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Apocalyptic Imagination: Sekaikei Fiction in Contemporary Japan
Benedict Anderson calls the concept of a communal space in which ideologies are supported and social norms are defined “imagined communities,” that is, virtual communal spaces in which individuals can meet others and which exceed the limitations of existing village communities; Anderson explains that cultural imaginations create such communal space. Grand narratives such as ideologies and cultural/political movements have been shared by various types of imagined communities.[1] Until the 1980s, people communicated in a modern communal space supported by modern ideologies that forced each member to share the reality created by grand narratives or worldviews. However, once the premise of grand narratives was no longer trusted since the 1980s due to the end of the Cold War and postmodernization, it became increasingly difficult to communicate by relying on consensus in these imagined communities. In the case of contemporary Japan, the two apocalyptic incidents of 1995, the Kobe Earthquake[2] and the Subway Sarin Incident[3], decisively made Japanese society as an imagined community insecure and unreliable.

Critic and playwright Betsuyaku Minoru refers to this communal space as the middle ground, and claims that its role in fiction has changed. Whereas the distance that one can touch/feel is the foreground, the distance that refers to something very far away, such as the world/universe or transcendence, is the background. It can be argued that the role of the middle ground, which mediates between the foreground and the background, weakened in the late 1980s as Japan got further postmodernized, and people started to connect issues in the foreground with issues in the background, bypassing the middle field.[4] Philosopher and critic Azuma Hiroki explains this phenomenon of the loss of communal space where one can meet others outside of limited communities as the weakening of the Symbolic in Lacanian psychoanalytic terms. He comments that Japanese youth tend to focus on their families and love relationships and on apocalyptic catastrophe in the world or universe, but rarely on society or the wider community outside their close relationships. According to Lacan, a close relationship belongs to the world of the Imaginary, and a far-off and abstract issue such as the end of the world belongs to the world of the Real. The world which mediates the Imaginary and the Real is the Symbolic, and it is usually represented as larger communities, societies and nation-states. Azuma claims that the imaginations of the younger generation combine “the Imaginary” directly with “the Real.”[5] In fact, the weakening of the Symbolic or the middle ground brings the birth of a new apocalyptic imagination called “sekaikei” in Japan after 1995.

Sekaikei, roughly meaning “the motif of the crisis of the world,” is a neologism referring to subcultural works of animation, manga, games and light novels[6] on the combined theme of apocalyptic crisis and school romance.[7] Works in the sekaikei genre increased after the boom of the animation Neon Genesis Evangelion,[8] and sekaikei continued to be one of the main motifs in Japanese subculture in the 2000s. Many see in these sekaikei works the unmistakable influence of Evangelion, so the sekaikei phenomenon is also referred to as the Post-Evangelion Syndrome. Representative sekaikei works according to this definition include the animation Hoshi no koe (The Voices of a Distant Star; 2002) by Shinkai Makoto (b. 1973);[9] the manga Saishū heiki kanojo (Saikano: The Last Love Song on This Little Planet; 2000-2001) by Takahashi Shin (b. 1967);[10] and the light novel Iriya no sora, UFO no natsu (Iriya’s Sky, Summer of the UFOs; 2001-2003) by Akiyama Mizuhito (b. 1971).[11]

In a narrow sense, sekaikei works deal with situations in which the foreground (love between the always male protagonist and the heroine) is directly connected to the background (apocalyptic crisis and the end of the world) without the mediation of the middle ground, such as communities and societies. The apocalyptic crises depicted are usually wars with the potential to end the world or even the universe, and the actions and crises of the protagonist and the heroine are synchronized with this fate. Society, nations, states, or international institutions are largely absent or even non-existent.[12] Not only the middle ground, but also Otherness are largely absent from sekaikei fiction; heroines in the narratives often play the role of mother to the protagonists; and the love of the empowered heroines for the adolescent male protagonists is often depicted as unconditional. Secondary characters are mirrors or shadows of the protagonist, whom they never seriously confront. Also, the reasons for the apocalyptic crisis are rarely explained at all in sekaikei stories, and there are almost no detailed explanations of wars. Characters in the narratives do not know what is righteous or evil, for moral norms cannot be structured without the presence of or reference to the Symbolic.

