Boy some of you guys sure are smart, and witty, and you know big words and stuff…My reader feed gets regularly populated by deeply insightful academic dissertation of my favorite animes or topical parsings of the elements of a particular genre. Keep it up! It’s really fascinating, and I appreciate the enormous amount of work that obviously goes into those essays. We need these types of posts, so we can point to them when our medium of choice gets dismissed as irrelevant fluff with nothing of import to bring to the table.
Lately however, I have found myself drawn to irreverent fluff. Wait, that’s not exactly what I mean. Work is quite busy these days and my other responsibilities haven’t exactly been letting up either. This blog, which I love, has turned out to be a much more ambitious venture than I had first considered. It has gotten pretty time and effort intensive, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. After all, I do it to myself. I’m the one who can’t seem to resist constantly trying new things or taking up projects.
As a result, I get pretty exhausted by the end of the day. In every sense of the word but mostly mentally. Some days, I just don’t have the intellectual rigor to take on a challenging analysis of the impact and role of minority representation in anime or possibly a study on the subversion of toxic masculinity in modern shōnen offerings. I made up both of these titles and now I would really like to read them… Some days, I want to sit back and giggle at a lighthearted parody of fan culture or nod in agreement at a concise review of one of my favorite shows while enjoying all the pretty pictures. Some days I don’t want to think too much and that’s where frivolity comes in.
I’ve heard some of you bemoan (see, I know words too…) the fact that your posts aren’t “important”. That you’re not generating much-needed social discourse, that you don’t get tons of comments. Let me share a little something with you. On days that have been so long and so draining that even the prospect of watching anime seems like too much of a burden, a few top 5 lists and comical musings about a character’s hair color and/or underwear preference, are a the most welcomed distraction in the world. The reenergize me and make me smile. I truly enjoy them…but I never comment. Partly this is because I’m too tired to gather my thoughts up into an interesting comment and partly it’s because this was an exercise in pure enjoyment. I appreciate it, but I just don’t have much to say beyond “like”.
Poosibly in part because of the lack of discourse, there’s a prevalent misconception that lighthearted posts are somehow lesser. You know, easier to write, less researched, not as important. That these are fillers, haphazardly thrown together as an afterthought. I have even heard some of the bloggers who publish these types of posts worry that their readers will think less of them because they are not putting out sociological thesis every week.
Writing a good piece of fluff is an art. It takes careful consideration. The slightest misstep and you end up with an incomprehensible mess, an offensive piece of trash or even worse a boring post. You need to be able to flesh out your inconsequential content enough to give readers something to chew on but stretch it out just a touch too far and it will snap leaving you with nothing at all.
Making people smile is by no means an easy thing. There’s no formula to it, no agreed upon convention. It’s a painstaking process that may not require as much traditional research as a more probing journalistic piece but requires hearty amounts of introspection, as creating the proper rapport with your audience for this piece to work means writing from an earnest and open place. That is by no means easier or thoughtless.
Yeah, yeah, we all throw out filler posts now and then, but just because something is a top 10 list, doesn’t mean the author hasn’t poured their heart into it and just because you have to look up half the words in a post’s title, doesn’t mean the author didn’t just jolt down the first thing that came to mind. Once you practice a little, formal and technical writing is pretty easy and you can hide a very thin thesis behind a huge amount of words.
But if you take anything away from this, it’s that distraction IS important. I agree that there are a number of conversations we need to have. There are things to work out. I am a huge advocate of just thinking. The mind is a muscle that weakens and gets lazy with lack of use. If you never challenge it, if you act dumb long enough, you will find that you’ve become dumb. However, this means it also needs rest. It needs to take on surface level information from time to time.
A piece of writing that will give you a pleasant jolt, make you smile and feel comfortable for a little, is invaluable. And the bloggers talented enough to create such pieces should be proud!
88 thoughts on “The Importance of Frivolity”
I think I have produced a couple of the fluffiest, laziest, anime posts imaginable.
That’s a great accomplishment
Oh yes!! Gosh the highlight of my week is the hot men posts… I love writing silly things and I love reading them. Usually after a rough day at work it is so much easier to watch a lovely comedy anime and just relax.
