culture

achievement changes you

Large image and prints at engrafi.deviantart.com.

trust me iʼm a writer

(This article – which contains an illustrative range of ‘profane’ terms – started out as a tangent in an upcoming post, but has grown too large – so here itʼs by itself.)

The author of a fiction website I like to keep up with has a proposal for a simple ‘rating’ scheme for websites to declare their suitability for age and sensitivity of readers.  (It may be based on the US film industryʼs rating scheme, not sure.)  The system is used on-site, normally rated ‘all welcome except those with uptight parents’, but the author found it necessary a few years ago to supersede that with an age-14 limit for one story.  She had decided to use stronger language, and make it more honestly (rather than cartoonishly) violent than usual.

I believe the idea here is that you try to reassure the parents of some of your possible audience that children are safe with you (most of the time anyway).  And fair enough.  Trouble is, if I was a parent, I wouldnʼt trust authorsʼ self certification – even if I thought access restrictions were all that useful in the first place.  Itʼs much like the content description meta tags we learned to distrust years ago.  They may be useful, but Iʼd want independent content rating, based on an actual examination.  Of course I would also want it to be genuinely independent and objective, which may be hard.  I fear many parents, and self-appointed advisors of parents, just want the appearance of safety measures, irrespective of practicality.

I also fear that, though I am no longer fresh in the world, some people and organisations seem interested in managing my access for me.  The increasingly alien UK government, for one, have decided that the UK population will have access restrictions by default, and enforced by social stigma.

regarding our sources of gems and cake

I recently found and read one of the best manga series Iʼve ever come across.  Beautifully drawn, mostly beautifully written.  Charming, poignant and amusing by turns.  But thatʼs not what I want to write about.

What I want to write about starts with the fact that I had never heard of it.  Thatʼs not unusual; there are more manga in Japan and on the Net than are dreamt of in any one place on Earth.  And Sturgeonʼs Law applies – ninety-five per cent of them are crap.  Many of them unbearable.  Yet here we are; amidst the worthwhile five percent, a gem.  And I would never have heard of it if it hadnʼt been for: scanlation sites.  Nor is this the first time Iʼve come across excellent works in this way.

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