Lectures I’m giving at Zenkaikon this weekend: “Dark Pasts, Bright Futures: Tracing US-Japanese Relations through Film Media” Sunday 9:45am in Live 1; “The Global Yaoi Phenomenon” Saturday 10:30pm in Live 2; “The Politics of Bravely Default” Saturday 4:45 in Live 6.
This is the concluding entry of a 5-part series on the threats to the cohesiveness and health of the Otaku community.
Top Five Challenges to Otaku Culture:
- Bullying of Adolescent Otaku
- Deletion of Racial Differences
- Body Shaming
- Reinforcement of Anti-Social Behaviors and Social Withdrawal: NEETs, Boomerangs, and Shut-in Hikikomori
- Misogyny and Madonna-Whore Complexes
Politicians worldwide accept the power of media and artists. If one doesn’t respect them, one won’t remain a politician for long. There’s a reason why journalists and artists are the first to be imprisoned or killed when a dictator takes over. Artists themselves tend to be wholly (blissfully) ignorant of the power they wield. Some are shocked into contemplating their effect on people’s psyches, a burden author J.D. Salinger grappled with after several murderers sited his fiction as impetus for their violence.
From what I’ve seen and experienced, all artistic creators face a dilemma: with each world or narrative you create, you either reinforce dominant paradigms or subvert them. If you write about a society free from racial differences, there will probably still be hetero-normality. If you create a story with nontraditional gender roles, you may ignore class. Higher up the food chain, major publishing houses and film production companies pick and choose which “progressive” elements to incorporate in each product, for taking all of them creates a story too slow in plot development or too much suspension of disbelief that it will no longer resonate with audiences. Art is powerful. It teaches us much about ourselves and molds our children. It can be the greatest unifier and the most destructive poison for our world.