wrote music, transcribed music, played music, but the life of O-New was still anime. Religious anime gimmicks, questionable fanservice reviews, non-canon alternative storylines, wannabe weeaboo gangsta rap, and metanime posts about Onew himself. I became too ambitious and started too many new post series. We had O-NEGs (game reviews), O-REWs (website reviews), O-NEBs (book reviews), O-NECs (stoned drawings), and even O-ASGs and O-NABs. To this date I have no idea what those last two are.
I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all.
I used to see and know. Every day, scrolling through Google Reader, I’d finish each day satisfied, 0 unread posts, with all the aniblogosphere gossip in my hands. My ultimate downfall was time. I’ve never been good at time management. Time all things devours; and steadily I grew obsessed. Time was ticking, every day, I’d rush home from school, running faster than the bus so I could catch it at the next stop (where everybody got off, so I could get on), just to get home to watch anime and read blogs. Blogs…. I currently still have 4644 unread posts in 263 blogs. I’ve read a grand total of two dozen articles…
…in the past five months.
It’s all become so empty now. The posts I once looked up to, the writers whom I once thought represented the pinnacle of human wit, wisdom, and wizardry. Now, all I see is a clique of normal, passionate milquetoasts, furiously droning endless variations on the same theme. I once thought all fanservice was camp; to my horror, I now realize that many find 2D women attractive. Though I could not judge anybody’s sexual taste, it gradually dawned on me that I could never truly fit in.
When I was young, I used to look down on everybody. Everybody, running around after school, worrying about homework and friends and movies and sports. Meanwhile, I was writing! People, strangers, across the world were reading my thoughts! I had a future in life, if only I could capitalize upon my newfound fame.
Now… I used to look down on everybody. The old me. The chuunibyou who thought anime blogs were important, that happiness was just a number of comments and views, that anime was somehow something more than chinese cartoons. It’s not. Yet, what’s important is that honestly, everybody’s the same. Minds are fickle and perceptions change; presumptuous and condescending as I want to be, nobody’s any higher up than anyone else.
Except that stoner in the alleyway he seems pretty high
Life was a reverie back then, those halycon Hamber days, an hour of homework every week. I thought I could do so much, relinquishing my opportunity to charge through adolescence, just to… watch anime. I thought I was going somewhere, doing something, naively organizing meaningless events that never took flight, vapidly pleading for unnecessary, preposterous attention, pretending that feet flexibility fetishes were normal… ok, that was really creepy. But I can move both my pinky toes now!
For me, anime was my entire life. I thought I would never give it up, even up to the last seconds of this post. I thought it would always be with me, forever. Je cherchais pour l’étérnal, mais a seulement reçu l’éphémère.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
Eventually, I lost my purpose.
I originally started blogging… because I could. It wasn’t about anime. Then, I started blogging because anime was da’ shiznit, yo! But then it started devolving. I continued blogging so that I could interact with you, the aniblogosphere, my first real social circle of friends. And then, after those friendships waned, I persisted in blogging to improve my English skills.
What do we have? Bad SAO creative fiction.
It was ruined from the start. As soon as I forgot that anime was fun…. I forgot that anime was fun. Instead of posting about anime because I loved anime, I started posting about anime because I was obliged to post. I obliged MYSELF to post.
Time. Slays kings, ruins towns.
Brought the blog of O-New down.
And vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
The last straw was really Pre-IB. Ever since our height in Spring 2011, O-New’s been slowly waxing—just waxing, not waxing lyrical or waxing crayons or waxing candles. But Pre-IB’s time constraints really just decimated the smouldering remains of my burnt obsession.
I could no longer post.
No anime, no manga, no music, no essays. Nothing. Life seemed meaningless. O-New was my entire life for so long; it was my home. Without O-New, without Twitter, I had no home, nowhere I could go home to and be myself, nothing I could point to and say, ‘There, I live there.’
But then I realized—life did have meaning. Not everything had to be a monument for posterity; my new home was in my heart. I made friends. Real friends, people whom I could trust and rely on, people I could hang out with after school, go volunteer with, eat dinner with. I had never done any of these before; friendship was an alien concept to me, a waste of time compared to the intellectual pursuit of ~chinese cartoons~. It was my compulsion, my obsession with time, with O-NEW that was causing this feeling of endless despair and banality. But I had already spent too long on it.
40 posts in the past six months. August 2010 alone had 62 posts.
Yet, I realized this long ago. Three years ago, at the height of my unbridled adolescent rage, I hated my life, and ultimately, everything boiled down to my addiction to time. Time waited for no one, not even me; and so, always trying to catch up, my life deteriorated all my relationships, my physical/mental health, and my interior design (which subsequently became deterior design). But I could change.
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done.
O-New was ultimately a work of supreme chuunibyou. Chuunibyou four years ago and still chuunibyou today. But I will change. Really, I am O-New. O-New’s ups and downs, lefts and rights, Bs, As, selects, starts—all ebb’d and flow’d with my ocean of life. And now, as my life drifts increasingly further from the sea-gluten, I’ve decided. I will change. I will grow up. O-New is my adolescence and my adolescence is over.
