Greg has an op-ed piece about finding the time to enjoy wota activities – or rather, how to react when one discovers there isn’t enough time to enjoy all the wota activities available to a fan. I’m not sure what provoked this, but apparently Greg is addressing people who whine about not being able to attend all the events they like or to keep track of all the releases they are interested in, and who dread added real life responsibilities as they grow older. And his basic message is: man up, real life isn’t so bad, and stop whining. (Correct me if I got the gist of it wrong, Greg.)
I have to say, the very notion of somebody moaning that adult life will suck because you won’t have enough time to devote to your idols amuses me to no end – it’s almost a caricature of what a wota is. As an aging and happy family man, trust me on this: it looks very different from the other side. If you can’t find pleasure in your real life and use your fandoms – whether it’s a TV show, a band, an idol, comics, porn, fetish gear, runaways stashed in a closet, whatever – to escape from the harshness of reality… Well, you should focus less on giving more time to your escapism and spend more time righting the real world around you. Sometimes it takes a simple change in perspective, sometimes it takes some actual changes in lifestyle. Whatever the case, it’s worth it.
Which doesn’t mean that there isn’t a benefit to escaping into fandoms to relax and let off some stream and, yes, to indulge in some quirky aesthetic pleasures. But it’s best done in moderation, or else you’re gonna be a miserable motherfucker for more of your life than you’d like.
And besides, who says real life and wota life can’t mix productively? My daughter loves reading comic books with me, and she enjoys the music of Minimoni, Amuro Namie, Bennie K, and others. (Her rendition of “Endless Summer” by Bennie K is quite soulful.) I’ve had friendly and fun conversations with co-workers about my love of idols and why I really really really dig Japanese teenage girls in bikinis. I compartmentalize between wota and real life to some degree, but not to the point where one side feels shameful or must be hidden from the other.
The kind of wota Greg has painted in his post strikes me as so strange and pitiful, the more I think about it. Not that I don’t believe there aren’t such people out there, but my guess is they’re a very vocal minority rather than the majority of our community who struggle happily with the precarious balancing act of real life and wota life.