Clearing things up: why I’m writing about literature in a supposedly anime blog, passions, and history

I thought that I had already resolved this issue with my writing in the past, but a close friend of mine had asked me why I wrote about literature so much. I also believe I have alienated some people with regard to my writing style, use of rhetoric, or some idiosyncrasy of mine, so I will try to set things straight (although I doubt I can change how I write at all). It still helps to clear things up. I believe that in this post a quasi-Wittgenstein approach is apt, so without further ado, I will begin.

I. Unlike Daniel, my major has never been literature. It is Biology, and somehow I am expected by my parents to proceed into medicine. If that remains unclear, please check out my (unupdated) about page. I was precocious as a child with regard to reading, and so my parents (particularly my father) kept feeding me with words to play with; in addition, my father coerced me to start reading short stories and novels at a very early age. (I read 40 of the 52 initial Hardy Boys stories when I was still eight. By nine I started reading Poe [ask my father why he wanted me to read him].) I developed a love towards the English language (I suck at speaking and writing in Filipino, and I barely know Chinese). My love for novels grew more and more as I discovered more and more novels (and how perverse these thinkers were!).

II. This fondness, love, or mania (whatever one would like to call it), was trampled upon by necessity. To gain access to an excellent high school, I had to direct my energies to sciences instead of literature (in the Philippines, the high school is Philippine Science High School). It was already an honor if one got accepted in any of the campuses, because the screenings were very rigid. There is an interview in addition to two screenings: there is an average of 13000 applicants every year (for one campus), and only 90 are admitted. Of course, with the small number of students the teachers do not have a hard time. In addition to that, the curriculum was made so that even without intense studying in university the students could still excel (or at the very least pass) until college’s sophomore year. (Of course we had to study to death while we were in high school.)

III. While tuition and matriculation fees are free in Pisay (as alumnae and students fervently call it), there are conditions to be met by the student. Of course, no one should fail; everyone should finish the four years; and, most importantly, the courses that one can get in college need to be steeped in science or engineering. In short, there were no A.B. courses allowed, only B.S. (bullshit?) ones. My parents already chose B.S. Biology for me (HAHAHA), and I acceded, being an obsequious son.

IV. Of course, I did not have much to do with literature. After all, I was in Biology. We had to dissect cats, and not why Joyce wanted to forge in the smithy of his soul the uncreated conscience of his race. We had to know where the humerus was (I forgot, don’t ask me. I’ll be more serious in medical school, I think.) I started this blog as some sort of juxtaposition of my two loves and passions: anime and literature, but more broadly as a juxtaposition of media that appeal to me. It is because I believe that anime is only one medium out of the many there exist, so unlike most bloggers I do not place anime on a pedestal and dissect it exclusively. Literature is a medium, and so is anime.

V. This is the reason why there are literary allusions to my post. Since I recently discovered I really didn’t give much of a damn about Biology, I just read more and more novels rather than becoming neurasthenic, as in the past; I also didn’t watch as much anime because I don’t see much in most new ones. Even though I don’t talk about them (the recent ones, anyway) I did try to watch every single episode of this new season’s series. (I’m currently stuck at three. [I have a lot more series saved on my PC, but I still have to rewatch Code Geass before I start with the new series and finish Strawberry Panic, La Corda D’Oro, and Maria-sama ga Miteru. I am watching the latter three because I want to be holistic in my anime watching. Don’t worry, I will try an episode of Junjou Romantica later on. I won’t write about that, though.]) Anyway, I’m reading quite volubly these past few weeks because I’ve had time and some novels are required.

VI. I also just want to converse with people regarding my two passions. Believe it or not, in our country no one reads nowadays. They would rather watch the Philippine version of Big Brother or sleep. At least, that’s what I’ve observed with a lot of people. Reading has been so out of fashion lately, and it doesn’t help that the bookstores sell these books exorbitantly. I treasure all the comments that people post, especially those that have even just a little semblance of understanding what I am writing about. Curse me about Joyce! Hell yeah!

