Saturday, February 14, 2015

WORD OF THE DAY! 2/14/15! (NSFW.) + UNBOX-KING!



hikkomori [hee-koh-moh-ree]
noun
1. Japanese slang. Literally "pulling inward" or "being confined", the term refers to the phenomenon of teens and adults who pull away from social life and often seek isolation.

moe [moh-eh]
adjective
1. Japanese slang. It has come to mean "cute" or "adorable" and is applied to the cuteness of young girls/women as seen in Japanese anime culture.

EX. Happy Valentine's Day to all of those in love or loved or loving someone. I wish you and your particular special one a very special day to celebrate your love.

This is gonna be a huge like stream of conscious brain dump about Her, collecting stuff, and other nonsense. The next paragraph is a very cynical and almost satirical little side-bit before I talk about hikkomori.

As for everyone else, welcome to the first commercial holiday of the year. Advertisers have worked their entire lives to prepare you, the consumer, to consume the particularly industries that make bank on February the 14th: the shiny rock peddlers, the plant purveyors, and the confectionery con-artists just to name a few of the organizations that will feast on the gutted wallets of every guilty, desperate, and gullible man & woman from Vancouver to Victoria Falls thanks to expectations they've implanted via advertising. Don't worry though if you fail to meat the unrealistic expectations of your significant other. There is always, arbitrarily, next year.

Welcome to Costco. I love you.

Now, let's get back to talking about loneliness!

I just finished watching Spike Jonze's Her. I really liked it. Like 5/5 liked it. Not only is the film filled with fantastic performances with a spellbinding and stimulating plot, but it is also uncomfortably on-point in how it reflects the impersonality of modernity in the future depicted in the film. It is a world where people are so wrapped up in themselves that they seem to have trouble interacting with anyone else. It is easy to believe that people can fall in love with an artificially intelligent operating system with how they seem to fall in love with the collective experience that is their social media identities/etc. It reminds me of my own observations. Here are just a few that are related to the complications created by modern tech:

1. People don't just walk. They don't pay attention to where they're going. They're listening to music, they're reading texts or on the phone. In fact, I have observed people doing their job and, for what seems like hours out of their day, chatting away on their hands-free headsets and I wondering if the person on the other end of the line is also working. In Her, one of the first shots of the film is the main character walking home from work and he walks past dozens of people. They're all walking alone, barely paying attention to where they walk, and, presumably like the main character, are having their e-mails and news read aloud to them, listening to music, etc. At my job I am required to greet customers as they walk through the store but it feels extremely disruptive to say "Good morning!" to someone wrapped up in their phone.

Oddly enough, I used to be really bad about getting wrapped up in a book or game boy on trips but, as I've gotten older, I spend a lot more time looking out the window and talking. But the constant need for stimulation is a problem I do have.

2. Nobody seems to be very good at meeting people. I am either lucky or talented that I have to brush away potential friends but, when it comes to love, I am clueless on how to meet a special someone because I don't really go out, I don't really know how to tell someone I like them, and I can't tell when someone likes me. It is weird. And I think a lot of people have the same problem. That's why online dating, Craig's List, etc. have become such common ways for people to meet people when they can't rely on friends to hook them up. (And it is believable that people will use similar services to find friends considering how the internet can connect people of similar interests). It is also believable that people would seek relationships with custom AIs that are suited to them. I think I'd probably would befriend my computer if it was like Samantha from Her. I don't know if I could ever date her though as trust would feel impossible with an artificial being. Then again, how can you ever really trust or know a natural being. Yosh...

3. People are so desperate to not be alone that they will seek being a relationship to the point of self-destruction or, at the very least, self-sublimation by pretending or becoming someone they're not. There is a difference between compromise and submission. At first, you might be relieved to not be alone but, inevitably, the relationship will either come fizzle or explode. Either is pretty unsatisfying and regretful. I've seen lots of people suffer for this desire and, while I think it is probably natural and healthy to find a special someone, I am wary of this instinct. In the film there are a lot of unusual relationships that don't work out because people rush in without consideration and they could've been much more disastrous. I have known people in polyamorous relationships that self-destructed because the more people you add to the complications of a relationship, the more complicated they become, and the more complicated they become, the more likely complications will arise like jealousy or worse. And there are weirder relationships than that and sometimes they can work out but sometimes they don't. As we move forward into the future, things will only get more interesting.

And really that's something to think about as we move on to talking about a Japanese phenomenon that might be catching on and be indicative of future trends... the hikkomori!


ME! ME! ME! is a bit of a head trip but there is a plot to follow. It is set in the bedroom and head of an otaku that has fallen into hikkomori territory. His room is filled with signs of his obsession with moe culture from the model kits to the posters to the figurines (and yes, I have some stuff like that so this hits home with my recent collecting obsession). And it is clear that the obsession has gone too far from the messy state of his room and the empty expression on his face. He falls asleep, staring at the false stimulation of a gyrating anime girl on screen and we enter his dreams. The dream starts with an obscenely over the top parody of a moe girl and the fantasy quickly turns into a nightmare montage as a masked monstrous figure stalks him. It gets increasingly trippy, gross, and violent as he tries to survive visual and physical assaults from the moe girls. The nightmares are interrupted by memories of a girl, possibly his ex girlfriend, that left him when he couldn't prioritize their relationship over hobbies. The dream ends with his decapitated head falling to the ground and then his eye opens.

The video, while containing a lot of intense anime visuals, is also critical of the obsession that many otaku seem to suffer.

Let me explain though that it is okay to fantasize however you please as long as you are able to separate fantasy from reality and keep your priorities in order. BUT I think the videos heart is in the right place as it doesn't condemn liking anime or even necessarily hentai, it just tries to illustrate the destructive path that obsessive behavior can have and, I gotta say, that's a message many folks in every fandom shouldm consider.

Maybe try and meet your real life waifu?

End rant. Woo. I'm gonna go eat some chocolate.

BONUS: HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY VIDEO FROM UNBOX-KING!

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