"[...] I just tried reading the first couple paragraphs of his first entry about Witches Abroad and he is SO ANNOYING. It's like telling a little kid a story and you're like, 'Once upon a time there was a princess..." and the kid jumps up like, 'DOES SHE GET MARRIED?!' 'Not yet. The princess was lost in the woods...' 'IS THIS THE PART WHERE SHE GETS MARRIED?!' 'She met an owl in the woods.' 'IS SHE MARRIED YET?!'" --Nonnie
"Yeah, his entire world view is a narrow-minded colonialist perspective. It doesn't matter what the story means within the context of where and when it was created, it matters what the American man in 2016 thinks it means and everyone else's opinion is stupid or evil. He like one of those explorers who visits a rich, ancient culture and immediately condemns the people there for running around naked instead of covering up modestly and embracing $deity. It's the exact same better-than-thou arrogance."' -- Another nonnie
Mark Oshiro runs a popular franchise called "Mark Does Stuff". This consists of two series, Mark Reads (in which Mark reads books and records his reactions in text blogs and videos) and Mark Watches (in which he watches TV shows and does the same). There was also a short lived game review site, Mark Plays.
Mark has been mentioned on meme several times. Frequent topics include how he doesn't understand that depiction does not equal endorsement, how his reviews focus too much on his personal life and not enough on the works, how his analysis is so shallow that he frequently misses important points and then yells at people who point out what he's missing by saying they're violating his stringent 'no spoiler' policy, and how he assumes bad faith on the part of the writers and works he reviews in order to take offense at completely ridiculous things. Oh, and his total bewilderment at even the most mild of plot twists.
Nonnie discussions of Mark include:
- July 14, 2014 (and followup): Mark attended the now-infamous Tumblr convention Dashcon and gave a recap of it. Despite the numerous problems--the con canceling comped hotel rooms, not paying guests, failing to provide promised amenities, etc.--Mark insists that he had a fine time. When people point out the problems, he accuses them of 'gaslighting' him. He also theorized that the horror stories were made up 'fanfiction' by people who didn't attend the convention.
- Feb 9, 2015: Mark reached the chapter in the Discworld novel 'Guards, Guards', where a character made a joke about a 'princess getting a prick.' The joke is in reference to spinning wheels, as well as implying that a nearby prince is a bit of a prick, but one of Mark's commenters decided the joke was transmisogynistic for joking about a princess 'getting a prick.' When other commenters said that this interpretation didn't make sense, the first commenter flipped out, and Mark took their side by lecturing his other commenters that they were being transphobic. A trans nonnie pointed outthat this was ridiculous, and noted that this made her feel alienated in the Mark Reads space. Another nonnie notedthat the person saying the line in Discworld is treated as ignorant in-text, so it's clear that Pratchett isn't endorsing the attitude. Some discussion ensued on whether or not Mark's breakneck pace is preventing him from taking the time to actually understand the things he reads.
- Another comment in this thread noted that Mark and his mods had also attacked rape victims who didn't share Mark's (negative) opinion of the Buffy/Spike relationship in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Apr. 14, 2015: A general thread on Mark lead to discussion of how his reviews of another Discworld book, 'Moving Pictures', were basically just about his life in Hollywood.
- May 20, 2015: Another general thread on Mark led to some discussion on how he was verbally abusive to someone who dared post the name of an episode he hadn't watched yet, and another reference towards his abusive attitudes towards a rape victim who disagreed with him on the Spike/Buffy ship. On the more humorous side, people notedhow comments on his run-through of 'Leverage', a show about a bunch of criminals running cons on bad guys to get justice for their victims, complained about the protagonists doing 'bad' things. His 'no spoiler' policy and how he uses it to flip out at people who tell him when he's missing things also came up. Lastly, his inability to separate fictional characters from the real-life people he's decided they represent was described:
- "And it's so fucking hypocritical because a lot of the time he's gleefully painting his own biases all over everything but god FORBID a commenter state that their biases make them see things the opposite way. You feel sympathy for Azula? GET THE FUCK OUT, MARK THINKS SHE'S LIKE HIS SISTER AND THEREFORE THE DEVIL. You're a bit taken aback by his vitriol for Spike, because you feel like Buffy in this particular experience is acting like an abuser from your- GET THE FUCK OUT, YOUR PERSONAL LIFE IS IRRELEVANT, ONLY MARK'S TMI MATTERS AND HIS TMI SAYS SPIKE IS A RAPIST SO THERE."
