Deep Japanese Thoughts: A Postscript
Reading the comments for the last entry, it seems as if most people think I’ve finally gone completely insane, or gave in to the pressures of Japan and smoked some crack up, quite possibly behind my ears even. I found this somewhat surprising.
As I was an English major w/creative writing emphasis in university, I took a few classes on writing. One professor warned us all against using popular culture. If the audience got it, great, but if they didn’t, whatever we tried to do would fall flat. For an example, he gave us an excerpt of a story where a character went into another character’s bathroom and found several bars of a certain brand of soap. To us young college students, this meant absolutely nothing. However, the story had been written quite a few years ago, when daytime drama on TV was heavily sponsored by soap companies, aka soap operas. Given the time period of the story, to find several bars of a particular kind of soap showed that this particular character was a housewife, one who stayed at home, watched a lot of TV, and was apparently easily influenced. Of course, we in the current age had no idea about any of this, and that particular characterization point was lost.
When I started writing my editorials, I didn’t really have an audience, and was pretty much just writing for myself. So, I didn’t try to filter out any obscure references I thought might be lost on general audiences. Like, really specific Street Fighter slang, or long since canceled TV shows, etc. Amazingly enough, most people actually seemed to get these references. I could talk about the stupidly awesome properties of the crouching fierce, how much I wanted to get inside of Herman’s Head so that I could party with Animal and bang the holy shit outta Angel, or even how a quadriplegic couldn’t break my stride, and yet somehow, people were always like, “OMG I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE!!!” It seemed like I couldn’t make a reference that was too obscure.
So, I was kind of surprised and disappointed to find out that I might be living in a world where people don’t know about Jack Handey.
I guess this is just my long-winded way of saying–man, I feel old now. If I ever make a Smurfs reference and the majority of people didn’t get it, I dunno what I’d do. Genius would probably blow a fuse.