Mainly I wanted to address something Kubo brought up recently on his Twitter.
Stealing liberally from mezzo_marinaio here:
I've finally finished reading this week's fan letters. I'm happy.
Since I usually draw with a feeling of 'Even if they don't get it, I'm drawing what I want!', when I get told in fan letters things like 'I want to see more of what you draw', I feel like I've found a life-long friend. To say it more strongly, it's like I found a kindred spirit.
I think one of the dirtiest things in the world is to force one's own values. The moments when I read my readers' letters, I feel my own values which I scattered being caught by someone and coming back to me. They're moments when I strongly feel a sense of joint ownership of values, so they're very important.
Some time ago Debbie posted to this comm a transcript of things that I and my partner in crime Rosencrantz said in MSN chat with a friend of ours. Most of you probably haven't read it, or if you tried to read it, you stopped a third of the way through because of the sheer force of my retardation, but there was something I said there that I wanted to bring up in response to the above Kubo quote (cleaned up slightly for style points):
Guildy says: Western fans are inherently entitled to think that their interpretation of what they read is just as valid as the correct one. And so far that they feel entitled to castigate the author for not 'playing along'. That's just how the cookie crumbles.
People talk about the 'death of the author'. I don't buy that shit. There's a way that every story is meant to be read-- The desires of the reader are entirely separate from the desires of the author, and are NEVER EVER to be superimposed upon them. Or forced to be accepted on equal footing.
To do otherwise is the most gross arrogance and crudeness in the whole fucking world.
I tend to stay out of 'fandom' for the most part, but one of the things I've tried to stress in my limited contact with it is the idea that the intentions, thoughts and feelings of the author MATTER. The author isn't just some random schlub that serves as the medium to deliver your story elements from the astral plane-- the author is the person whose thoughts and wishes power and give life to the stories you enjoy. An author, like an artist, is a person who wants to entertain you and make you feel certain emotions when you look at their works. Do you ever look at a painting and think to yourself "How sad" or, "What a joyful picture", or did you read a poem or a story and feel happy, or sad, or joyful? That thing that you felt is called 'artistic intent' or 'authorial intent'.
This: I think one of the dirtiest things in the world is to force one's own values. The moments when I read my readers' letters, I feel my own values which I scattered being caught by someone and coming back to me. They're moments when I strongly feel a sense of joint ownership of values, so they're very important. Is why I wrote this post. These are the thoughts and feelings of someone trying to communicate something through what they create. In this paragraph, he illustrates what I was trying to say. The author puts his own values, thoughts and feelings into what he creates, and when he receives comments back talking about the things he infuses his work with, he feels a sense of happiness and shared 'values'.
This is why I feel accurate translation and correct comprehension of story elements is such an important facet of being a fan of works composed in other languages-- not only are you interpreting a creative work, you're interpreting it second-hand through another source. That just adds to the difficulty factor. This is part of the reason why I am such an asshole about translations-- when you insist on quality, you respect the work of others. When you respect the work of others, you are able to discern the meaning built into the story. When you understand the meanings and the feelings in the story, you absorb the values of the author. And being understood would make any author or artist happy.
I know this is getting long, but just as an aside, because I know you'll be disappointed if I don't cuss: I think one of the dirtiest things in the world is to force one's own values. Your interpretation of a story is great, and it might be original, but to stomp your feet and insist is the CORRECT way and that all other ways are stupid and cliche and trite and "omg so-and-so author doesn't understand their own story, QQ" is BULLSHIT.
When you engage in prevarication to fudge points brought up in the text, you are an asshole.
When you bring up third-party sources or plot elements in works similar to the one you are reading in order to force your point of view or discount the plot of what you are reading, you are an prick.
When you go "Ehhh, the translation doesn't have to be perfect, this is good enough and besides, it sounds better this way" you are a douchebag.
When you bitch and moan to have your 'incorrect' rendering of the meaning of a story included along with the 'correct' one because "Every opinion is valid!" you are a king-sized bint.
When you read and understand the works of others, you make the creators happy. Didn't reading that quote from his Twitter make you smile?
That was artistic and authorial intent, too.