According to Lacan, children mature as they learn that they are not omnipotent: in other words, one becomes gradually mature as one accepts one’s lack of power and experiences resignation and loss.[17] Sekaikei works circumvent this process of becoming, and seem instead to affirm withdrawal and refusal of maturity. In this regard, it is natural that sekaikei began to appear in conjunction with the hikikomori phenomenon and the rise of freeters and NEETs in late 1990s Japan. Sekaikei works satisfy the desire of omnipotence by allowing their protagonists to indirectly control the world through their empowered girlfriends and negate the experiences of resignation, refusal and loss.

Thus, it is unsurprising that apocalyptic imagination of contemporary Japanese male youth comes to include no meaningful social interaction or Otherness. Accordingly, most stories with apocalyptic themes do not describe the world after the crises have passed, for they do not deal with change through growth. Without meaningful inter-subjective relationships and confrontations there can be no substantial communities and societies sustained. Japanese sekaikei apocalypse has thus paradoxically established itself as apocalypse without Otherness, change and maturity; it seems headed for endless, changeless post-apocalypse.
*  anime  japan 
5 days ago
Free! High Speed! The Movie Roundtable
Nishioka: Anyway, I’m glad it turned into such a soothing scene. If I had to compare it to something, it has the same loveliness of two small fish playing around in a beautiful brook with clear water. Watching it cleanses your heart.

Takemoto: That’s true, I’d hoped it would inspire that sort of image. I focused on what Haruka sees in Makoto, as well as the meaning behind their words. When I pondered about what kind of Makoto would appear calming to Haruka, I thought that his usual self who refers to him as Haru-chan would make Haruka come to terms with Makoto’s growth, how he’s starting to sound more mature and all the other trivial changes. Haruka’d realize that the existence known as Makoto had, at his core, not changed at all, and feel relieved.
free!  fandom 
13 days ago
The Body Mass Index, Blood Pressure, and Fasting Blood Glucose in Patients With Methamphetamine Dependence
In summary, our study indicated that MA-dependent patients had increased systolic blood pressure, reduced BMI, and fasting blood glucose. Additionally, the duration of MA use was negatively related to BMI.

Note that this is for high-dose methamphetamine.
studies 
5 weeks ago
tumblr: MakoHaru vs SouRin
This is why Rin and Sousuke have that problem of understanding each other too well and therefore making it hard to be together, while Makoto and Haru don’t. Rin calls Sousuke his “alter ego”, and says that their relationship is complicated because your alter ego isn’t someone you can like or hate in such clear terms. I somehow can’t see Makoto and Haru referring to the other as their “alter ego”. They are too different, and they probably wouldn’t say they understand each other too well. For them, the buck stops at extremely well. It’s also pretty evident that they don’t struggle with this like-hate spectrum; they quite simply like each other a lot.

Perhaps for Rin and Sousuke, it’s like trying to put two puzzle pieces together and realising they don’t fit because they are actually pretty much the same piece, with the same corners and jagged edges. But that’s what works for them. They like the clash, and more than that, they need it, because it spurs them on and fires them up.

Makoto and Haru’s puzzle pieces, on the other hand, fit together perfectly. They snap into place beside each other in a very natural way, and they get the mutual support and understanding that they need from each other with ease.
meta  *  free!  fandom 
6 weeks ago
"Post-op letters in the field between us" by Susannah Nevison & Molly McCully Brown
Dear M—
There’s a whole wild species of things
I don’t know how to name, so instead
I say pain is an engine that stalls
the harder I push it or it’s the stone
in my mouth I can’t quite seem
to spit out. I’m not waiting
for someone else to tell me
what I’m missing. I know numbness
is a quiet fire, a night in, a call again
tomorrow. M, I know sometimes
I go missing, dark, a lightless stretch
of road, so I spit the road out
as I go. What I’m missing isn’t
a map, but the means to call again
tomorrow. What I’m missing is
a picture where the table’s set
and all the versions of ourselves
sit down to eat, and when we open
our mouths, no roads or stones fall out.

