Five Reasons Geek Culture Should Go Away

Someone should go to ComicCon and give everyone in attendance a wedgie.

By Peter Malamud Smith  

ComicCon 2011 is this week, and as I look over its announced offerings — retrospectives on Planet of the Apes, screenings of Captain America, panels on whether vampires or zombies would win in a fight — I feel a deep weariness for which there's probably a long German word. Disreputable genre pieces that once would've gone direct-to-video now command hundred-million-dollar budgets, which means they completely dominate our cultural landscape. Me, I used to have twenty books about Star Trek; I own the Alien series on DVD and Blu-ray; I went to computer camp, for God's sake; and I never want to hear about any of this stuff ever again. Here are five reasons we were all better off when geeks were getting beaten up:  

 

1. Geek culture is escapist.  

More and more, geek culture has moved towards "universe-building" — the development of vastly complex fictional universes a la Tolkien, Rowling, Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel Comics, et al. Characters who may appear on screen for five seconds in the movie get their own backstories, spin-off novels, videogames, and so on. For producers, this is great, because it means you can sell a ton of action figures. For fans, it's even better, because it means mentally and emotionally you can live on Dagobah and never leave. Maybe that's helpful when you're a kid sitting in the lunch room with no friends, but it's not very appealing behavior for an entire culture of putative adults.
 

2. It's simplistic.

"But Pete," you say, "it's not just escapism! These stories are full of real-life metaphors about morality/self-empowerment/being a gay teen." And that's true, to a point, but those metaphors are usually reductive, adolescent, and about as subtle as a large green man with anger issues. The Dark Knight got outsized acclaim for its "dark, nuanced" take on moral ambiguity. But remember that boat scene, where a boatload of prisoners and a boatload of normal people each have the chance to blow the other up, and neither side does? That's the kind of "nuanced, morally ambiguous" scenario that a twelve-year old would think up.

Moreover, most popular geek franchises fall back on a Manichean worldview of total good vs. total evil (again, see Tolkien, Rowling, Star Wars). It's lazy, it makes for bad storytelling, and now that it routinely gets validated by giant showers of money, it's starting to seem a little fascist.  

 

3. It's dogmatic.

Even as you read this, a few thousand people have begun writing angry letters about someone treating The Dark Knight with slightly less respect than is afforded to the Sistine Chapel. Geeks are obsessively protective of their beloved fantasy worlds. That thin-skinned defensiveness was understandable when geek culture was routinely shat upon by the mainstream, but it's a lot less attractive now that geek culture is the mainstream.

It's an immature understanding of the relationship between art and audience; it flattens critical thinking and demands uniform approval. (Videogame fans will actually express outrage if a lone publication criticizes a popular game and thereby damages its Metacritic score, of all things. No one should need validation that badly.) Bottom line, The Dark Knight made a billion dollars; I don't make that much, so you really don't need to protect The Dark Knight from me. 

 

4. It's sexist.  

Not all of it, but a lot of it. Of the twenty-three films produced by Marvel Studios, exactly one has a female lead. (And to add insult to injury, it's Elektra.) The women in geek stories are occasionally afforded superpowers, but they're more often eye-candy needing mainly to be rescued. For every Marion Ravenwood, there are a dozen women whose place in the story is closer to that of the Lost Ark — not a character with insights and flaws and agency, but a glittering object for the hero to win. You could say this reflects the culture at large, but in geek culture it's often a little worse, because it's more fetishistic. And don't get me started on the ass-kicking-lady-elf-in-a-plate-mail-bikini thing; that's almost more patronizing than the standard Mary Jane.

 

5. All this stuff was better when it was cheap.

Zillion-dollar budgets don't make for good art. When that much loot is at stake, anything quirky or understated or idiosyncratic gets flattened out. (What if paying customers don't get it?) Epic CGI-addled apocalyptic battles between Good and Evil leave no room for picaresques, farces, character studies — the quieter, more anecdotal stories that are much truer to daily human experience. (Notice how George Lucas's movies got worse and worse the more he cited Joseph Campbell's hackneyed hero's-journey shit instead of the pulpy, cheap serials that originally inspired him.)  

Meanwhile, runtimes bloat ever longer as creators, freed from monetary restrictions, pile on more and more empty spectacle. (See Lucas again.) Work that might have had a scruffy charm when it was it was pieced together as a labor of love and shuffled onto late-night television now bludgeons us noisily in multiplexes throughout the year. James Cameron's original Terminator cost $6 million, compared to Avatar's $237 million; I defy anyone to convince me the latter is a better film than the former, which remains lean and terrifying. Geek culture was better when it was the underdog; geeks, of all people, should know that sometimes things are worth more when you have to fight for them.
 

 

    This piece was written by Peter Malamud Smith, notorious Cool Guy. 


 

Commentarium (182 Comments)

Jul 21 11 - 12:52am
Dave88

Has this guy actually read any scifi books or actually been involved in anything geeky. He uses stereotypes that are false and numbers 1-4 are false, and shows he's just a guy ranting about stuff he has no clue about. 1) its just as escapist as any other pursuit or hobby, except that the people in this one tend to have higher IQ's than the general population. 2) If he thinks its simplistic, then has he read any of the classic scifi books like Asimov of Poul Anderson? Obviously not. Has he even read the current authors like David Drake, Timothy Zahn, or Travis S. Taylor? If he had he would realize that his number 2 is complete crap. All he's basing this on are some main stream movies that are not that popular in the Geek-a-sphere. 3) Dogmatic? has this dude ever tried to talk to a geek in his life or even looked into the culture. He takes a few people who are obsessed beyond fandom (they have people like that for everything from religion to sex and the city to jersey shore fans), that is not a good example, it would be like associating every left-winger with stalin, it just stupid. 4) Once again he goes with the main stream films rather than the real geek-a-sphere. Why can't he actually research what he is condemning? the best selling scifi book Princess of Wands by John Ringo, has a female lead who is kick-ass. In Travis Taylor's book Von Neumann's War the world is saved by a woman and a 10 year old girl. Poul Anderson also has strong female characters as do most scifi works (like Stargate SG-1, the longest continuous running scifi show). Once again he uses some mainstream films that are not that popular in the geek-a-sphere and some mainstream video games to make a point. If you want to criticize use real research. Mainstream Hollywood stuff doesn't represent the geek world. to do that you must research into the real world of scifi and not use the mainstream stuff the Hollywood cooks ups.

Come back when you do real journalism instead of a hack work.

Jul 21 11 - 1:08am
G

1) There are reality based hobbies, and fantasy based hobbies. I would venture to say that reality based hobbies are lot less escapist than those based on alternative universes.
2,4) If you are saying that Tolkien or Star Wards aren't a part of the geek universe, I strongly disagree.

Jul 21 11 - 8:11am
PeterSmith

Dave, I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I actually have read at least some of the classic sci-fi (Bradbury, Asimov), and I like it. Unfortunately, that more-thoughtful stuff is exactly what's been swallowed by the mass-market geek culture I'm talking about. Today when we talk about geek culture, we're talking about a term used by millions of people, not thousands, and I can pretty much guarantee you that when Olivia Munn or Chris Evans tells GQ that she/he is "a huge geek," she/he's not talking about Timothy Zahn.

Basically it's as if I wrote an article criticizing modern pop music, and you said, "How dare you! What about the Beatles, Big Star, and Teenage Fanclub?"

Jul 21 11 - 10:17am
Joe

What about your cheap-shot condescending tone? What about the fact that you cherry-pick the worst aspects of our scene? What about the fact that these conventions exist as a sort of Mardi Gras for the pop culture nerd? Like Mardi Gras, we don't always spend our time in costumes or online debating minutea (okay, some do).

Sure, a lot of stuff I agree with. Geek culture can be INCREDIBLY sexist and it's become so commodified that people like Olivia Munn can co-opt it for a built-in fanbase. But as monolithic and childish and flawed as it can be, there's merit and worth to it. And you're a condescending hipster prick who, I'm pretty sure, created this article as flame bait because you want to rile up guys (and gals) like me because you already look down on us and want to see our feathers fly.

Congratulations. By the way, nice Timothy Zahn name drop. Guess that makes you authentic.

Jul 21 11 - 10:31am
thinkywritey

heh @PeterSmith

It's definitely been flattened out so much, as you say, that when people on dating sites (for instance) call themselves "geeks," they define that by saying, "I play a lot of videogames." Old school geeks need a new word.

