I went to a life recording of The Nerdist Podcast in Royal Oak, Michigan the other night, and it was an eye opening experience for me. Not so much because of the stand-up acts and the podcast, which were incredibly funny, but because of the realization of who I was among the sea of strangers who were cosplaying as well as tweeting whatever they could to read it on the big screen before the show started. (It was a great interactive measure, actually. They projected the results of a live reader that finds any tweet with the Nerdist hashtag. The problem is that not everyone who thinks he is a comedian is actually funny… In fact, most aren’t.)
This isn’t a new realization but rather a deeper realization following my final 2010 post about Patton Oswalt’s defense of geek media from mainstream consumption. Back then I denounced the status of the labeled enthusiast. I was ready to move forward on the same path I had already been walking, sans the luggage of status-seeking. It hasn’t been the easiest path. It gets really hard when married to an Astronomy PhD grad student who surrounds you with people who constantly use the labels and think it’s cool to do so. More power to them, but then I get looks when they make a graph to plot everyone’s level of geekery and I lack enthusiasm about it. When the graph includes an area for “fake geeks”, how can I give them them a thumb up? They’re what I’ve been considering wrong about the labeled culture. Read the rest of this entry
By now it is very clear to me that I have a favorite writer at Marvel Comics – Peter David. His work on X-Factor has been absolutely amazing. Not only has he really explored the character of Jamie “Multiple Man” Madrox, but he brutally brought up and answered the question of what would happen if one of Madrox’ dupes were to impregnate someone. He was willing to go somewhere no one else would have and concluded it beautifully. The baby was essentially a duplicate, and Madrox immediately absorbed it like any other dupe. This was within a hour of the kid’s birth. No one else does that.
David has also outed a couple of the members of X-Factor Investigations. Shatterstar and Rictor have been revealed to be lovers, but their simply being gay is not the whole story. What is being explored is the relationship of one man who recently realized that he prefers only men after several years of believing himself to be bi (Rictor) and another man who is not only openly bisexual but also seems to push in the direction of polyamory (Shatterstar). This is a layered relationship that unfortunately gets glossed over as just a frou-frou gay couple in superhero comics. Never mind how mindfully it is written.
A year or so following this reveal, the revelation that two of the teens in the Avengers Academy book are not straight was not very shocking. In fact, it was quite mindfully done itself. Striker, a guy who repeatedly threw himself at women for 22 issues, opened up to Lightspeed, a girl still trying to figure out her sexual identity, it really meant quite a bit. It added depth to Striker and really laid out who his character was from the beginning. Meanwhile, Lightspeed is also being approached realistically, in that she knows how she feels and really would prefer to not be forced into choosing anything. She likes people, not genders. Read the rest of this entry
I probably shouldn’t admit that I’m overall fine with the hacking of accounts of big corporations, even if the hackers have no other motive than a few laughs. Hack Apple and Sony all you want. But leave any and all aspects of Sesame Street alone! There is no reason to go out of your way to potentially expose children to pornography, and there is no reason to dirty the name of a brand whose purpose is education. Furthermore, they’ve always done a good job of being both entertaining and informative. They have definitely made mistakes along the way, like Cookie Monster’s saying that cookies are a sometimes food and Oscar the Grouch’s living near recycling bins, but those errors are on the side of positive messages. Hacking Sesame Street is basically akin to saying, “Hey, I’m an absolutely horrible person.” Yes, you are.
Have you heard about the new Spider-Man featured in Marvel’s Ultimate line of comic books? If you haven’t yet, I’m impressed. It was reported by various news outlets before issue 4 of Ultimate Fallout hit the newsstands. In fact, that’s a bit unfair to readers who want to be surprised with each issue. It’s just continually interesting that the happenings of Marvel comics are regularly reported in the news. DC fanboys weep because Time Magazine will never report on the fact that Sinestro is now a member of the Green Lantern Corps. and Hal Jordan has been kicked-out for pushing his ring to attack and kill a rogue Guardian.