Right – my heart breaks when a blogger tells me – I could write a top 10 male nipples but that’s too silly….I so want to read that….
I think having fun, fluffy posts on a blog are an excellent way to just unwind and chill, and have some fun. It also shows the readers/followers that you like to kick-back. I’m like you, on my longest and, to be frank, most fucked-up and shittiest days, I love reading posts like that, focusing on how this character’s eyes are beautiful, or listening to someone ramble about their waifus and husbandos and whatnot. It’s not important to be serious or super focused on the essentials of blogging, or even just life all of the time or life just becomes such an exhausting drag. I LOVE this post so much. Thank you for writing it. ♥♥
It was my pleasure! And that lovely eye post sounds delightful!
I’m thinking about doing one that focuses on something like that, eyes or hair or something. I think it would be very chill. 🙂
Currently in the same “wake-up call” as you could say. 😀
I could go into length about why forcing myself into weekly reviews and arbitrary schedules was pretty bad for my lifestyle, but I guess my new direction can be summed up like this:
Sometimes I do stuff like this: https://criticalbytesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/fire-emblem-fates/
But when I’m half-assed, then I really am: https://criticalbytesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/yu-gi-oh-duel-monsters-anime/
here seems to be a trend to fluffy means badly crafted but I disagree. Man – if that’s your half-assed your full buttocked must be something to behold!
Thanks for the praise 😀 Well, if you want to see stuff into which I put a lot of effort, then the video reviews I make might be interesting (though I don’t know if you’re into video games or not) 😀
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38uab2FksWo This, for example, is a review about the game “Ghost of a Tale”, but I have quite a bunch more on the channel.
Here’s a quick list of the videos: https://criticalbytesblog.wordpress.com/video-reviews/
Fun posts be fun. My favourite top X posts are the ones that come out of nowhere. Top 5 talking cats, top 5 hats… They’re an excuse for pretty picture and fun memories and sometimes even lead to cool new shows to watch.
Taking notes…those are the toughest though….
Oh, don’t worry. You’re doing fine.
I feel like Top 10 posts get a bad wrap ever since the WatchMojo stigma came into focus online. I like to think that Top 10 lists from myself and other people I follow have just as much work put into them in simply deciding what is good enough to qualify for said list and why one ranks them where they do to warrant it outside the “Fluff” category. I mean, sure, there are lists that consist of best underwear or hair colored heroes, but even those are strange enough to consider what kind of “Best” one puts into said list. Top 10 lists are often some of my favorite content to see from people because not only does it rile up my opinionated side if I feel strong enough about the topic to comment, but it shows a lot of what the lister prioritizes in their work, or topic, or whatever. It has that author flavor that has become fascinating to me in recent months.
I agree – I put together a top 5 list for coming weeks that is probably the most time consuming post I’ve ever done… granted I tend to stay firmly on the frivolous side so it’s not THAt impressive
Honestly, needed this reminder. A lot of my content this month has been ‘pre-planned’ for the most part as I scramble with real life. Knowing that I’m not the only one who enjoys a good light hearted post just to scroll though makes me feel a lot better. Hopefully I’ll be able to commit to writing some more ‘fluff’ pieces even if they’re taxing. (Thinking of my own top ten lists sitting in drafts makes me so anxious).
Oh noes – that’s the opposite of what I wanted – no stress, everything is going to be great!
Nah! This was an easy read and an inspiration of sorts. Not every blog post needs to be perfect/inspiring great discussion!
To tell the truth – I just like reading the silly stuff so I’m trying to jedi mind trick people into writing more 😉
The Jedi mind tricks strike again! Well, you’ve convinced me!
Also send me cupcakes! I feel like my tricks are getting less subtle…
If only I could beam them to you lol
I seriously read this relating to so much of it! There is nothing wrong with filler or fluff and sometimes I so desperately want to talk about something but don’t because it’s basically “irrelevant fluff” but at the same time I cannot spend every moment of my anime watching thinking and analysing a series as that is impossible! I try to pour my heart into anything and everything I write and things like top 10 posts are always fun for me. I can give myself time to not think as much as I would with a review but can still pour all my passion into it as to why I think the things I do! Brilliant and relatable post Irina! 😄
I hope you decide to write those irrelevant posts I can’t wait to read them!
