Another blog posted on this site warns readers that “Anime Encourages Murder.” It is a blog sponsored by a political group trying to elect a religious conservative to the Senate. What this really is, if we are honest, is more fear-mongering by the right wing, noisy, religious conservatives who don’t think that most of us are capable of making decisions on our own or in our own best interest. They are adept at twisting logic to fit their political agenda, professionals at distorting language to serve their ideological purposes, and convinced (in the most psychotic of ways) of their own moral and ethical superiority.
Let’s apply logic to this one particular statement and show how ridiculous this really is.
First, let’s talk Anime, which is the Japanese animation art form that has gained commercial success in the United States and other countries. You might know it from Pokeman, Naruto, Kapa Mikey, or other kids cartoons on cable TV. As with any other art form, Anime has a darker side, too. There are Anime porn movies, Anime snuff films, and Anime slasher movies. And you can find these here in the U.S. at any FYE store if you are an adult and are so inclined. But as with any art form, the fact that it exists does not mean that your average human has an interest in owning it. Nor does it mean that view this will cause you to lash out and begin committing anti-social crimes. Even if you look at A LOT of it, you won’t necessarily decide you have a sudden urge to take a Samurai sword to your neighbor. The desire or urge to commit crime stems from other factors, some biological, some psychological, some chemical. This assertion, to me, sounds like the great uproar in the 1970s and 1980s that said rock and roll led on a direct path to promiscuity.
Next, look at how logic fails in those two examples: you conveniently ignore individual choice and accountability. If I choose to take a Samurai sword to my neighbor (which, by the way, I would NEVER even consider), then a relative group of influences may have led me to think about it, but ultimately, the choice to take action is my own. I’m responsible; not a comic book, not rock music, not a DVD of “Kill Bill” (either volume I or II), the blame is my own.
Even within our justice system we hold the individual responsible for his or her actions regardless of the circumstances. If “the voices” told you to do something, if you were “just playing WWF Smackdown” with your friend, or if you just wanted to see what the inside of a skull looked like the criminal justice system doesn’t care. The system looks at the person, not the excuse. If your mom and dad weren’t the optimal role models, the judge is not going to care – once you reach an age of self-determination (making choices for yourself about yourself and your behaviors) then you are accountable for those decisions.
As individuals we each make choices about our influences as well as our actions. Attempting to pick a segment of the universe such as music, video games, anime, or naughty magazines and trying to blame the world’s woes on that is not only short-sighted, but illogical. Look at these broad statements for what they are: an attempt by an individual or group to gain self-importance or worth by finding a target upon which to lay the label “evil” or “bad.” Don’t fall for it.