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Otaku No Moe(Thoughts on 'NHK)


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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 14390
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 2:44 pm Reply with quote
I haven't read the manga or seen the anime, 'cus I figure I could check out this version first, without having to invest in the other formats. I remember this dude I knew back during the fansub days whose friend would point to him for every scene in Otaku No Video and say, "This is you!" So I'd be lying if I didn't have some experience in these areas in 'NHK-albeit not to the extremes of these dudes. However, that's kind of what disappoints me. Despite what toastyfrog claims, this series appears to be more delusional and self-serving than other in-joke anime/manga like Genshiken and Haruhi.

Imagine a more introverted Fight Club with cop-out endings, and you get 'NHK. Yes, these effing otaku are as scary as Tyler Durden, but they waste my time going emo and jerking around, because they not only don't care about fitting in, they don't even care about not fitting in; they're just waiting for something to happen, be it success or failure. But unlike Otaku No Video, the worst part is that the author is too much of a pussy to make them fail.

It's not that he's optimistic or anything. He just comes up with unlikely conclusions to the dark scenarios. As much as I like to trash-talk Anno, at least he didn't try to sugar-coat ONV by having the two leads miraculously bailed out of the inevitable consequences of nail-biting situations. No, they actually had to sink or swim, not just meet someone who understood-or at least tolerated-their behavior.

Even most harem shows show some effort on the part of the lead to get some tail. But in 'NHK, these losers get a free pass at true pain and suffering. They're even rewarded for being deviants! (Or at least they're given the unrealistic possibility of eventual success for enduring. ) It's complete nonsense which hurts whatever realistic angle the author intended.

Still, being my first TP novel, I will give them props on their translations which actually take the time to break down some of the cultural references-something Viz could have done more of on Kamikaze Girls. It also captures the Japanese mood and setting fairly well, and doesn't try to Americanize anything. So if you're a purist, you'll enjoy their respect for the material.

But if you like social failures not actually getting what they deserve, check out the Kubrick Clockwork Orange over the book. If you want realism, read something from Robert Cormier.

Translation: A+
Subject Matter: B+
Execution: B-
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Moomintroll



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 1600
Location: Nottingham (UK)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:42 am Reply with quote
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they not only don't care about fitting in, they don't even care about not fitting in; they're just waiting for something to happen, be it success or failure.


I'm not sure how that's a criticism. NHK is, ultimately, a book about being a hikikomori (something I understand the author has personal experience of) and not being proactive is pretty much a given for hikikomori...
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 14390
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 2:16 pm Reply with quote
Well, what bothers me about their attitude is that they're rewarded too easily for it, when that's clearly not what's "real" in their part of the world. The author's going to the trouble of making NHK as gritty as possible, and then he backs down at all of the breaking points.
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Moomintroll



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 1600
Location: Nottingham (UK)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:14 pm Reply with quote
I take your point but I'm not entirely sure I agree. Still, from what you've said, it sounds as though Natsuo Kirino's work might be more appealing to you - Out and Grotesque are both very good and I recommend them very highly if you're looking for a gritty look at some of the darker recesses of Japanese society.
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ame_de_verseau



Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Posts: 21
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:13 pm Reply with quote
okay. i haven't finished it yet but i love his crazy personality.

And my absolutely favorite part so far is when he was with his next door neighbor Friend discussing what men love the most about erotic games and how to create the "ideal convient female character". It's hilarious how in the end she's all these constructs at once that usually they just pick one of and make a game based on that.

Also it's kind of scary when you think of how many men think that way...that women should serve them and only their needs.
The more it think about it....the more terrifying this whole Moe fad seems.
They don't want real relationships where you have to compromise and think about the other person's feelings and where sometimes you get hurt. It's really pathetic. scary how real it all is.
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Rustem



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 12
Location: Seattle, WA
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 6:37 pm Reply with quote
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They don't want real relationships where you have to compromise and think about the other person's feelings and where sometimes you get hurt. It's really pathetic. scary how real it all is.


I haven't read the book, but I've seen the first few episodes of 'NHK, and as we were watching, my wife had basically the same outlook, even going so far as to turn to me and say "Thats what youre all looking for, huh?!"

Of course, I was all "Nuh-uh!" but actually I know that at least two friends of mine would really prefer it that way... Maybe I should just get them RealDolls /gag
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BleuVII



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 672
Location: Tokorozawa, Japan
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:04 am Reply with quote
I think you're missing the point of this book. It wasn't really meant to be entertaining. The only reason it was picked up by Tokyopop in the first place is because there were a manga and anime that came afterwards. The point of this book was to address a VERY widespread social problem here in Japan, which the Japanese government was trying to cover up and pretend didn't exist.

