Here’s a brief exchange that started on the topic of /r/anime’s heated feelings regarding Clannad, but quickly diverged into a musing on the motivations of forum posters in general. Since the time of this posting, I’ve had several stress-testing discussions on my psychological desires theory, and have adjusted/refined it in a number of ways – but I still believe there is a decent amount of insight into people versus their media here.
Why does it seems like there’s a rising hate for Clannad’s popularity on r/anime?, Ive even seen people say its almost a circlejerk…
If so then fuck that. Clannad is popular because it is unbelieveablly amazing, its why its so highly rated, recommended and genuinely loved. You can hate the mainstream stuff if you believe they are dragging out series to earn more money. But how low you must be to feel the need to hate a short finished anime that people treasure simply for that exact reason.
Clannad is the most popular show on /r/anime. Here, Clannad is the mainstream.
I believe the term mainstream has far more meaning than just popular. As Wikipedia puts it, its a cultural construct. its a Factor that affects media throughout production and has several causes, such as profit, popularity and largely shared tastes.
Mainstream is the common current thought of the majority. However, the mainstream is far from cohesive; rather the concept is often considered a cultural construct.
So no, I believe Clannad is popular here, its the most liked if the latest polls are still valid, but I still believe mainstream isnt a term you can use to describe a sole entity, but rather movement and actions of that entity. For example, Dragon Ball Z Was mainstream, its still super popular, all over the internet and even in /r/anime (sure its not liked that much), I mean every DBZ movie post gets like 100+ upvotes on ave (one got 2000+), however mainstream is used to define how that anime came to be, how it consistently stayed popular and sold well, but thats all in the past, and it wouldnt be entirly accurate to say its mainstream anymore (the same way how saying Elvis’ music is mainstream now inst right). And I believe it’s the same case is with Clannad (even if Clannish was never mainstream to begin with), it ended, it wasnt that popular, but it was good enough to create a massive fanbase and be treasured in a highly valued status, that inst mainstream, not here or there.
Interesting response, and this is an interesting subject. Let me think “out loud” for a moment here…
Mainstream is a cultural construct, but I don’t think it only has to apply to macro-cultures (I don’t think that’s a word, but you get what I mean) – I feel that once any community reaches a certain size it can be described as having its own “culture,” and I also feel /r/anime is large enough that you can describe it as having “cultural trends.” I feel like the backlash you’re describing (people mocking the “DAE cry at Angel Beats/Clannad” posts, etc) is a predictable response to a large, definable subset of the community.
Hm… I automatically typed “subset” instead of “culture” there, and I think that actually points to an issue with my own first thought. In my opinion, /r/anime doesn’t have one culture, it has at least three, and they’re each partly responsible for a very different piece of the puzzle – I think the largest populations of new post creators, upvoters, and commenters are three very different groups of people, and that those populations are partially reflective of whether they approach anime (and by proxy, both media and communities in general) for entertainment, enrichment, or emotional resonance.
Okay, I am getting way off topic here. I’d actually like to write a full larger post about this specific topic, but ironically I’m pretty sure if my thesis were correct, that larger post would be downvoted into oblivion. But I think the points I should be making here are that:
A. Backlash to something that is very popular and inspires rabid adoration (which, in the context of /r/anime , is true of Clannad) is to be expected.
B. I personally don’t see an issue with using the word “mainstream” to describe a work or opinion’s position within a smaller culture, though as I’ve said the case is somewhat more complicated than that here.
C. While Clannad may be considered “unbelievably amazing” to one of the largest subsets of the /r/animecommunity, that is not necessarily a reflection of its inarguable qualities, and more a reflection of how well it satisfies the needs/desires of that subset. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel like your original post was implying that people were hating something inarguably amazing just because other people loved it, which isn’t at all necessarily true.
Sorry this got so long; it’s just a reflection of how interesting I find these arguments.
Fantastic response. You do raise many valid and interesting points. I’ll admit that I may not be presenting mainstream entirely accurate, it does seem like it’s possible in smaller communities, but it’s much more vague. You describe the backlash perfectly, and my original point was that it seems to be growing. I’m not entirely sure why? Is it because people are sick of hearing about Clannad? Is it simple the possible mainstream v hipster factor unlikely leaking into r/anime? Sure, not many people like it as much, but I’m certain only a tiny few hate… So then where is this backlash growing from?
I guess we can only speculate. But keep an open mind, because lately more and more Clannad posts and comments and being downvoted without giving reasons (that I’m curious to find out)
I actually disagree with your “downvote without reason” claim here – in my experience, the votes and threads are normally in favor of Clannad, but the comments trend against it, at least outside of the (and I think we can both agree on this) circlejerk recommendation threads where Clannad still comes up with pretty overwhelming regularity. So if people are in the middle of a discussion unrelated to Clannad and it comes up, it might be viewed unfavorably – but if someone brings it up in a vacuum, or in the context of a circlejerky thread, it will receive all the upvotes.
-As a quick addendum, I do think part of the backlash is because so much of the support for Clannad exists in the form of either anonymous votes or swarms of people within recommendation threads – neither of which lend themselves to actual discussions of a show’s quality. But anyway…-
Personally, I think the idea of a hipster is kind of a fake one (at least outside of a tiny, statistically insignificant subset of super-self-conscious people), and this Clannad thing is far more fundamental than that. In my opinion, most of the very distinct pro/con divide comes down to these groups I was discussing. Clannad is a “feel-good” show, designed to evoke a fundamental, emotional resonance with the viewer – it attracts people who want to relate to shows emotionally, and these people often view online communities in a similar way, gravitating towards emotional confirmation (DAE Feel This Feeling, etc). In contrast to this, I think many of the people who find this situation aggravating do so because they take the show purely at face value, by surveying its objective merits without being swayed by its emotional intention. The way these people often view online communities is a reflection of their approach to media – they look to find new ideas and viewpoints, and to see their opinions either refined or challenged. From this perspective, the idea of a “DAE Feel This Feel” thread is a tedious waste of time, which results in no new perspectives of any kind, and basically clogs a center of discourse with intellectual static.
I think this fundamental disagreement on the essential point of media is the foundation of a lot of the arguments we run into in places like this.