I make many rash decisions in my life. During the previous Angry Rant, I threw away all my elementary assignments in a fit of puerile rage. Those memories are lost forever, now.
It was in another frenzy of lethargy that bade me reflect of life’s futility. Every time I can’t think, whenever I lie down and nothing appears and everything is mud and nothing matters, I make a rash decision. Two years ago, flash gaming dominated my entire life. One day later, I never touched Kongregate ever again. Up until yesterday, I spent more time on O-New and anime than on all real-life socializing and homework, combined. Today, I’ve deleted 196 GB of anime, all my Touhou music and hours of savefiles, and all these screencaps that will never see the light. It was rash, and I’ll regret it, but the deed is done and through.
Y’know, what is this community? You’re all just text to me, anyways. What does it matter if I disappear? It doesn’t. So long.
Now, the last remaining active blogger, redball’s left. It’s been a good run, guys, but this is how O-New ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.
That’s it. In one post, that’s O-New. Past, present, and future. Here it stands, monumental, the single most important influence of my entire life. Here it stands, untouched, a monument to frivolous verbosities.
What does O-New stand for? Countless people have asked me over the years. Literally, one day in 2009, walking with to the Central Library in Downtown Vancouver, my friend and I were making observations truly fit for sixth graders: ‘u studios’ spelled backwards was ‘soidutsu’. For some reason, this was inherently hilarious, and we spent the rest of the day translating similar corporate names. ‘O-New’ soon arose out of my attempt at hiding backwards messages. weN-O; we know. What did we know? Who knew it? Nobody knows. We know the answer to the question but not the question itself.
Symbolically, O-New represents unity. One-w. One world, one word, one writer. At O-New, though we are all different (more so than any other blog!), our goals were one and all. As paths diverged in broken hills, one-w collapsed.
Emotionally, O-New is everything. Four letters is the optimum length for an acronym; three doesn’t leave enough verb space, and five stretches the imagination. Our headers used to change every day with new meanings, but as these meanings changed less and less frequently, so too did the inherent meaning our posts delivered. O-New is truly anything you want it to be, and I didn’t. I didn’t want it to be. But O-New is that which it is.
Which just happens to be me.
Thank you, everybody. These three years have completely changed my life; for better or worse, the experience remains, and once or twice have I gleamed that untraveled world that I shall seek again, and tomorrow, and forever and onward.
Thank you. Thank you for helping me through the years, for teaching me how to write, to talk, to listen and read closely, to appreciate life and beauty and art and chinese cartoons. To you who’s showed me the light: thank you for releasing me from my self-imposed chains. The caged bird has sung and can fly once more.
I hate to be a #twitterplagiarizer, but you, all of you who are reading this…
…I love you. I truly do.
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Had it right; cool Maou-sama 9
Gotta admire dem curves.
Coolness, like having curves, is caused by creation, a conceptual cuality that only certain cool cpeople can chave. James (but not Jessie) has this cool coolness. How can you tell? Well, his sunglasses aren’t there just for show. Well, they are just for show, but like, that’s because it /shows/ you not only the reflection of her beautiful eyes but also the reflection of James’s innate coolness.
It is plainly evident that people only go to Sentucky’s to cool down with the cool cashier. I’m sick today because of allergies. I really wish it wasn’t so hot…
Compare Emi’s tomboyish attitude to Suzuno’s polite, almost condescending femininity. While Emi shows the progressive de-sexualization of Ente Islamic society, Suzuno reflects Ente Isla’s reverse unmodernizationability due to her nonassimilation into postcolonial sexual norms. Even confronted with the harsh realities of Nihongo life, she steadfastly refuses to
The stupid slice of life conversations in this episode, the previous episode, and the (n-2, n-3, …, n-k)th episode represents the dullness of city life compared to their previous grandeur and splendour and doors and durrs. They really ram this ennui into our face by protracting their meaningless babbles for half the episode, every episode. Not only is it audiovisual, but simultaneously sensual; often, the urge to sleep overwhelms the urge to stay awake, which gives the entire setting a dreamlike experience.
This is usually because we’re dreaming, i.e. sleeping i.e. not paying attention due to its vapid nonsense.
tl;dr: maou-sama represents the stupidity of life because holy shit is it boring
Hah! The Rake, You Mowed Someone 8
The rains were a drizzle on the sidewalk. Red, orange, blue; seventeen rainbow colours dotted the streets in increasingly psychedelic displays of unnatural diversity. On the top of my porch, on the top of my wall; there they lay in the mid-autumn day of mid-fall.
There lay I, musing late in the autumn day, gazing off southward. A solitary rake, leaning askew on an old yew, old as you. Perched precariously between the branches it lay and lied and lies. Lies, sharp lies, white lies, bitter lies. How can you not know, rake? How can you?
It began that day in mid-autumn, a lonely thing, leaning and leaning so far she could drop and fall forever and nobody would notice. The swirling colours blinded and dazzled, a reflection of the times to come. Broken, unwanted.
Dust in the wind.
I never wanted her. Sitting cozy at home, wending the shores of the 24 Hours, through distant rains I crossed and checked. 3-Across: Groundbreaking innovation? Womanizer.
Then she started to fall.
