Rants from Class

My inner anime otaku escaped today in my Youth Cultures class at school. She was fiery, and the sight was not pretty. I would like to rant about that if you don’t mind.

My Youth Cultures class is actually a pretty interesting class, I quite like it. If you have it at your school or something like it, I advise taking it. It covers a GenEd requirement but it’s pretty relevant to my major, which is nice. Anyways, my professor has the course set up so we choose a youth subculture to research for our final, and all the coursework throughout the semester all builds up to this final paper. The assignment due this week is just a presentation to the class about our progress, what our subculture is, what we’ve learned, and what we still need to work on. I chose Steampunk, because they’ve interested me since I first learned of them. I present Friday, wish me luck!

So you can probably guess from my introduction, that one of my classmates is covering anime otaku culture. Well, anime culture, because I don’t think she even knows the term ‘otaku,’ which leads me to my frustration. To be frank, her presentation sucked. It was so misinformed and poorly put together that, as a fan of anime, manga, cosplay, and the like, I was offended. And I’m not even that deeply immersed in the subculture. But oh my goodness…

First off, she kept saying MAYnga. I’m not even trying to be one of those obnoxious anime fans that want to be all things Japanese and as authentic as possible. But this is a research project she’s doing, and any basic Google search of the term manga will begin by telling you how to pronounce the word properly. So, say it right if you want to be taken seriously. I feel like making sure you’re pronouncing words correctly is a given for any presentation in front of peers.

Then, she kept referring to both Japanese and American animation as anime. Someone in class asked what she meant by American anime. Like if she meant American cartoons inspired by Japanese anime, like the Boondocks (which I missed last night! Grr), Teen Titans, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, or if she just meant cartoons. She said, “Yeah, I mean just all of American anime, all of the shows, yeah.”

annoyed-dude-come-on-lPlease stop.

And I’m not done yet. She went on to say that the stereotypical anime fan was an Asian teenager, usually male. I’m sorry, but if you haven’t come across the terms wapanese and weeabo anywhere in your research, then you’re doing it wrong. Just saying.

Then she told all of us that Walt Disney was responsible for introducing anime to the United States.

WHAT. THE. EXPLETIVE.

All you have to do is think about that statement and know it doesn’t make any sense. What she probably meant was that the man revered as the father of anime and manga, Osamu Tezuka, was inspired by Disney’s works and went on to make Astro Boy. Is it me, or are those two assertions COMPLETELY DIFFERENT? Well I wasn’t the only one in class that was seriously lost by chick’s nonsense. So someone asked how Walt Disney introduced anime to Americans.

“Oh y’know, with Mickey Mouse…and Goofy, his movies and whatever, y’know.”

No, girl. I don’t know, because that is simply NOT A THING. Please sit the expletive down and never speak words again.

Sadly enough, I could go on. But I need to stop. Things like that put me in a weird place. Because the magnitude of ignorance and misinformation in that presentation baffles me. Her willingness to appear so unintelligible makes no sense. And the fact that we’ve been working on this final since week 2 of the semester insults me as a procrastinator, because even I have more work done than that. The data was so wrong, I mean so wrong, that you literally feel offended and pained.

frustration + confusion + the slight sense of obligation to help one so lost = a hot expletive’n mess of a place I don’t wish to return

But! There’s a lovely release you get when you take a step back from crazy and ask yourself, Why do I care? 

Then I realized, I don’t!

Why do I care that chick is going to write a ten page paper on farts and sprinkles? Why do I care that the anime club on campus is going to pin her to a wall with shurikens when she mispronounces manga while asking them questions for fieldwork? 

Oh my gosh, I don’t!

I’m going to complete my final on Steampunk. It’ll be flawless, and I’ll move on. Never to think about that class again. Magical…

So yeah, I’m better now.

Throwback Thursday Thoughts on School

So I got invited to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars recently. I’m not saying that to brag, it actually came as a pleasant surprise. There’s always been a major discrepancy between how I think I’m doing in school, which always ranges from average to turning in drool as an assignment, and how I’m actually doing, which always ranges from decent to damn, nice job! It got me thinking about why I’m like that, and I have to blame the advent of online gradebooks.

Before my parents could see an itemized list of all the assignments and tests that made up my grade, my grade was just my grade, which was consistently an A or a B. And they were proud of me. I was a really good student. But that all took a turn in the 8th grade, and the rest of my grade school life was completely ruined thanks to freaking Edline, eSembler, Moodle, and the rest of those gradebook softwares developed straight from the office desks of HELL.

See, I got good grades in school, but I wouldn’t consider myself a good student. In fact, I was a kind of terrible student. I hated school without even realizing that I hated school. I really liked math, so that seemed to distract me from the fact that everything else was utter baloney. I took tests like a pro, wrote papers in my sleep, but when it came to homework, eh no thanks.

AP GovernmentLiterally writing papers in my sleep.. Above: AP Government, senior year.

I viewed homework as only necessary if you didn’t understand the lesson in class. So I rarely did it. What business do I have taking a pile of unfun home with me for no good reason? That’s just stupid. Playing Sims until I lose concept of real time is a much better way to spend my day.

I remember having one class in 6th grade, where my teacher made us do our own grading. We had a chart to put in the front of our binders, and when she’d give us our graded work back, we would add our score and divide it by the amount of possible points, yadda yadda, math and junk. That’s where I realized how much of our homework was BS, grade-wise, and how much of it I could get away with not doing. So I’d still maintain my A’s and B’s, and I had more time to do nothing. And I did nothing a whole lot…til my dad caught on.

My school introduced Edline to our homepage. And they didn’t just tell us students. No no no, they sent a nice email to every parent giving them an option to have their own parental account to see their child’s progress reports and classes. Now my dad could log into my grades. Now he could see my A or B up at the top of the page, and then scroll down to see a seemingly never-ending stream of zeros marking all of the homework assignments I refused to do. Those perfectly written essays and 98’s on every test suddenly didn’t matter. Why I wasn’t doing my homework was the only question that mattered. That gave me no excuse to make B’s anymore, and A’s weren’t as meaningful when it became apparent that I didn’t work very hard for them. The end of every semester was no longer greeted with a dinner at my favorite restaurant and copious amounts of ice cream. Instead, I got the same hour long stern talking to about how I can and NEED TO do better, year after year.

Yes, year after year. It became a habit I never really broke. Actually, when I moved to California in the middle of high school, I met friends like me. And what always happens when two or more people with bad ideas get together? They collectively come up with worse ideas. Denny’s, Just Dance, and other shenanigans were how I spent my mornings for at least half of my senior year. My friends and I all dropped our first period, because it should be illegal to teach kids AP Calc before noon. And we just hung out together every morning. We didn’t always get to our second class on time afterwards either, or at all sometimes. I got truant letters in the mail on a monthly basis until even after I graduated. At this point, gradebook technology had advanced even further, and now parents could view attendance! Worse yet, teachers could add nice little side notes on each class day that read things like, “Went to library for class research, never returned.” Every other day.

Wow, remembering back, it’s a wonder how I ever graduated, let alone managing a decent GPA. I really should to strive to be better. Mmmm….maybe later. Someone stop goofing off from being so fun. I’m pretty sure I had a different point to this, but I forgot. Bottom line, don’t be like me. And don’t give schools your parent’s email addresses. That is one slippery slope, believe me.