VII. I’ve read on what I’ve written about. Those who say that I have not either haven’t read the novels that I have written about, or are full of braggadocio. I have read totally or at the very least partially all the novels I have discussed. I may not be as creditable or as qualified as Daniel or Higevs, but I assure you I’m not writing bullshit.

VIII. If you have any qualms with what I am writing, please post comments. I welcome disagreement as that foments discussion. If you have any suggestions on novels you want to juxtapose with anime, e-mail me! I’m perpetually looking for good novels to read, even with my current backlog.

IX. [For the Wittgenstein comment, Wittgenstein only published one book-length work in his life, and that was the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. It had bullets that progressed logically (as I hope mine did).]

X. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. 😀

P.S. Close friend, if you’ve read this, here you go! 🙂

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15 Responses to “Clearing things up: why I’m writing about literature in a supposedly anime blog, passions, and history”

  1. lolikitsune Says:

    Your MOM foments MY CHILDREN.

  2. meganeshounen Says:

    Ho hum~ Well now. 😀

    Pisay was really a tough school to get into… though, I’m now quite content with the school that I went into now.

    And oh, you need more “semi-related” pics in your posts.

    /me raises an eyebrow at the tags for this post. “Code Geass”?

  3. zzzzzzz Says:

    you make me smile.

  4. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » We desperately need your help. Says:

    […] anime|otaku hopefully incisive and intellectual disquisitions on anime « Clearing things up: why I’m writing about literature in a supposedly anime blog, passions, and… […]

  5. IKnight Says:

    I’m always almost embarrassed to comment when you write about literature because I think I admire your attitude to it: Hige and I signed our souls away to degrees in the stuff, but you have (of necessity) had to direct your university study elsewhere yet nevertheless you enthusiastically read and write about books. In a sense, my writing about literature is what is expected of me, while yours is going (quite far) beyond the call of duty. I suppose you’re the William Carlos Williams of anime blogging.

    Also, watch Kaiba.

  6. Ryan A Says:

    Logical bullets are amazing! Ah, I wanted to read this last night, but had a final project to complete by morning.

    Mike, you do good. Sure you write about literature which is subjectively a turn-off, but by relating it to anime, something happens; balancing perhaps. Anime is contemporary and of a single culture (for the most part Japan), the media doesn’t have the credentials of literature (time-tested and a long standing relation with man), but it isn’t less viable in general (comparing two specific titles may yield one [title] a winner). I hardly have experience with the literary works you discuss, but it give me perspective and directions to look at. Even if you went full literature, I’d still read what you say because you have caught my attention already.

    So, Code Geass, need to start the 2nd season, I do. Cheerio!

  7. TheBigN Says:

    “Also, watch Kaiba.”

    Seconded.

    And as someone in med school, I’d have to say that this isn’t something that you should try out if you don’t want to do it. But I don’t know all the details, so I can’t really say much. :/

  8. Michael Says:

    @IKnight

    Thank you very much.

    @RyanA

    Thank you very much as well.

    @TheBigN

    I will try watching Kaiba after this viewing of Golgo 13 and Bus Gamer. XD

  9. Lupus Says:

    Need more anime and literary comparisons, if you’re serious about that. Maybe that’s the way to make people take anime more seriously.

  10. Baka-Raptor Says:

    Go to law school. You’ll get all the reading you want. I wouldn’t call it literature, but it’s better than cutting up cats.

  11. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » An attempt in gender studies: homosexuality in anime and literature Says:

    […] homosexual relations of two attractive examples of the opposite sex. As I have mentioned in my confession post, I have tried to become a more holistic anime watcher: I wanted to try the other normally […]

  12. Lelangir Says:

    Well you’re much more resolved than I am (or as I used to be) in deciding what’s what in your life (even if one thing is quite demanded over another), instead of upholding one passion or another in the absence of any kind of concrete map. But now, well, now is a little trickier, more like, just navigating through a loophole of irresolution in that I’m more decisive in my acknowledgment of a diverse history in attempts to formulate a rather bland, homogeneous present. In actual relation to this post and literature, well, hm, uh…

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