Nature has no feelings. Nature does not see our sights, does not breathe our air, does not walk the stairs and talk the bears and balk at rares. In the mass of spinning leaves, my eyes reverting from the south, dropt.
The ground, incarnadine, as she dropt, all purpose-like, as if her destiny were to destroy and destruct and detonate. As she fell and flew and shattered all around her.
The rake, you mowed someone.
Cats are a cool 猫-sama 7
You know that really cool guy you want to be when you grow up? The guy with the hair and the teeth and the lips? The guy who does all those things you’d expect really cool guys to do, and more?
Well, I think I’ve met my future.
My New Feed Reader
(This is by far my most interesting and creative title yet.)
Thanks for all the responses to the previous post! I wasn’t able to respond (nor make this post!) on time due to academic concerns, but I think I’ve sorted things out now. The grand winner seems to be CommaFeed; not necessarily because it’s better, but because everything else has acute flaws that CommaFeed apparently doesn’t. Yet.
Google Reader, New Feed Leaders
I’ve never truly lived without Google Reader. Before there was O-New, before there was blogging there were readers. OK, that’s actually not a chicken-or-egg thing, because actually, before there were readers of blogs there were blogs. WHATEVER.
Google Reader is cancelling its service after July 1st, 2013.
Being an ardent admirer of Google’s autocratic policies (can you please stop asking me to change my YouTube name because it looks fake?), I could never imagine life without Google Reader. So I waited, and waited, and waited until I stopped reading blogs. Then I continued to wait. Eventually I started weights
and became really buff. Then I weighed myself and stopped weighing weights.
What was I weighting for? Did I really need to lose waits? How many watts could a lightbulb spin if it neither toils?
Others, of course. I’d never jump off a bridge unless all my friends do too, and since you’re my friends, I’m jumping now.
What feed readers are you using to replace Google? Is it desktop- or online-based? What’s the difference?
Perhaps I’m the only one still on the bridge. I think it’s apparently that I haven’t app parent for far too long (‘app parent’ means ‘read blogs’), but if there’s any other late stragglers, perhaps this will help. Assuming I get one comment from Flare.
RESTARTING O-NEW IN THE MIDDLE OF THREE SCHOOL PROJECTS WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA
But I shall persevere! Caught up to Maou (just need to pull up the posts) and hopefully I’m back in the Musical Monday mood. But for now, posts will be approximately this long, lest I spend more effort on O-New than on school!!
Cataracts Maou-sama 6
Nadie espera a la Inquisición española. And nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition to represent the Spanish Inquisition, either. Sure, they’re not actually Spanish, and they’re not actually inquiring into anything, but that’s alright…
Hack a Raccoon Maou-sama 5
Un choque español. Es la herencia de España que incluso en Japón, estas réplicas reverberan a través del espacio y el tiempo.
Observe Chiho’s state of mind. It is the province of the intellect that the prefectures of the brain know not of foreign tongues. Observe the devil hiding behind the fridge. His cool demeanour betrays his fiery heart, calmed only by the acclimatizing breeze of modern technology.
Hataraku 冒什么 4
Blood-saturated cholesterol is the topic for this week’s conversation. Everybody understands the need to stay fit, and being an exemplar of proper eating habits, Miki-T understands this more than all. As a strict vegan, she espouses the frequent consumption of beans and other fart-inducing vegetables. As the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “Blood-saturated cholesterol is like mud-desecrated express patrols.”
冒什么 is also an ancient Chinese proverb. Literally, it transliterates to “To risk your life for the sake of retrieving a hat questions your questionable nature with questions.” Emilia risks her life when she DARES to be FAIR and to WEAR shoes that FARE quite IMPAIRED towards STAIRS. Even though the stairs keep on happening, she still trips because of guilt, fields, and acid; her new human body is weak, having seemingly forgotten all of her previous mental and physical training.
On a serious note, the whole earthquake thing was handled quite tactfully. Although I don’t have tact (people who unfollowed me on twitter know this), I somehow survive with my reputation INTACT, even if I ATTACKED the Family COMPACT.
Who really is Lucifer? Well, ask yourselves: who broke the Family Compact? That’s right… Lucifer isn’t whom you’re thinking of. In fact, the person who broke the Family Compact probably isn’t whom you’re thinking of either, because honestly, who cares? Either way, Lucifer symbolically represents the return of Louis Riel. One can REVEAL this secret UNREAL by hearing a SPIEL from MushyRIELZ:
Both Lucifer and Louis start with the same letter.
tl;dr: The reason Emilia is so manly is because her GAR dad had sex with an angel. Shit, dawg.
P.S. The condom on Emilia forehead represents a condom on Emilia’s forehead.
Hat Racks 帽-sama 3
The pun is because 帽 sounds like ‘Maou’ and means ‘Hat’ in Chinese. Granted it’s not a terribly good pun, but the quality of my puns is proportional to the quality of the episode being covered; that is to say, this episode wasn’t terribly. I was terribly.
The connections this week were as deep as ever. For example, ‘Sadao’ is almost a palindrome but not quite. If it were a palindrome, it would probably become ‘Soadaos’, but Japanese people would spontaneously combust at the sight of such a monstrosity. Thus, a compromise is ‘Sadas’; however, the unfortunate comparison of Sadas to Sad-ass is quite unfortunate indeed.
