Anime Club Escapades: 4/25/2014 (Serious)

I’ve talked once before about THAT GUY in a post last year. I’ve made it clear that I don’t like the guy, and neither do the rest of the people in the club. I don’t really do anything about his occasional outbursts. It’s just him being weird and dumb, and it’s not like I restrict people from expressing their dumbness about anime as long as they don’t mind me being dumb about anime too. Yet the problem is that his particular issues have a negative impact on the entire club, not just the people who disagree with him. Perhaps I need to give an example.

Club Member: I watched the latest episode of Mahouka and the main character gets on my nerves every time-

THAT GUY: YOU MEAN LIKE IN THE WORST FANFIC THE ADVENTURES OF DARK YAGAMI WHERE-

Club Member: …No. That isn’t what I mean at all. Anyway, as I was saying, that and the whole incest thing really turns me away from the show.

THAT GUY: WELL I HAVEN’T SEEN THE SHOW BUT IS IT LIKE (insert some non-anime show we collectively know next to nothing about) WHERE IT’S LITERALLY THE WORST THING EVER.

Club Member: I’m not even talking to you.

THAT GUY: OH OKAY BUT TRUST ME WHEN I SAY THIS THAT IT’S LITERALLY THE WORST THING EVER, JUST LIKE (insert some other shit we don’t recognize) WHERE THE (main character) (does something) AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY PEOPLE WOULD THINK THAT’S GOOD AT ALL.

Club Member stares in awe for a moment before completely facing other members and turning his back on THAT GUY, signaling his intent on completely ignoring THAT GUY

THAT GUY: BY THE WAY HAVE YOU GUYS EVER READ THE FANFIC THE ADVENTURES OF DARK YAGAMI BECAU-

Me: Hey, have you watched the latest episode of Ping Pong yet?

THAT GUY: NO BUT LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS OTHER THING YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE AND SEE IF YOU CAN JOIN ME IN KNOWING HOW BAD IT IS.

Needless to say, I think we lost some people over the past year thanks to him. Let me be truthful here though: he’s not the major reason why our club is so small, but he’s very much unwelcome. However, no one else really has the gall or the initiative to straight up tell him that he’s actually unwelcome. I try to be civil as the president. I want to be accommodating for him. I don’t exactly know what his mental problem is, and I know it’s a mental problem because the person who brought him to club explicitly told me that, but I’m willing to work around it as long as he’s not too disruptive. The problem is that I apparently have the patience of Gandhi himself compared to the likes of my membership. The rest of us lose their patience over him, sometimes manifesting in passive-aggressive “shut up”s, which work from time to time until he tries harder to get our attention. Why does he try so hard to get our attention? Why won’t he just take the hint and leave?

If this is to imply that we as a club are mean to THAT GUY, you would be correct. We are mean to him on a weekly basis through our passive-aggression. I think it’s regrettable that it’s turned out this way. I want nothing more to treat him as an equal human being with the same mental capabilities and potential for discourse as any other peer on this university campus. Yet as far as I can see, and have seen the past year, I don’t think he’s ever going to change.

Some of my closest friends have gotten to the point where, if it means dealing with THAT GUY, they’d rather not go to the meeting at all. What’s worse, I’ve finally agreed with them.

I don’t think there are any social transgressions that I can take in my life that can outdo evicting a mentally challenged person from my anime club just because they annoy me. I like to think I’m not that kind of person, regardless of how he affects me at my position as president of the anime club. I made the conscious decision all those months ago to just ignore his antics, to dismiss his ramblings as symptoms of his own issues. It’s the morally wrong way to deal with a mentally handicapped person, but it’s the most convenient. Everyone else seemed to make the same decision on their own too; no one really appreciates him being around, yes, but no one really tells him straight out that they don’t like him being here during meetings. I mean, think of the implications. Would you be able tell a special needs person that they’re not welcome to your activities? That they’re too “dumb”? Have you ever thought about what you’d have to sacrifice about your character in order to kick him out of the club? I have. I’ve thought about it every week. The countless people who come up to me to complain about him only make the tolerance seem all that much more unjustified.

I suppose the real issue I’m struggling with when it comes to THAT GUY is whether or not his issues are my responsibility. They really should not. The problem is that we’re not a big club; I can’t exactly pull a “I couldn’t care less about my members’ personal issues” because we’re too tightly-knit for that to be effective and I’ve shown concern towards other members for their personal issues at times as well. Does that mean I’m favoring other people’s problems because they’re easier to deal with? I’m not sure of THAT GUY is capable of holding himself back when he makes his outbursts, it may be a byproduct of his mental instability. Am I being discriminatory, then? Is his mental condition the deal-breaker? I mean, I’m not his parent or guardian or anything. His problems should be the least of my worries. Still, it feels strange to just treat him sub-optimally just because he can’t help being a wet sponge in a conversation.