And to that end, it succeeded. Enormously.

Takimoto Tatsuhiko was (and to his own admission sometimes still is) a hikkikomori. Much of this book was autobiographical, though it's impossible to tell which parts were and which parts weren't. Still, the main character, Satou Tatsuhiro (notice the similarity with the author's name) has kind of become a spokesperson for the hikkikomori phenomenon. He made people start to realize that there was a problem, and start to understand the root of the problem.

The book meanders through its pages because that's what a hikkikomori does through life. The author, in his afterword, shares his insecurity with publishing this book, and how he still can't read it. He wrote, "For the time being, I went ahead and wrote the whole thing. I decided to write everything I could. And what came out of it was this book."

For me, the book was enlightening, though also terribly depressing, because I see people that I work with everyday (I'm an Anthropologist/Ethnomusicologist who funds his research by teaching English) headed down this path.

So, sorry you didn't like the book. Maybe you approached it with the wrong expectations though.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 7:32 pm Reply with quote
Well, regardless of whether or not it was "meant" to be entertaining, it's pandering, because like "The Basketball Diaries", the main character doesn't really get his comeuppance or learn from his mistakes. And to me, it just seems like, with all those spin-offs and merchandise, Tatsuhiko's just trying to cash in on the phenomenon first.
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HellKorn



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:14 am Reply with quote
GATSU wrote:
Well, regardless of whether or not it was "meant" to be entertaining, it's pandering, because like "The Basketball Diaries", the main character doesn't really get his comeuppance or learn from his mistakes.


Oh yeah, aside from the fact that the Satou goes through self-inflicted torture and realizes that what he's going through is wrong.

"Comeuppance"? Uh, what, someone is supposed to preach to him that what's done to himself is wrong? He's supposed to kill himself?

"Learn from his mistakes"? What other lesson is he supposed to take from this than what he already knows?

You seem to want to think that the main character -- and by extension, the author -- is suddenly going to stand up and become A-OK by gaining self-confidence.

Here's reality: it doesn't work that way.

Speaking as someone who did go through his own issues back in elementary, these problems just don't disappear overnight. These people are aware of their faults, but any matter of preaching to them isn't going to suddenly transform into a better, more self-sufficient person. Hell, the author reveals this himself in the afterwords that he's still struggling with himself -- the novel is, in a way, his story, and so by the end point of the story is where the author is at when writing it (the same can be said for your "dearly beloved" Anno).

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And to me, it just seems like, with all those spin-offs and merchandise, Tatsuhiko's just trying to cash in on the phenomenon first.


... And that has an impact on the story HOW?

Gatsu, honestly, you're an amusing guy and all (least from what your posts indicate), but your criticisms of fiction (among other things) completely baffle me.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:39 am Reply with quote
Hellkorn: Self-afflicted torture and having his ass caught and punished for some of his questionable behavior are two different things. The fact that his lady friend deems his actions "normal" is what hurts the realism of the story. The author tries to excuse her own easy-going attitude by making her come off as problematic, too; but she ends up simply being an enabler. It takes away any real responsibility he might have had for what he did. And he only believes it's wrong, until he does it himself.

As for him becoming "A-Ok", I was simply hoping that would be the case through genuine suffering, not because he's too lazy to get a job. Furthermore, the merchandising issue I brought up earlier seems to trivialize whatever depth the series had, because the author is clearly willing to sell-out the seedier aspects of his subculture in a way which only exploits it more than helps you understand the mentality behind it. (Just like my "dearly beloved" Anno, btw.)
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HellKorn



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:30 pm Reply with quote
GATSU wrote:
Hellkorn: Self-afflicted torture and having his ass caught and punished for some of his questionable behavior are two different things.


For what? Satou going to an extreme to show how filthy he felt regarding lolicon, or the drugs?

Oh yeah, he gets caught and he'll learn his lesson. At least that's how it works out in your mind, but again, that's not how it works in reality.

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The fact that his lady friend deems his actions "normal" is what hurts the realism of the story.


Uh, "lady friend"? You referring to Misaki or his senior in high school?

Satou got it both ways. He was told that his actions are "normal" in addition to be a sad piece of shit. Also bear in mind that people under those kind of pressures try to convince themselves and others that there's nothing really wrong with them, or that it's society's fault or whatever.

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The author tries to excuse her own easy-going attitude by making her come off as problematic, too; but she ends up simply being an enabler. It takes away any real responsibility he might have had for what he did. And he only believes it's wrong, until he does it himself.


Alright, I have no clue what you're referring to, but it's probably something nonsensical anyway.

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As for him becoming "A-Ok", I was simply hoping that would be the case through genuine suffering, not because he's too lazy to get a job.