Sa~tan’s transformation to super-buffness shows off the intense flexibility of non-UNISLO
clothing slothing. Notice how the only rips occur at his neck and shin. This shows UNISLOthing’s Achilles’ heels: they are at disadvantages to necks and shins, and are thus con-neck-shin.
Further connections occur when we closely analyze the various character archetypes that appear:
- Chi-chan represents annoying brats meant only for neckbeard fanservice;
- Chi-chan’s hygienic activities while on the couch represents the squalid state of Japan’s aging toothpaste industry;
- Emi’s initial shower scene represents
annoying tsundere antics meant only for neckbeard fanserviceuh, the artificial ravaging of traditional Aboriginal society by uncompromising Eurocentric social conformance;
- The bad jokes represent bad jokes;
- Wait, no, Chi-chan is an annoying brat meant only for neckbeard fanservice.
I thought the whole earthquake plot device was kinda too early, right after the nuclear plants and the recent one in China, but maybe they actually already delayed the airing of this anime (to now)… it’s also y’know the STUPIDEST POSSIBLE WAY to move a plot forward. The author probably wrote two chapters and then retconned it to add miscellaneous random earthquakes after realizing how profoundly stupid earthquakes suddenly coming out of thin air was. Really, the tone of 帽-sama is like the difference between the inside of a 帽 and the outside; one is inside the 帽 and one is outside it.
tl;dr: Japan has horrible earthquake protection training. All of those tables and everybody just stays standing like stranded stands on a strand of standings
Hate a rack Maou-sama 2
Everybody hates racks. I hate racks. I rack hats. Iran hats are alright but when it’s summer and the heat gets to your brain, sometimes, you have to settle for less.
Settling for less is the most recent lesser unsettling theme in Part-Time Job Work Lord King Demon.
We all remember the Indian Act, 1876’s effects on Canada, right? Well, that doesn’t actually matter because Ente Isla isn’t Canada and Sa~tan isn’t an Indian. No sir, he’s merely a representation of an
Indian native American, excuse me. So who is Emilia?
Emilia, like Sa~tan, is an outcast. Thrust into conforming to society’s inflexible norms, her mutual ‘alliance’ with Sa~ represents the INDIAN CONFEDERACY and their mutual support in the face of the White Man’s encroachment. Eventually, they failed because they were already croached, and as everyone knows, once croached, always encroached.
We explored a bit about different interpretations (meanings, analyses) in some previous posts. I might post a follow-up later if I have the time.
Now, we’ll move on to discussing /how/ we actually arrive at these meanings.
In the study of knowledge, epistemology (I did last year’s science fair project on that! I got 60% on it!), there are two main ways to acquire knowledge: a priori and a posteriori knowledge. One of these two types of knowledge is the name of someone in Catch-22, and so I vividly remember it due to hours of rolling on the ground laughing at how stupid the name was and how painful rolling on the ground laughing is. I would roll on the ground, laugh, and then laugh at my past self being in pain from rolling on the ground laughing. It was an odd activity.
Anyways, a priori knowledge is things you learn from prior knowledge. For example, knowing that the angles in a triangle add up to 180 degrees, that a right-angle triangle has one 90-degree angle, and that two angles are equal in an isosceles triangle, you know that a right-angled isosceles triangles’ angles are 45 degrees, 45 degrees, and 90 degrees.
A posteriori knowledge requires experience. You wouldn’t know who the current King of France is a priori; you would have to find that out (there is no current King of France!). You wouldn’t know whether you could play piano or not before testing it. You wouldn’t know that Life of Pi was a movie about the Life of Pi without knowing that.
The difference is like the difference between physics and math:
physics isn’t useless um, knowledge of physical laws come a posteriori, whereas applications of those laws to situations are a priori knowledge. If you were Helen Keller, you would still be able to receive a priori knowledge, but not as much a posteriori knowledge. Well, Helen Keller did, but she’s HELEN KELLER and you’re not.
So, what does this have to do with meaning?
You see, whenever we experience literature, be it a book, a play, an anime, a long-winded incomprehensible puerile diatribe by racist prepubescent teenagers on YouTube, we experience literature. The knowledge we gain is a posteriori.
But after the experience, when you think about it in your brain, you are acquiring a priori knowledge. This is when you synthesize the experiences you’ve received to form a coherent (or incoherent if you’re like me) picture of the meaning you got from it.
But does this actually count as acquiring new knowledge? Here’s my question to you. Is it possible to acquire all your meanings of literature a priori? What would happen to somebody who never experienced others’ reactions to literature, but only the raw work of art itself?
What’s better? Meaning through self-reflection, or meaning through discussion? You can reflect on this or discuss it; just don’t be too mean.
I CHALLENGE ANYONE HERE TO PLAY THIS AT NORMAL SPEED. I also challenge anyone there and anyone not here, as well as people who can’t hear/are bears/rare hares
(Sorry for lack of comeback post so soon after new season. I just watched some episodes of Maou something something which marks the first episode of anime I’ve watched in like four months or something. Currently busy with district science fair stuff but that’ll be over tomorrow.)