Jul 21 11 - 10:32am
sven

it sounds like the author actually likes a lot of geeky stuff, i don't thik he's saying there's no merit and worth to it.

Jul 21 11 - 10:47am
G

While I agree with the points, the sexist/simplistic arguments have little to do with mass-market geek culture. Back when I was an organically-grown scifi-reading, comic-collecting, DnD-playing, Basic-programming ten-year-old, those criticisms still applied. PS is right to point out that geekdom as a marketing tool lowers the quality of any given genre/media, but pointing out that Lord of the Rings puts forth a black-and-white world view muddies the waters. When TV shows like Glee are manufacturing the same "it's cool and exclusive to be obsessed/geeked-out with [this product]" message, a critique of today's "geek culture" really can't focus on the flaws of any given genre (even if those critiques are accurate).

Jul 21 11 - 10:55am
anon

Glee is horrible.

Jul 21 11 - 2:13pm
mp

Hah, Dave88 should probably read #3 again.

Jul 25 11 - 8:41am
Locust

@Joe...as soon as you typed the words 'our scene', you went a long way towards proving the author's point.

Aug 03 11 - 1:37pm
goodnessgracious

Pretty much everything Joe said was right. But it's funny how pissed real geeks got at this article. Guess it worked.

Jul 21 11 - 12:53am
Lizbeth

Yes yes yes to all of these, and another couple of yeses just for #5.

"After Star Trek, Walter Koenig became an actor!"
"And not just an actor, but a real person! With my own friends and credit cards..."

Jul 21 11 - 12:54am
The Dude

Well, that's just...uh, your opionion... man...

Jul 21 11 - 1:35am
completely

#2--If you blame geeks for the modern blockbuster (vis-a-vis Star Wars), they do take a lot of weight for a lot of shitty cinema, but culture doesn't end at film. Great novels, comics, video games and music fall under the umbrella of "geek culture." (And of course cape comics are more black and white, but would you include The Dark Knight Returns, The Doom Patrol or Watchmen in that? Just off the top of my head...) You can't blame geeks for Cowboys & Aliens unless you credit them for BioShock.
#4--Completely, completely valid. WIth rare exception a lot of geek culture is still too happy to revel in the "pandering to 16 year old boys" niche, and girl geeks are all too eager to prove themselves one of the guys and not complain about the ridiculously uneven representation.
That said, is there a lot of "elf girl in bikini goes into battle"? Hell yeah. But there is a lot of "shirtless ripped guy goes into battle" as well. I'd say everyone gets a slice of the ole "Hollywood/comics enjoys pretending everyone is hot" pie. (Especially if you include Twilight and True Blood in the modernized geek canon.)

Jul 21 11 - 1:49am
T

I agree with most of these, but you're kind of stealing from Cracked with the whole list article thing - there's been a few really recently!

Jul 21 11 - 10:38am
obviously

this is pretty much a fixture in blogging these days, can't blame him for that. people love listicles

Jul 21 11 - 2:14pm
mp

Are you really crediting Cracked with being the original "internet article as list" genre?

Jul 21 11 - 1:52am
K

that was awesome to read.
nice job and well said. and fuck anyone who can't take a little criticism.

Jul 21 11 - 2:07am
Well...

I don't think that this obsessive mindset necessarily revolves around just geek culture. Have you paid much attention to the office fantasy leagues? My mother once split my lip with a shoe when I suggested that she obsessed over her soaps like I did my cartoons. Religion...nuff said...

It just so happens that those geeks you pushed around in school and made fun of went on to make buckets of money. And they are willing to pay said money for entertainment that they don't have to inject into their veins, have embedded into their teeth, or give to their pimps. So the entertainment industry is going to cater to where the liquid cash is.

The REALLY sad thing is that those of us grew up listening to 80s music are now running the radio stations.

Jul 21 11 - 10:09am
anon

Yeah. Fantasy Football is just Dungeons and Dragons for dudes who don't play D+D.
http://shirtoid.com/29205/fantasy-football/?fb_comment_id=fbc_1015015017...

Jul 24 11 - 10:54am
Re: Well

Sounds like some of those geeks that were pushed around developed into smarmy little cunts.

Jul 21 11 - 4:05am
nerkums

The massive tide of Geek Culture has also ruined Comic Con. I used to enjoy it, now I don't bother anymore.

Jul 21 11 - 10:10am
anon

How does nobody realize that the swarms of normal people who've recently come to associate themselves with "geek culture" are what's ruining "geek culture?"

Jul 21 11 - 11:23am
completely

People realize that. Most geeks are able to make that distinction.

Jul 21 11 - 3:47pm
julian.

Maybe you just got older? I mean, like, I use to listen to punk rock all the time, but as I got older I got really annoyed by it and now I never listen to punk rock.

Jul 21 11 - 8:34pm
Publius

And that's your supreme failing, julian. You lost the punk ethos, and with it, the cause. So, goddamn you, and your legion of kowtowing commercialists.

Jul 21 11 - 9:52pm
julian.

lolwut?

Jul 21 11 - 5:19am
Kero

This guy's a hipster, but like the dude said, it is his opinion, (Hipster douchebag)

Jul 21 11 - 8:13am
PeterSmith

There really should be a variant of Godwin's Law that states how many comments an article can get before someone calls the author a hipster.

Now where's my PBR?

Jul 21 11 - 9:11am
Moops

Can I get a two-fer if I accuse someone of being a hipster Hitler?

Jul 21 11 - 8:38pm
Boson Higgins

I love it when the authors come back to Comment with the posters in the thread on their article. You go PeterSmith!

Jul 24 11 - 3:22am
Ber8

Can't really tell if Boson is being facetious, or a hipster advocating dbagg...

---in other news....that cartoon was funny indeed.

Jul 21 11 - 8:20am
Dan

Was this article supposed to be satire? I don't understand.

Jul 21 11 - 8:41pm
Don

Was this Comment supposed to be meaningful? I don't understand.

Jul 21 11 - 8:46pm
Derp

Was this comment supposed to be clever? I don't understand.

Jul 24 11 - 3:23am
Vocal

Are DAN, DON & DERP the same person? I don't understand.

Aug 11 11 - 12:27am
Sigh

Am I superior to all the above? I overstand.

Jul 21 11 - 8:42am
nyc

The article isn't arguing that geekery isn't full of nuanced, deep stories and characters. It's stating that geekish things that make it to masses are watered down, one-dimensional, and trite. I used to go to comic cons, but now they're overrun with people who accept the spiderman and batman movies as canon. I kind of agree that geek culture would produce higher quality (if lower budget) films had it continued to be marginalized... that being said, I'm still going to watch cowboys and aliens.

Jul 21 11 - 9:12am
Rutherford B. Hayes

I am completely behind this.

Jul 21 11 - 8:41pm
Basil Thripshaw III

As well as me. Now, get busy big fella.

Jul 21 11 - 9:36am
R

What bothers me about this article isn't that it's blatantly trying to hurt geek sensibilities out there. Its intention is pretty obvious. What bothers me is the complete and utter incongruousness of the thing.

It's editorial 101 to use a title that calls attention to the piece. But this one just has you thinking you're going to end up reading some points on why it shouldn't exist, and in the end the title should have been something like "5 Reasons Geek Culture was better 'Back in the Day'". But I guess the amount of hits that would've generated wouldn't have inflated Peter's ego as much as this one did.

You made excellent points in some of your paragraphs (bucketloads of money ARE making some works of geekdom worse). And you completely "pooped outside the hole" on others ("fascist"? seriously?).

In the end, the article just sounds to me like an Editor-in-Chief came over your desk and said, "Smith, We're not getting enough hits, I want a story that generates hits and you better have it by noon today!" And all you did was decide to kick the huge beehive of geekness that is the internet in hopes of delivering.

And you do look like a hipster douchebag, man. The whole tone of "it was better before it was mainstream" of the article, your picture, signature, and the fact that the only comment you took the time to respond to (aside from the obligatory first comment) was the one accusing you of being a hipster, just puts a nail in the coffin of the argument.

Jul 21 11 - 10:12am
PeterSmith

The picture was a joke (at my expense, I thought). But I DO think geek culture was better before it was mainstream, to a point. That's not a knee-jerk argument; some things are more fun when they're not totally inescapable.

Also, yes, I think the underlying ideology of things like Star Wars (total good vs. total evil, one blonde ubermensch who rises to save the world) and Lord of the Rings (total good vs. total evil, certain races that are innately virtuous or innately corrupt) IS a little fascist.

