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http://entertainment.time.com/2013/12/20/macaulay-culkin-eats-pizza-and-we-have-questions/#ixzz2oMHKcIIY

Why do you think you can own someone’s childhood?

Why do you think you can own someone’s future?

Why do people demand an explanation for everything?

Why were the writer and so many readers apparently so offended by this video?

In this case, how superior does the writer feel to his subject?

Do you think former child stars deserve ridicule?

If a child star doesn’t grow up into a Leonardo DiCaprio or Joseph Gordon-Levitt leading man, does that mean they owe you something?

Do you understand the Internet at all?

Did you feel good sticking it to him like this?

When you wrote “where did they find him?” and “where is he now?,” did you honestly believe he was living in seclusion somewhere?

Who does the writer think “they” are?

How did Time.com find this video in the first place?

How does anyone find this video in the first place and not know what Macaulay Culkin has been doing for the past few weeks?

Do you think this video is actually “terrifying”?

Why do you need to “un-see” this?

When did Time magazine turn into Buzzfeed?

Do people still not know how terrible Buzzfeed is?

Do people read Buzzfeed ironically?

Does Buzzfeed really use the money they make from clickbait lists full of animated gifs taken without credit from Tumblr accounts and Google image searches to pay journalists to write actual news stories?

Where are these in-depth, hard-hitting stories that are supposed to make Buzzfeed the next Vice.com?

Will Time disappear from newsstands and become a web-only “publication”?

If they could make a bigger profit in doing so, are there any moral reasons for them not to do so?

Does anyone in 2013 still read news articles that aren’t written specifically to confirm their worldview?

Do editors honestly believe that reader comments contribute to a meaningful dialogue about important issues?

Is there really a right way to eat pizza?

How much of a piece of shit do you have to be to judge how someone eats pizza?

How many of these questions were actually sincere?

How smug to you have to be to write something like this?

Does the writer actually think that Macaulay Culkin is insane, that he posted this not knowing how absurd it looks?

How did this get by editors without anyone knowing or bothering to look into why it was made?

Do people get off on reflecting about “how poorly he’s aged” and still believe that they themselves are anything but a bloated, depressing version of their childhood selves?

Is the writer actually as unnerved and annoyed by this video as he’s trying to sound?

What is the proper level of enthusiasm to show when eating takeout pizza by yourself?

How does the writer claim to know about The Pizza Underground, the existence of which explains the whole video, and still claim to have so many questions?

Did the writer know who The Velvet Underground were?

Did he know who The Velvet Underground were before Lou Reed died last month?

Do people think that this video is supposed to be “funny”?

Is it a “failure” if it isn’t?

Does our culture crave schadenfreude so much that people will rush to mock and judge something as harmless as this, with no frame of reference other than the narrative they’ve constructed in their minds based on nothing but prejudice, resentment of others, and the belief that they are the sole harbinger of objective truth?

Is “theory of mind” a 20th century concept that our society no longer has any need for?

Are we so addicted to nonstop entertainment that such a harmless and short video of a completely mundane subject is treated with suspicion or outright hostility?

Why do people choose to watch a video and respond with confusion or anger when it delivers exactly what it says it will?

Because it would get lots of views from dumb readers excited to watch what looks like a child star’s fall from grace, and is pointless and clueless enough to get a negative reaction out of anyone who’s (A) actually Internet-literate and (B) believes that journalism is serious business (even when it comes to trivial bullshit) was this article actually a highly-calculated piece meant to drive web traffic to Time.com from as wide an audience as possible?

Or is it possible that this just went completely over the writer’s head?

How is it possible that MTV understands what’s happening right now and the arts & culture people of Time do not?

How could anyone believe that the best Tumblr is anything other than this?

ds

I wouldn’t call myself a journalist, but I’ve interviewed quite a few people over the years. This started when I was in college (the first time around) and continued during an internship I had at a magazine, which I’d go on to write for as a freelancer for over two years’ time. Those were all for feature-style pieces about people that included quotes from interviews. Will I ever write stories like those again? I don’t know. Not at this time, that’s for sure. But over the years I did enjoy the opportunity I had to talk to so many creative and interesting people. And being able to ask them almost anything I wanted was definitely an illuminating experience. And with all the interesting people that I know (or know of) online, it’s a wonder that it took me this long to consider the possibilities of doing it once again.