Hataraku Maou-sama! 1
What is cultural assimilation? It’s a concept that many people intimately don’t give a toss about, and neither should you. Unfortunately, you’re dealing with Hataraku Maou-sama! (literal translation: ‘Demon Lord-customers work!), one of the most profoundly insightful, cultured, and reflective Chinese cartoons of April 2013.
The main character, Sa-tan (-tan is a endearing suffix in Japanese, and to pursue O-New’s policy of conservative liberalization, shall be henceforth redacted to -y, a corresponding English endearing suffix), is a stranger in a strange land. Say says yes to strangers’ strange sayings in strangeland.
To observe his gradual assimilation into strangeculture, we have three useful metrics:
1) The amount of strangespeech Say says;
2) The amount of strangegovernmentsupport Say receives;
3) And the amount of strangefood Say eats.
Obviously, Say has been completely
Americanized I mean Eurocentrized uh Japanesified ASSIMILATED. This assimilation makes Say’s ass similar to other nations’ asses.
A Slice of Life, A Slice of Pi
Life of Pi was a pretty recent film. It’s about the life of a boy, Pi. You may have heard about it; it won the most (four) Academy Awards in 2012. You may have watched it. Don’t worry, there’s no spoilers in this post. Or perhaps there is, if you’re planning to see the film; but if you haven’t yet, there’s a good chance you won’t. The spoilers don’t really spoil anything, since this essay isn’t about Life of Pi, and Life of Pi isn’t about its plot
It’s about its meaning.
I always thought that Life of Pi’s ending was a religious statement—just like believers, the novelist had to have faith in Pi, that his story was true. Although reason and psychology may steer one to believe otherwise, faith transcends both. People who value ‘order’ will automatically believe in the metaphoric story with ‘real’ humans—this denies a whole range of fantastic (in a bad way) possibilities, showing logic’s corrupting influence over the flexibility of faith. Furthermore, faith is unique to each person, as are meanings (interpretations!).
Yet, few seemed to agree. Most posts online simply followed the novelist’s connect-the-dots from ‘actual humans’ to their ‘animal representations’. So too did I think, but something was off, it was too obvious. I mean, in the film itself, the novelist explicitly STATES all of these connections! What kind of serious literary work TELLS you its meaning?
That exposes a preconception in our minds: that serious literary works’ meanings are to be found and not given. This is the notion that leads to ‘overanalysis’, when we ‘think too hard’ about something which has an ‘obvious meaning’.
But how do we find this meaning when nobody agrees? Does one meaning to any literary work actually exist? Do any meanings exist at all?
It’s late, but it’s still Tuesday. Any thoughts?
Here’s a transcription of a Kirby song (I’ve been transcribing lots of Kirby songs!). It’s what happens when you eat spicy curry. I’d accelerate it 800% but after several months of inactivity my fingers would probably fall off. EXCEPT THEY CAN’T CAUSE IT’S SPRING so they’d probably spring off, which is just as bad.
But I’m coming back to posting now, and this post proves it.
JUST KIDDING HAPPY APRIL FOOLS. Oh, it’s not April Fools anymore? Now what…
Birds, Snails, and Pretty Colours
O-New is a blog, so I’m going to do blog-like things on it today. This includes things like posting low-quality videos nobody wants to see and images of ~daily life~ because apparently bloggers do that.
In other words, pictures of birds, snails, and pretty colours.
Interpretation Over Overanalysis
[Overanalysis Over Analysis was my original title, but it makes no sense. Neither does the current one, but dagnabbit I’m putting that over in somehow.]
What is overanalysis? Why do people hate it so?
To answer that, we’ll first need to figure out what we’re really talking about: literary analysis, which isn’t really quite ‘analysis’. Then, we’ll try to bridge the gap between analyses and opinions, which really aren’t too far apart. Finally, we’ll see if said hate actually exists, and then if it’s warranted, which really something really. Finally (part two), we’ll move into the realm of the ~IMAGINARY~ so I can stop saying really imaginary really imaginary really. Seriously.
I recently wrote several scathing posts on overanalysis being a BAD thing because it was over analysis, I was analysis, and I didn’t like having things be over me. Those posts are devoid of content because they’re me blowing off steam after reading some dumb analyses (being too cowardly to directly reply).
Then, syncoroll made me realize just what ‘analysis’ is: that is to say, I didn’t actually KNOW what analysis was.
To the Dictionary.com!
1. the separating of any material or abstract entity into its constituent elements
2. this process as a method of studying the nature of something or of determining its essential features and their relations
In other words, completely unlike my (by extension, ‘our’, assuming you’re also an uneducated boor) conception of literary analysis. When we talk about ‘overanalysis’, we’re talking about splitting a holistic piece into too many pieces, which are like whole pieces except 1. they’re different definitions of ‘piece’ and 2. it’s unholistic, which means it’s ETERNALLY DAMNED
Maybe we’ll talk about actual analysis later. My wrongful understanding of literary analysis seems to have a different word for it:
1. to give or provide the meaning of; explain; explicate; elucidate
2. to construe or understand in a particular way
That’s it! When we talk about analyses, we’re generally talking about INTERPRETATIONS! Maybe I’ll analyse analyses later but interpretations is what we want to focus on. (Or maybe my lack of recent literary participation has backwatered me.)