*

Dear S—
It’s fall now, but this city doesn’t know it
yet, and I don’t know this city. Half the nights
I still start awake in the dark as the bus sputters
past or a coyote that’s not there yowls out
where I was dreaming. Half the nights I don’t
know my body when I wake to it, and there
is grief in the returning and remembering
pain, familiar as a fist I know.
In the morning, I wake and my body
wears bruises I don’t remember making.
Did it take off without me, board a bus
from this new city looking for home,
or glamour, or you? I wouldn’t rule it out,
my body’s always wished it were wilder.
S, maybe that’s why we’re always hearing
howling in the distance, always spitting out stones
and road from somewhere else. In the morning,
I call you and we compare mysteries: what
do you make of it? Where do you think you went
last night?

*

Dear M—
Maybe what we’re talking about
is a pronoun problem after all—
our bodies, you, and me, the lot of us
in search of a way to address each other,
when we can’t ever fully turn around
inside this room. When we sleep, of course
we come unraveled: it’s only fair. Awake
we’re always pushing against another
kind of self, the kind who pushes back,
or pulls us down, or makes us stay.
The kind who doesn’t let us go too far,
who strokes our hair, keeps us tame.
Where we go in sleep, I believe we
leave some selves behind. In the morning
they stare back at me across
the room, and though I look away,
they always plead with me
to tell them where we’ve been.

*

Dear S—
Today, the doctor’s office called to say he’d see me
in November, and take every photograph at once:
my knees, and hips, and back, to see what’s what.
And I heard: survey the damage; tell you your fortune;
reach right in, or cast you out. And all my smaller
selves, they hunkered down like children,
tender in their fear, swore that they’d file down
their claws, and fall in line, or let me loose
if that was what I wanted. Begged me
to keep them a secret, not to hang them
out there in the light. Years ago they spent
a long time in the theater, being stretched
and prodded, asked to pose, stitched
together, rent apart. There are so many star
charts made in their image, so many maps
of how they move. But then there was this mess
of wild, unwatched years. My hair grew long,
my selves grew wedded to their unseen galaxy.
They want no cartograph, no telescope,
they do not want to know or be known.
S, I have been asking for an answer, a relief
map—I have begged to be found out. Now,
some maker readies the camera, readies
the compass, readies the knife, and all of me
rallies to pull closed the curtains, to cover my face.

*

Dear M—
I have wanted to be lost,
to wander in the forest until
all the trees refuse to give
me up. I’ve wanted to give up,
to call the doctor’s bluff,
to say there is no way out
of this, or there is no end
in sight. I’ve turned off all the lights,
closed every door, but the littler
selves come tumbling out no matter
what I do: they climb out of my mouth
in sleep, they tug at the hem
of my dress, until I stop and say
their names. It’s their favorite game,
making me trot them out in public
or at a party, like some gaudy Mardi Gras
parade. I say we give them
what they want. I say we ready them
for one last show, dress them up
before we send them down
the road. We’re all they know. M,
there are so many places left
for us to find, so many trees, a hundred
different ways to wander off.
So many different ways we might get lost.

*

Dear S—
I keep a lot of lanterns in the house, for all
the ways we might one day be able
to get lost, a lot of matches so my smaller
selves can light their way along the road.
They get distracted, drop them lit, a pasture
burns: tobacco, strawberries, our skin
comes right off with the plaster. Sometimes
they seem surprised by all the damage,
other times they’re just in love with how
the light takes over for awhile. S, you’re right
we’re all they know. I send them up the road,
they trail a blaze right home to climb back
down the throat they came from, hungry,
tired from the show, and ill-equipped
to make it on their own. Who would have
thought it, S, that there was anybody’s
country in our bones?
poetry  & 
11 weeks ago
The Land of Altered Bodies: poems by Molly McCully Brown and Susannah Nevison
Dear M —

The dream where I’m legless
isn’t a nightmare, and I’m not
afraid — there’s light and a river
and everything is exactly
how I’d hoped. I’m not tethered
to the earth. I’m not tied down
by gravity, dragging my legs
along the bank gravel, not searching
for the softest patch of moss.
I’m not even tired, and though
I’m certain the dream
is an elegy, it sounds exactly like
a praise song. In the dream
my legs break free of me
and I watch them float away.
The coffin in my chest
blows open in the wind,
and for once I think I know
what it’s like to be without
all our dead and heavy things.

