Our Precious Bodily Fluids

My friends, I must warn you of a protracted and nefarious scheme to deprive us of all possible enjoyment of our geekish pursuits. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain:

When I was a lad, I read hungrily any science fiction paperback I could lay hands upon. The stories weren’t always very good, but they always brought me (I now recognize) a delicious, illicit pleasure. Everything about the book, from the breezy narration to the hard-boiled dialog to the lurid cover art whispered reassuringly to the reader: “Don’t worry. You’re not being educated, or enlightened, or validated. You’re only being entertained. Shhh! Don’t let your parents know!”

"Quickly, take her to Filene's Basement. That way!"

But somewhere a dastardly plan was hatched to make science-fiction respectable. First there came a spate of so-called literary science fiction books that made reprise of every college Freshman Lit. syllabus from Homer to Dickens. Then there came the Academy’s embrace of Science Fiction Studies; suddenly it was possible to take a course in the oeuvre of P.K. Dick at Ivy League colleges! Now we have serious discussion of comic book popcorn flicks in the highbrow news magazines that cater exclusively to the tastes of aging Boomers and yuppie DINKs. We have arrived at a moment when young suits on the subway feel no need to conceal their manga behind a well-creased copy of the Wall Street Journal. O tempora o mores!

john-carter-poste

I ask you, how am I supposed to enjoy a guilty pleasure when there’s no guilt in it?  There’s no getting around it: this is mainstream entertainment now.  But if everyone’s a geek, nobody is.

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9 Comments

  1. I dunno… that’s something to think about. On one hand I want a culture that’s more willing to accept things that are outside of the mainstream. I feel you should be able to read manga in public as an adult and not draw strange looks. It should be okay to have a Star Wars action figure on your desk at work, etc… On the other hand, it is nice having your own “thing”. Something that you share with a select few, and find enjoyment in (did that come off as dirty?). A game of D&D on the weekends, or playing an MMO with some friends. I really enjoy going to Comic Con every year, but the bigger it gets the more I reflect back on the days with fondness (mid ’90s) when it wasn’t as popular, and a little easier to get into and walk around in. So, I dunno… something to think about…

  2. Buttery Wholesomeness

    03/16/2012 at 2:03 pm

    I’m not sure. I’m all for everyone being a Geek, even if no one is, because I look back at all the shit I used to eat for quoting Monty Python and playing Legend of Zelda, and anything I can do to make my kids’ lives less miserable (even up to and including the outright murder of anyone who owns a skateboard) is fine by me.

    In short, I will, with gritted teeth, natch, tolerate well-pampered socialites saying, “Oh my God, I’m such a geek right now!” if it makes my son’s time in Junior High School even slightly easier.

  3. Buttery Wholesomeness

    03/16/2012 at 2:04 pm

    Also, this is a topic we could discuss much further, if we had a forum.

    WEBMONKEY!!! *claps twice, imperiously*

  4. Or a topic for a future Moocast? Face it, Buttery, message boards are as out-of-date as disk drives and cargo pants.

  5. I agree, not a bad idea for a Moocast… and did you just call me a webmonkey?

  6. There’s a real risk that we’re in the middle of a “geek bubble.” What if Justice League joins John Carter in losing money, or if next summer’s popcorn flicks fail to launch? Could the public completely lose interest in costumed heroes and science fiction?

    There’s an eerie parallel case: for decades, Ska music was doing just fine as a niche product until 1995 gave us Gwen Stefani overexposure and then *poof!* On to the next fad.

  7. Justice League or Avengers? Anyhow, I think Avengers will do fine when it comes out, and so will the Dark Knight Rises, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek 2. Even though they’re comic book/ geek flicks they’ve managed to appeal to the general public, making shit like Green Lantern worth the risk. But, hey, you never know…

    Also, it would be nice to see some real science fiction on the screen and not the popcorn flick stuff like mentioned above. I think the closest we’ve had to that in recent years was Moon.

  8. Those aren’t the same thing? Damn. When it comes to comics I don’t know Kandor from Krypton.

    Ooo, Moon! I liked that one.

  9. Yeah, sometimes I can’t remember which one has the purple bow and arrow guy, and which has the green one…

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