Meaning is different to each of us. We were all born and raised (or born and lowered, if for example you were born on the peak of a howling mountain and your maturation occurred alongside a eighteen-year trek to the bottom) in different environments, and our perspectives are all incomparable.
How can we tell?
We look at our opinions—the thoughts we think when we experience something (LOVE IS JUST AN OPINI-), such as watching a movie. People have different opinions on its quality (or its QUALITY), for different reasons—many which only make sense to one person’s unique mindset. Case in point: I really liked watching The Sacred Star of Milos (even though I’ve never watched Brotherhood) because the background faces were too QUALITY and all dialogue scenes were still frames with hilariously wide-open mouths. OK, THEY WERE HILARIOUS TO ME I’M ENTITLED TO MY OWN OPINION SECOND AMENDMENT BLAH BLAH BLAH. also i have a gun
What happens when you try to explain your opinion to someone else? Well, you show them your reasons and hope they understand. Usually, they won’t accept your entire argument—because certain reasons are only valid to some people!—but they might understand some of it.
What happens when you write down your explanation to show someone else?
Well, don’t we now have an interpretation? In fact, everything from the beginning was an interpretation—ALL YOUR OPINIONS are simply your UNIQUE WAY of INTERPRETING external data, and tautologically, ALL INTERPRETATIONS are simply the author’s OPINION.
Many people hate ‘overanalysis’ because it’s TOO analysis for them (that’s what over- means). How can something be too analysis for someone? Why has my grammar degraded faster than a slope being flattened by a steamroller? The joke is that before flattening, said slope had a grade, but post-flattening, it doesn’t; thus the grade was removed and the slope DEGRADED and now you just made me RUIN my OWN JOKE!!! Now it’s SUPERFLAT!!!!11!1 sorry
Analyses are just interpretations, which are just opinions, right? (Right.) Can an opinion be ‘too much’?
Yes, they can. Consider a staunch individualist Republican presented with three alternative economies: laissez-faire capitalism, the welfare state, and flat-out communism. Laissez-faire capitalism is acceptable, because he agrees with the OPINION; a welfare state is pretty bad, because he disagrees; flat-out communism is TOO bad because he REAAAAAAAAAAALLY disagrees. No imaginary disagreeing here.
Now (we’re gradually sliding closer to disagreeing about analyses), consider a not-deaf/not-dead Beethoven presented with three different interpretations of his 9th symphony: one by the Cityville Philharmonic Orchestra (no, don’t search that up), one arranged by Liszt for solo piano, and one sung by Justin Bieber over loud dubstep. The Cityville Philharmonic Orchestra is acceptable, because Beethoven agrees with their INTERPRETATION (which is his own); Liszt’s is probably alright, because he doesn’t disagree; Justin Bieber’s dubstepmix is TOO bad because he REAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLY disagrees. Hopefully.
So opinions can be too much and interpretations can be too much.
Now consider a Guilty Crown fanatic surfing cross the ‘sphere presented with three different analyses: one praising Guilty Crown’s awesomeness, one praising Guilty Crown’s QUALITY, and one denouncing Guilty Crown’s lack of quality. The first is acceptable because he agrees with their analysis, which is just an interpretation, which is just their OPINION. The second is pretty bad, because he disagrees that Guilty Crown had QUALITY, and the last is TOO bad because he REAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLY disagrees.
Gosh that was long and unnecessary.
tl;dr: the reason anyone thinks something is ‘overanalysing’ is because they DISAGREE with the author’s OPINION. In fact, all analyses are interpretations, which are just opinion; we don’t like analyses that don’t fit our own opinions.
I hope that clears things up, especially with the whole debate about ‘objective’ reviewing. At heart, all artistic commentary is pure opinion. Perhaps ALL communication is opinion, save truths by definition. Next up, we’ll publish up something about finding meaning in art through—that’s right—differing interpretations. That’s right, welcome to ~epistemology month~!
Sweet Like a Crow
[Remember this poetry post from thirty years ago? No? Well, neither do I, nor do I remember writing this post, but apparently it was half-finished and I guess I never hit publish? I’ll write a more eloquent post with an actual argument later.]
Here’s the second poem I chose to recite, ‘Sweet Like a Crow’.
What do you think of after reading this poem? If you’re tempted to give some lofty appeal about the pointlessness of reality and the audio escapism that postmodern music offers, stop right there.
It’s about the poet’s niece’s HORRIBLE singing.
An Introduction to Introduction to Poetry
As part of our (frankly non-existent) poetry unit, our English class chose a poem to either analyze or recite. It’s our first and final poetry assignment. Yes, the entire unit lasts a week. Anywho, not being a literary person myself, I chose the traditional method: recitation.
What poem? Well, our only options came from this site, Poetry in Voice. (I think it’s part of a communist conspiracy between teachers to create a fake monopoly on poems.) The first poem I chose/am choosing is entitled ‘Introduction to Poetry’. Click on that link to read it (it’s literally a hundred words long).
There’s a second poem I’m choosing as a backup in case anybody recites this first, and I’ll talk about its overanalysis in tomorrow’s essay. But today, I’d like to ask: what do you guys think about poetic analysis?