This brings us to my interview with the creator and administrator of Digimon Spirit, a fansite devoted to all-things Digimon, with a wealth of screencaps, audio clips, fan-created works and other content, as well as news updates and blog entries.¬† Susanna hails from Australia and runs what’s currently one of the more comprehensive anime fan sites online. I wanted a chance to talk with her about the fandom and what it’s like to run a fansite like hers. Will there be more interviews featured on this blog in the future? I haven’t worked that out for sure, but I’m optimistic about the possibilities for it (hence, “Interview #1” in the post title).

This interview was conducted via email throughout October.

How long have you been a fan of Digimon?

I’ve been a fan of Digimon since back in the year 2000 (whenever it was out), I remember catching an episode of season 1 in the morning on Cheez TV (in Australia) and I was just so hooked on the type of story they had, characters and it connected so well that I was crazy about it.
I’ve stayed a fan over all the years, even though for many years, I didn’t watch anymore as I didn’t really know they existed and my fear of starting a new season was always a weakness because it made me miss out on amazing stuff. I got back into it in 2005 when I saw seasons 3 and 4 and absolutely loved it again.
So, overall, I’ve been a fan for 13 years. Long time, isn’t it?

Were you a fan of other anime series, as well? Or are you today?

At that point, I only really watch what was on TV because I didn’t really know about “anime”, just about what was broadcasting, but I also enjoyed many of the series playing on TV then, such as Sailor Moon, Pokemon etc.
I am a fan today, and I LOVE a lot of different titles, but most of them are older series because I usually only watch dubs as I find it hard to read. I think I first got back into it when my boyfriend (back then, now husband) introduced it around 2007, that’s when I really rediscovered it and became a big fan and just watched a lot of different titles.

Although recently in the past few years, it has been slower with watching because I’ve put 100% of my effort in promoting Wuxia on my new website, http://www.wuxiaedge.com/ which focuses on a genre which I find has many similarities to Anime but I am really sad that nobody seem to know (or care) about it, so I am here to change that and this is what I’m determined to do, to help people realise this is awesome to watch!

What inspired you to start Digimon Spirit?

When I first started going on the internet, I remember just spending hours making websites for my favourite things. The first site I ever made was for a band I loved, then a show, and gradually, I got better and better. Around this time, I had this “main site” which was more of a personal site, and I wanted to make side projects that are small sites on different interests, and Digimon was one of them.
Around this time, I was also searching really much for high quality screenshots but I couldn’t find any websites with it, so I started Digimon Spirit with the intention of just adding screenshots for myself and others who may wanted them too.
The site was very small at first, I only had screenshots of seasons 1 and 2 (partially of what I taped on VHS) and gradually, I watched the third and fourth season which I loved A LOT, and one afternoon, I had this vision of how I wanted Digimon Spirit to look, and that’s when I first really put in a lot of effort in creating the site to what it was now. I loved visiting other websites as well, as it really inspired me and motivated me.
Also, another great inspiration for this website was a very good friend of mine at that time, she visited it every day and always commented on how much she loved it, and with those kinds of encouragement, I just wanted to do more for the website.

I can only imagine how much work it must have taken to compile all the screenshots and other media that are on the site. Especially as newer seasons have aired in the last few years.

Thank you sooo much, it was so much fun to work on it, I remember some of the most nostalgic moments were just meeting other people who owned sites and talking about it, or meeting people though the site.

Do you remember what the Internet was like in the late 1990s/early 2000s? I remember there being a lot of fan-sites (or “shrines”) for television programs and musical groups. You mentioned making a few of those yourself and I wonder if you were inspired by those kind of sites from that time period.

Wow, yes back then, internet was like something I would only go on once a week. In my earliest memory, I loved using it (when I knew what it was about), and back then, Geocities was the big thing. I used that for many years, and I still remember all the shrines, fansites and fanlistings. I LOVED those, and I always found awesome information on these fansites. It’s sad that many of those sites went down.

