Roughly

Dear J—

One of my favorite manga series is not available as a legal English translation, so I read H2 and Rough and especially Touch as what they term scanlations, where enterprising folks will scan the art (whether the original or the existing French or Italian translations) and overtype it with English. I like the idea of the ne’er-do-well turned serious or childhood rivalries extending in romantic dimensions but one thing that Adachi gets right is the idea that you always (always) need to put in a lot of hard work in order to do this right, that you can’t possibly hope to be successful without a lot of practice and effort.

I’ve been sliding by on work lately, it feels like; there’s been a lot to do and not a lot of inclination to do it, and worst of all, I’m not actually done with the thing that’s giving me the greatest satisfaction, that being the work pertaining to my last job, which I thought was a career until they pulled that away. The idea that Edison colluded with the PUC to shut down the plant doesn’t necessarily sit well with me and I’m not fond of the idea that we were pawns in a larger struggle, forced to be unsuccessful not by circumstance but by indifferent support from above. I dunno. Perhaps we were all in the same situation, and the senior management wasn’t informed either, but that this may have gone to the very top …

Yeah, I dunno. Doesn’t seem right, but then again, who am I to criticize, right? Some things we do are illegal and they’re not legal for various reasons, generally to protect someone or some group; I could blow through all the stop signs – there is no physical restraint, right? – but traffic signs protect me and other road-going traffic. Scanlations aren’t strictly legal because they hurt the company with distribution rights (probably Kodansha USA) in your country but if they’re not actively trying to market those works then it falls more into the immoral than illegal. Other actions can be both immoral and illegal. I worry about what you do and what you’re told in order to retain the motivation to do, right? If we had known … then what? It’s a slippery slope, an impossible who-knows because it did happen, and we didn’t.

Mike

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