This isn’t about me bashing on DC, though. (I love their characters, I swear!) This is about my somehow continued coverage of the “Death of Spider-Man” and Ultimate Fallout storylines. I didn’t expect the new Spider-Man to be introduced so soon, although nothing has been revealed about him in the comics except for this: Read the rest of this entry
My friend Mellie linked this interesting TED Talk that discusses the downfall of guys and how the media might play a role in the whole thing. It’s amazing how convinced this man could make me of his stance in less than five minutes. Sure, I do take quite the stance against our current multimedia culture, but when someone else says something my knee-jerk reaction is to defend it. Not this time. He’s pretty spot on. Read the rest of this entry
Poor taste isn’t reporting the facts on whether or not someone was definitely drinking and driving. Poor taste is trying to make a cute joke hours after the death of someone’s loved one. This is the utter definition of “Too soon.”
What happened? Well, hours after the reported death of Jackass‘ Ryan Dunn, Ebert twatted, “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” It is true that Dunn had been drinking before getting in the car, but making it a point to crudely and pejoratively use the name of the show in a message to the masses was beyond unnecessary. It is snide and judgmental. What it should tell the world is that Ebert is a prick. Unfortunately, as I caught wind of the message on EW.com, it just puts the wind in the sails of other pricks.
We know that drinking and driving is dangerous behavior. It’s not a public service announcement. Be happy Twatter wasn’t around when Walt Disney died. Hours after the announcement of his death you might have encountered message like, “Smoking is dangerous. There isn’t much you can do about an Epcot-sized tumor in your lungs.”
I know that this message draws unnecessary attention to him, but from here on can we just ignore Ebert? It seems he knows he is on his last legs and his relevance is fading fast. The man does not make public appearances and cannot speak. All he has are his reviews and observations. Only when there is some sort of controversy for being snide (such as saying video games are not art) does anyone pay him any serious mind anymore. So let’s just stop responding to him.
Especially since a statement like that makes him a bigger jackass than some dude who put a toy car up his butt.
An early anecdote recorded in Rob Bell’s controversial book, Love Wins, is of an art exhibit hosted at Bell’s church. A member of the church made a painting that incorporated quotes by Gandhi that as moving to other members of the church. Bell really appreciated it, but he didn’t appreciate that later on another church member affixed a note reading, “Too bad he’s going to burn in Hell.” Bell’s book is a response to people who praise the exclusivity of heaven and make it a point to judge people openly.
And in reflecting on this, I realize that the book isn’t just about how poorly behaved some Christians can be. This is a commentary on our culture in general. Read the rest of this entry
It’s arguable, but in the last decade or so nerd and geekdom has come to be celebrated by the mainstream. Pop culture is attempting to cater to geek tastes, and we don’t deride people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for not extremely attractive or sports personalities. The 80’s certainly didn’t give as much credit to those of us on the more niche end of culture. Times have changed.
Have times changed for the better? Sure, when I was in college it was acceptable that some friends and I could found a video game enthusiasts club and wear shirts featuring Pac-Man and the Konami code. But we’re at the point where video games are so embraced today that motion controls are flying off the shelves so parents can get their children to incorporate some movement into their lives. In some schools, DDR was accepted into the gym curriculum. Games are simply accepted as a part of young culture and require workarounds to make sure kids are physical. There’s something wrong with that.
Then there’s the culture empowered by acceptance. This is a problem largely found on forums and large-scale blogs, but enthusiast clubs and conventions will reveal their fair share. Empowered geeks find it acceptable to condescend to others, mainly because the source of geek identity is internal and can only be expressed through words. No one has a problem with people sharing their knowledge or preferably anecdotes, but there are those out there who believe that they are entitled to belittle others and eschew common courtesy. Why? Because they know stuff. Read the rest of this entry
Welcome to the end of 2010, a year that is certainly remarkable for one reason or another. Just like every other year encountered. It is as remarkable as it is unremarkable. It just depends on how you want to label it. 2010, for me, is many things. I could affix many descriptors to it but those will not serve it any justice. The experience of 2010 is more important than anything I can say about it. Read the rest of this entry
As someone whose intended research focus will purposed toward integrating multimedia with the various therapies intended for children on the autism spectrum, I have definitely taken notice of the national competition for using video games to help children better understand science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). I also appreciate the endorsement for this competition by President Obama. As always, there are issues that need to be addressed. Read the rest of this entry