The Lunar New Year: (5) On nouveau bloggers

You guys may have noticed that I’m way ahead of schedule. It’s true, I am. But I’d rather fulfill it faster than not fulfill it at all. Maybe I’ll get some bonus points, I don’t know. As long as my mind can think of different topics to write about, however, why should I stop? (This post is lengthier than the rest of my Lunar New Year posts. I hoped to delve deeper into what I wanted to talk about. I hope I was successful.)

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Since I have totally no idea what to place here, have some fun at badly designed pictures.

The sphere of anime blogging has been rapidly rising these past few years and this is because of more efficient and user-friendly development of technology particularly with blogging software like WordPress and others. It’s not difficult to set-up any blogging software compared to a few years ago, where people had to know HTML by book. Even then, their blogs weren’t half as good as the blogs of today. I knew it was happening, but I never was vis-à-vis this saturation until a few days ago.

That was time when I ‘met’ itsubun online. She appeared on #animeblogger, and since I know the channel’s regular inhabitants (as I am one myself), I detected fresh blood. Of course, like in any proper social situation, real or virtual, we started with small talk until she gave the link to her blog in the channel. Back then, her only post (other than her introductory one) was about Hang, a manga by Hiroki Endo. In fact, it remained to be her only post (other than her introduction) on anime or manga, because she was taken away by the legendary trap overlord. She is now situated at THAT anime blog, and has become another reason to visit it.

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Here’s another one

She loves Hiroki Endo and his works. I have read of Endo in the past but our chat regarding him reminded me that I needed to revisit the man. I did, and here is the post.

I talked to Vincent Demeriat (previously known as thenightsshadow in my last post) yesterday regarding his introductory post to character music, and I’ve also written on the music that could be found in anime. I believe it was a simple and concise post, not aimed to dissect at length but simply to prove a point that its presence is important in any medium. It was at this point I realized that the sphere of anime blogging was truly on its way to blog saturation. People were talking about this blog saturation at length nearly two years ago, but back then I really did not feel that the blog-sphere was filled to the brim. Those who wrote editorials were still relatively few: the past year brought about an explosion of different types of blogs.

I now clearly see this occurrence, however. There are more and more new blogs cropping up, and this makes me distraught. Alongside this solicitude, though, is a hope: the new voices popping up attempt to offer alternative (if not totally novel) observations and also write uniquely. This can be proven by guys as varied as lelangir and Baka-Raptor.

I’m not praising these guys just for the heck of it, but I’ll start with Baka-Raptor first, as I don’t really have much to say regarding him. I simply believe he is gifted with a sense of humor which transcends race, place, or creed. I always end up laughing when I read his posts; he was the one who also pointed out that I related everything to Joyce. I don’t, honestly, just that every time I think of this I think of him. It’s sad that he’s (Baka-Raptor, not Joyce) just being exposed to the blog sphere after two years of being under the radar. See, the RSS feed is a very important tool in being seen.

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Yes, that is a logo turned 90 degrees.

Let me now proceed with lelangir. I have never heard of him before he replied to the third entry of my Lunar New Year, and I also just realized that he was, alongside itsubun, a nouveau blogger. What was striking about him is his new approach to the analysis of Honey and Clover. It has been analyzed and over-analyzed through its three-year existence. Like a classic, however, the series remains to withstand time’s passage. It is testament to the series’s greatness that another conduit for analysis has been created by a new voice.

The post I shall be analyzing (call it a meta-analysis) is lelangir’s post regarding the opposition of identity as praxis and identity as product. [Update: although he has written a new post while I was still writing this up, I focused on this post of his because I love Honey and Clover more than I do School Rumble, and I appreciate more the new direction he utilizes to analyze Takemoto.] He utilizes the lens of psychology and sociology to dissect the characterization of Takemoto, and I am in approbation with his post. However, I shall try to add insight in the philosophical vein as I’m still fond exploring more hermeneutic avenues, especially in series like Honey and Clover.

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This is George W. Bush at a playing of their national anthem

I assume that in this statement

a new identity would be born every .000000000001 seconds (and the order of magnitude is infinite.)

he means that a new identity is born in every infinitesimal interval. This reflects Heraclitus’s philosophy as refected in Plato’s Cratylus. Plato says:

Heraclitus says that everything moves on and nothing is at rest; and, comparing existing things to the flow of the river, he says that you could not step into the same river twice.

With regard to lelangir’s idea of identity’s plurality, he uses a quote from the text he refers to:

This is the Other that belongs inside one. This is the Other that one can only know form the place from which one stands. This is the self as it is inscribed within the gaze of the Other.

In no way is this original. The author merely restates what Levinas and Marcel have taught and discovered in their lives as philosophers. Marcel wrote that there is no self without others; Levinas started this self-Other tension, and he developed the idea of the Other also. The gaze of the Other in the discovery of the self is a Levinasian construct, I believe.

