In the Snow. Uphill. Both Ways.
December 31, 2010 Leave a comment
The geek-sphere has been in an uproar over the past few days over two articles that appeared online this week. In one, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, a TV writer and producer, chronicles the year he spent without Star Wars. In the other, comedian and well-known rat voice Patton Oswalt mourns what he sees as the death of what it truly means to be a nerd. And so the various voices of geek culture have waded in to furrow their brows and nod sagely in agreement, leaping at the chance to be all serious and self-reflective about something they supposedly got into because it was fun.
To which I say, “Get over yourselves.”
Now, I already addressed where I’m at with Star Wars last summer in this post, so I won’t rehash that here. Suffice it to say no one is making you absorb every last iota of Star Wars that trickles down the pipe, and if you feel overloaded and burnt out on it, it’s more a matter of not feeling like you have to order everything on the menu rather than not going to the restaurant anymore.
As for Oswalt’s piece, well, I get it. I know that now there are people whose arcane knowledge of X-Men continuity comes not from trekking down to the comic shop every Wednesday, but from a Wikipedia article. I know there are obscure films that in my youth would have required me to drive out of state or attend a convention to see that are now seconds away from being on my computer screen thanks to Netflix. And I realize that my childhood memories are being appropriated by everything from Hollywood to Hot Topic.
And I just can’t bring myself to get as worked up over it as Oswalt does.
It’s a generational thing. Today, we grumble about how easy it is for kids these days to see films they want to see, how DVD and Netflix and streaming make it all so convenient. Well, we got the same treatment when we were in our teens and could bike over to the video store and simply rent a movie that before you had to hope showed up on your TV late at night, or maybe got shown in an art house. And before that, TV wasn’t even an option, and most likely if the film didn’t get re-released, that was that, and all you had were your memories.
We shouldn’t be concerned about the fact that it’s easier now to find and enjoy things you love. Does it somehow diminish my admittedly guilty appreciation for Hawk the Slayer if some kid today can watch it on demand instead of hoping it turns up on Cinemax again like I did? Granted, there’s something to be said for the thrill of the hunt, for finally seeing something after a long pursuit rather than a ten minute Google search, but in the end, it’s the work we’re excited about, not the lengths to which we went to see it.
I also think a lot of older geeks don’t like to see all these new members joining their club. They didn’t pay their dues. They didn’t go through those years where there was no Star Wars merchandise, when there was no Doctor Who being produced at all, when comic book movies sucked but we watched them anyway. They’re not real geeks, not like us. But is that what this is about? Simply defending a definition? Well, I was never really worried about what label the things I liked attached to me. That effort was better spent, you know, liking those things.
All this hand-wringing reminds me of nothing so much as those indie music fans back in the 80s who would shout the praises of their favorite, under-appreciated band, only to grouse that they sold out once they actually became popular. Well geeks, you’re sort of ruling the roost right now. Why not bask in it rather than fret over who else is sharing your sunshine?