In Japan, otaku practice erudition as a form of resistance to the established order. Viewed as irresponsible, hedonistic and unproductive, they collect data that seem pointless on subjects that are considered to be common: pop idol groups, anime, manga, model trains, and so on. Although their erudition is sterile, it nevertheless has a strategic value. The aim is to earn the esteem of peers by cultivating contempt for the values that govern modern societies. Are these new “aristocrats” trying to assert (while simultaneously accentuating) the inanity of their existence? Or are they following the example of a “useless learned society” (OuLiPo) in defying the dominant culture, which requires that knowledge be put to good use?
- popular culture