Dear friends, tell me, are you aware of the perils of the metaphor? Do you know of all the traps simple examples can put in your way? You may think to yourself that these are simply useful tools to get a point across when writing a thesis but beware! If it gets the chance – a metaphor will eat you and your entire family!
That may be a slight exaggeration…to prove a point!
Have you ever had a brilliant notion that you wanted to share with folks around you and decided to link your hypothesis to a popular work of fiction, or anime, just to have the conversation immediately veer into a debate about the show itself rather than the larger point you were making?
Have you ever expressed a personal opinion about a general trope, and given a few examples for reference, just to have people immediately start defending or condemning each specific example one by one, sometimes on issues completely irrelevant to your original statement?
Do you, like me, completely avoid mentioning certain genres, no matter how perfectly they would illustrate what you are trying to say, because you know that if you do, your actual point will get completely buried in debates over details or emotional lashing out? Either that or your think pieces are 50% disclaimer?
I know that I get the odd comment from someone that seems to have fixated on a single line or two of my post. It often ends up being some great comments but I’m sad I’m not getting that reader’s opinion of the actual subject I was trying to discuss.
This is a pitfall that seems common to human interaction as a whole. And it makes the use of metaphors and examples very tricky. However, this gets multiplied when applied to blog posts. Unlike interactive conversations, I cannot clarify my meaning and bring the conversation back on track in real-time. But unlike traditional print media, there is a comment section, so if one reader gets preoccupied on a small detail and leaves a comment about that detail in particular, it stays there for all to see and can drive the entire conversation. Even people that wouldn’t have noticed otherwise, may now feel compelled to comment in that regard.
There are a few reasons for this. For instance, if your reader is more interested in the anime you mention than the greater point you are trying to make, their mind will naturally grab onto that. As such that’s what they will be discussing. I know I’ve been guilty of this regularly. Alternatively, if they have nothing in particular to add to the debate but know a lot about the example you used, they may feel that a comment on that will be more interesting.
You should also keep in mind your audience. After a while, we get a sense of the people who read our blog. I can tell that my readers tend to generally enjoy CGDCT titles and not be particularly interested in CBDCT shows. You guys are missing out on pure comedy gold I tell ya! I know I have to be very careful not to alienate anyone because somehow, I seem to draw the attention of people ho have very different tastes, and interests than me. This is absolutely awesome! But it does mean that I can’t expect everyone to naturally know where I’m coming from if I don’t explain it.
I just wrote that as if it’s all special and doesn’t apply to every blogger out there… The problem is slightly mitigated when you have a more niche blog that discusses more specific topics. Then the majority of your readership will tend to be a bit more similar to you. However, in general, it’s good to lay some groundwork.
Another problem with using specific titles as Metaphors is that your audience must be familiar with what you’re referencing in order for it to work. You can of course explain the story and use it a s a parable of sorts but not everyone is skilled a summarizing and you risk confusing your readers.
You could simply pick a very popular title and figure most fans will have at least heard of it. Of course, it’s those very popular titles that everyone has an opinion on, so this increases your chances of derailing the conversation.
See what mean? Perilous little beasts those metaphors. I know I’ve been using the word metaphor mostly when I mean both metaphor and example. Someone will probably explain this to me in detail….
On the other hand, though, they do spruce up an essay. Abstract monologuing can become quite dull without some specific references your readers can grab onto to give your ramblings some context. You probably don’t ramble, bit I sure do… Also, this is an anime blog. No really, it is… Hopefully my readers come here because they want to read or discuss anime related topics. It’s not the same if I don’t at least pretend to adhere to that standard.
In short, you definitely shouldn’t avoid using examples if they are relevant. Just be prepared to have your brilliant idea skipped over in favour of a heated discussion on which character wore it best or something. (That would be a great post….stealing my own idea…)
Wait, I did say this was an anime blog…um ok. Oy, know how Madoka is essentially a light precursor to Sword Art Online? It’s exactly like that but with more BnHA and not as moe.