Dear S —

I’ve said this all before
and anyway, you had
already been picked up,
held down, put under,
and refashioned;
you were already
dreaming your body
in some gravity-less
country, already calling
it a river, Mars. Let’s go
back to wherever it is
we were made for first:
to water, or a rusted
windswept planet where
everything floats and women
are part horse or fox, knocked
off kilter and galloping left
to get where they were meant
to go. We’d miss it here eventually.
The boat that brought us, I believe
in it. But having found you
I am seeking out the channel
where we came from.
Sister, take my hand?

Dear M —

What we leave down
in the canyon — the stain
of us — red on red,
hemoglobin on hematite,
the trace of us the one true
map we’ll ever leave. Hidden
out of sight, a place only
forgotten animals tread, we’re
pinned to rock in outline
and sketch, the idea of us
a puzzle no one’s yet seen
or read. Unclasped
by bodies and their weight,
we start again, we take
another shape, we learn
our worth by learning
what we’re not, like new
animals or children who,
finding themselves wingless, still
test the air and fall.

Dear S —

Look, there, our dead
and heavy elements
are piled high beside
the silhouette of what
we were before — look,
there our prior selves
hush out like matches
once they’ve lit the pyre.
The light climbs high,
too far away from anybody’s
home to be a flare. Look,
let’s watch until the whole of it
cools first to smoke, then goes.
S, I think we will be suited for it:
being legless, weightless,
wingless, leaping off —

Dear M —

I’d like to think as we lift
ourselves to go, in this newness
we leave it all behind — a grave, a name,
a birthday, a face — in favor
of what we know is ours
to make, this record
of our speech, our grief,
that we’ll turn away from
all the doors that wouldn’t
open, every collapsed bridge,
and hail instead the space
between us, shapeless and
endless as it is, though
we hold it between us
just the same.

Dear S —

In the field between us:
a softer season — summer
maybe, early, when the grass
has grown waist high but not
yet yellowed from the heat —
in the rubble of a fallen bridge,
in all the weeds and dandelion
down, we’ve made a place we
didn’t need to call a house to feel
at home. And on the ridge ahead
we see small, dark creatures
rising in the air: birds, bats, loosed
barn owls, our not-yet-children
testing out the world before they
find us where we’ve settled
for a while, looked toward the sky.
poetry  & 
11 weeks ago
"Post-Op Letter in the Field Between Us" by Molly McCully Brown and Susannah Nevison
Post-Op Letter in the Field Between Us

Dear Maker,
Listen, if I can’t know
what you first
whittled me out of
I would like to see
the knife. The quick
groove in an upper lip
is called a philtrum, like
a blade slipped once,
caught just before
the damage grew
too large to make
the best of it, to fill
a body up with neat
little canals and say
you meant to cut
a river there. If I can’t
know my body before
it was riven, show me
your hands.
Right now there’s just
the ghost of how they
turned around my body,
wrenched the whole thing
toward another north.
poetry  & 
11 weeks ago
ADHD/autism links, drugs
Regarding autistic traits and ADHD traits.

The confusion here is because executive dysfunction (which is what ADHD deals with), while not a part of the clinical criteria for autism, absolutely is clinically relevant to autism. It is something that is evaluated as secondary traits / supporting evidence for the subjective aspects of diagnosis.

Likewise, many of the requirements for autism (and especially the primary social traits) are not clinical traits for ADHD but again, they are supporting evidence for the subjective aspects of diagnosis.

Why is this? As was said above, it is because many of the same parts of the brain are involved. We don’t know how exactly, but we do know that while similar parts are used, they are used in different ways.

There’s some Science! below the cut.

For example, we know that people with ADHD and autism both have differences in the basal ganglia. In ADHD there is a deficit in the neural circuit between the basal ganglia and frontal lobe as well differences with dopamine levels. Lower levels of dopamine mean that without drugs that increase dopamine in that neural circuit, communication between the two is impaired, signals don’t get through. The person with ADHD might have troubles with, say, task switching.

