Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why I like live reviews so much

Lately I have basically been spamming my blog with manga reviews. I have no idea who would want to read these and I even have difficulty rereading them. There's very little content or context and you have to put in some work googling to understand even remotely what's going on.

So... what's the deal? Why do I do it?

Really easy to write

These posts require absolutely no foresight or reflection. I never feel stalled out on them or anxious about what I'll say next or anything. That's a nice feeling, to just be able to easily write.

Makes me enjoy the thing more
I found that I was sometimes reading manga or listening to albums somewhat "automatically"... like, I would click through them or put them on, but I wasn't really processing everything, or sometimes anything. I would try to focus, but I had a weird inclination to multitask... for "productivity". But with this system, whatever it is gets 100% of my attention.

Transcends the good/bad dichotomy via dedication
I was just talking with a friend about the amazing UTV archiver saga. I felt like the sheer effort required to make this, the sheer dedication, makes it that questions of "is this real? is this fake?" or "was this worth doing?" fall by the wayside. Not even close to considered is the question of "is this good or bad?". This appeals to me. If I simply do enough of these reviews, the whole project will take on a certain noteworthy quality, even if none of the content is noteworthy.

Captures the moment of first experience
People who know me know that I am a very sentimental person. People who know me even better might have difficulty reconciling that with other things they know about me, but whatever, to be hypocritical is to be human. I mourn thoughts that I've had and forgotten and can never have again. This is especially true for my speculations in serial series, things like that. I want to preserve them all.

Generates a lot of raw data (with some justification)

I am fascinated by my own tastes... okay yeah that sounds horrible, but it has the same sort of root cause as the sentimentality thing... I like making lists of my favorites, or going through and rating a bunch of things. This is a good sweet spot where I end up with a lot of scores and stuff I can graph and analyze and generally dick around with, but they weren't generated totally recklessly. Granted I sort of consider scores I hand out during live reviews to be my review of the experience of the first listen or read or whatever, and not of the actual piece itself, but whatever.

Works via microchunking
If I'm reviewing an album or a manga series the "old fashioned" way, I'm generally going to look at the work as a whole. This is way harder. It's also way more valuable in terms of potentially coming up with insightful things that are actually worth reading, but... I also really like stuff that's very chunked, in terms of evaluation. I like finding out about a particular section that someone really enjoyed or disliked, and then being able to give particular attention to that section myself. It's the easiest way to really try to identify with the mindset of the reviewer, to try to get in his head for a small particular section. I'd chunk everything like this if I could... not to replace a traditional, all-encompassing review, but to accompany it.

Helps promote writing as an automatic mode of communication
Given my ambitions with writing, I feel any time I spend actually typing words isn't a total waste. Even if it just acclimatizes me to the physical act of sitting and writing, it's helping. Right now I think "automatically", i.e. I can continuously articulate all but the most challenging thoughts to myself with no effort - i.e. all the effort is sent on the content of the thought and not the articulation. I can do this to a lesser extent when I'm talking. Eventually I'd like the same fluidity between thought and articulation to exist with the keyboard or pen.

That's about it
You'll notice there's very little in there about why you, the reader, should like live reviews so much...



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