Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Magical Girls

I ran across this amusing meme while looking up stuff for some of my earlier posts over the weekend.

Back in the day, it used to be standard for Saturday morning cartoons to present some kind of heavy-handed life lesson, usually in a segment at the end where the characters would break the fourth wall and preach at the audience. On occasion, these segments could take on a life of their own, as anyone who has heard the phrase, “And knowing is half the battle,” can attest.

The DiC dub back the mid-90s added such a segment to the first two seasons of Sailor Moon, even after it had gone out of style, but the above image aptly explains why that was a bad idea. Sailor Moon is a wish-fulfillment fantasy, but Sailor Moon is not a role model. If you want the stuff Usagi has, acting like Usagi is the last thing you should do: for the most obvious example, you don’t get the Sailor Moon bod by following the Sailor Moon diet, but other examples could be multiplied.

The manga’s worse. There’s actually a chapter in there in which she’s on the phone, lying to her parents that she’s having a sleepover at Makoto’s apartment … when she’s actually sleeping with her boyfriend.

And this was a comic ostensibly aimed at twelve-year-old girls. I wouldn’t let my daughter read it. She might get ideas.

My Job Here Is Done

I noticed the traffic ticking up mysteriously last night and into today, so I said to myself, “You guys really like all that hard work I put in on the review of Sailor Moon S, eh?”

No, it actually turns out that there’s a Reddit called “AskWomen,” where someone posed the question, “What childhood crush did you have that you still cringe about today?” The answers are kind of hilarious, and include the following:

The link labeled “white tie” goes to my essay on Tuxedo Mask’s fashion faux pas. I see now that my labor in the name of men’s formalwear was not in vain.

It so happens I was thinking of writing a sequel on Haruka Tenou’s fashion faux pas. Maybe I’ll get on that.

Weaponizing [sic]

That’s sic, dude.

We’ve all seen “[sic],” and most of us have probably used it. This little word in brackets is, of course, a way to show that a quotation is presented as-is and that any typos, grammatical errors, or other problems are in the original, and are not the result of defective copying.

Out of curiosity, I looked the word up and discovered, to no surprise, that it’s Latin. It means “so” or “thus.”

In the age of the internet, sic occasionally gets used in a snarky fashion. I once read an entertaining essay in which a writer vehemently criticized another, quoted him frequently, and presented sic with every quotation as a passive-aggressive way of announcing that he considered the one he was quoting to be an idiot.

Urban Dictionary specifically points out this abuse of sic, quoting from Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots and Leaves, “Book reviewers in particular adore to use sic. It makes them feel terrific, because what it means is that they’ve spotted this apparent mistake, thank you, so there is no point in writing in.”

In informally published internet writing, such an abuse of sic can be amusing, but in more official sources, it is obnoxious. I was aghast when I typed “What does sic mean?” into Google and got the following from Google’s built-in dictionary thingy:

used in brackets after a copied or quoted word that appears odd or erroneous to show that the word is quoted exactly as it stands in the original, as in a story must hold a child’s interest and “enrich his [ sic ] life.”.

Whoever wrote this definition went out of his way to correct [sic] something that is not an error. “A story must hold a child’s interest and enrich his life” is a grammatically correct sentence. In English, the masculine pronoun is used when the sex of the antecedent is unknown.

This is one small example of the magical thinking that afflicts our age, the belief that one can change reality by manipulating words. Some effeminate, lisping, limp-wristed, low-T weenie actually felt the need, even when engaged in an activity as necessary, unassuming, and (usually) wholesome as writing the dictionary, to signal his virtue by screwing with the language. The wiener who wrote this went out of his way to find an example for this definition that he could politically correct instead of actually correct, and he thereby rendered the definition false.

And that’s just sic and wrong.