In autistics, one of the things heavily researched is too much GABA and to little GABA scattered throughout our brains.The basal ganglia is one of the places where the GABA levels are drastic. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. We also know that we (autistics) have lower base levels of dopamine throughout the entire brain (which is why dopaminergic drugs sometimes work on us). Put these two things together and connections between the basal ganglia and the frontal lobe are impaired. The autistic might have troubles with, say, task switching.

Same problem. Same brain parts. Slightly different cause. It works the other way, too.

The reply above mentioning norepinephrine being released as a fight, flight, or flee response provides some clues to this. Many studies have researched whether or not ADHD medications help autistics because we (autistics) have differences in dopamine levels and ADHD medications primary effects are on dopamine.

What they found is that while the various ADHD drugs did have a statistically consistent difference between control and test groups, none of the dopaminergic drugs had nowhere near clinically significant gains in autistics across any domain of the research.

However.

There is one ADHD medication that is not a dopamine based stimulant. It is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor called atomoxetine (brand name Strattera in the US), and it showed minor to moderate clinical gains across several domains - that is, the autistics showed reduced repetitive, OCD-like repetitive behavior and higher social interaction.

Of course we have to ask how many autistics are affected by this drug, and is that clinically significant? The answer is one (1) out of every three (3) autistics were reported to have clinical gains.

One third of autistics is pretty significant for a group of people - especially because this particular drug is both inexpensive and reasonably safe.

I mean, we understand a lot about ADHD. It is the most treatable psychiatric diagnosis we have. But there’s a lot we don’t know. There’s especially a lot we don’t know about autism. But more and more we are finding out there are similar brain regions involved, even if those involvements are different.

The result? Medication for one works for another even if the primary clinical traits in those diagnoses are completely different.
autism  adhd 
11 weeks ago
We need an anti-oppressive analysis of depression (Liz Kessler)
Depression is how our brains react to being put into situations we should never have had to face in the first place: ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, colonialism: these are all causes of depression.
disability  personal 
12 weeks ago
How to Center People With High Needs in the Disability Movement
For instance, for “independent” disabled people, we often come to tire of people assuming that we can’t or shouldn’t travel alone; that our partners or friends are our caregivers; that we don’t work, drive, or live independently. Some physically disabled people resent the assumption that they are also intellectually disabled or Deaf, when people talk to those accompanying them rather than to the disabled person themself. I understood and even experienced these frustrations myself, until I listened to a person with a high level of support needs express their own frustration with the fact that they do need a caregiver, do need help with tasks of daily living like eating and dressing, and aren’t able to just wheel themself around freely as long as the venues are accessible, and people loudly proclaiming how we didn’t experience these things was silencing them.
disability 
12 weeks ago
Faculty Members, Accom­modation, and Access in Higher Education
"That this thorough burden of proof seemed legitimate didn’t make it feel any less stressful or intrusive."

"Third, acts of disaccommodation and prejudice are not attributed to human agents but presented through passive constructions that mask individual actions."
"Because the limitations that determine disability are seen as resulting from happenstance conditions, the report does not acknowledge that human agents make choices on a daily basis as they design environments and workplaces, choices that affect how people move in them. By abstracting actions to anonymous, faceless entities or processes, these erasures of agency imply that there is little or nothing that can be done to provide accommodation other than to retrofit people who have disabling conditions."

"The specific language of the list of functions also clearly delimits a particular body and mind and as such is distinctly ableist. First of all, to expect “mental agility” is to import bodily ableism into the uncharted territory of mental gymnastics—likewise for “strong” communication (3). More important, there can be no reference to subjective concepts like mastery, agility, capacity, ethics, or even ability without their opposites. Ability is erected and protected through the labeling of disability. In this way, the creation of a list of essential functions will always, by the very logic at its heart, mark out a predetermined quotient of bodies and minds as less than, extreme, irrational, broken. A statement on disability cannot invent one ideal body and mind."
studies  academia  disability  *  personal 
12 weeks ago
“I want my hobbies back,” by kiriamaya (The Fan Meta Reader)
Gone are the days when I could just plop myself down in front of the computer, start typing away, and have the basic skeleton for a playable game in less than an hour. Now, whenever I try to make a game, I get so concerned with trying to make everything “good” (by mainstream market standards) that I end up not making anything at all. Same with all of my attempts to write fiction, or music.