I also remember a HUGE Digimon site that was dark coloured, I never remembered the name, but it had screenshots of almost every episode. I used to save pics all the time and went on it a lot, until I couldn’t find it one day. That was one of my main inspirations for making Digimon Spirit because I was so big on screenshots and I wanted to make archives for every episode.

I was wondering if those kind of websites were an inspiration to you. Series-specific “Wikis” aside, it seems like there aren’t as many fan-created sites like those as their used to be, despite the growth of the Internet since then. Do you get that impression? Or are those kind of sites still going strong?

Yes, those websites were definitely huge inspirations. Whenever I saw fansites like that get updated, it would motivate me to do the same, and I would want to write and work on my site. I think that as there’s been less and less sites, it can be harder to find the motivation, because it’s always more fun to do things together, just like when you were young, it was so much more fun collecting cards or toys with your friends.

I do believe that fan-sites in general have decreased, most sites today are blogs, which I really love as well but for Digimon, I do feel that there’s less fansites than there were even 8 years ago when I was in highschool.

Has running the site helped you connect with other Digimon fans?

Yes, it has definitely done that. I remember in the past, I would be craving to meet someone that likes the show as in real life, it’s always hard to find people who have the same interests.
Through the site, I was able to meet lots of really wonderful people who were also fans, it just felt like meeting fans were the easiest things to do. I really enjoyed chatting to them, sometimes we’d make plans on how to improve the website, or talk about episodes. It was always a lot of fun!

Have you seen all of the seasons yet? If you had to choose, which one has been your favorite?

I have seen seasons 1-5 and so far, my favourite season is 3. (Still waiting for season 6 to air dubbed as I like watching dubbed shows)

As for season 3, I just really love everything about it, the characters, story and messages, Digimon and everything else. I think this season showed a lot of life lessons (others of course did too) but I just remember completely crazy about the season that I watched the same episodes every single night.
I think the other seasons don’t fall far behind because I really do love them all.

Since you started your site, have you noticed a rise or a decline in the popularity of Digimon?

I think that Digimon isn’t as huge as it was back in the 2000 when it first came out, but that’s understandable because it is an older series, though I am happily surprised with just how the fandom still exists today, such as I still see fans, people doing fan works and the interest with season 6 has me really excited.
Though I do want it to be as popular as many of the other series that gets merchandise in almost every store ūüėõ

photo

I now have a Tumblr account.

I’ve hated Tumblr since the start, “typical” Tumblr pages are not something I ever want to look at. What came over me this week, I’m not sure.

This is probably going to totally alienate whatever few followers I have, but I’m changing my name here to better consolidate and control my online personas. All posts here (and on Twitter) will be signed by Seasons from now on.

Also, I guess this is my 100th post. Took a lot longer than I was hoping but there’s a little sense of accomplishment in finally having made it after all this time.

I knew this day would come eventually.

twitter.com/radiality

Let’s do this.

Behold: early photos and accounts from the dawn of American anime fandom.

I’ve no idea what anime this is but I lol’ed at this entry. This blogger needs to post more often.

Roger Ebert pans Battle: Los Angeles and Red Riding Hood in reliably hilarious fashion.

Nopybot’s “My History With Anime” project continues to grow with more entries this week. It’s still not too late to join in!

A thoughtful and interesting non-review of Oreimo, several months old now but new to me. Well-written, well thought-out posts like this remind me how badly I need to up my game in this whole blogging thing.

Where are the A-list anime bloggers?

Countless entries on the earthquake in Japan this week, too many to sort through or post here. But many have provided helpful information on where to donate to help victims. The most helpful link I found in this blogosphere-wide roundup of Japan charities? CharityNavigator.org. I do plan on donating something in the next week or two, so I’m glad to find a tool like this to help in the process.

And a thoughtful, concise editorial on the future of Libya and the choice that stands before us today. Not to downplay the tragedy of the earthquake in Japan, but a Gaddafi victory would certainly be a human tragedy of a magnitude we haven’t seen since Rawanda or the Balkans. This is the week for the west to act. It can’t wait any longer.