Finally, sure, I'm a hipster. http://www.theonion.com/articles/two-hipsters-angrily-call-each-other-hi...

Jul 21 11 - 11:02am
matthew

I don't think you understand what fascism is.

Jul 21 11 - 2:19pm
NuckingFuts

Not to get all defensively nerdy, but, uh, why would Luke be the fascist in star wars? It was clearly the imperials, they were modeled on the nazis. Would you still say it's fascist if he had been brown haired or black haired? Or, are you just ripping off that scene from chasing amy? You know the one, if you've seen it......

Jul 21 11 - 2:33pm
Eh

Isn't "it was better before it was mainstream" kind of obvious/redundant in this case? Virtually any cultural trend or product is more earnest and nuanced (and cheaper) before it's commercialized and commodified on a mass scale. I think you can make plenty of legitimate criticisms of geek culture, but none of these are in any way particular or inherent to it.

Jul 22 11 - 3:42pm
Nojopar

Smith, you need to review the definition of fascism. You clearly misunderstand the concept. You might be able to argue (weakly, I think) that Lord of the Rings has a fascist element to it, but only if you take a simplistic reading of the work and ignore a LOT of what was written in the books. Star Wars isn't fascist by any dictionary or political or historical definition of fascism (well, ok, the Imperials were fascist, that's for certain).

The word 'fascism' isn't a synonym for 'bad', 'evil', 'racist', 'simplistic', 'reductionist', 'trite', or 'corporate', which I think are the words you want to apply to LoTR and SW (and I'd also disagree with each of these words being applied to either work).

Jul 27 11 - 1:11am
The Raptor

Discussions like this are good. They give me confidence that Obama will win, because in Clinton's first term nobody talked about politics they just talked about the nuances of culture and what is and what is not selling out, what is mainstream and what is indie and early nineties movies constantly had characters arguing about small things like this. This is good.

Jul 21 11 - 9:49am
T

It is true that overwhelmingly commercialized "pop-geek" is a bit tiresome, but true geeky stuff is still great! And it is certainly still out there. I also roundly reject the idea that something is bad if it isn't based in the real world due to "escapism". I have a great life but I still enjoy visiting other worlds occasionally. And whether this other world happens to be Africa or World War II Greece or Lyonesse or Westeros is almost irrelevant.

Jul 21 11 - 11:53am
matthew

This is the sanest and best response I've read.

Jul 21 11 - 11:30pm
onlythecaptainsayarg

after reading the comments, i think very few people (like T) understood what PS was trying to say. a lot of theses comments are simply reinforcing #3 and don't take the time to think before they butthurt.

Jul 21 11 - 10:05am
KingPellinore

Obvious troll is obvious.

Jul 21 11 - 2:23pm
KS

Yeah, but from the comments section, it appears that geeks are easily trolled.

Jul 21 11 - 3:02pm
KingPellinore

That was already obvious. Half the internet is geeks flaming trolls.

The other half is porn, by the way.

Jul 21 11 - 8:42pm
Halder Caldwell, Esq

This is the only time in my life that I can agree with you, old friend KingPellinore.

Jul 21 11 - 10:05am
ER

People always hate things they don't understand or fit into.

Jul 21 11 - 10:05am
anon

The comic book movies suck because they're made for regular people. I agree with that. But you can't blame the folks who are actual lifelong fans of the characters and franchises for the fact that producers/directors/marketing screws up a character to make it something that will appeal to the masses.

Jul 21 11 - 10:07am
ER

Also, you are assuming geek culture is only WoW and superhero movies, a rather small cross section I'm sure most people would agree.

Jul 21 11 - 10:47am
EY

i was raised by nerds and loved all the great sci-fi films of the 80s. it does not make you a hipster to say that more mainstream attention = big budgets, and thus, inevitably lose a lot of the edge and sincerity that made movies like Blade Runner and Back to the Future so great. saying you miss earnest storytelling, that you recognize saccharine money-grubbing makes you the opposite of a hipster, actually.

Jul 21 11 - 10:59am
matthew

I wrote a long response to this on my blog
http://alayoftheland.blogspot.com/2011/07/rebuttal-in-defense-of-geek-cu...
In short, I think the author is conflating geek art with geek fandom, and on top of that, conflating one fandom with the whole. The only point that I sort of agree with is his point on sexism, but he does so in such a childish fashion.

Jul 21 11 - 11:58am
PeterSmith

Hey Matthew--that's a nice and thoughtful response, and I appreciate it.

Jul 21 11 - 11:39am
2cents

Okay. I am not a comic book nerd, I am an anime nerd. (I know, we are still of a lower echelon and people might just stop reading what I have to say already. I get it, believe me.) And I completely, wholly agree with the overall point of the article (and I would say the "sexism" one applies maybe threefold for anime). A lot of anime fans basically sat back and laughed as mainstream culture swooped in and co-opted one thing after another for other geeky pasttimes. "First they came for the video games, and I did not speak up because I did not play video games. Then they came for the comic books, and I did not speak up because I did not play comic books. Then they came for Akira, and I lost my shit." That kind of thing. And yes, as movie studios wring every cent they can out of cape comics, and with ominous live-action Death Note, Akira and Cowboy Bebop movies in the works, a lot of anime fans are concerned that what happened to fans of western comics -- the complete ruin of SDCC, awful film versions of iconic works, and a villainization by studios of the actual geeks as whiny, eternally dissatisfied perfectionists -- might happen to us. I don't think it's likely, because I don't think it would be as profitable (but that might be wishful thinking). But it definitely, definitely sucks. Comic book culture has been forever damaged by its mainstreaming.

Tl;dr: I agree.

Jul 21 11 - 11:42am
2cents

"co-opted one geeky pasttime after another"
"because I did not read comic books"
Don't type out angry rants before your morning coffee, kids.

Jul 21 11 - 11:52am
matthew

So essentially your argument is that outsiders are going to ruin your precious anime. Is that it? When will people see that bring more people and more money will mean a longer life for the properties we love? Thanks to the mainstream, shows like Fringe have a chance to survive. This is changed from years ago when shows like Firefly didn't stand a chance. You have to take the good with the bad, unfortunately, and that means live action American remakes of things. Let's not be too quick to judge something before there's even a trailer.

Jul 21 11 - 12:26pm
2cents

The properties are over? I don't understand what you're saying. And no, the field doesn't really need Hollywood money, and yes, it will almost definitely result in bad films. There might not be a trailer, but we got the script for the Akira re-make, and the cast for Cowboy Bebop. I'm not saying you have to respect the things I enjoy -- you don't. At all. I'm just talking from the perspective of a fan, rather than a mainstream consumer. After seeing what happened to the culture of western comics, I think it's fair to say that it would be bad news.

Jul 21 11 - 1:16pm
matthew

What happened to the culture of western comics? It got huge? There's more comics than ever? Some huge talents are working in comics, resulting in more stories? I fail to see how western comics now are inherently worse off than before. I'm not an anime fan, but that's because I find it too vast and too diverse to really invest my time in it. That's nothing against anime; in fact it's a compliment. I can't see how introducing anime to more people would be a negative thing. Judging a film by a trailer is one thing but judging a film by its leaked (not final) script is another.

Jul 21 11 - 4:17pm
2cents

I can't think of a single "huge talent" contributing to comics as a result of its mainstreaming. (I'm not that familiar with western comics though, so if you have an example I would love to hear it.) I don't think comics as a medium are worse off, I think they're at about the same place. But I do think that the culture has been harmed. SDCC has been co-opted as a huge cultural event rather than a gathering for like-minded geeks. The awful films, I would say, are just a cyclical "raising hopes and dashing them" thing, and they have begun to dominate a lot of geek "watering holes," for lack of a better word (i.e. places that used to discuss the actual comics), as well as villainizing the actual fans of a work -- fans are expected to act like they should be pleased Hollywood has deigned to allow celebrities to dress in silly costumes and make everybody lots of money, and if there's a critique they're brushed off as nit-picky fanboys. I think it really served to first expand the "comic fan" title to those who enjoyed the movies and a few comics, and then even within the "comic fan" niche, the original (one might say 'actual') fans were slowly squeezed out, becoming more and more irrelevant to their own culture. I mean, it's the same thing that happens in a lot of cultural appropriation/gentrification/mainstreaming. And it sucks.