Aww haha thanks! I appreciate that 😄
So this is why I consistently seem to have +75 anime analysis vids awaiting me in my YouTube watch later feed at the end of every single tiring work day . . . huh. Who would’ve known?
Now I should do nothing but silly posts for a week and see what happens, ahaha!
Yes you should! I’ll wait!
This is much needed advice for those with incredibly active minds. I’ve been considering “fluff” posts for my blog but stopped myself. Honestly, for no other reason than I didn’t consider it valuable. Truth be told, I love lists. Especially odd lists. 2015 BuzzFeed was how I survived my reception job. I could be prime BuzzFeed! 😀
Well I do love your posts as they are – there’s really room for both
Well I think you know I do too much. Some posts ends up being less or more a 1000words. It’s never mattered to me how many words I pour out. But my words pouring out really till I’m finished.
I think you do just enough!!!
Haha maybe you do more than me irina lol
I agree with everyone that says listicles are actually a surprising amount of work, particularly if you’re actually going through each item in at least a certain degree of depth!
Re: the “my posts aren’t important” thing… the thing I’d say to that is that posts regarded as “important”, certainly in the games industry at the moment, are some of the most boring things imaginable because they all say the same thing. Yada yada, misogyny, toxic masculinity, problematic representations, diversity, etc etc. This isn’t to say these things aren’t important to discuss, of course, but they also most certainly aren’t the *only* things to write about, so no-one should feel *obliged* to write about them if they don’t feel able to… or just don’t want to!
A lot of people’s issues with these “important” posts in gaming is the fact that they tend to be exceedingly negative in tone — the common misconception that “criticism” means “say something negative at any cost, even if you actually quite liked the thing”. This sometimes even crosses a line into suggesting that people who like the thing under scrutiny are somehow bad people… such as more than one laughable article about Senran Kagura I’ve read that suggested the only people who play it are paedophiles and sex offenders. (The series’ considerable following among lesbians would like a word with you, beardy white man.)
Moreover, many of these articles simply list problems without offering any real solutions, suggestions or alternatives. After nearly a decade of this — by my reckoning, this type of article has been growing in prevalence since about 2010 or so — people are fed up!
So in summary… yes, a bit of lighthearted enjoyment is just as “important” as the things that people post on Twitter and claim to be “MANDATORY READING”. Perhaps even more so these days!
Write what you want, not what you think you “should”.
I want to write a smart reply but I just got really interested by your comment. Have you written more on the issue?
Which particular issue? I blurted out quite a lot there! 🙂
*jumps gun* With apologies in advance for the link spam!
Looking back over my archives, some of these might be relevant reading if I haven’t shared them with you already:
https://moegamer.net/2017/04/29/moegamer-the-third-birthday/ – This was from my site’s third birthday last year, and tells a bit of my history in the professional games press, as well as how I ended up feeling rather unwelcome in a sector I had adored since childhood!
https://moegamer.net/2017/07/08/destructoids-valkyrie-drive-review-is-more-than-just-bad-games-journalism/ – This followed a publication’s sub-1000 word “review” of a game from the creators of Senran Kagura in which the writer explicitly said he believed it to be “for paedophiles”.
https://moegamer.net/2015/05/13/lets-talk-about-dungeon-travelers-2-and-ecchi-content/ – From 2015, a response to a rather unpleasant news article announcing the localisation of Dungeon Travelers 2, a game with ecchi content that ended up being one of my all-time favourite games, full stop. I subsequently covered the game as one of my first monthly Cover Game features at https://moegamer.net/all-games/dungeon-travelers-2
http://archive.is/HTPyk – From 2013, a piece I wrote back when I worked on USgamer in which I spoke to people from several prominent localisation companies about bringing “otaku” games to the West, including overcoming the obstacle of the increasing prevalence of poor quality, ill-informed quasi-feminist criticism that was already on the rise at this time.
Thank you!!!! This is awesome. Sorry for being so lazy
It’s not lazy! I have over 400 articles on my site, if someone’s after something specific I’m more than happy to point them straight to it to save them a search 🙂 oddly enough I have a pretty detailed index of pretty much everything I’ve ever written in my head so can usually pull stuff up without too much difficulty! Ah, the occasional benefits of being on the spectrum.