100 pixels wide, 100 pixels tall… not exactly a sizable canvas for any artist. That would be true for traditional artists who use paper and ink. So it also is for those who rely on the Photoshop and other graphics programs. When you’ve got such a small space to work with, “skill” is perhaps no longer the greatest asset for a digital artist to possess. Instead, the ability to accurately gauge that fuzzy visual threshold, beyond which even the keenest eyes can’t read or understand images or text, and to know how to fill it up to the brink (or when to keep it simple and hold back) probably takes precedence over one’s mastery of the whatever program they happen to be using.

That said, the business of making Livejournal icons has been an indisputably serious one for a long time now, and has been an unexpectedly interesting forum for burgeoning digital artists to show off their fine eye for details and mastery of the digital toolbox. I find this most surprising because Livejournal has never struck me as a platform designed to attract users particularly interested in time-consuming processes such as these. Rather, it’s always seemed to me that its primary function has been social networking (far beyond how sites like Blogger or WordPress have functioned in this regard, even), bringing together the solo blogging experience with the niche-friendly community-building groups function. I don’t think it was ever designed to foster so much content creation among its users, but so it has for quite some time now, to the point where its many unique users have seemed to agree on a certain aesthetic in the creation of icons and banners, no doubt determined by the strict size limitations they’re forced to work with.

Over the years, I’ve approached avatar and userpic selection on the various message boards and forums I’ve been a part of as a fine art of self-expression. But this has usually restricted itself to grabbing pre-existing images off the Internet, ones which usually require nothing more than a quick re-sizing or cropping job, if that. The art of building icons from scratch, using screenshots or fanart, is some next-level geekery that I’ve yet to take on, so I view it from afar with a sense of confounded awe. Over the years, the standard LJ icon has become cleaner and more sophisticated, from artfully-selected screenshots to elaborate icons containing animated images and text. There’s a surprisingly high level of quality in these; rarely will you spot jpg artifacts or overly pixelated text. Unlike AMVs or most fanart, there’s a certain standard that most users on LJ seem to hold themselves to, whether it’s in the creation of or in the selection of icons for use.

I originally planned on writing an entry on what a blogger’s choice of platform (Blogger, WordPress, or Livejournal) might reveal about how they use the Internet, but the more I look at Livejournals, the more they upset the stereotypes that I used to hold about them. I used to consider them an entryway into blogging, something a user might dabble in before they “grow up” and migrate to Blogger or WordPress. But its network of communities, the content and relationships they foster, and the ease of self-expression on the site seems to be above and beyond what I’m getting from the rest of the Internet lately. That, and the creativity-encouraging atmosphere, which feels more rooted in the classic ideas of “sharing” and “fun” than just about any other network I know of.¬† They’re ideas embodied in the “Livejournal icon,” which, in the hands of thousands of different users, can take on just about any form you can imagine, but still retains a certain quality that’s somehow unmistakable.

I just read Brent’s latest post on Otaku, No Video, which was a delightful surprise to say the least. It’s been tremendously gratifying to find that people — however amorphous and small a cluster they constitute — are actually bothering to read this thing from time to time, and that a few readers/fellow bloggers have even found it worthy of occasional comment. When I started out, I never expected that I’d experience some kind of meteoric rise to the heights of the anime blogosphere overnight or anything. What I really wanted was… pretty much what I seem to have now: a nice little place to call my own where I could dump gently release my ever-developing thoughts on some of my favorite hobbies. Hopefully, it’s something I can enjoy for many years to come. But isn’t that what every upstart blogger expects from themselves?

Unfortunately, reality has a habit of intervening on our idyllic e-lives and causing us to reassess our digital ambitions. I’m now back in college again after a few years’ absence, which has forced me to put blogging on the backburner (even more than it already was). Time that I’d originally have spent at home on my computer is now largely spent sitting at the kitchen table with my nose in a book. This has required no small summoning of self-discipline on my part, but it’s been a much easier transition overall than I’d expected it to be. Putting in a few hours of studying every day (in addition to my job) has been a challenge, but it’s filled my days with a renewed sense of purpose and even energized me to an extent.

This will probably be the story of my life for the next two or three years. Obviously, this will entail a drop off in my posting here, but I still plan on regularly posting entries every week or two (fingers crossed). And school shouldn’t affect my anime viewing (or manga reading) habits much, so while I don’t watch half as much anime as most bloggers on the scene today, I’ll probably never run out of material to talk about here.