Okay, you have me, perhaps it is premature to judge the films. If they turn out to be anything better than awful, I will personally return to this thread from the future and apologize. And no, there's nothing wrong with more people genuinely taking an interest -- I think the problem lies more when people take the label but not the actual initiative.

Jul 21 11 - 12:16pm
hm

Cant help but feel like point number three has been wholly validated in the comment section.

Jul 21 11 - 1:23pm
matthew

It's ludicrous to think that nerds wouldn't leap to the defense of their own lifestyle. Point three is circular: the nerds will defend what's being attacked, I'm attacking them, therefore they will defend against this point.

Jul 21 11 - 1:25pm
matthew

He also contradicts point three in point five.

Jul 21 11 - 8:44pm
luke

Yes, but Jesus contradicts all points in the Bible. Get to know it, and the Truth will set you free. I love you, brothers, let me help you.

Jul 21 11 - 1:15pm
NuckingFuts

I'll be the first to say, I have all of my own nerd/geek tendencies,like alot of the franchises, but overall, I pretty much agree with almost all of what you said.

Jul 21 11 - 1:32pm
Point of Order

Every one of these points could be just as easily applied to sports fans:
1. Escapist - "After a long week, I just wanna drink a beer and watch the game."
2. Simplistic - "If they can just score more points than the other team, they might have a chance at winning!"
3. Dogmatic - Sports fans kill each other in defense of their team. Literally. KILL: http://thestir.cafemom.com/sports/118443/sports_fans_so_crazy_theyll
4. Sexist - Name one female NFL player. Just ONE. Oh, that's right, they're too busy dancing on the sidelines in stripper outfits.
5. Better when cheap - Professional sports players make offensive amounts of money. And, if you play a pickup game at the park, it costs nothing and you get some excercise.

Also, Dave88, I'm on your side, but Stargate SG-1 is not the longest-running continuous scifi show ever. That'd be Dr. Who, 1963-1989 - not counting the reboot.

Jul 21 11 - 1:58pm
.....

I think that's the point...not enough people criticize geek culture or hold it accountable for it's more than occassional lack of awareness

Jul 21 11 - 2:22pm
Point of Order

Even less people criticize sports culture or hold it accountable for its PERPETUAL lack of awareness. And, GEEKS DON'T KILL EACH OTHER.

Jul 21 11 - 7:09pm
Mosselman

You are an idiot for implying that sport is the opposite of geek.

Also, you are an idiot for implying that hooligans give a damn about the sport that they are hooliganising.

You clearly did not understand 4., almost every sport in the world has female branches of it. The point the author is making is that there are hardly any geeky stories with female leads and that all women in geeklit/vid are just eye candy while in sports you see women in leading roles and in eye candy roles.

Again, with point 5 you are forcing this odd idea that geeky things are the opposite of sports. I assume that you are in fact a Geek (strange need to correct some statement about Stargate and Dr. Who) and that the only reason you see sports as being the opposite of being a geek is because you don't do any.

I think the author, like me, enjoys a lot of things from geek world, but the points he is making are all valid. Especially nr 3., as you can see by a lot of the comments here.

Jul 21 11 - 8:45pm
@Point of Order

Some fucking geek killed me in WoW. Corpse camping. Loathsome son of a bitch.

Jul 21 11 - 8:50pm
Derp

"You are an idiot for implying that sport is the opposite of geek.

Also, you are an idiot for implying that hooligans give a damn about the sport that they are hooliganising."

And what about you, for presuming the connections/assertions were being made in actuality?

Jul 21 11 - 10:09pm
@Derp

You are an idiot for implying that that he was presuming the connections/assertions were being made in actuality.

Jul 22 11 - 6:23am
Mosselman

@@Derp
We are all idiots for implying, connecting or asserting that there is such a thing as 'actuality' or one 'actuality'. The closest we can get is a mutual understanding of what we all see as a collective reality. In that light, we are all equally clever. Even derp... but NEVER 'Point of Order'.

Jul 22 11 - 10:46am
Point of Order

re: Mosselman
You've evidently misunderstood my post. I never said nor sought to imply that sport is the opposite of geek. On the contrary, I was attempting to draw attention to the similarities, in order to demonstrate that sports are just as worthy of an article entitled "Five Reasons Sports Culture Should Go Away" - perhaps moreso, considering the KILLING thing.

Now, I'm not sure why the parallel I drew upset you so much, or why you chose to attack me with such bullying vitriol, but I won't make assumptions. I'm making a point not to insult you, merely attempting to help you understand my point, without casting aspersions or slinging around words like "idiot."

Lighten up, guy.

Jul 22 11 - 6:47pm
Mosselman

Uh - um, oh yeah? Uh.... hmmm... IDIOT!

Jul 21 11 - 1:58pm
Freddie

I respect your opinion, but please do not include Harry Potter. Fans of Harry Potter love to escape into the world, but they also do things like this.. http://thehpalliance.org/ Also, the whole good v.s. total evil thing.. a character in the books says, "The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters." There are plenty of characters that show the gray. Lastly, if you think her books are sexist, you have not read them. Say what you will, but read a bit of Rowling and understand her fandom before you put her name into any of these categories.

Jul 21 11 - 2:16pm
mp

Freddie, have you ever heard of the concept of "show, don't tell"? Rowling clearly hasn't or doesn't know how. She says the world isn't split into good and evil, yet then shows us a world that is.

Jul 21 11 - 3:36pm
julian.

Also, harry potter is written for children, it isn't great philosophy about life and never tried to be. It's just a fun story and isn't trying to mimic reality.

Jul 21 11 - 8:30pm
Freddie

mp, actually there are plenty of characters that aren't evil, nor completely good.. what about Snape and Draco? Umbridge? Parcy? Karkaroff? Wormtail? Grindelwald? In the end, even Dumbledore has a dark past.

and julian, obviously you have not read the books or you would be able to see the parallels between Rowling's world and WWII and the nazis. To say her books are written for children and completely empty of philosophy is such an ignorant statement. Read them please.

Jul 21 11 - 9:16pm
julian.

I do read them, actually. I'm a huge fan. It is one of my favorite book series. I was just pointing out that people shouldn't be so critical of them and saying they are poor writing when they are written for children. (As in, my mom read them to me when I was in 2nd grade and they were always in my scholoastic flyer at school.) I wasn't saying that to discredit them, I was saying that because people criticize them way to fucking seriously. Sure they have some great messages in them but it isn't no Dune or Kurt Vonnegut book. They weren't written to describe existential philosophy or nihilism and people who attack them as though they are pieces of great philosophical literature miss their place in culture entirely. (Like when people tell me after I ask them if they like HP "Oh, no. I read real books.) They were meant for children and families, can they be enjoyed for reasons more than that? certainly

Does this mean I think they have no value? Hell no. Reading Harry Potter has probably changed my life more than most people or real events have.

My whole point was that MP was being ridiculous in thinking there should be more than a good vs. evil in a kid's book. (Disregarding the examples you put which are great examples of not inherently good or evil characters.) That's like criticizing a movie like Persy Jackson and the Lightening Thief for not using any creative camera angles or something.

Jul 21 11 - 10:08pm
Publius

"Reading Harry Potter has probably changed my life more than most people or real events have."

L O S E R ! !

Jul 21 11 - 10:37pm
julian.

I feel bad now. :<<<<<<<<< way 2 go

Jul 22 11 - 12:47am
Freddie

Oh I understand what you were getting at Julian! Thanks for clarifying. Sorry I get a little defensive. Harry Potter is my life and I truly believe if everyone found a way of appreciating it like I do, the world would be a better place. Don't feel bad. There are many people whose lives were changed because of it. People who yell loser just don't understand.

Jul 22 11 - 3:42am
julian.

Np bro. I knew you probably just misunderstood me. I wasn't very clear, initially. No worries.

Also, I don't really feel bad. Publius likes to troll me. I was being sarcastic.

Jul 22 11 - 6:52pm
Publius

Hey, don't take it personally, old salt. It's my job.

But... seriously. Reading Harry Potter changing your life more than most people or real events have... do you think that's healthy? Did you really mean that comment? I mean - I LOVE Tolkien. I've been reading it since I was 14... all of it, several times. But... it's just literature (by some definition). I'd never claim that it changed my life.

Aug 03 11 - 1:56pm
goodnessgracious

lol @ comparing Harry Potter to Tolkien. Tolkien is literature. Harry Potter is mainstream entertainment. Both are fun. Anyone that thinks they are basically the same thing, please refer to any random page in LOTR and HP series and compare the quality of writing.