I hate this. I want my hobbies back.
personal  *  fandom 
september 2018
“Fandom in/as Contact Zone,” by tea-and-liminality (The Fan Meta Reader)
Historically, we’ve thought of fandom as community/ies – virtual places where people share – enthusiasm, ideas, passion, interests, etc. Something they have in common, and it’s the commonality that binds them. In academic literature, it’s not uncommon to see fandom theorized as “imagined communities,” which is an idea borrowed from the political scientist Benedict Anderson.

An imagined community, as used in fan studies, emphasizes the sense of collective belonging, of a shared vocabulary, values, language – interests – that exceeds face-to-face interactions. And there’s probably no fan that hasn’t felt that way when they’ve stumbled onto a group of people who are talking about something they love in ways that they’ve been thinking or feeling about it all along. I don’t think it’s wrong to think of fandom as imagined community, but what I do think is that, in conceiving of fandom as community, we kind of favor the utopian side of communities (camaraderie, friendship, passion, a sense of being in something together, you and me against the rest of the world, etc.).

But what’s critical to keep in mind, I think, when talking about fandom as community – and something that a return to Anderson’s idea brings into relief – is that Anderson was originally talking about how nationalism happens (the full title of the book, in fact, is Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism). And – think about it. Camaraderie, friendship, loyalty, shared values, a sense of being in something together – people literally kill for that stuff. We’re sometimes even prepared to be beasts to other people – people who don’t fit inside our groups, our communities – if it will strengthen our own sense of connectedness with others (who amongst us hasn’t ever engaged in gossip, not because you’re an intrinsically horrible person, or because you want to bring someone down, but simply because that shared moment of affinity is so alluring?). (Or maybe that’s just me.)

When fandom was in closed – or close-able – settings, and I’m thinking especially of Yahoo! Groups (my own first online fandom, back in 2000) and LiveJournal, I think it was a relatively straightforward thing to create and maintain a sense of community. Regular contributors got to know each other, certain standards of communication were slowly set into place and adhered to, like minds met like minds and differences, in the main, I think were generally kept localized and limited because participants were more or less coming from roughly the same place. I’m generalizing, of course, but this is my own experience of fandom in those days, and when communities did break down – and they did (Doggett OMG John Doggett) – they tended to do so spectacularly with no hope of reconciliation; in a nation-state sense, this would be the kind of thing that splintered one large nation into smaller ones, each with their own inherent values, language, etc.

Point being, I think those days are over.

Tumblr, unlike LJ and Yahoo! Groups, etc., is inherently UNclose-able. It is wide, wide open – much like, you could argue, the world itself has become with the ease of travel. Only online, it’s not travel but these kinds of platforms that enable/make us see so much more than we ever did before – come into contact with so many more people than we ever did before, and suddenly it’s a world that isn’t necessarily built up of shared values. We don’t all see things the same way.

Yet, the illusion of community is still there. We talk about Sherlock fans, for example (any fandom will do) as if there is “the” Sherlock fandom, and I think this is where we start to see the limits of thinking of fandom as community. Because this idea that there’s the one fandom implicitly suggests, I think, that we all share the same language, values, roughly similar experiences, etc. And, as we’ve come to learn, we really don’t.

Rather, then – and some of you have heard me pontificate about this before, and I’m pontificating now partly because I’m giving a paper on this in a couple of weeks so I’m playing through the idea – but rather, I think we’d be better served thinking of fandom as what Mary Pratt calls a “contact zone,” which she defines as:

“social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power”

I think this extends to virtual spaces like Tumblr or Twitter, where discrete ‘communities’ are increasingly unfeasible. As, again, in the world: I live in a multiethnic neighborhood, and I come into literal contact with people of different ages, races, religions, classes every day. And somehow we manage to survive the encounter – mainly because we don’t know each other well enough to rumble, but imagine if we started getting together over the one thing we all share: having children. So, we get together every week and talk about stuff, and I’m prepared to bet that, at some point, differences of opinion (on how to raise children, on what the purpose and value of education is, on a woman’s role within the family, etc.) would arise. We might struggle with language – I’m white, US-born, highly/over-educated – I am, in this sense, at an advantage linguistically in any conversation we may have (unless all the other mothers are Vietnamese, which is a distinct possibility in my neighborhood, in which case I might well be the disadvantaged one).

