conspiracy-theoristsYou know you’ve hit it being online when you’re thought to be part of some big conspiracy.  I’ve always wondered about conspiracy theorists.  Why do they feel the need to concoct some big, elaborate theory or have some big shadow corporation controlling everything?  There are people who believe NASA’s trips to the moon were hoaxes (Mythbusters disproved their theories).  And there are people who believe the US government was behind the 911 attacks (yeah, like our government could co-ordinate something so well planned and keep it a secret.)   And now, manga bloggers are in cahoots with publishers to bring down the scanalation community.

At least, that’s according one Livejournal blog quoted by Melinda Beasi of the Manga Bookshelf on Twitter.  Melinda quotes:

Here’s the quote from LJ: “Scanlations are a hot button topic for licensors …  So they are resorting to a blog/twitter campaign to educate and persuade – and occasionally denigrate. “

Apparently, if you are a reviewer, get comp copies from publishers and don’t like scanalations, you are apart of a conspiracy to educate and persuade your readers!  And occasionally denigrate trolls.  That’s right, by creating a blog, spending time building it up with good content that people want to read and forming a relationship with publishers to keep that good content, and expressing your opinion about an issue that’s in the gray at best, you are a part of the problem.

Here’s what I don’t get about conspiracies.  Why is it necessary to cook up some elaborate theory when the straight, simple answer works best?  Why would a blogger like Melinda change her mind about scans?  Is it because she prefers to support the manga industry?  Or is it because she’s been enlisted by a consortium of publishers and is being paid in free manga to speak out again scanalations?  Which is the more plausible explanation?

I’m too much of a rationalist to believe in these conspiracies.  Occam’s razor says it all where the simplest explanation that fits all the data tends to be the best.  Isn’t life too complicated already to be making up more that just makes it worse?  I mean really…

But, just in case there is a consortium of manga publishers giving out free manga to speak out against scanalations, you can contact me at xanadu at jadedragononline dot com.  FNORD.

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12 Comments for this entry

  • Kim says:

    Is that an Illuminati card? I haven’t seen one of those in ages.

    Your blog is something I follow on a regular basis, BTW. (Good luck joining the conspiracy)

  • The incredibly ironic irony here is that I, a card-carrying Discordian (with photocopied original certificate signed by the founders because I really am older than all of you) am now part of the *second* conspiracy theory in my life. Woot! I once was part of a star-chamber cabal that sought to bring peaceful conversation to USEnet and now I am a tool of my own industry, forcing the Greyface order of supporting manga with money so people get paid on the carefree open-source Discordian individuals that just want to share their favorite work for free because no one in manga needs the money!

    What bastards we are.

  • We ought to play again, we only have about 6000 INWO cards laying around.

    FNORD!

  • gia says:

    Ha, just came across this a few minutes after I posted my own piece about it– sorry I couldn’t include you in the conspiracy team snapshot ;)

    Illuminati is an awesome game, by the way, and we still play it in my house!

  • Apple says:

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and I don’t think that there even is a “conspiracy,” because it’s just common sense that people that want to stay in good relations with each other (bloggers/reviewers, to publishers) would want to protect each other’s interests. Why bite the hand that feeds you? It wouldn’t make any sense.

    Which is not to say that publishers are going around paying bloggers to speak out against piracy. That’s a load of horse crap. But if you are trying to stay on a publisher’s good side, you probably don’t want to say anything that’s going to piss them off.

  • @Erica – keep up the good work sempai, and put in a good word for me with the Masters. ;)

    @Brian – Anytime.

    @gia – Could I have Dazzler way in the background? And if we could convince our kids that INWO is awesome, we’d play more too!

    @Apple – If all we bloggers thought about were trying to stay on publishers good sides, we’d never write a bad review. This debate hasn’t been about what publishers what, but what people feel and believe. The problem is that both side feel strongly about their beliefs leaving little room for compromise, and sometimes, extremist behavior as what prompted this post.

  • @Apple For the record, I never ask for review copies – I spend my money on what i review, or my fans buy it for me. Every once in a while a company or artist offers me a review copy and I’ll accept it if it’s relevant. But for the most part, it’s *my* money that dictates what I review.

    Every blog I read who that reviews manga is written by a critical thinker about the content and how it’s presented, and is as likely to note negatives as they are positives.

  • @Apple, that’s just not how it works. Most manga reviewers who get free review copies don’t get to choose what they get. It isn’t like they put in a request with the publisher and never have to buy manga again, usually they get a big package once a month or so with a pile of stuff, usually stuff they don’t want to read in the first place, and they can choose to review it, sell it, throw it away, etc. There is no obligation to review it at all, good or bad, and publishers certainly don’t keep track of what the reviewers they send to do with it all.

    It’s not the reviewers who have to keep the manga publishers happy, it’s the other way around. The manga is going to keep coming out regardless of what the reviewer says, but a lot of really scathing reviews by notable reviewers can seriously cut into the manga’s penetration and sales.

  • Apple says:

    @Lori: Thanks for the clarification! :)

    @Erica: I wish I had your fans! XD Read my note on reviewer integrity below, as I think it clarifies my statements beyond my original post.

    @Brian: I never said that reviewers got to pick and choose titles. Reviewers do, however, have to maintain integrity, otherwise they are no longer credible. If a reviewer admits to downloading scanlations, it damages their integrity. If you have a reviewer with little integrity, then they are less likely to have good relations with a publisher, whether that be free review copies, press passes at events, or even online interaction.

    Also, I have a big mouth, and a lot of opinions. But since I started blogging about a month or two ago, I’ve found myself censoring myself in order to -not- get on anybody’s bad side. There is just no sense in that. :D

  • @Apple – That’s ridiculous of course, lots of reviewers download scanalations for manga that is not available any other way. There’s a ton of them on every computer around here, simply because there’s no way to get the manga otherwise. It has nothing to do with integrity, I’m open and honest about what I do and I couldn’t care less who likes it or not.

    Personally, I don’t censor myself at all. I’m extremely open about my opinions and if someone doesn’t like it, screw ‘em. I won’t censor my freedom of speech because some whiny crybaby might take offense at it.

  • Apple says:

    @Brian: And that’s your prerogative. My statement isn’t a blanket application to every reviewer that could possibly exist, rather, an idea for why people do the things they do. There will always be incentives for actions, and yours and mine are completely different. But I do believe my idea about reviewer integrity is quite true for a lot of bloggers/magazine reviewers. I’ve known three in person, and such was the case for them.

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