But since I have an exam on Friday (which I should have been studying for instead of writing this post), I guess I should wrap this up and get back to the

My previous post was a disorganized mess, and one that took me almost a week to write. It’s clear that I need more focus in my writing, and to find some good strategies to overcome the possible ADD that afflicts me whenever I sit down in front of the keyboard.* This has been clear to me for quite some time, and never more so than when I read ghostlightning’s latest entry over on THAT Anime Blog. Not long ago, I would have dismissed such a guide but I’ve been blogging long enough to know that there’s a big difference between copying other bloggers’ styles and copying their working habits. The former is rampant but inexcusable. The latter is just good sense and worth taking into consideration if you want to run a successful blog and avoid burnout.

I think I’ve avoided burnout pretty well so far, but there’s no denying that over the past few months, my posts have appeared further and further apart from one another. I can remember getting started with the goal in mind of posting at least once every three days. Now I’ve lapsed into two week periods of silence in between entries. This just won’t do. At the moment, I have a few entries in mind that I mean to get started on very soon. That’s a far cry from having, as recommended by ghostlightning, 20 completed entries in the queue ready to automatically update every few days. But despite being less than prolific to date, I’m still happy with this blog and what it’s turned out to be so far.

I’m returning to school part-time in August, which will certainly impact the frequency of my posting here. I’ll only be taking one class, although it’s likely to be the most difficult one I’ve ever enrolled in. Considering how much time and money I’ll be investing in it, it’s probably an understatement to say that it’s going to take precedence over, say, my thoughts on Naruto or AMVs. But seeing as how this is my only blog, I don’t plan on dropping it any time soon, and hopefully I can get back on the right track with more regular posting and frequent entries this summer.

*I’ve long had a deep suspicion that my ability to organize and communicate my own thoughts online in a coherent manner has been slowly crumbling ever since I left college, almost as if I had a terminal neural condition. I realize that’s probably not the case, but maybe something has been eating away at my synapses and hindering my very efforts to think in the same way that I used to as a brilliant child and a pretty smart (er, at least competent) teenager. This article in this month’s Wired lays out a plausible cause for my mental atrophy and constipated blogging. I’ve come across similar pieces in the past that have hit uncomfortably close to home. But now that I’ve pledged myself to a lengthy tenure in the belly of the beast, I wonder how best to avoid this creeping senility while staying regularly active here and in my other online endeavors.

1. It’s been about a month and a half since the start of the Aniblog Tourney, which has introduced me to a lot of blogs I’d have never found otherwise and¬†given me a more complete picture of the anime blogosphere as a whole. My Google Reader is now bursting with new content thanks to the likes of chaostangent, Grand Punk Railroad, GAR GAR Stegosaurus and Anime Yume, which have given me more thought-provoking and fun entries to pick over in my spare time than, well… pretty much all of the other blogs that I looked at combined. But that isn’t as much of a slam against the rest of the anime blogosphere as it may sound. What I mean to say is, at least as much as 75% of the rest of the blogs I looked at were heavily episode-focused, and with an emphasis on series currently airing on television in Japan. Keeping that up to date¬†with anime¬†requires a certain degree of tenacity and discipline and that I really don’t possess, nor do I feel prepared to set aside the time necessary¬†to seek out, download, and watch the fansubs that allow these kind of fans to enjoy and comment on these new series within days (hours?) of their original broadcast. My personal viewing habits couldn’t be any further removed from this approach, so it goes without saying that the great majority of these blogs aren’t exactly for me. Maybe someday I’ll watch Durarara!!, K-ON!!,¬†Angel Beats!, or Working!! (and you thought indie rock was overrun with superfluous punctuation), but odds remain that it won’t be for quite some time.

2.¬†I don’t think I’d bother with blogging in the first place if I didn’t believe that my thoughts and opinions wouldn’t be interesting to at least someone out there. I’d be lying to myself if I said that I was doing this chiefly for my own amusement. If I were the last man on Earth — due to a global catastrophe that somehow also left both the electrical grid and the Internet functioning flawlessly and indefinitely — would I still be blogging? I doubt it. That said, wanting to attract readers, but avoiding one of the most successful approaches of doing so (see #1), seems like a counterintuitive strategy that would lend itself to assured and permanent Internet obscurity. However, the more blogs I read, the more comfortable I feel with leaving that kind of heavy lifting to others and just doing my own thing for my own satisfaction. I do want this blog to be relevant, but it likely never will be in the same way as the most popular episodic blogs are and that’s just a fact I’ll have to accept.

