Anyone who’s spent any time trying to review, analyze, editorialize a subject, or really just talk to another human being, has at one point run up against the difficulty of making themselves understood. Communicating one’s thoughts clearly is a monumental undertaking at the best of times but difficulties get compounded when you must do so on paper without the help of emphasis, background context or non-verbal communication and to an audience who doesn’t necessarily share the same frame of reference or even language.
The fact that any of you have even the slightest idea what I’m talking about at any time is nothing short of astounding.
In the past, I’ve seen a lot of posts mention again and again the problems bloggers, reviewers and general ramblers face when it comes time to choosing correct terminology. We all use buzz words as shorthand to express complex notions. After all, we don’t want a review of a show to be longer than the show itself and painstakingly describing everything is bound to make for a really boring read. But what happens when words are used so often or in so many different contexts that they lose all meaning.
For example, here is a list of words that mean something very clear to me but are either meaningless or have a different definition to others: Pacing; Yuri; Original; Cliché; Deconstruction; Derivative; Dark; Self-referential… You get the gist
So If I say: This show is a Yuri Deconstruction of a Sports anime but ends up downright Derivative of the Original. I know exactly what I mean but you may think it’s complete drivel. And we might both be right. So what?
I guess we could all get together and create a master aniblog lexicon we could all refer to. It sounds absolutely dreadful and I bet no one would ever actually use it. I know I won’t. I cure writer’s block by making up words. We could all make an effort to find the mot juste as much as possible and make all our posts sound like rejected Frasier scripts. The show went off the air 15 years ago… way to be topical, Irina!
Or we could all agree that this isn’t actually a problem.
The way I see it, it’s ok if you don’t understand what I mean. There are people who’ve known me almost my whole life who mostly have no clue what I’m talking about most of the time. That’s on me. I’ve made my peace with it. And it’s ok if you understand something different, after all that’s part of the wonder of communication. How a disembodied idea can travel across space and time changing shape with each mind it touches is actually real-life magic. Besides, as we get to know each other, you’ll start to get familiar with my eccentricities. You’ll know that when I say Yuri I mean that there is both implicit sexual content and explicit lesbian themes. You’ll know that my grasp of the English language is tenuous and odd and that I know some real fancy-sounding words (not many) yet seem to be unaware of common everyday expressions. You’ll realize that sometimes I forget to type out part of the sentence that’s in my head…
Have I mentioned how much I appreciate your patience with my writing? I really do.
Point is, I, like everybody else, have a personal style of writing and favoured expressions that I use in particular situations. They aren’t always very clear or accurate, but they’re mine. My style, vocabulary and tone are unique to me, like a scribbler’s fingerprint if you will. And sometimes that will make me a bit challenging to understand, and other times my message will get misinterpreted, and that’s o.k. It’s not impossible that on occasion someone in the comments, having completely misunderstood my point, ended up thinking me much more clever than I was…. Score!
So guys please, use whatever words you like. Make up new ones. Teach us your favourites from different languages. Enjoy yourselves, we’re not putting together term papers. Unless you like writing term papers, then do those. And if you really really have to know exactly what I mean, ask me. I’ll be thrilled to confuse you further.