- Jul. 13, 2015: Discussion of Mark's failure to grasp Discworld novel 'Witches Abroad', as well as Discworld (and literature) more generally. One nonnie summed up Mark's misunderstanding of the Granny Weatherwax character thusly:
- "The thing about Granny is that her 'xenophobia' is complex and not quite as it seems. She uses headology that relies on other people knowing her reputation, the traditional role of witches in the local culture, and her always seeming to know more than the people around her. She can't afford to be seen as uncertain, ignorant, or nervous, so of course she's not keen on 'forn parts' (which Terry makes sure to explicitly state many times is not because of race), and is nervous about going there, but unable to let her nerves show or her control waver, so instead becomes disapproving, crotchety and ridged [...] This is brilliant, empathetic observation of how people work and characterization on the part of Terry, but Mark's missing it because he thinks it's just xenophobia and therefore bigotry and bad. The fact that he also thinks it makes Terry unconsciously xenophobic is what gets me."
- Jul. 14, 2015: Nonnies continued to examine Mark misreading of 'Witches Abroad' and how he was misinterpreting everything in order to find 'offensive' elements. (This is also the first time on meme that regular Mark Reads commenter Tosheroon, who has a hateboner for Pratchett's alleged "transmisogyny," is discussed.) When a character sends away for martial arts lessons, for instance, Mark calls it 'appropriative' of Asian cultures. There is discussion as to how Mark has proven to be out of his depth on numerous works, including children's book The Hobbit. Otherstalked about his US-centric approach and how it caused him to misunderstand British-inspired elements in the novels. Finally, one nonnie summarizes a major problem with Mark's site:
- "Some of the commenters are worse than Mark, and if anyone tries to gently put forward a more moderate (or fucking accurate) reading they respond with "some of these responses are making me very uncomfortable, and I feel they're trying to trivialise these important issues", and Mark always backs up that view. Everyone else has to sit down and shut up."
- Jul. 23, 2015: Nonnies discuss Mark's failure to understand British demographics, particularly in the context of Harry Potter.
- Aug. 3, 2015: Mark's lack of comprehension reaches new lows, with him just noticing that the Discworld has zombies (they appeared in a prominent role in a preceding book), and him using remarkably spurious reasoning to conclude that a black character is not black. Nonnies mock him at length on this and other issues. One sagely notes:
- "Mark does not get depiction Vs. endorsement. Any depiction is endorsement to him, even if it's clearly for the purposes of satirizing the thing and showing it to be wrong. He always goes "yes, but you could have made that point without showing it, that just feeds into it, and therefore you are unconsciously *ist"."
- Aug. 5, 2015: Meme discusses the growing trend of social justice-oriented deconstructions, including those by Ana Mardoll, Mark Oshiro, and Froborr. Several nonnies wonder what the difference is between those and non-SJ reviews and point out that RequiresHate reviewed and deconstructed books from a SJW perspective.
- Oct. 16, 2015: Mark continues to fail at reading Discworld. Despite having read genre fiction for years, he proclaims himself completely flummoxed when he encounters the term 'The Fair Folk.' He also misidentifies a human character as a unicorn for no reason.
- Dec. 2-3, 2015: Mark misreads the anti-racism messages in Pratchett's 'Men At Arms,' musing if Pratchett secretly intended them to be anti-immigrant messages as well. Nonnies also go into his utter failure to understand how British cities differ (demographically and culturally) from American ones, and therefore goes awry with his analyses of what Pratchett is trying to say.
- Dec. 18-19, 2015: Nonnies talk about Mark's failure to note that the 'gonne,' a weapon in the Discworld book he's reading, is a gun, even though Pratchett practically spells it out. His other failures of comprehension for that book are also detailed.
- Dec. 28-29, 2015: Nonnies again discuss Mark's failure to read Discworld, noting that he seems incapable of realizing that any characters are non-white unless it is explicitly stated in the text, and when it is stated, he accuses the book of racism. Other topics discussed include his misunderstanding of demographics and his strange assumption that we're supposed to sympathize with an explicitly bigoted character named Quirke even though the character is portrayed as a terrible person.
- Dec. 30, 2015: In a short thead, nonnies note that Mark seems puzzled as to why a monarchy might not be the best form of government, provided it has a decent king. Pratchett's comments on good kings going bad, and his implication that the monarch in question would be better for the city in the Guard than on the throne, fly over Mark's head as usual.
- Jan 5-6, 2016: After Mark reaches Book 15 or so in the Discworld series, he finally realizes that his experience might be enhanced if he considers things from the perspectives of the characters. Meme is boggled that someone who has been doing this for several years hadn't realized that yet. However, other nonnies note that Mark has actually come to this realization in the past, but it never stuck. This led to some discussion on whether or not Mark's naive, ignorant reactions are real or part of his persona.