Jul 21 11 - 1:58pm
.....

this is great b/c while i'm not a practicing member of the 'geek' culture many of my good friends are and (like most other cultures i.e. hip-hop, punk) needs to greatly improve. The backlash against this article completely misses the point. The author is trying to point out the faults of geek culture, something not enough people do. geek culture should not be immune to real criticism.

Jul 21 11 - 7:10pm
Mosselman

First non-retarded comment here.

Jul 21 11 - 8:47pm
Musselguy

Thanks, Mosselman. I appreciate the intro. So, here's my comment.

The way you made them suffer,
Your exquisite wife and mother,
Fills me with the urge to defecate!

Jul 22 11 - 12:49am
Ole Pink

No -- the judge! The jury!

Jul 22 11 - 6:53pm
Musselguy

I bow to you.

Jul 21 11 - 2:17pm
mp

I'm sort of annoyed that I agree with this list. Especially the sexism thing.

Jul 21 11 - 3:13pm
hee hee

As soon as I saw the title of this article, I knew it would provoke a comment section at least 10 times longer than the article itself and at some point the "hipster" name-calling would begin. And you did not disappoint! Much thanks to all...

Jul 22 11 - 6:54pm
Hee Haw

You big... ah, um... you.... hipster!

Jul 21 11 - 3:48pm
julian.

I feel like the sexism thing is a little unfair to put only on geeky culture. So, while I would agree that geek culture has sexism I think it is a representation of the whole, not that it developed it on its own. For instance, look at how many female directors there are in all film genres. Or, that women still get paid less than men, on average.

Also, a lot of things are dogmatic. For example, music, a lot of people get really pissy if you insult there band. Another example is the amount of people who personally attack Justin Bieber or Rebecca Black as though the music they make is an insult to them (even though they can choose not to listen to them). Point of order (commenter above) makes a good point of how sports culture is dogmatic also.

But, basically every point could be said about a lot of different cultures, not just nerd culture. So I don't know what the writer is complaining about, except that he just doesn't like geeks for some reason, and that just sounds like his own problem. But whatever, I just don't agree with it. He can write whatever he likes.

Jul 22 11 - 6:58pm
Spock

Geek gulture having special attributes not representative of the population as a whole would be statistically improbable.

Jul 24 11 - 2:08am
julian.

^ this

Jul 21 11 - 4:05pm
Ham

Although I daresay I'm a fringe geek at best (and, thusly, probably representative of the market that is popularizing/destroying what was once beautiful about geekdom), I found each of those points pretty compelling.

I'm also a hipster, so to Pete I say: let's crack a PBR!

Jul 21 11 - 4:43pm
Finn

Awesome, a great read.

Jul 22 11 - 6:59pm
Gill

Well, for someone named after a fish part, probably a fairly challenging task.

Jul 21 11 - 5:10pm
Jonathan L

Actually, IMO a LOT of freaking BAD things happen when someone, somewhere decides to take the silly seriously - at least in movie terms. I've always been a Godzilla fan, but WHO THE FUCK thought it was a good idea to redesign G, kick out the guy in the suit, and give CGI Godzilla a multi-million-dollar budget?
How'd they miss the point by so broad a mark?

I even used to watch Power Rangers (firs couple of years; se also my Godzilla confession); who thought that taking THAT seriously and giving it a big CGI movie budget made any sense?!

The Japanese know enough to up the effects, but keep the guy in the Godzilla suit. Take it seriously and, well, you might wind up dressing up a woman in a swimsuit and sending her to battle evil men, a la Wonder Woman. And how seriously can or should anyone ever take that?

Jul 21 11 - 6:29pm
unholyguy

Don't feed the troll

Jul 22 11 - 7:03pm
Troll

(BURP!)
BRING ME MORE FOODS PLEESE.

Jul 21 11 - 7:15pm
Someonewhocantsee3D

Trolls. They are better off staying on 4chan and not writing news articles/blogs

Jul 21 11 - 7:24pm
KJ

You aren't really writing about geek culture. . . ComicCon is now a mainstream event, not the fringe event for comic book collectors that it was when it started. All of these multi-million dollar movies that you're writing about have been promoted at ComicCon. Those of us who identify as "geeks" tend to go beyond "The Dark Knight" (which many non-geeks enjoyed). Try playing D&D or reading an Iain Banks novel, or try the otaku route and watch some Ghost in the Shell. That's where true geek culture lies.

Why do I get the lingering suspicion that a certain writer is nostalgically bemoaning the comradery he experienced as an adolescent with his fellow geeky friends?

Jul 21 11 - 7:27pm
Decameron Knight

Taking another look, one heading at a time:

1. Geek culture is escapist.
Right. And fans of "Reality Television" who bombard the networks with their desperate "I must vote NOW" toll calls aren't practicing their own version of ridiculous escapism? Or Fantasy Football/Baseball/Basketball/(insert your sport here) fans? Or people who blame their obsessive behaviors on "addictive personalities" when they gorge on alcohol, or cheeseburgers, or chocolate, or sex, when they seek to escape? Geeks seem a little less destructive than many escapist pursuits, and even though they look more obviously...well, geeky...they aren't any more juvenile than any of the others.

2. It's simplistic.
So what? Life is difficult, and it's a challenge, and it won't be getting any easier anytime soon. Some simplicity can be a welcome goddamn break, whether it's the simplicity of action figures on a mantle or the simplicity of obsessing over every episode of "Glee."

3. It's dogmatic.
Please. Ever have a conversation with pretty much any "My favorite band freakin' RULES and your favorite SUCKS!" fan? You'll slam into more dogmatic thought than a year's worth of Sunday School lessons.

4. It's sexist.
So is pretty much every male-dominated professional and semi-pro sport in the world.

5. All this stuff was better when it was cheap.
You got me there. It's also typically much better when it's independent. But then, pretty much every escapist activity is better when it's cheap. The geeks are far from having the market cornered on this one.

So maybe a lot of things should go away. But they won't. Don't worry about it. I doubt that a team of rogue geeks have any plans to kidnap you, throw you into the trunk of their Mom's car and force you into a bad "Half-Life" costume and parade you at a comic-con against your will. Hey...I can generalize, too. It's easy, it's fun, and it's a reliable, time-tested deadline-buster.

Jul 21 11 - 9:09pm
julian.

Well done.

Aug 03 11 - 2:00pm
goodnessgracious

so wait...geek culture = mainstream culture? and all the points in the main article could be said about both? how revelatory!

Jul 21 11 - 7:28pm
MisterBehavior

Dude not only are you wrong, but you're incredibly wrong.

Sure, Marvel Super Heroes are predominately male. So are the READERS, IDIOT. For every girl who reads comic books there are twenty guys. I some how find it easier to identify with a male character. Not that I dislike the female ones. (Oh, and by the way, Elektra is actually pretty badass).

Not only that, but why diss something and then get mad when someone wants to defend it? If you don't think it needs to be defended then why even bother slandering it? It's like beating a dead horse with another one. What are you even saying?

You are possibly the most ridiculous individual I have ever read an article from on the internet. I can't believe this got published. The end.

Jul 21 11 - 9:14pm
sophie

Which comes first? Chicken or egg?

You say the only reason there are very few female super heroes is because there are very few female comic readers -- and the writers apparently assume that male readers don't like to see females in their comics unless they are vapid eye-candy.

Perhaps there would be more female comic-book readers if the writers allowed a few strong female characters among the wall-to-wall testosterone-fest? At this point, however, comic books would take a while to shed their adolescent sexist image among potential new female readers for them to give it a chance.

And that's another thing. Sexism in and of itself, shamefully, can be found just about everywhere you look. But it's the over-the-top, adolescent, unimaginative, obvious, ridiculous sexism of comic book culture (and the films, TV, video games, etc. that emanate from it) that really appalls. Mainly for its sheer laziness and the contempt the writers and artists must hold for their readers' base and easily manipulated interests.

Jul 21 11 - 7:33pm
unholyguy

You guys are feeding the troll. Of course he is wrong, he's just looking for attention

Jul 22 11 - 7:04pm
Troll

NO. NOT ATTENTION. FOODS. PLEAS GIVE FOODS OR NO CROSSING BRIDGE.

Jul 21 11 - 7:41pm
Calvin

Angry letter ahoy.