... Uh, this is a story about a hikkikomori. What would else would you expect?

And do note that he DID have a job but ultimately was no better for it.

It's also arrogant to say it isn't "genuine suffering"; just because a person doesn't see genocide in front of their eyes or lack clean water doesn't mean that what they're going through is pointless. It is very arrogant to think this way because some people are incapable of becoming better on their own terms. I certainly wouldn't have been able to get better if someone didn't actually give a damn about me (granted, it was when a young child, but whatever).

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Furthermore, the merchandising issue I brought up earlier seems to trivialize whatever depth the series had, because the author is clearly willing to sell-out the seedier aspects of his subculture in a way which only exploits it more than helps you understand the mentality behind it. (Just like my "dearly beloved" Anno, btw.)


That's retarded.

You're faulting them because the creators WANT TO MAKE MONEY?

Tasuhiko and Anno didn't seek out others to pimp their works and turn them into franchises. Whatever happens come AFTER the fact.

And I would hope that you wouldn't think that it's really Anno who is in complete control of saying what Gainax feeds otaku and also that he is the creative force behind them. That would be a low even for you.

It's also not like they're saying one thing in their stories and contradicting themselves in another -- they're not creating an environmentalist film and then hopping on air planes to promote it worldwide.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:32 pm Reply with quote
Hellkorn:
Quote:
Oh yeah, he gets caught and he'll learn his lesson.


I don't care whether he learns his lesson. That's not really the point. The point is the theme is realism, but then they pull back on it, when it gets too realistic.

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Uh, "lady friend"? You referring to Misaki or his senior in high school?


Misaki. He didn't really do anything weird in high school.

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Satou got it both ways. He was told that his actions are "normal" in addition to be a sad piece of shit.


But he's sad, because he doesn't actually get what he needs, which is a reality check.

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... Uh, this is a story about a hikkikomori. What would else would you expect?


I expected something different, not just feel-good crap.

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And do note that he DID have a job but ultimately was no better for it.


Actually, he seemed more in control of his life when he worked than when he just slept in all day.

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It's also arrogant to say it isn't "genuine suffering"; just because a person doesn't see genocide in front of their eyes or lack clean water doesn't mean that what they're going through is pointless.


It's pointless in his case, and he even admits it.

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I certainly wouldn't have been able to get better if someone didn't actually give a damn about me (granted, it was when a young child, but whatever).


It's not about giving a damn about you, but the likelihood of them giving a damn about you, based on your proclivities.

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You're faulting them because the creators WANT TO MAKE MONEY?


Sure. It's supposed to make a statement, not be a cash-grab.

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Tasuhiko and Anno didn't seek out others to pimp their works and turn them into franchises.


Bull, especially in Anno's case.

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And I would hope that you wouldn't think that it's really Anno who is in complete control of saying what Gainax feeds otaku and also that he is the creative force behind them.


Well, he was until he got audited. Rolling Eyes
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HellKorn



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 5:17 pm Reply with quote
I really shouldn't be taking the bait, and I'll probably give up soon on this hopeless case... but whatever.

GATSU wrote:
I don't care whether he learns his lesson. That's not really the point. The point is the theme is realism, but then they pull back on it, when it gets too realistic.


... So, you're saying that Satou should be caught mixing legal drugs into something dangerous?

You DO know that people get away with this in real life, right? Him getting apprehended is entirely irrelevant to the purpose of the narrative. It's only wish fulfillment on your part, and that is not a valid criticism.

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But he's sad, because he doesn't actually get what he needs, which is a reality check.


Yes and no. He needs support, he needs someone to push him, but that isn't going to be a sure-fire solution.

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I expected something different, not just feel-good crap.


Uh, what?

Genshiken is "feel-good crap." THAT is taking a look at the otaku culture and not criticizing it. THAT isn't out to prove a point.

Welcome to the N.H.K. is about pointing out the problems that not just otaku but two million in Japan are struggling with. It's forgiving but moreso unrelenting against the growing subculture of folks unable to even begin to cope with society. Just because it doesn't constantly fulfill your desire to see the author constantly demeaning the subject or pulling out the worst-case scenario doesn't make it "feel-good crap."

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Actually, he seemed more in control of his life when he worked than when he just slept in all day.


Yet Satou also remarks that he doesn't truly communicate with anyone, and unlike before he's not even making any attempts to improve his life.

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It's pointless in his case, and he even admits it.


I mean pointless in that they're suffering is somehow irrelevant and should be completely ignored by the public at large. Apathy is one of, if not the worst trait in humans today. Dismissing it because it's not as "traumatic" or because it's self-inflicted makes a person no better than the ones they criticize.