3. I’ve already said that I’m¬†not drawn towards anime blogs that exclusively cover the new, but that’s precisely what I look for in most of the music blogs I regularly¬†peruse and in most of the music-focused forums I participate in. Am I holding each to a double standard, or is it natural for people to use the Internet in such inconsistent ways? I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not anime and music are apples and oranges, or not so different after all.

On one hand, while being an intimidating landscape for any entry-level American otaku to navigate, the current lineup of new anime series airing in any given season is still small enough to illustrate in a simple chart. Trying to do the same with music and the thousands upon thousands of albums, singles, and mixes being put out at any given season would be impossible. In our digital age, sorting through this eternal tsunami of releases without the help of blogs and other Internet resources would be an immensely difficult and possibly joyless task. So could it be said that music blogs serve a greater purpose and are simply more necessary than anime blogs, which by comparison, take a magnifying glass to¬†what’s already a¬†much more manageable sample size of creative works?

Or perhaps that kind of logic could be easily reversed: maybe the comparatively limited offerings of anime make it ripe for any upstart fan to take a crack at covering a few series and stand a good chance at coming away with a pretty film grasp on where the medium is today. And I’m sure that finding plenty of other fans out there doing just the same thing — with the same series — is half the fun.

4. And that’s really what it all comes down to, right? I used to assume that these episodic blogs were penned by fans who had either already seen every anime series worth watching, or who simply didn’t care about anything made before, say, 1998. I never considered a third and more likely reason, that being the social opportunities that new series provide. The shared experience on a mass scale that television provides us is nothing new. But the individual’s access to the Internet (and its free tools of mass communication) to reach other fans is, and it’s opened up a new space for socialization that’s changed the way that fans interact with both their favorite shows and each other. Which feeling is¬†more rewarding? The one that comes with¬†completing a satisfying blog entry, or the one found in connecting with another person over said blog entry? If it’s ever the latter, then is it any wonder that blogs inevitably become, over time, less about the subject matters that they were created to cover, and more about themselves and the communities that form around them?

5. There’s always the time and the place to¬†discuss older series.¬†Both longtime fans and newcomers will likely be debating the merits and meaning of Evangelion for as long as anime and the Internet¬†are around. But could the consensus or baggage that older series carry actually stand in the way of the kind of discussion that bloggers crave? When it comes to new series, bloggers find themselves in the unique place of responding to, and in effect, helping to define what they’re watching in almost real time. The possibility of breaking fresh ground and discovering and discussing¬†a series’s unique qualities before they become¬†well-worn tropes has to be exciting. Maybe just seeing and talking about a show before it’s licensed in America is its own reward.

6. From the looks of it, the average anime blogger, at least out of those that I’ve read in the Aniblog Tourney and elsewhere, is in their early to mid 20s.¬†Few dare to hold themselves up as authorities on the hobby, but most¬†will speak of or allude to their lengthy experience in it. I don’t remember any who’ve admitted to watching anime for less than five years, which means that pretty much everyone who’s blogging about it now was regularly watching it¬†before there was¬†Youtube, Hulu, or¬†Crunchyroll. Of course, there was always Bittorrent, but from what I’ve heard of¬†fansubs throughout the 00’s is that they mostly sucked until recent years.

So where were these young turks (who were in high school and middle school during the Bush years) getting their anime from? Were they really buying 4-episode Inuyasha DVDs for $20 each? 2-episode FLCL discs for $30 each? Where were they getting this money? Or were they always downloading anime and finding ways around paying for it?

7. I’m not the least bit deluded as to think that anything I’ve spewed out here is a wholly¬†original observation or not subject to a hundred exceptions. I’m just dumping my thoughts in this manner to try to sort them out, and in hopes that they won’t later come out in the form of rambling tangents when I don’t necessarily mean for¬†them to.

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