Jul 21 11 - 7:43pm
Ms.D

Right on, Peter! Your point in #3 was illustrated perfectly, by people who need validation SO badly that they can't handle the tiniest bit of criticism.

Jul 22 11 - 7:05pm
Mr. P

Fuck off you cunt! I can SO handle criticism. It's NOT a problem for me, so FUCK you.

Jul 21 11 - 8:02pm
orlando

replace 'Geek' with 'Jock'. Same diff.

Jul 21 11 - 8:27pm
Riki

Loved this, and even better, love the comments of the geeklings who feel it was some sort of personal attack. It was good to take a breath and look into the dark side of geek culture wave.

Jul 21 11 - 8:30pm
Riki

Also find the geeklings who are lashing out at 'Sports', 'Sports' is not a saint, by any means, but your changing the topic, this isn't about sports.

Jul 21 11 - 8:41pm
MrMacCheese

Dude exactly as you put it after reading these comments ! "Geeks are obsessively protective of their beloved fantasy worlds." , Its pretty sad when you see popstars in the mainstream claiming their Geek Status as if its some additional cool badge to beef up their publicity , Ala Anne Hathaway and the Geek Glasses Publicity stunt. Shame on geeks for having no pride anymore. I loved the days when nobody used computers apart from me and my mates playing Ultima Online all weekend and RP'ing Dungeons and Dragons.

But now i think, people who i used to play Rugby with are all addicted to World of Warcraft and now there is nothing cool and elusive about being a Gaming Freak anymore ;(. I think my gf has a higher score on Angrybirds than i do :~( So much for being the awesome gamer geek i once used to pride myself on . The world has become a bucket of Grey Water , Nobody is as individual as they like to think they are. Big Ups for an awesome post

Jul 21 11 - 8:41pm
Lawrence

Biggest troll EVER?

Jul 22 11 - 7:06pm
Biggest troll EVER

(BUUUUURP) GIVE FOODS! NOW! WANT WHOLE COW.

Jul 21 11 - 8:52pm
Class Clowne

So, geek culture has been co-opted by the mainstream just like everything else. Soon it will fall out of fashion and real nerds can go back to writing Star Trek slash fic in peace.

Jul 21 11 - 10:12pm
@nerdfueljay

this is why i need a "don't like" or -1 button, your article sucks

Jul 27 11 - 1:26am
The Raptor

Sites like this and other things on the net would so benefit from a don't like button but it's counterintuitive. If there were a don't like button then certain things would get a majority "don't like" status, but that status in many, many instances would not result in people visiting that site less, in many cases people would visit that particular thing on the internet MORE. I'm just sayin'

Jul 21 11 - 11:22pm
Jason

I agree with pretty much everything this guy has to say. I am burning out of geek culture for exactly the reasons he mentioned. At some point, I don't think I will even watch another Sci-Fi or Fantasy film again. I'm done.

Jul 22 11 - 1:19am
matthew

Well that's an incredibly sad thing to say. What if in ten years, the greatest sci-fi movie ever made comes out and you're like, "No, dude. I am STUFFED from all this sci-fi I had earlier. I couldn't possibly watch another" and all your friends will be like, "Dude, it's seriously the best thing ever" and you'll be all like, "No man. I hate quality based on a principle that doesn't quite make sense"

Jul 22 11 - 7:07pm
Biggest troll EVER

Me Big STUFFED. CANT eat more COW. MIGHT eat PUSSY though. STUFFED.

Jul 21 11 - 11:30pm
chuckles

pete rules!

Jul 22 11 - 1:12am
Alan Coffee

I think it's pretty clear that you're all out of your fucking minds.

Jul 22 11 - 4:52am
Bob Jones

Too afraid to come up with an original article that expresses how he really feels about something. So why not throw together something with a really provocative title knowing he hasn't a hope of making any valid arguments because he's writing about something he himself doesn't believe. "Pete" "Smith" does, however achieve his agenda of getting all of us to "Add a Comment" so that he can persist in his delusion that he's written something of substance based solely on the # of replies/comments/reactions to his spasmodic ramblings.

Jul 22 11 - 10:02am
tizzy

Love the use of "random" quotation marks.

Jul 22 11 - 5:39pm
Danielle Gibson

"Pete" "Smith" is real, and he's spectacular!

Jul 23 11 - 8:24am
Pete Smith

More than spectacular, and that's just in bed!

Jul 22 11 - 7:44am
dogma

look at the guy. look at him. there is no impassioned response required

Jul 23 11 - 8:24am
cat

...and yet you still did...

Jul 22 11 - 8:06am
Sam

This seems to be a rant against popular geek culture rather than all geek culture.

Jul 22 11 - 8:56am
Andy

Why on earth are you focusing on stuff that geeks like me have no interest in? Is it because you don't understand what a geek in the wider sense is? Probably. I have almost zero interest in comic books, yet that's most of what you seem to be fixated on. It's a lazy article because it concentrates on a popular stereotype of a person interested in sci-fi/fantasy and gaming. Geeks exist in all niches. Perhaps you should investigate some more before you write this diatribe.

Jul 22 11 - 10:48am
meh

The last 4 were really reasons why the mainstreaming of geek culture should go away or the idea that geek culture is solely controlled by the white dudez. The first one is a valid criticism, but it's pointless, and devolves into the argument that escapism helps sell action figures. So yeah, the first argument is not supported, either.

Jul 22 11 - 10:53am
Julia R.

Hm. I'm not sure there's anything really wrong with escapism, and our culture would be pretty uptight without it (if standards on showing exposed skin/exhibiting sexual behavior weren't relaxed a little bit circa World War 2 to distract soldiers and everyday folks from the horrors of war, for example, some pretty great stuff would've never gotten made). Anyway, aren't movies kinda inherently escapist?

Also, there have always been simplistic movies (black hat/white hat westerns), and there are some pretty great ones. Cinema's also had a pretty long history of sexism. Folks with cameras have been trying to find excuses to show women undressing almost since Edison first started playing around with his kinetoscope.

Also, re. 3 and 5--seems to me like these are inevitable side effects of the globalization of culture, which has its blessings and curses, but is generally a pretty cool thing--heck, I can video chat with friends in Thailand and Malaysia.

Anyway, Hollywood's history is one of making subcultures and taboos mainstream (see: exploitation films, which...to rewind a little...made nudity and violence in movies possible), and in doing so, kinda ruining them a little bit. But that's what makes the occasional movie that gets it right so damn good. So the continual turning-over of subcultures to the mainstream is also what allows for the emergence of fresh, brand-spanking-new subcultures...that eventually get boring and wither away too.

Phew. I haven't had coffee yet.

Jul 22 11 - 7:10pm
Sam Tea

Holy shit! You mean Allan Coffee?

Jul 22 11 - 12:08pm
sirjfryman

didn't feel like typing my whole response in the comment section. posted it here.

http://sirjfryman.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/count-pointer-count-an-unnece...

Jul 22 11 - 4:30pm
FranK

Damn Hipsters....

Jul 23 11 - 4:08pm
RC

Damn trolls...

Jul 22 11 - 6:43pm
D

Geek Culture needs to go away because it sucks

Jul 23 11 - 1:24am
drak911

@PeterSmith, you lost my attention (and probably most sensible and logical readers' attention out there as well) with your first curse word (or derivative of curse word with "shat"). The next time you write, from one writer to another, here's some advice: don't curse! Cursing makes you sound real stupid, and totally dismissible.

Also, your surface scratching harks on the lazy-side, and your insults on people do little to make any point other than pure bigot hatred for a certain culture. Your "holier-than-thou" tone has little to do with being an editorial and more to do with flame baiting of the culture you're lashing out against. This so-called "editorial" is so non-credible in its worthlessness. You have no empirical research, nothing to base any claims on. You go from name dropping to insults and attacks in almost every "point" and every paragraph. You shouldn't have named this "five reasons for geek culture to go away," you should've named it, "I'm better than you are and here's why." At least your bigotry would've been somewhat justified if you had the proper titles. And, since this all about bigotry towards something you obviously have no research on and don't understand (just because you read a few books by some well-known authors, it doesn't make you an authority on the subject), don't mislead people into thinking this is some sort of intelligent conversation. It wasn't even close, your "opinion" or otherwise.

Until you become an authority, just stick to flat-out attacks instead of misleading, flat-out bigotry that's filled with nonsense and mumbo jumbo. Knowing the box office figures for The Dark Knight and knowing a few science fiction authors' works does not make you an authority.

Thank you for wasting our time.