You’re site is super easy to navigate compared to most – I could have done the work but when the author suggests something themselves – it’s usually a particularly good piece – you know…
Those were some great points. I know the feeling working since I work multiple jobs and try to write quality posts. Sure, I’m guilty of giving 9s and 10s to serious and even depressing animes and movies, but I do have a capacity for lighter fare. Shoot, I’ve given a positive review to a Nigerian movie called Lunch Time Heroes which wasn’t some serious movie. Shinesman is a straight up parody of the Power Rangers mixed with business satire and I think it’s one of the funniest anime properties I’ve seen.
It can be tricky to quantify enjoyment. There are movies that aren’t that great…predictive pot just ok acting. unimpressive production and ye I love them. They make me happy…
Quite true. I’ve had my own choices that could fall under that even if I reviewed them or not.
I am a big fan of fluff because it generates some fun and light discussion in the comments, and is a nice distraction from the stress of life.
However, I’m not really a fluff writer by nature. I tried lists for a while, but considering my inspiration for starting a blog was Super Eyepatch Wolf, an incredibly analytical video essayist, my posts tend to be wordier and focused on certain topics.
With OJT starting, I’ve decided to cut my posting down to 2-3 full essays a week, plus a review of whatever it was I’m watching, alongside my other series.
I have you and Karandi as well to thank for that work ethic as well tho, lol.
Well being mentioned alongside Karandi is always an epic compliment – thank you!
Well you know, the fluff only works because we have some detailed analytical that put in all that hard work to create some contrast.
Mind you I’ve seen some very ill researched analytical posts too. Not on your blog!
Being a librarian, I mostly write reviews around the idea of either recommending or warning away patrons from viewing a program or book. I’m not trying to generate social discourse. I’m doing the librarian’s job of reviewing materials. Too many in my field don’t read or review, and those are exactly the sorts of people I’d politely fire when I’m running a library. There’s too much demand in library jobs to employ people who don’t like books (or movies and anime). If you’re really writing for social discourse, politics are an easy way to troll. If you just want to enjoy and comment on what you’re watching, continue what you’ve been doing. Its fine. Its not like you’re getting paid, after all.
Well I think some bloggers do get paid ut reviewing is a little different. I wrote the post with essays in mind to be honest. I guess it would still apply somewhat
The most important thing is: are you having fun writing posts? If the answer is yes, keep doing it. If the answer is no: change what you need to to make it fun again.
That’s the best advice even if it’s easier said than done some times
In my experience, women have a tendency to overcommit to projects rather than limit themselves to what they actually can do, or want to do. You might be suffering from this particular ailment. Do less, be more happy.
? I’m super happy…. I mean I just became a partner so obvious there’s a lot of work but I am the type of person that really enjoys working you know. And when I don’t, I’ll just quit – it’s not like there isn’t an almost infinite amount of possibilities out there – right!?
That sounds like a quotation of a dingbat about to snap. As a pessimist, I will only say that Infinite is the amount of work you can do for other people without getting any real gratitude or payment for your efforts. Ahem. If you try to make everyone happy no one will like it.
But seriously, just do the stuff you like to do with your blog. You don’t have to be obligated for answers to tag posts. Just write what you want.
Dude – did you just call me a dingbat about to snap ? That’s super cute but it sounds kinda angry. I’m not sure why but I it was never my intent to tick you off.
It’s super sweet of you to worry but rest assured – this blog is purely for fun. I’m not planning to ever make it more than that and so far it’s been nothing but enjoyable.
You weren’t quoting a movie? Yikes. Now I’m even more worried about you. I’m glad you understand the need to keep the fun in your life, and online blogging should be fun. Don’t let the stress of overwork get you down. Learn your limits and understand that you can’t do everything, only what you can do. I have worked with women who made similar statements about working too hard, not realizing their panic was obvious to others. Try not to get any closer to that point, if you can.
Yeah – I think we work in different environments. Man, that would have been the worst movie quote ever.