Which is my ham-fisted way of saying that I think – in the case of Sherlock, for example – that this show, “Sherlock,” is a contact zone – one of thousands – in which people who love the thing congregate. And that’s great, and so much amazing stuff can come out of that congregation. INCLUDING a sense of having found your ‘community’. But I think we’re not a community – we’re a LOT of people who have one thing in common, and probably a lot of other things not in common, and I think it’s easy for us to forget the latter part of that when we think about – and concern ourselves with – the idea of “fandom” as “community.” We will not always agree, and so the question becomes one of what we do next.

And for that, for me, I always come back to how I live in a multicultural, multiracial, multisexual, multi-everything world without threatening people or killing people left and right. Different people approach this differently. There will always be people in life – “real life” – who like to mix it up, argue politics, etc. There will be people who find their crowd and never come out, because it’s comfortable there. There will be people like me, who tend to keep people I don’t know well at arm’s length a bit – at least until I know them better. Some people will stand around in cliques and whisper loudly about the kids at the other table. And so on.

So then, for me, the question becomes, what do I do when this is the world online? When fandom isn’t a happy – or even “well, we do have our problems but we love each other” – community, but one that’s intrinsically fraught with grappling and conflict? Do I try to convince everyone that I’m right? Do I listen first, and engage in conversation? Do I alleviate the tension? Do I find a much quieter place to go be a fan amongst the like-minded? I think these are all viable options, but in observing AND participating, my experience has been that the people who are trying to convince others that they’re right have the hardest/most fraught time of it – and maybe it’s because the act of trying to bring people under a common understanding isn’t unlike trying to create a “community” in a place where there’s unlikely to be one?

Which doesn’t answer anything – I mean, I have no solutions, other than what I’ve adopted for myself (and it’s a work in progress): listen when people say they’re not being heard or understood (this was what I did in the epic fans-vs-acafans debate a few months back, and I concede that some arguments from the ‘other’ side had merit), rather than simply trying to make yourself heard. Walk away from intractable difference for the time being – especially if I’ve said my piece. It’s there, it’s available, but I cannot MAKE anyone believe anything they don’t want to, so I abdicate that responsibility. Create or find smaller sites off Tumblr for conversations that require a greater degree of mutual understanding and a shared/common language to really progress. I was in the habit of thinking of these as gated communities at one point, rather uncharitably, but I do this myself, and I do it in real life just as much. I am NOT the same person with my sister/brother/mom/spouse that I am in public – not because I’m hiding anything, but because we already know where we’re coming from, so if I say something that could be taken differently in a public context, generally they know how I mean it and that I don’t mean it the inflammatory way. Don’t respond to trolls, because they have a different MO altogether. I ignore assholes on the street, so I ignore them here, and do my best to keep them out of my backyard. I think those are all good tactics for engaging online, and they’re ways to make sense of Tumblr in all its infinite diversity.

Because I do think there’s value in being on Tumblr in all its infinite diversity. I’ve learned more about sexuality, gender, class, race – I mean, you name it – in my year and a half here than I have in years of living out in the world, because here I come into contact with people I might never speak to otherwise, and all because we have this one shared thing. I think the contact is critical – but that we have to understand that it’s the nature of contact with people and ideas outside our own experiences to be a bit fraught with conflict and, as Pratt says, grappling.

**Please don’t mistake me on this one thing: I am NOT saying that fandom… [more]
*  fandom 
september 2018
The Deep Forest Subverts Destructive Tropes (Mythcreants)
As I said before, traditional RPG adventures involve journeying and killing monsters. The exploration is just as important as the slaying. Trek through the wilderness, untouched by civilization, and kill the people who are already there. It’s the insidious explorer fallacy.

Games that reinforce this colonial narrative suggest that discovering something is a creative act, which affords the discoverer a right to own or control whatever they discover. In real life, this presents a huge problem because people often already live there.
d&d  rpgs 
august 2018
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