Jul 25 11 - 12:14am
huh?

.........

Jul 25 11 - 7:26pm
Zorg

Good thing I didn't waste my time reading that lengthy Comment.

Jul 23 11 - 4:07am
ehh

Man, way to get the geeks all riled up Nerve.

Jul 23 11 - 4:08pm
RC

More like, get the trolls riled up.

Jul 23 11 - 11:27am
ORWELL

9/11 was a false flag op.

Jul 23 11 - 4:54pm
Alan Coffee

...run by Elvis.

Jul 24 11 - 11:28pm
Rose

So what you are saying is Geek culture was cool before it was mainstream, and you know because you liked it before it was mainstream. Whatever, I think it's still fun. Escapism is fun, and many many many forms of fiction and art are escapist. If I want to watch Star Trek and imagine I work on a starship, is it really a bad thing?

Jul 26 11 - 2:50pm
HatersGonnaHate

FAKE. Clearly photoshopped.

Jul 26 11 - 7:25pm
Zorg

Totally. I ran it by my Photoshop engineer buddies. Consensus? Shopped.

Jul 26 11 - 3:13pm
Shara

While your argument may be well worded, this is basically an article simply stating the well known 'Hipster motto': "I liked it before it was cool." This entire article can be summed in the simple words "Geek is now so MAINSTREAM." Please do not take this for trolling - I respect your right to your opinion, however fallacious it may be. You say that all "geeky" things are dogmatic. However, you cite examples such as Batman, The Hulk, ect. - as if those are the only "geeky" things in existence. Now very well-known shows and literature such as Star Trek: TNG and Game of Thrones deal with subject matter that is often subtle and complex. JRR Tolkien's works may often appear to be nothing more than the classic "Good vs. Evil," but that is not to say there are not complexities within his literature that you may not have even noticed. You appear to simply take things that may be considered "geeky" at face value and immediately write them off at stupid or childish without even taking the time for a closer look. You say the "geeky" things you were interested in as a child now appear silly and simplistic. Of course they do. You were into them as a child. To say that fantasy and science fiction are aimed and suitable only for children shows an obvious and deep misunderstanding of the genres as a whole. As a female, yes, sometimes I do find rampant sexism in fantasy, sci-fi and comic books. I also find it in romance movies, reality shows, and advertisements. And you know what? They aren't that much more fetishistic as far as I'm concerned (just look at any of the recent vodka ads on buses). Yes, I take issue with it, but it is not a reason to dismiss the geek culture as a whole. The "Geek Girl" movement is a new but strong movement and I expect to see many more strong female leads in the future (though if you've ever watched Dr. Who, they are clearly already here).

The fact is, your article shows a clear misunderstanding of geek culture. And quite frankly, I don't think you want to understand it. You see that something that was previously "underground" has become "mainstream" and thus you have deemed it passé. The important thing is nothing you have written in this article will make geek culture "go away." I was a fan of fantasy, science fiction and comic book heroes long before "geek chic" and I will be long after it has passed from the mainstream. No one plays Dungeons and Dragons or watches Star Trek because it's "in." They watch it because they enjoy it, and nothing you can say will change that.

Jul 27 11 - 3:38am
Dan Korn

B.S. I didn't just look over the programming schedule at Comic-Con and then write a snarky piece about it, I was there. And as a full-time geek, I disagree. Haters will always hate, especially with that annoying hipsterish "it's cool now so it must suck" meme, and while it's true that a lot of the "mainstream" stuff is lame, this blogger is completely wrong about the kinds of things that truly get celebrated, and pilloried, by the uber-geeks who make the pilgrimage to Comic-Con.

To rebut his points specifically:

"1. Geek culture is escapist." Yeah, and so what? So is watching sports, or listening to music, or reading Shakespeare. If geek culture should go away for that, then pretty much all culture should too. Unless you just read the news 24 hours a day, then please shut the fuck up about how the things I like to do for entertainment and escapism are less valid than the things you like to do for entertainment and escapism.

"2. It's simplistic." Okay, well, first, again, so fucking what? It's entertainment. But the example he gives of one stupid scene in The Dark Knight hardly indicts the entire genre of all geekiness. Watch Game of Thrones, or Dexter, or Firefly, and tell me how morally simplistic they are. Or read something by an author who writes for adults instead of just holding up Harry Potter as the be-all, end-all of geekdom. Although Harry Potter is hardly simplistic, nor is The Lord of the Rings. True, both are centered around a story of good vs. evil, but they're about what people do in those circumstances when they're fighting evil. And what's wrong with a good vs. evil story anyway? Maybe Lucas and Tolkien aren't exactly Charles Dickens, but I'm not going to apologize for enjoying the rich, complex universes they created.

"3. It's dogmatic." This statement shows that the author has no understanding of geek culture at all. Geeks are hardly "obsessively protective of their beloved fantasy worlds." If anything, they're obsessively critical of them, and the real geeks are the first ones to point out inconsistencies. As beloved as George Lucas is for creating Star Wars, he's reviled for contradicting himself in the prequels (and for Jar-Jar Binks). And if some geeks complain that Peter Jackson didn't copy the LOTR books line-for-line in the movies, well, that's just their way of respecting the work. If you want to criticize a culture for being dogmatic, go to a church, not to Comic-Con. Or watch people arguing over their favorite bands.

"4. It's sexist." Yes, some of it is. (And Tolkien, specifically, doesn't help, although in his case I think it's less about objectifying female characters as it is just an inability to write them.) And yes, women are often eye candy in sci-fi/fantasy movies. But men are too; the actors in Twilight have their shirts off half the time. So does Thor. 300 was all about half-naked dudes. And maybe that's sexist too, but hell, just about every TV show and movie has eye candy of both sexes, not just "geeky" ones. But more to the point, look at any list of classic literature or "Great Books" and tell me how many of those have female leads. If you're going to indict sci-fi/fantasy writers for not writing about women, then you also have to indict Alexandre Dumas, and Robert Louis Stevenson, and Mark Twain, and Homer, and just about everyone fracking else. Anyway, find me a female character as strong as Laura Roslin in your favorite culture.

"5. All this stuff was better when it was cheap." Yeah, yeah, and we all had to walk uphill both ways. This is the way old, jaded, cynical people always complain about what younger people like. It's the same with music, and just about every other form of art. Look, I get what he's saying, a lot of this is just commercialized now. But geek culture, and Comic-Con itself, are about a lot more than just Star Wars prequels and Avatar. If anything sucks, it's Hollywood, but the REAL geeks would rather go to the annual sing-along screening of the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer which closes Comic-Con, or wait in a four-hour line to see the Doctor Who panel, than sit through another Transformers movie. The guy who wrote this is either a pretentious hater who doesn't understand that, or he's just trying to sound like a "notorious Cool Guy." And the fact that he calls himself that makes him a douchebag.

Jul 28 11 - 7:45am
Trevor P.

I just found the title to be misleading. I didn't actually read "Five Reasons Geek Culture Should Go Away." At best I read "Five Criticisms Of Various Aspects Of Geek Culture, Which For Some Reason Isn't Clearly Defined."

I mean, I'm not one to defend sexism or hyper-defensiveness over other people's opinions about things, but couldn't a "Geek Culture" exist without them? Part of my confusion may be from the fact that "Geek Culture" isn't defined at the outset . As a reader I'm left to piece together what you think it is -- apparently it's escapist, dogmatic, simplistic, sexist extravagance -- and if that's all it is, then sure, let's chuck it.

I can't say that I'm convinced that is all geek culture is, though. I could use those same five adjectives to describe more serious things like say, religion or politics, but I wouldn't reduce either one to those terms entirely. Instead my takeaway is that Comic Con is exhausting and some people take made up things too seriously. I think I knew that before I came here, though.

Jul 28 11 - 4:50pm
Joey

More like Peter Smith, closeted hipster and self-loather.

Jul 28 11 - 4:52pm
TBilly

"Notorious Cool Guy"? Cultural bully.

Jul 28 11 - 5:18pm
Treps

You said it all when you said "That thin-skinned defensiveness was understandable when geek culture was routinely shat upon by the mainstream, but it's a lot less attractive now that geek culture is the mainstream."... Everybody labels himself as geek now...

I do agree with you with just a small nuance : please read Moorcock, a fantasy or geeky story doesn't have to be manichean to be good...