Nah, it would totally have starred that chick from Legally Blonde, or better yet, that intern from Thor who tased him. Did you know there’s an entire fanfiction series about her? https://www.tthfanfic.org/Series-2696 “Darcy Lewis, Vampire Hunter, Semi Retired.” There. You’ll laugh. It isn’t actually very long, all short story snippets.
As for work environments: I have worked in the wine industry, as a professional cartographer, as an expert cellphone tech support guru, as a DNA chemist, and most recently as a librarian. I haven’t seen it ALL, but I’ve seen a lot. I’ve had bosses who make Harvey Weinstein look civilized.
What does a DNA chemist do?
Synthesize DNA from raw chemicals, for sale in DNA research labs. I used a number of lab robots to accomplish this. Some call the job bioengineering, but that’s wildly optimistic. If engineers failed 99.99% of all tests like bioengingeers do, they’d be disbarred from working ever again.
Oh, I use to do that in school. Well, codones mosty. At the time there was no DNA chemist specialty, we were all either physicians or biochemists. DNA chemist has more flair to it
Well. I was a Lab Chemist but I worked in DNA specifically, not just general chemistry. I was annoyed with our employer because they insisted we were synthesizing MicroRNA, but we didn’t use Uracil so then it OBVIOUSLY wasn’t RNA. It was synthetic DNA, even if it was short strands and straight, not protein folded or anything interesting. That job sucked. I really hated it after the first year, and more after the second.
I’m sorry to hear that. Lab work isn’t for everyone
It was all the scars and nosebleeds which bothered me most. And the shortness of breath from the cyanide from one of the solvents. That lasted for three days, so at the end of the three day weekend I’d be going back to work to do it again. The scars faded, but that job will give me cancer eventually. I wouldn’t mind lab work in safer industrial processes. Artifical spider silk? Sure. Aerogels? Sure. Just not carcinogens. I’d rather make something which is useful, not just 99.99% likely to fail, like all DNA research.
I’m not sure if you’re still following on the latest tech but 2 years ago a lab in the states released an essay detailing how to make a cheap organic matrix for DNA printing and proof of concept has now been established. Of course crispr was also making big news at the time. There are a lot of promising areas of research right now, at least in my opinion.
CRISPR actually worked? That wasn’t a scam? Wow. Wonders never cease. The lab I worked for pissed off its major patent holder who cancelled their discount when he quit and left them having to pay for their rights like everyone else. Their rapist manager and high school politics didn’t work well when they had to compete in the real world and it got sold to a competitor. I hated that place.
Thankfully I’m a librarian now. Much less stressful, though the racism and discrimination in my industry is seriously impeding employment.
Glad to hear you’re happier now.
Thanks. Writing reviews is much happier work than DNA misery.
The thing with fluff is that a low effort post can look like a medium effort post-
So if you’re really gonna try, then commit!
Then again, if it’s just a chill post, maybe just have fun with it?
I don’t think that fun means low effort thought. I’ve had a lot of fun with posts that were a killer to put together
I just get so tired sometimes from my classes that I kinda just write whatever…
It’s just a fun cathartic activity for me, but probably not for anyone reading!
>when you realise this post itself is also a filler post of fluffs
Yes, I’m such a contributive member of society.
Shower me with more love please.
I try to
You are right, as usual, Irina. Work has been hard for me too recently, which is why my posts rarely go above 1000 words. All your posts are great though and I am amazed about how many running collabs you have going. Don’t be done on yourself.
Also, this sounds pervy, but I am looking forward to the underwear choices post. Sounds like a humorously good time.
Oh my – those were okes…I have to write them now? I don’t watch that much anime with panties in it but I know some people who do…collab!
Well, you don’t have to…
Maybe I’ll do it to shock people!
Do IT!!!! Mecha panties FTW
Do skin/plug suits count?
YOU tell me!
😁 Well do.
Thank you for this!
Not many people know it, but even something as small as a Top 10 list can be taxing on the mind as well
True – I’ve read some really thought provoking lists that were really proding editorials in list form. t it’s sort of easier to read when it’s all organized for you
Hear hear, well said! I put WAY more work into my Top 10 lists than I do any of my other posts. Being fun isn’t easy!
I would say that for some it’s much harder.