Hinano on escapism

May 28th, 2008 by Author

Hinano comes very close to declaring a burnout and adds a few general points, which caught my attention:

Perhaps once you get older and there are bigger things to worry about (like your apartment rent and the economy instead of what someone wrote on your myspace page), you start to realize you need to face problems rather than run away from them. […] I hope that maybe more people will start to see anime as a hobby and not a means of escapism simply for the reason that when we all get together at places like anime conventions – we can enjoy it together as a hobby – rather than as a release of all those pent up feelings of wanting to escape from reality.

This can be argued in a few ways. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in On Fairy Stories:

I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which “Escape” is now so often used: a tone for which the uses of the word outside literary criticism give no warrant at all.

You don’t have to agree with the good Professor. He was, after all, an technology-hating luddite. But he knew his field well; the article is recommended for everyone who wants to blog escapism.

A simpler take came from Badger in comments:

I’m not sure if I’m a good example here because most people I know (in the ‘chat online with’ sense, rather than hang out with IRL) are considerably younger than me – you guys all seem to be in college when I’ve graduated, tried to get a decent job and have had to come to terms with, y’know, real life.

Basically, when I get home knackered and fed up every evening, kicking back with an episode or two while eating my dinner and then checking my feedreader is the perfect way to unwind. I’ve yet to find work that’s mentally challenging – after the grind of uni it felt weird to not need my brain any more… reading and writing blog posts kinda channeled that.

My job is quite challenging sometimes, at least for my miniscule mental capacity. Right now I’m mulling a “simple” 3-step plan to fix oops on rmmod of HCDs, which goes, approximately:

  1. Unlinks have to refcount buses exactly like submissions.
  2. Module removal has to observe the refcount and provide 2-stage disconnect with poisoning.
  3. Code is not refcounted, but follows buses. Method switching is not required, but may help catch misuse.

As you can see, it’s a little vague, and refuses to gel completely, so I’m animeblogging instead of working. Sometimes sieging these problems works better than storming.

This is not to say that Badger is wrong, just that there’s no contradiction between challenging jobs and anime. What he’s doing is exactly what Tolkien wrote about (among other things). I, too, am quite secure in my self-esteem to consider my anime habits to be tolkienistic escapism in public. If doing so I refuse to comply with Hinano’s desires, too bad.