Jul 28 11 - 6:18pm
antheia

This entire piece just makes me wonder who pissed in your cornflakes. Or, to put it in more adult terms: it's reductionist tripe that reads like the rantings of a sad hipster. Why is writing a negative piece about something you're clearly unfamiliar with a proper "adult" use of time?

PS: geeks are still not cool. There's an element of it that is, but the core of the geek world - the programming nerds, the kids who devour sci-fi/fantasy books, the LARPers and D&D Players - they're not cool.

Jul 28 11 - 7:18pm
Rob Thornton

Peter Smith, if you think reading Bradbury, Asimov, and Zahn makes you an expert on SF, think again. Let me put it this way: Philip K. Dick is in the Library of America and you aren't.

Jul 29 11 - 11:12am
sven

katy perry is on top of the billboard charts and you arent'--what the fuck difference does it make

Jul 28 11 - 7:31pm
Tim Poston

Escapism is a problem for you?

You are a jailer?

Jul 30 11 - 10:23am
El Popsicle

I'm sure what I have to say will just be reiterating what other commenters said, but I'll say it anyway.

To much of ANYTHING can be unhealthy/annoying to others. No one likes a zealot; whether it be religious, nerd/geek culture, gaming, etc. Singleling out one exclusive genre is moot. I get just as annoyed by co-workers who talk nonstop in their spare time around the office about sports; who can name every player on every team ever. Their stats, injuries, trade history, etc. ( my boss told me yesterday that he was hesitant to try the FRS Energy Drink until he saw that Tim Tebow endorsed it. I cringed.) Yes; I get just as annoyed by that then I was in high school by an Otaku girl in my graphic design course. Who could in detail list the characters in every dubbed anime she had ever watched; their backgrounds, relationship history, epic battles, etc. I liked anime in HS as well, but she would seriously not shut the fuck up about it. It was clear that it was more than a hobby for her, and it's this kind of person that turned me off from too much of a "good" thing.
Nerd culture shouldn't be singled out solely because it's "lame". You're talking about s fraction of the whole. My point is that this article could have been written about any cultural sub class, and people would be just as offended.

The reason I think nerd culture is so prominent and accepted now is because of online access. Let's be honest: how many of these alleged nerds you are pointing to had any friends ( in real life) to indulge their interests and engage them socially prior to the Internet, without feeling singled out? A very, very small number. And some of them come from very remote or small town/small minded places, where being "different" in any manner; liking comics/games/scifi etc is seen as just as "wrong" as being gay, being not white, etc. So telling them to let their interests die, what they love and find comfort in, something that may have taken them years to come to terms with and realize that it was OK to be different and indulge their own interests and not give a fuck what others think... Telling them that they need to abandon what they love and have become passionate about is not going to go over smoothly.

This is why despite science, there is still religion. Despite cold hard facts about food health/safety, there are still people with eating disorders. People will obsess and overindulge things that make them feel good and right with themselves. Taken to an extreme it can be very unhealthy, but in moderation it can make for a well balanced person. If we all became a blank slate and didnt have an interest that we invested time/money/emotion into, no one would have anything to talk about and the world would be incredibly boring.

Also, I dont know about the whole sexist thing. You have to remember that up until the last 20 years, nerd/scifi culture was created and basically dominated by men. Corporations that fuel and finance te production of sci fi or comic movies are in the business of making money, and sex appeal is a big selling point. If they can't have a oversexed woman for viewers to stare at they will sell less tickets. Their boardrooms an descisions makers mostly consist of men, and even the women on board know that sex sells. It's sad but again, it's us, our society that allows that to happen. The minute we stop letting our little girls dress and emulate the appearance of the Kardashians, and stop telling them that the key to success is letting a rich man marry you, then this idea of women only being powerful if they are also sexually appealing will die down.

TL;DR - Too much of anything is bad. No one likes a Zealot. Hobbies have become obsession due to the Internet allowing for over-indulgence, but also allow for social interaction. But really it sounds like the author is just tired of seeing all his hipster friends wearing Batman shirts. :D I bet if you ask them nce they will switch to Green Lantern a la Ryan Reynolds because its ironically bad.

Just MHO, feel free to argue it. I wont be offended.

Jul 30 11 - 11:43am
odessa

good job peter. all the over-the-top comments mean you hit your mark. AND they unwittingly illustrate every point you made. especially the fanatical, dogmatic part. oh yeah. don't touch a crazy geek's sacred cow. he'll dress up like luke skywalker and lightsaber your evil ass!

Jul 31 11 - 12:09pm
larebolera

how about that it's boring and insular?

Aug 03 11 - 2:13am
giuseppe

Peter: I lost a year of my life in high school to a MUD (which was definitely not all bad), and am now watching good friends and good people become increasingly disconnected from the world: they used to read the news; now they read sci-fi/fantasy more or less exclusively. That's only one case, of course, and only one variety of geek-culture, but the anecdotal evidence for a connection between such geeky fare. But surely sociologists have written about geek pop culture. Did you turn up any hard data about a connection? I ask in part because, as other commenters point out, all good entertainment is escapist in one way or another. The worry, if I've got you right, is that geek culture isn't just escapist, but promotes a kind of disengagement with reality. But that's measurable - and it's not obvious that the anecdotal evidence would be born out by better data. For instance, I wonder whether followers of geek pop culture have more accurate ideas about politics.

Aug 04 11 - 2:38pm
Holly

So geek culture should go away because Lucas? Agreed. Seriously though, I too get more and more annoyed with the no criticism is allowed and if you do want to criticise a few weak parts of a genuinely good film it means you hated it mindset. And this isn't realted to what I just said, but I think Rowling is alot more about the moral gray area than Tolkein and Lucas.

Aug 04 11 - 3:16pm
JungleBoi

@Peter Smith: Even if your 5 " reasons" Geek culture should go away were valid, I would counter that with a reason or two of my own as to why it should & will remain: We guys love our escapism and remain boys through it; we don't make you wrong for not participating. You prolly knew this already and I will refrain from questioning your motives in writing this article, a dubious endeavour.

Aug 06 11 - 5:17am
xrumdo

Horses eat hay.

Sep 04 11 - 10:26am
Christina

This entire article can be applied to any type of culture.

"Geek Culture" simply projects it more obviously than other cultures. Plus it's easier to make fun of the geeks than the jocks.

Or we can all stop stereotyping all together! But where would be the fun in that?

Sep 11 11 - 10:42pm
Joe Montana

Author has balls to call out nerds on their bullshit.

Also lol at the guy citing John "Rape Enthusiast" Ringo as a paragon of feminism

Jul 20 12 - 6:45pm
Sadie

Yeah, I know you're trolling, but thanks for making me think :) All these are common criticisms of "geeky" culture, and easy to make, but ultimately flawed. Fantasy and sci-fi are naturally escapist, but hey, why limit people's imaginations? Every kind of entertainment, geeky or not, is escapist, but most people don't become delusional about it.

If you were to really look into a lot of fandoms, especially the literary ones, I think you would find them to be much less simplistic than you might realize. For nearly all of recorded history, people have created fantastic stories that, in their own way, try and make sense of the world; see Beowulf, Arthurian legends, mythologies of every culture. Tolkien's LOTR is a "simplistic" good-vs-evil story if you only read the cliff notes of the cliff notes; by the way, so are the King Arthur stories, Shakespearean tragedies, and Nordic legends. Often good and evil characters are meant to be archetypes or symbols of something other than themselves. It's not just fantasy; it's philosophy, allegory, and social commentary, which are important because they can shape the way you understand your world.

Yes, certain obsessive fans can become dogmatic-- but that's not to say that "geeky" fandoms have nothing constructive to offer. As for "it was better when it was cheap"-- that's a matter of taste, for which there is no accounting. If one person finds something in the new "Star Trek" movie that speaks to them, who am I to say that their perspective is less valid than that of someone who has been a fan for decades?

On the same token (or perhaps "Tolkien," given the nature of this discussion,) I respect your perspective-- you clearly find nothing meaningful in fantasy or science fiction, and that's all right. But plenty of very intelligent people DO, and have done since the beginning of literature, which is why you shouldn't suggest that "Geek Culture Should Go Away."

Aug 02 12 - 2:13pm
Crystal

You know just because you may not like something doesn't mean others can't like it. Anything can be escapist, sexist, dogmatic or simplistic. Don't put all the blame on geek culture. Not to mention you can be involved in this stuff without being a fanatic. Sounds to me like you're against fanaticism in general not geek culture. Learn to figure out what you're really angry at.