#Controversed Week 2

See Moya’s list of prompts here and week 1 here.

I’m not doing all the prompts this time. This post is rather large, even without addressing all the prompts…

Nobody is (or should be) objective, but how biased do you think you are? What are some biases in your writing, and how do you try to challenge them?

I have some pride in how long I’ve been in certain fandoms, because sometimes when I get into discussions I calculate and/or pull out the “I’ve been in this fandom for X years” or “I’ve been [doing something] for X years” card. The further I go into a fandom, the harder it is to be unbiased, so level of bias is very case-by-case, but generally once I start interacting with fan-based content of a series (such as wikis, fanfiction and so on), I become heavily biased for that series. However, it’s because I’m in so deep into certain things that I try to pull others in (by their choice) so that I can observe what outsiders of these things think about, if I have the opportunity to do so.

I think the problem with me – but it’s also a core tenet of my writing – is being quite dogmatic (to quote Google-sensei, dogmatic = “expressing personal opinions or beliefs as if they are certainly correct and cannot be doubted”). This way of writing is why I have to be correct first try on everything, which is basically impossible, given I’m also an overthinker.

Also, you might notice I insert phrases like “I think” or “probably” into my writing sometimes to mitigate how dogmatic I can get (generally when in a typed-out conversation, such as in Twitter or Discord, although it seeps into my writing here as well), which makes me sound indecisive and since I am already quite roundabout as it stands…it doesn’t help.

When discussing subjects that are difficult or controversial, how do you strike a balance between presenting a fair picture of the issue and staying true to your views? Have your views ever changed as you wrote?

I think this goes back to the thing I was saying about me being dogmatic, but I don’t paint much of a picture of what’s going on – just enough context to launch people straight into the issue I want to discuss, explaining and/or researching as I go. Translation itself is a pretty contentious thing, with as many interpretations as there are people translating in many if not all cases, so for the most part I can only share my side of the story for those too.

An example I can list for having a somewhat weaker argument due to having done the darn research is this Fugou Keiji post. I was going to argue Suzue and Daisuke weren’t as close as the former made their relationship out to be by assuming they were twins or siblings and using a technicality of a word as evidence, but then it turns out their exact relationship (aside from having the same surname and living in the same mansion) had not been confirmed and Japanese Wikipedia only complicated things by revealing Suzue and Daisuke weren’t actually sharing the surname in the source material.

Normally, I write things off the cuff until I have enough content to call it a day (in fact, that’s what I’m doing with this post) and so, I have to stay on the same train of thought until I’m done or else I won’t make sense, unless somehow I edited the post so thoroughly (or, alternatively, not thoroughly enough) it contradicts itself. Otherwise, the only way the train really gets derailed is me doing the research, as stated earlier.

Studio posts are a different matter – I don’t get too much of a look behind the scenes of studios or interview creators to fill them in. I can only dig up what I can and bridge disparate resources together…sometimes that’s not enough to sustain a post. Sometimes, you just have to admit to yourself that post won’t work out or you just don’t know what’s going on behind-the-scenes regarding so-and-so problem and that’s all you can do.

The geek problem: how do you reach the depth that you want to discuss in your writing without alienating your audience?

I guess this is where the inherent trust of the spoiler policy comes in. (I explained it in this post on controversial anime/manga debates.) Due to the implicit assumption you’ve seen what I have as of the time of writing, I need to only worry about what comes after a certain point, only backtracking if it’s important to the point at hand. If someone hasn’t seen what I’m talking about, they only have to wait a week or less to get new content and I do a lot of posts where the anime/manga in question doesn’t matter, specifically to avoid alienating my audience, but those can only appear once I have a clear idea of what I have to say on the subject.

Generally the title of the post and/or the bit before the read more tells you, the reader, whether you can jump in or not. If it doesn’t, then it should at least give a hint towards whether you can and I’m just being vague or “clever” about it.

Explaining things at the right time is its own balancing act I…surprisingly don’t put a lot of thought into. If it seems organic to have an explanation there, it will get one, I guess.

Again, studio posts sometimes don’t have depth and that’s when you have to be honest about things.

For more on controversies, you can check Moya’s post or the hashtag #controversed. You can also join Jon’s Discord (details on Moya’s post).

5 thoughts on “#Controversed Week 2

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  1. There are times I read something that makes me realize just how far away I am from human norm.

    “Nobody is (or should be) objective…”

    I shouldn’t be objective?

    The Aristotelian Thomist of my soul begs to differ. But on reflection, I can count on one hand how many people try to align their perceptions with objective reality.

    I’ve considered a moral imperative to do just that.

    Well, I’m too set in my ways to change now, and I’d judge myself harshly if I tried. But this was a good reminder to always be aware of how far my thoughts are from what’s considered normal.

    “Also, you might notice I insert phrases like “I think” or “probably” into my writing sometimes to mitigate how dogmatic I can get…”

    I have the same issue. Years ago, maybe in college, I had a teacher ask me why I included “I think.” I tried to explain, and about all I remember of the explanation was that I felt pretty confident in it.

    Then the teacher asked, “Well, if the essay itself isn’t what you think, whose thoughts does it represent?”

    I’ve tried to stop using “I think” or “I feel” after that. I had to charge myself with redundant writing. Heaven knows I don’t need to be more verbose…

    I say way too verbosely…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whether or not to use disclaimer phrases like “I think” is something I’ve struggled with more than ever since starting Controversed! It’s one of the things you aren’t supposed to do when writing critically, but which I’m realizing that I rely on quite a bit on the blog. Making a conscious effort to own my opinions at least for this month…

    Liked by 2 people

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