It’s not like his eviction will be wholly welcomed by the club, either. We’re not an outgoing and reckless people: avoiding trouble is in our best interest, and kicking THAT GUY out of the club is anything but avoiding trouble. Well, perhaps the more correct statement is that my members would be uncomfortable with me exercising my authority over a member like that. No one wants to see a bad guy, and I really don’t want to become a bad guy. I see nothing in this action that could possibly absolve me of guilt or hard stares. Yet I cannot help but think that this decision will one day prove itself to be the best course of action for the future of this club. People like THAT GUY require the types of people who are willing to sit through his symptoms, his quirks. People who will support him in all facets of life. The selflessness required to maintain that kind of personality is a gift in and of its own, and perhaps due to my extreme patience with the guy over the past year I might have been able to do that. Problem is, I’m the president of an anime club. I have an organization to run and I can not afford to handle the mental baggage he drags into each meeting. Because even if I am able to tolerate his presence, no one else in the room is nearly as able. Even if I wish for them to be, I doubt they have the patience to try any longer than they already have.

He’ll be gone by the end of the year, and of this I can be sure about. I’ll be kicking him out of the Facebook group and telling him directly that he is no longer welcome to the meetings. I don’t want to be the one who does this to him, and I don’t want to think about the possibility that I may end up making his already lonely life a lot worse. Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps he actually does have supports in his life that keep him going and he doesn’t actually have to rely on some dinghy little anime club to feel better about himself. But that just sounds like an excuse to me. It is because he NEEDS those supports that I feel the immense guilt of depriving him of one he believe exists in this club. Perhaps it will be a wake-up call for him, knowing that he was never welcome to my anime club, knowing that his support in our meetings didn’t exist in the first place. It’ll be for his own good.

I’ll feel like the worst person on the planet when I do it, and I feel like the shittiest human being just thinking about it. He’s truly, after all the shit I’ve said about him, not a bad person. It’s just that, well, I’m about to commit something that’s morally wrong. I’ve never consciously done that before. I’ve never taken the time to think and plan out how I’m about to rain on someone’s parade.

Why the fuck does it have to be towards him, of all people?

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5 comments

  1. Maybe you’ve already done this, but can’t you take this guy aside and tell him he needs to settle down? Or maybe give him a series of warnings?

    1. I go to the meeting room early and he’s always the first one to come in. I’ve talked to him about his behavior around four separate times in this manner, making it clear that his constant interruptions and his lack of volume control have been problematic for the club, especially during viewings. Sometimes I get the feeling that he’s not fully conscious of how disruptive he is because he eventually reverts back to his old behavior and I have to talk to him about it again. In fact, that last meeting was basically me telling him straight out that if he wasn’t going to improve then he would no longer be welcome to the meetings. I’m giving him the rest of the quarter as his last chance to redeem himself, but I lack faith that he will follow through.

  2. Rebia_Watkins · · Reply

    Hey, so I’m a lurker (been around here for a while now) and this is my first time commenting because I felt particularly moved by this post.

    I’ve dealt with people similar to this before, I’m sorry and I know it’s hard. I think the best thing for you (or other members) to do would be to confront him first and tell him that he is being too obnoxious. I feel like being passive aggressive is easier, but confronting him and the issue is best.

    Kicking him out without a warning is unfair in my perspective. Even with a warning he may not change at all, but at least he’s been warned and will have time to think about it. If you kick him out with no warnings at all it would be a huge and unfair shock to him. Wouldn’t you want someone to tell you that they’re about to retaliate and give you a chance to self reflect before they punish you? It’s not easy being honest, but it’s fair.

    You shouldn’t have to deal with his problem, but you should at least tell him that he has problems and that it’s affecting everyone negatively.

    p.s. love you and your posts. Good luck dealing with the situation

    1. YAY A LURKER. ON MY BLOG OF ALL PLACES. When did you start lurking, if I may ask?

      Though I have already warned him about his behavior multiple times over the past year, I think your argument would have more ground if we were dealing with someone who was mentally capable of understanding my warnings. I have no clue whether he chooses to ignore my advice or actually cannot help his own impulses. Its very clear that other, more compassionate human beings must be present in his life in order to function in society. My mother does this with autistic people for a living, so I understand what it takes and how taxing it becomes for her. The key difference of course is that she and I are way more tolerant of what they cannot help than the people in my club are. I must take their feelings on the matter into account, too. It should be painfully obvious to him by now that whatever tangential input he gives to our conversations are met with both hostility and blank stares, but if he is still oblivious to something so easily recognizable to the rest of us, what would it take to get him to understand their feelings? Have them all tell the guy that they don’t like him?

      1. Rebia_Watkins · · Reply

        Yeah, that definitely doesn’t sound easy. Maybe the seriousness of a formal meeting/warning would help it get through, but there are no guarantees there. If that doesn’t work, then I don’t think it would be mean or unreasonable to to let this member go.

        Lol, I’ve only been around since March

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