Love Your Neighbors…Even ANN

Splitter of Chocolate Syrupy Waffles just released a scathing open letter to Anime News Network addressing the company’s leak of episode two of Oreimo one day before it even aired in Japan.  The comments following the letter have been equally vicious.  The letter made some very strong points.

Now, I didn’t pay for ANN’s streaming service.  I’m not familiar with the criticisms levied at ANN.  And I have no history with the higher ups at the organization.  To sum it up, I’m ignorant and thus a very non-expert – an outsider who learned much from Splitter’s letter.

However, I am an expert in grace.  After all, I’m among the worst people I know, and I’m still loved.

Anime News Network made a massive mistake.  The company is damaged and who knows, at this point, if all their efforts at breaking into streaming video and simulcasts have been ruined.  And even though I read ANN religiously (Bamboo Dong, Erin Finnegan, and especially Theron Martin are favorites), I don’t feel sorry for the company.  It’s a company – it has no soul.

But perhaps it does have a soul.  Any organization’s character is found in its greatest asset – its people.  And boy, people must be suffering now.  For instance, Justin Sevakis, from who I’ve learned much over the years through columns and articles, seems to be having a horrid time, judging by his recent tweets.

But in the end…I don’t know these people.  Or do I?  Are they…me?

I’ve been in a similar pinch before, and maybe because of that, I can empathize.  Many bloggers are there are working, but some are not.  And those who aren’t (and even many who are) don’t understand what it feels like to be a good worker, but to make a major error.  I do.

Several months ago, I made a major slip-up at work.  I forgot to edit a work we did and sent a previous rendition to be cast.  Those who received it were shocked to see that their changes were not made.  Not only were they angry, but the new casting was going to cost my workplace about $1,500.

And yet…my managers approached me in a most peculiar way: with grace.  My program manager mentioned that I should be more careful, but joked about it afterward and otherwise never mentioned the mistake again.  He showed me grace – a love that is undeserved.

Christian followers understand that the one major theme of the Bible is grace.  We are covered by it, as one Individual was the scapegoat, taking the punishment in our place.

In the end, I understand one particular type of person who is raging at ANN – the person who paid for services that they are or may not be receiving.  ANN should have addressed them earlier, in some way; since they haven’t, they must do so soon.  But until the story if fully unfolded and until we find out ANN’s actions, I hope that this doesn’t become an opportunity to shoot armor-piercing bullets at ANN, letting out frustration, anger and vengeance, even, that may have built up over the years.  I hope that we offer a bit of lenience, waiting to see what the company will say.

ANN is made up of people, and people need grace – even when they don’t deserve it.

“There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.”

“We speak of grace often, do we truly believe in it … and do our lives proclaim it as powerfully as our words?”

“Grace, like water, flows to the lowest part.”

– Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace


6 thoughts on “Love Your Neighbors…Even ANN

  1. Very nice read, TWWK. I’m not a Christian myself, but you make very valid points regarding the nature of humanity. I can’t say I want to extend this grace with you, as you well read, but I understand where you are coming from and admire it.

    1. Thanks for the comments! And I must say…it’s easy for me to sit here and write about grace when I’m not shelling out money to an organization I have some degree of disdain for. 😛

  2. Hmm. This is gonna be tough to address.

    First of all, yeah, everyone makes mistakes. No doubt about that. I even remember earlier this year when I was working with the Census Bureau, I personally caused a massive amount of overtime and extra work for the Bureau by my own spinelessness (I’ve discovered I’m no good at management since I don’t like confronting people, even if they’re not doing their job and it’s my job to tell them that).

    I certainly wouldn’t feel better if anyone railed at me or called me an idiot or gave me crap, especially since I knew it was all my fault and I was doing enough of that myself. Still, it was a dumb mistake and I admit it. It’s one that won’t be repeated ‘cuz I’m not working with them anymore, but if my job had continued I’d have to do better.

    So the problem I see here is yeah this guy is mad, because he’s paying for a service and getting screwed over. I can sympathize with him, although I do think he’s going overboard. However, the problem here is ANN was like “Oh man this thing with Funimation, typical rookie mistake” over the One Piece thing, then made the exact same mistake. This would be one thing if they hadn’t known about this sorta thing like Funimation, but they did know about it, and they either ignored it or were a bunch of idiots. Either way, people need to be fired, and ANN screwed up BAD. I don’t think this needs to make them the target of hate, but it does mean that they need to be looked at and recognized that they done screwed up bad and there’s really no excuse. None.

    I understand what you’re saying, and you gave an example that happened to you. Yes, your manager acted with grace. Now, what would happen if you did the exact same thing a second time. Would he be as graceful? What about the third time you did it? I’d be willing to bet he wouldn’t be graceful at all at that point.

    While it’s all well and good to talk about how God is graceful, and He is, we need to realize that our actions have repercussions, real effects on things. God may forgive us, but those actions we did, God isn’t going to “undo” the effects even if He forgives. Again, I’m not saying this justifies hatred or anything (in other words, even if you screwed up the same way twice more, it wouldn’t justify your boss yelling at you or calling you names), but the point is grace doesn’t work the same for humans as it does for God.

    Finally, I think it’s really poor form on ANN’s part to not say anything about what happened. I realize they can’t say “Yep, we screwed up, sorry!” because that would be a legal nightmare, but they need to acknowledge the situation. This is like when Gamespot fired Jeff Gerstmann after his review of Kane and Lynch. They didn’t give any mention of it for a few days after it happened, acted like it never even happened, and so by the time they DID make an official announcement, it was too late for their reputation. This thing with ANN is an elephant in the room, it’s foolish and stupid for them to ignore it. Like I said, I know that legally they can’t say a lot at this point, but they need to say something like “We are aware of the situation regarding Oreimo episode 2 and will have official statements after speaking with our legal staff.” This shows that they care. It makes them look like they’re not just going “Oh man hopefully this just blows over and everyone will forget about it.”

    Then again, I hate ANN anyway, because they’re biased, irresponsible, and lie constantly. They’re like the Fox News of anime sites. So I feel like this is just them being morons as usual.

    IT’S 2 AM WHY AM I WRITING SO MUCH? D: I didn’t mean to wall of text your entry. x.x

    1. All very interesting and valid points – I expect nothing less from you, Nate. 😉

      Thanks for sharing and please, feel free to fill up my entry with text anytime. 😛

  3. I think our culture kind of conditions us to wait for companies or big name people to mess up so we have someone to blame for the state of the world. It’s like we expect perfection and one slip-up completely ruins the lives of the people involved. It’s pretty sad when you think about it.

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