This poem is ironic in itself: it cautions against overanalysis, yet people are still overanalyzing it. For example, this first guest analysis is simply wonderful. Thank god we have Google to let me understand how “the American world failed, so his culture. America is now melting or returning to his mother europe to cry together, those days.”
(Really, that comment is worth a read. I think it might be a copypasta, though.)
But really, come on. Six pages of analysis. The prime suspect of overanalysis is lengthiness; poetry majors just don’t understand brevity! Consider said link’s first page. A terse summary could be: “Collins teaches poetry reading. Every line begins with a different word.”
Consider this analysis. Poetry analysis isn’t actually deep. It’s trying to flesh out the simplest concepts as tortuously as possible. What did you think when you read the poem? You thought, “Wow, this guy really is frustrated with his students’ overanalysis.” That’s all the link above writes, but with a thousand more words.
What would happen with briefer poetic analysis? Or less nitpicky ones (sometimes, alliteration and assonance are accidental, as in all my articles)?
On one hand, we have this attitude. On the other hand, prose is shorter than verse, and thus, poets actually do have to mull over every single word! But does that mean every single word has meaning?
Twitter shows that the opinions on this run the gamut, and I guess it’s a fitting (no, not really) topic to reignite O-New’s lagging literary impact. Thoughts?
P.S. Obligatory f-bomb-laced video with the same poem title.
I can’t get over how their first reaction is, “HOW DO THEY KNOW SHIRAFUNE’S NAME?!?!” and not, “WHOSE SKIN ARE YOU WEARING!?!?”
Then again, even now we can’t understand other animals’ communication (maybe rats, but they’re the exception), so maybe it is a big achievement to a civilization that can create magical
wasp tornadoes and TELEPATHICALLY CONTROL MIKURA’S VOICE.
I also like how the alien has a Japanese name and how its graphemes, by similarity, are phonemic and thus Japanese. This is conclusive proof that the Japanese are ACTUALLY ALIENS. They even look the same!
tl;dr: actually all of the alien’s limbs are highly sensitive penii
P.S. plot twist: the aliens are actually malevolent galactic pornographers, the true aliens who sent the kids THE POWER OF THE GALAXY was actually former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, who remains alive on the moon even into 2034.
The Common Hero: Elevating Expression, Words Transcendent
[Because my mind hasn’t yet adjusted to normal post-writing processes, here’s another school essay in lieu of contemplative anime analysis. It’s a comparison of James Joyce’s Ulysses (of which I’ve only read the first three chapters!) and Homer’s Odyssey, which our entire class read previously. After getting some flak for dissing Dr. Campbell last time, I wax lyrical over his ‘accomplishments’ now. This time, the word limit really is 1000 words, which I’ve once again filled completely…]
In 1949, comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern in diverse cultural myths: the Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey’s 17 stages encompass many mythological plot points, including Homer’s ancient epic, the Odyssey, and James Joyce’s modernist classic, Ulysses. While neither Telemachus nor Ulysses’s first protagonist Stephen Dedalus display heroic traits, their journeys still exemplify Campbell’s monomyth—a Hero’s Journey without a hero.
The Odyssey starts with Telemachus seeking information of his father. His house is overrun with rowdy suitors, and he feels powerless against them. He commences his own Hero’s Journey to find Odysseus. The main themes in the Telemachia are the suitors’ unwanted domestic occupation and Telemachus’s spiritual growth as he meets Nestor and Menelaus. When he returns, he has become a man.
Ulysses’s first part, also called the Telemachia, chronicles three hours of an ordinary, insignificant Dublin morning in 1904, as Dedalus contemplates life. Dedalus is an ordinary young man living with a ‘friend’ who insults his dead mother and snatches away the house key. The first chapter’s last line is “Usurper”; thus, Dedalus believes his ‘friend’ usurped his home (Joyce 35), like the suitors usurped Telemachus’s. He too embarks on a subdued ‘adventure’, meeting with his anti-Semitic employer, Deasy, and ruminating life along the beach. This parallels Telemachus’s fruitless meeting with Nestor and Proteus’s information about Odysseus. Deasy lectures that “a faithless wife first brought the strangers to our shore here, MacMurrough’s wife and her leman O’Rourke” (Joyce 53). Actually, MacMurrough abducted O’Rourke’s wife, preceding the Norman Invasion of Ireland (Braín 1152.6). Nestor’s reputation for wisdom, yet lack of useful information, corresponds to Deasy’s historical ignorance. Proteus’s shape-shifting represents change, so Joyce’s interior monologue narrative style constantly changes direction, yet illuminates Dedalus’s perspectives on life and regret over not accomplishing childhood dreams.
The Telemachia displays many early monomythic plot points. Telemachus’s Call to Adventure is Odysseus’s disappearance. Athena aids Telemachus by spurring him on; after reaching Pylos, he has Crossed the First Threshold into the unknown, away from the his home’s safety. The Telemachia ends here; later, Telemachus’s Belly of the Whale is the suitors’ ambush, and he Atones with his Father in Eumaeus’s hut. Odysseus’s adventure is more overtly monomythic, but Dedalus corresponds only to Telemachus.