- Jan 25-26, 2016: As Mark begins to read the next book in Discworld, Soul Music, nonnies wonder whether his habitual misreadings are the result of his inability to understand the British contexts of Pratchett's work, or just general cluelessness. Conversation centers on whether Pratchett having a raven named Quoth, who refuses to say "Nevermore" and instead says "the N-word," was being racist, when he wrote the book in 1994 and the euphemism for the racist slur was not in wide circulation in the UK at the time. The OP mentions Tosheroon, and he is also discussed in this subthread.
- Jan. 27, 2016: Continuation of the Soul Music discussion from the last post. On Mark's latest post, a Mod Note by arctic_hare goes up to tell people to stop arguing because Mark is right, they are wrong, The End. Meanwhile Tosheroon continues to berate people for disagreement as well. A nonny notes that someone else on Mark's thread points out that, gasp! ravens are black!
- Feb. 20-23, 2016: Despite meme's dislike of Mark, nonnies were still generally supportive after Mark reported being harassed at a con.
- Mar. 21 and 22-23, 2016: Mark began the Young Wizards series by making a strained comparison of himself to one of the characters. Nonnies noted how the review was more about his own past than the book, with some theorizing that at this point he's just searching for books that he can use to talk about himself. Nonnies also reminisced about when The Hobbit's use of multiple narrators ostensibly baffled Mark. Some nonnies also wondered if Mark's total cluelessness was an act and if he is in fact familiar with the books he reads but simply pretends not to be so he can act surprised (or shocked and offended) for his audience. (Nonnies in this thread talked about how he didn't used to be so clueless when reviewing novels, indicating that his total lack of understanding now might be an act, and also discussed how he'd slipped up previously and revealed that he knew future events in Buffy which he theoretically hadn't seen yet.)
- Mar. 23-24, 2016: At the same time, Mark went through the first few chapters of Interesting Times, a Discworld novel set in an East Asian-inspired setting. While nonnies note that this book does in fact have problems that could be interesting to discuss, Mark neglects these in favor of ranting about how British poetry is terrible and thus Pratchett is bad for making a joke about haikus, declaring that it's wrong for Pratchett to critiquing Chinese and Japanese empires when his country produced Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher (ignoring that Pratchett would be far more likely to have suffered from Thatcher's policies than benefit from them), and insisting, based on no evidence whatsoever, that Cohen's troll-teeth dentures are a reference to a story about George Washington making his dentures out of the teeth of his slaves--a joke Mark had liked when referenced in a previous novel, but now claims is offensive. Nonnies also discuss how Mark's ignorance and hatred towards British culture have led to him silencing and gaslighting People of Color who point out when he's wrong about British elements in the series. Finally, Mark's as-yet unfinished novel is brought up, and a nonnie who heard him read an excerpt confirms that it's not exactly well-written.
- Mar. 25-26, 2016: Nonnies note that Mark will soon be reviewing Neon Genesis Evangelion and anticipate a trainwreck. They also talk about Mark's humblebrag that he spent extended periods of time researching his novel at the library, and question Mark's comment that his beta readers don't know this (with one nonnie pointing out that Mark is posting about this on his public review site, so this would imply that none of his trusted beta readers actually follow his work). Additionally, there's more discussion of Mark's Interesting Times dissection, with nonnies saying they don't like how Mark assumes such bad faith on Pratchett's part. One nonnie also wonders if Mark is so popular and derives such a good income from his reviews because his superficial critiques provide a way for himself and his audience to feel superior to the lauded writers he's criticizing:
- "Mark doesn't have Pratchett's skills and can't write a series of novels beloved by people across the world. But if he can show himself catching things Pratchett missed, he can imply that he's better than Pratchett and thus steal some of Pratchett's glory. After all, if Pratchett is a spectacular author, and Mark is even more observant and empathetic and sensitive towards privilege than Pratchett, then surely Mark has surpassed Pratchett and *Mark* should be the one receiving all that glory and love. And if Mark's audience comments, or just thinks, that now they see Pratchett's flaws too they've also 'surpassed' Pratchett, which just reinforces their enjoyment of Mark's critiques."
- Mar. 29-30, 2016: Meme continues discussing Mark's runthroughs of Death Note (where he fails to understand that a character who is stepping onto the ledge of a high building, on the wrong side of a railing, and shutting her eyes is probably about to jump) and Interesting Time (where he fails to understand a joke involving a tourist considering himself an expert on fantasy-Chinese cuisine because he gets fantasy-Chinese takeout back home.)
- Mar. 30-31, 2016: Mark starts Neon Genesis Evangelion and is totally baffled by it. He also continues to fail at reading Interesting Times; meme discusses how he's returning to his old habits of assuming everyone in a book is white (despite strong textual cues that they aren't) so he can complain about lack of representation.