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It's not about giving a damn about you, but the likelihood of them giving a damn about you, based on your proclivities.


I'm so grateful that you have extensively researched my life and knowing everything about my circumstances and the people I've met.

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Sure. It's supposed to make a statement, not be a cash-grab.


... So you'd rather them be starving artists to somehow make their points more "genuine"?

You never cease to amaze me.

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Bull, especially in Anno's case.


Provide citation(s) of either deliberately going out of their way to push their stories to be marketed and/or adapted into other mediums, or you drop you obsessive delusions right here and now.

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Well, he was until he got audited. Rolling Eyes


Unless you're referring to some other incident, Anno's name never popped up in that Gainax scandal.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:26 pm Reply with quote
Hellkorn:
Quote:

... So, you're saying that Satou should be caught mixing legal drugs into something dangerous?


That's what usually happens, isn't it? But, actually I was referring to his photography "session".

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You DO know that people get away with this in real life, right?


Only people with cash and connections...

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Him getting apprehended is entirely irrelevant to the purpose of the narrative.


If the purpose is, "Drugs and lolicon are bad", how is the argument validated, if the main character who engages in it suffers no real consequence for his actions?

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He needs support, he needs someone to push him, but that isn't going to be a sure-fire solution.


It might not be, but at least it'll motivate him to change his ways.

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Genshiken is "feel-good crap."


Yes, but at least Genshiken's honest about it.

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Welcome to the N.H.K. is about pointing out the problems that not just otaku but two million in Japan are struggling with. It's forgiving but moreso unrelenting against the growing subculture of folks unable to even begin to cope with society.


If it were unrelenting, it wouldn't give the characters, or even the subculture a free pass.

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Just because it doesn't constantly fulfill your desire to see the author constantly demeaning the subject or pulling out the worst-case scenario doesn't make it "feel-good crap."


Sure it does, because it makes the people who are most "afflicted" with the problem an excuse not to actually do anything about it.

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Yet Satou also remarks that he doesn't truly communicate with anyone, and unlike before he's not even making any attempts to improve his life.


He never communicated with anyone. And taking the initiative is a step to improvement.

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I mean pointless in that they're suffering is somehow irrelevant and should be completely ignored by the public at large. Apathy is one of, if not the worst trait in humans today.


I care about people who try, but get stepped on, not people who don't bother trying in the first place.

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Dismissing it because it's not as "traumatic" or because it's self-inflicted makes a person no better than the ones they criticize.


Of course it makes it me better, because I actually acknowledge my mistakes.

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I'm so grateful that you have extensively researched my life and knowing everything about my circumstances and the people I've met.


My experience with people like him tells me they don't know jack-shit about real suffering. When they're willing to enlist in the Iraq war, then we'll talk.

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... So you'd rather them be starving artists to somehow make their points more "genuine"?


Why not?

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Provide citation(s) of either deliberately going out of their way to push their stories to be marketed and/or adapted into other mediums, or you drop you obsessive delusions right here and now.


The fact that he was able to con $10 million from Bandai for Honneamise isn't enough of a citation for you?

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Unless you're referring to some other incident, Anno's name never popped up in that Gainax scandal.


Perhaps, but he was the most prominent animator in the company at the time of the audit...
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Moomintroll



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:07 am Reply with quote
GATSU wrote:
If the purpose is, "Drugs and lolicon are bad", how is the argument validated, if the main character who engages in it suffers no real consequence for his actions?


I don't think "drugs are bad" was ever the purpose. And the author takes "lolicon is bad" as a given. And the consequence of his (thankfully brief) descent into that pit is the resultant feelings of utter self-loathing and worthlessness.

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If it were unrelenting, it wouldn't give the characters, or even the subculture a free pass.


It's not supposed to be a morality play. And it hardly gives the culture a "free pass" - it's just that attacking the more noxious elements of the culture isn't actually the purpose of the narrative. That's just a byproduct of the narrative.

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I care about people who try, but get stepped on, not people who don't bother trying in the first place.


I don't think you've quite understood the nature of the condition. It's not about not bothering to try - it's about wanting to try and not feeling able to do so. It's a mental illness not an indication of (willful) apathy or laziness.

I'm guessing you'd also blame clinically depressed people for not "cheering up" and people with OCD for not "snapping out of it". Utter idiocy. Are you a Scientologist by any chance?

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Of course it makes it me better, because I actually acknowledge my mistakes.


The protagonist also acknowledges his mistakes. What's your point?

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When they're willing to enlist in the Iraq war, then we'll talk.


You want people (mentally ill people at that) to enlist in the army in order to prove their worth. Sounds like you're basing your value system on one too many readings of Starship Troopers...
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