geeks

Fans Are Jackasses: Part whatever

So bear in mind I'm on day three of not smoking and that's made me more cranky than usual, but I just wanted to take a minute to tell fans of Repo! The Genetic Opera to fucking get over themselves.

In case you haven't heard about this latest little storm of fandom outrage about something stupid (y'know like putting a chinese kung fu star in a movie and then calling it "the karate kid" because duh, don't they know karate is japanese?!?!?!) there's this movie getting made called "Repo Men" about guys who repossess organs purchased on credit whose owners then got foreclosed on. This is the same premise as the aforementioned "Repo! The Genetic Opera." So now RTGO fans are all pissed off because their beloved indie B-Movie is getting "copied" by a big hollywood studio. And how dare the big studio for ripping off such an original idea. Except wait a second, not only is it not an original idea, its a fucking boring one and more than that, the new movie is really a rip off of a truly original and great sci fi flick from way back called "Repo Man," and RTGO is a rip off of that too, the only difference is that rather than repossessing organs, in Repo Man the main character repossesses cars.

The Poetics of Aggravated SF Assaults

So in the interests of being less vitriolic and not just hurling insults, I thought I'd approach some of the more irritating aesthetic (as opposed to political, ethical, or social) problems with the SF Ghetto and Con Culture in particular. Some of this stuff is just dumb, and it's probably not worth pointing out why. But I think it needs saying in order to point out the differences between what I think about this stuff, and the things I'm more vocally critical of.

1. Filk

Filk makes no sense to me. My enduring image of filk is that guy from Trekkies who was really bad at being in drag, singing a klingon hymn of some sort. It made me cringe. I still cringe when I think about it. It was that bad. Supposedly the idea behind filk is a group of people getting together and singing songs. That, on its own, is a good thing. Music is wonderful and we all need more of it in our lives, even people like me who have a lot of it. What doesn't make sense to me is the form that Filk takes, which, to an outsider, appears to be something like a cross between Weird Al Yankovic and Mark Russell, only with none of the musicianship or genius to be found in those musical satirists. The point here is not that the idea of filk is a bad one, it's that it seems to be executed in an internally contradictory way. What I mean by that is that on the one hand it's pushing this "everyone can sing" idea which is laudable. But at the same time, the actual activity itself is rife with in jokes and jargon that are only really accessible to a very small group of people. It's this internal irony, that seems to be completely missed by the participants, that I find displeasing about filk.

2. Costuming

Why I Hate Cory Doctorow

First, yes I've read his books. Well, some of them. Well, part of one of them. I got fed up and stopped because it was stupid and poorly written. But that's neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that I hate Cory Doctorow, I hate Boing Boing, and it's time somebody called Doctorow and his cohort of yes-men what they are: a bunch of assholes.

Normally it's not something that I feel like wasting too much time on, the hate of all things Doctorow. I mean, live and let live, right? If people want to waste their time on his weird brand of egomania, that's fine. I'm not going to worry about it. Just like I don't worry about that douchebag from Wired who wrote the Longtail book justifying the hegemony of global capital or nutjob libertarians like Eric S. Raymond advocating for creepy lifestyles dedicated to polyamory, computer programming, and owning guns. By and large the creme de la creme of geek nobility are fairly safely ignored. Although I have written elsewhere of the danger of confusing "geek chic" with "being cool," usually these people are no threat to anyone or anything I care about because the things they care about (file-sharing, Linux, web pornography, SF fandom, memorizing monty python sketches) are not things that I give a damn about one way or another. Occasionally tho, these people cross over into my real world life and I'm reminded that they are out there, festering, and are even occasionally presenting the danger of being taken seriously by real people. That, my friends, is a possibility I find absolutely intolerable and so am setting aside my usual Laissez Faire approach to The Doctorow Problem to outline in detail why it is that I can't fucking stand the the man.

You Are Not an Oppressed Minority

So there's a rain a comin'. Like many things on the internet, it is fucking stupid.

So first of all, there's this group the societyforgeekadvancement.com who have apparently decided to coopt the word "geek" to mean something like "user of social media technology."

The people involved apparently weren't aware that the whole "take back the night" campaign about the words "geek" and "geekdom" had been ongoing since the late nineties.

So naturally, the real geeks got annoyed at these johnny come lately's popping up out of nowhere trying to co-opt their identity. Such as it is.

Which prompted a response on twitter and, naturally, tor.com defending "real" geeks who play D&D and watch Star Trek from "fake" geeks who just spend a lot of time Twittering from their iPhones.

The whole thing is a tempest in a teapot, and frankly everyone involved is an asshole.

First off, the attempt to reclaim the word geek is moronic and insensitive. It puts this kind of social pressure to be cool on the same level as campaigns by gays, blacks, and other groups to "take back" the slurs against them and remove their power to do harm.' This is ridiculous in that it places a word like "geek" on the same platform with a word like "nigger" or "faggot" or "dyke" when it belongs nowhere near them.

Let's take a brief history at what the word ACTUALLY means, and then we'll come back to the issue of why everyone involved in this controversy is a fucking asshole.