Dedalus’s Call to Adventure is his ‘friend’ demanding drinking money and the house key, paralleling the suitors’ thankless cadgering. A milk woman indirectly spurs his journey by exacerbating Dedalus’s scorn of his ‘friend’; Campbell observes that “the milk woman is the role of Athena, who comes to Telemachus when he is 22 and tells him to go forth, find his father” (Campbell Disc 3). He Crosses the First Threshold after his meeting with the obtuse sexist Deasy, who gives Dedalus thick racist remarks and his salary. Finally, he enters the ‘unknown’: his own mind. To readers, this is shocking: few writers would illustrate natural human thought with natural—illogical—first-person topic transitions. Readers are truly venturing where no man has gone before.
The Odyssey’s monomythic scope is more obvious than Ulysses’s. Telemachus sets out on a voyage, and Odysseus wanders the wine-dark sea for a decade, encountering fantastic creatures. Telemachus is not a hero. He starts weak, irresolute, and naïve, but grows through his journey. However, the monomyth is about the story, not the character: protagonists can even be morally repugnant ‘villains’, their Ultimate Boon perhaps being world destruction, as long as they venture into the unknown and return with an Ultimate Boon. Thus, the Odyssey, as a monomyth, transcends the Hero’s Journey—it is a journey without a hero.
Ulysses lacks the Odyssey’s scope, merely detailing an ordinary Dublin day. However, as the Odyssey transcends the Hero’s Journey, so does Ulysses. Joyce’s writing elevates Dedalus’s thoughts to a godlike level; the sheer breadth and range of his interior monologue’s allusions equate his commonplace musings to an epic. He sees midwives carrying a misbirth, and ponders about an unending chain of navel cords, linking all humanity back to Adam and Eve: “Gaze in your omphalos. Hello. Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one” (Joyce 57). This connection to the Genesis broadens his monologue’s temporal scope; a typical day on the beach and Dedalus has already alluded to all human history.
The grandiosity gradually decreases over the chapter. He broods on what could have been in his own past: “Remember your epiphanies on green oval leaves […]? Someone was to read them there after a few thousand years, a mahamanvantara […] You were going to do wonders, what?” (Joyce 61, 63). This shows his disgust with his past’s naïve optimism. Like all epics, the scope is first historical, and now personal. Eventually, reality overtakes his philosophical reverie, and his thoughts deal with the immediate: “My handkerchief. He threw it. I remember. Did I not take it up? […] He laid the dry snot picked from his nostril on a ledge of rock” (Joyce 76). This concludes the chapter, a tour de force from Eden to snot. Although the setting is a walk on the beach, Joyce’s purview transcends its humdrum nature: from molehill to mountain, from the mundane to the sublime.
Both Ulysses and its hypotext, the Odyssey, contain early monomythic plot points. The Odyssey transcends a Hero’s Journey because Telemachus is not heroic, yet his tale is still a monomyth. Ulysses transcends the monomyth because, although Dedalus’s ‘journey into the unknown’ is ordinary, Joyce’s interior monologue transforms his thoughts into a genuine adventure. Thus, both Ulysses and the Odyssey represent the monomyth.
It is only appropriate: Campbell, a Joyce scholar, borrowed the term ‘monomyth’ from Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. These two works, Ulysses and the Odyssey, stand as a testament to the monomyth’s ubiquity—so many works embody the monomyth that we learn nothing from cross-comparison! Joyce creates an oxymoron—a common hero, shaping the power of literary form into a medium of literary expression. Stephen Dedalus’s Hero’s Journey has no hero, has no journey; Joyce elevates the everyman to create a hero, his words transcendent.
Word Count: 1000 (not including title)
Braín, Tigernach U. The Annals of Tigenach. Edit. Corráin, Donnchadh Ó. Cork: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts, 1996. Web.
Campbell, Joseph J. On the Wings of Art: Joseph Campbell on the Art of James Joyce. New York: Highbridge Audio, 1995. Audiobook.
Joyce, James A. A. Ulysses. London: Random House, 1992. Print.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1997. Print.
Three years ago, I made this post.
Since then, we at O-New have been pumping out one post, every day. For the past three years.
But of course, all that changed last month. Why? Nobody knows. A combination of homework-related stress, reignited interest in erstwhile pastimes, and the general inferiority of this season’s anime waned my blogging spirit, and thus, I stopped posting. For a month.
O-New’s not going to last. I’ll have even less time and less interest in anime next year. But before it all gets old, I’d like to try again. Just a few more months before the end. Who knows? Maybe O-New will continue.
Who knows why I bother? But my life just seems… off, without writing. Perhaps one day I’ll sever myself from the yoke of writer’s insecurity. Perhaps, one day, I’ll grow up a bit from this fantasy. Because blogging really is a fantasy: writing mindless opinions about children’s cartoons to a non-existent audience of children who watch those cartoons, in the vain hope that my opinions might matter.
They won’t. I’ve lost track of O-New’s original goal. And before this is over, I’ll find it. Then, it’ll finally be over.
(To reorganize this mess, I’ve moved all posts published after January 13th to other dates. Just like in 2010, there will be no posts between January 13th and February 15th.)