Last week I published an article about Macross and Robotech that was misleading and downright incorrect. There is no nice way to put any of that. The article was a botch, and its very premise was predicated on misinterpreted facts, as a number of people chimed in to pointed out. I have left the article up for the sake of continuity — no point in pretending I didn't write it — and reflected further on what prompted me to write the piece in the first place. Greed, mainly. Not monetary greed, but greed of another kind: the need for attention and validation.
Here's how this went down, and why. As of Thursday or so, I had another essay in the works, mostly complete but not in the shape I wanted it to be. When news of the Sony Robotech project crossed my desk, I decided instead to write about that — after all, I'd jumped on other such major news before (e.g., the live-action Ghost in the Shell project). But I jumped in way too fast for my own good, and ended up with a piece that derived its entire premise from many misread facts.
Thus, I made three mistakes. The first was in trying to derive perspective from something I didn't have the right kind of experience with. I also made the mistake of not taking the time to have someone more knowledgeable look over the whole thing — something I normally do, but I was so hot in the biscuit to get the thing up in a timely way that I skipped that step. Bad move.
The third mistake was in using that to deviate all the more from my comfort zone, analysis of story and character. A while back I'd told myself it made sense to try and push my own envelope, and to find new ways to look and talk about things that might not be immediately familiar. Not a bad impulse, but it has to be backed up with the right kind of envelope-pushing — one where I'd first done due diligence with details before trying to draw a conclusion.
I'm as dismayed by all this as those who commented on my piece were as dismayed with the way it made a hash of the facts. It's disappointing, not just because I got it so wrong, but because I didn't have to — I got it wrong because I chose to hurry out a response, instead of taking the time to reflect. Worse, all this goes against one of my own original missions: to think about these things, and not just react to them.
I did flirt with the idea of taking the entire article down. I rejected it, because that would have compounded one bad decision with another. It would have sent entirely the wrong message — that I was more interested in erasing my goofs than acknowledging them. Mistakes are not unmade. To that end, I've left the original article up, with corrections, amendments, and comments preserved, and with a note back here for further context.
This isn't the kind of work I wanted to do when I started this site. But it's easy to fall into bad habits — sloppy journalism, the need for attention and validation — when you're not looking. The only thing I can do is amend the most egregious of the errors, admit my fault, and move on.