Although identity is indeed created by a historical and environmental determinism, I agree with lelangir (pardon me if you’re a she) that it is by no means a final product: it is always and forever in a state of flux, and the only time this stops is in the state of death. Heidegger called humans as ‘Sein-zum-tode,’ or beings unto death.

P.S. Extrange wants you to vote for him in Best Manga Blog. Right. Silly me forgot to put why – frankly, I voted for him because he recommends manga very well and he writes in such a lively way that one would want to read the manga he recommends. He’s read tons of manga, and he’s very knowledgeable. (No, Extrange didn’t pay me, haha.)

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19 Responses to “The Lunar New Year: (5) On nouveau bloggers”

  1. Ryan A Says:

    Identity continuum! I used to be able to push exercise hard enough to the point of “life-or-death”… usually resulting in thoughtless states of peace, then blackout. I found the body is a limiter, it cannot fully contain you or your identity; we can break the body. In the event that we break, our identity is stabilized by others around us, as they perceive us. In the event we die, our identity lingers in those who knew our existence.

    Some sort of Zen or Taoist philosophy describes there cannot be an off-balance without the counter (light-dark, etc). I wonder if identity falls here.. that if you are only which exists, you have no identity. Though, it is contrary to believe that we can perceive our own identity; then it would not be an item of balance.

    Of course, I believe we can “know ourselves”, such that, in a singularity we can perceive identity. I still have to sort out whatever I just typed in my mind :/.

    Going over to check out that Harima Kenji lol Masculinity post.

  2. Baka-Raptor Says:

    I see you’ve taken the Baka-Raptor approach to assuming all other anime bloggers are male until proven otherwise. Better safe than sorry.

  3. Lelangir Says:

    I do think that there’s a body and a soul (in the most straight forward sense of the term), but I’m wondering where identity lies in these two objects, or if you can even view it like that – even if that just totally contradicts everything I wrote. I think that, while the body and the “soul” (whatever I mean by that, and I don’t really know) are separate yet inseparable (unless in those near-death experiences you described), identity has some overarching capability to incorporate both body and soul into one concept, so in that respect, it’s even more intangible than body/soul: body = 3rd dimension; soul = 4th; identity = 5th. But there’s a reason why I’m using a picture of a salt shaker…

    Well if there’s one thing I have no clue about it’s the philosophy that social sciences apparently hijacks the hell out of (or is just based upon to the point where we don’t need to cite these philosophers). It was kind of funny (depressing?) to see the “see other” (no pun intended) list at the wikipedia page…

    * Subject-object problem
    * Michel Foucault (dun-dun-dun)
    * Jacques Derrida
    * Others (Lost)
    * otherness

    haha, well, Levinas and Marcel weren’t quoted in the text I used but maybe that’s because once a thought or theory becomes so commonplace it enters that general sphere of knowledge and citing it isn’t really necessary.

  4. Michael Says:

    Ryan:

    I believe that is Eastern philosophy (some mysticism, perhaps). Anyway, what I would like to point out is that this idea of yours is correct: in the case that we are broken (diseased or sick), there are others that will stabilize us and help pick up the slack, and in the case we die we reside on the people’s memories whom we have affected.

    Before I’d go all out on what I’ve learned from philosophy, I believe St. Augustine characterized this dispersio of ourselves: what we do is not what we are; we are so much more. I believe your thoughts reflect what he believes.

    Baka-Raptor:

    Yes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. :P

  5. Michael Says:

    Lelangir:

    Sorry, while I was typing up the replies to Ryan and Baka-Raptor, your comment was submitted so I wasn’t able to reply to it. First, I don’t think Levinas as a philosopher is really cited by many. He’s cited, of course, as he has contributed greatly to modern philosophical thought, but not as much as Derrida, Bergson, or Foucault. In terms of popularity he’s more of a second-tier philosopher; Marcel’s like him. It can be assumed, however, that readers of critical texts like those have some form of knowledge with regard to these philosophers, so yeah.

    The inability of the body and the soul to be separated alludes to Marcelian thinking, also. In contrast to Descartes’s belief that the mind and the body are separable and are linked by a relation. Marcel argues ‘tertium quid, ignotum quid,’ that in this relation is a third thing which is unknown and unknowable. He offers thus that the body and mind participate in one another and are inseparable. This removes the presence of the third thing and resolves the problem.

    I’m not very familiar of Foucault or Derrida as their philosophy is not of pure philosophy but in relation to the arts. Anyway …

    This is getting to be a very fruitful discussion. :)

  6. Ryan A Says:

    Had to French press some brew.

    I have respect for St Augustine, and I recall him from my Age of Faith class, though I don’t remember studying dispersio. I find the idea of Schroedinger’s equation (also his cat) related to this notion, which was touched on in the series Noein. ^^ Noein might be a good reference basis in anime, as there is an episode where Yuu begins to disappear. Whether it was his identity or physical being (what is physical anyway lol), I am not sure.

    Probably something to look into.

  7. Lelangir Says:

    I was planning on learning Spanish over the summer so now I’ll also have to indulge myself in philosophy least I plan on getting schooled every time I post something. Not that getting schooled is a bad thing. You know, I’m starting to, develop, and this has been developing for maybe a year or so, a kind of tragic sense of education and knowledge, as if understanding is some kind of desperate state to avoid a certain kind of doom.

    http://i26.tinypic.com/16gyhkw.jpg

    One thing I didn’t mention, or rather I just forgot, was how my post seemingly made identity this monolithic thing. I completely overlooked how it is intertwined with the external and it isn’t just some essentialized thing that is privileged to only “myself” in that it has space in somebody else’s self. In conceptualizing one identity, you have to think about how it’s existence is relational and molds other identities. So, in talking about my ethnicity as a position I assume that is part of my identity, I have to realize how the cultural/social/political/etc. environment shapes it as well as in relation to other ethnicities: capitalism may affect a Japanese person one way but then that is not to say capitalism acts the same way in Ethiopia. Essentially, things do not exist only unto themselves.

    But then again, there’s a reason why I use a picture of salt shaker…

  8. Michael Says:

    Lelangir:

    Wait, if you were ‘schooled’ by me that wasn’t my intention. And frankly, I have that despondency as well: I need to read more novels, more literature, so that I won’t be trapped in idiocy. Scary thoughts we share. :|

    Consciousness is consciousness of others. But why take up philosophy? Literature is philosophy made human. And I’d think you’d have a lot more fun. :)

    Ryan:

    I can’t comment as I haven’t looked into Noein as yet.

  9. Lelangir Says:

    Perhaps “schooled” wasn’t the best word to use – I didn’t mean anything offensive, promise! More just kind of how you see cubs play wrestling and what not. I do have a horrible tendency to have an automatic apathy towards any kind of reading that’s assigned to me. And the worst and weirdest thing is that now that classes are over, these assigned texts have been a million-fold more interesting…

    I do like reading and for a while I was getting through actual novels but my other interests are really time conflicting, so I wish I could do everything but maybe I’m just making excuses? I don’t know, I can’t dilate time and commit 74 hours to the day (maybe this is funny if you’ve seen the psycho exercise parodies.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evTTHS9hwvU

    I also have another related question if you don’t mind answering it… So during this semester I read an article by Paul Feyerabend on science, but particularly his notion of political vs. philosophic relativism. Philosophic relativism, he stated, was that different traditions and forms of knowledge and imbued with a certain truth value by different cultures, and this was problematic because all forms of knowledge are ontologically equal – so I guess it’s a version of form vs. content – and so is this just another rearticulated philosophy?

  10. Michael Says:

    I was in the world of phantasms because of my tiredness, so I’m sorry for the late reply. Do note I’m not very skilled in philosophy, but I did study it for a year, if that helps.

    I think that it is, indeed, a re-articulation, a 20th century reshaping of what Edmund Husserl and his phenomenology teaches. To understand, or to have that moment of insight, there must be an occurrence of four things. They do not have to be in order, but they simply have to occur.

    One of the first things that was taught us was that one need to realize that within him is an existence of biases, or what Husserl call a naturlicher Weltbegriff, a ‘natural attitude,’ a natural way on how one looks at the world. This is the certain truth value imbued to them, and for one to truly ‘get’ the meaning he must realize that he has this bias inherent to him.

    This bias must be placed in brackets, a process of epoche, in which rather than asking the question IMMEDIATELY needed to be answered in a philosophy, like What is that? for ontology, Is it certain? for epistemology, or Is it right or wrong? for ethics, we search for the meaning of what we want to ask. In asking the ontological question we need to know of the quiddity, or of that which we ask of; in epistemology we need to define what is certainty, or in ethics we need to know what is right from wrong before we ask those questions ourselves.

    The following two steps are relatively hazy, but there must also be an intentionality of consciousness and phenomenological reduction. Intentionality of consciousness means that a consciousness must have a direction: simply put, consciousness is consciousness of. Phenomenlogical reduction seeks to describe, not explore the essences of things. It is much harder than it seems, because for example we can ‘describe’ an orange through its properties in science. But science is only one of the lenses which we can view the world! It is not the end-all, or be-all.

    It’s quite hazy, but if you have anything further to ask just ask away and I’ll try to answer. :)

  11. lolikitsune Says:

    @Baka-Raptor, Michael
    re: better safe than sorry

    I personally subscribe to the Kurogane school of fap first, worry later. It’s much more… satisfying.

    Love,
    -lolikitsune

  12. Nagato Says:

    When I realized I hadn’t been mentioned, this article quickly became tl;dr xP

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  18. Eileen Dickson Says:

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