Jackasses… Jackasses Everywhere!
Today’s popular geek culture is an amazing development for nerds like myself who used to be bullied growing up because we understood the details of Spider-Man’s webshooters, yet were unsure what professional sport the Cardinals played (I’m confident it isn’t hockey, but I still don’t know). Thanks in large part to the first X-Men, Spider-Man, and Blade films there is a growing acceptance and understanding of the worlds of science fiction and fantasy which we have been rabidly fanatical about for most of our lives. It’s a geek renaissance.
But as we all have a party and try to get through this thing called life (electric word “life”… it means forever and that’s a mighty long time), someone always wants to ruin it. There are two types of people who are trying to destroy the fun we’re having.
The first is the far-too-left (bordering on frightening) liberal who loves to over-intellectualize and find the “sexism” and “racism” in anything people are enjoying and they use their completely non-productive and non-worthwhile degree as a badge of authority to point and shout. They’re the Tipper Gore’s of the world (I understand that’s a reference potentially anyone under forty years old will not get, so I apologize). The second group is the far-too-right (bordering on prehistoric) insecure and ignorant “he-man-woman haters club” geeks who hide behind the anonymity of the internet to lob violent and often sexual threats and harassment at anyone who questions a thing that falls into the realm of things they enjoy. All this is happening while most of us geeks (and most of the human population) fall somewhere dead center of these two asinine groups just shaking our heads and saying, “we just want to read comics, so please shut up, both of you.”
It’s important to admit that, yes, there is racism and sexism everywhere still today. It is getting better? As a man, I’m not the one to say. Things are great for me, but they have been for people like me for hundreds and hundreds of years. If we are ever truly oppressed (which, let’s be honest, that’s about as likely as the whole world suddenly believing that Hitler was actually a really nice guy) all I’ll ever be able to say is, “we had a really good run.” I want to go ahead and throw that out, because it probably does affect my perspective on things (and yeah, I’m sure there’s some troll out there in internet land that’s already mad at me and wants to point that out anyway).
So with that said, I think it is important to say that we’re all (and I do mean everyone) humans. We’re all flawed, but hopefully unlike Michael Richardson or Paula Deen we can keep our own stupid thoughts in our stupid brains. That’s how future generations grow. It’s not by not thinking some idiotic things , because that’s impossible; it’s about not passing our bulls**t thoughts along. And if we ever want to have honest and open topics on the subject, admitting that there are awful things in our heads but that we know they’re stupid and they are not part of our core beliefs should help open an honest dialogue where hopefully people won’t be so defensive and easily offended.
So with that said, with all this garbage floating around in stupid human brains it is likely and potential that some of it might leak out in the art we make. Or, and much more likely I believe, we’re placing our own hang-ups and issues with our thoughts on the art that we see.
But even if you can’t admit that, let’s go another step. You see something you find offensive in your opinion, you have two options. The first option is to make a loud noise; a noise so loud that people can’t help but look at you. That’ll make you feel good because we all love attention. If you’ve ever written anything on the internet, you love attention. It’s fine. But you’re also drawing attention to that thing you’re shouting about, and that’s free publicity. Now a lot of people will quote that famous quote about “They came for my neighbors and I said nothing…” (that’s a paraphrase, I can’t remember it exactly off the top of my head and I’m too lazy to use Google which is open on a window behind this tab). That is an excellent quote and one that should be taken to heart. But it’s about the Holocaust, not variant covers on comic books which seem to stir the largest uproars lately in the geek community (at least three in the past year). Let’s put those two things on a scale and see what weighs more. If variant comic book covers are where people are at in the battle, you’ve won.
But what you are doing is what Tipper Gore did back in the late 80s/early 90s (now you kids don’t have to Google that reference above because I’m about to explain it to you). Tipper Gore (wife of the human equivalent of sheet rock, Al Gore) is typically given credit for freaking out over rap and metal music which had some cuss words in the lyrics. She did a “think of the children” moment and headed the push for the record industry to put the “Explicit Content” label on tapes and CDs. What she really did was make a quick reference for kids to know what music was the coolest. AND THAT’S THE POINT: She didn’t really help the world; she just helped publicize the music that teenagers wanted to listen to anyways. And that’s what I mean when I say maybe you should not bother boycotting these things you don’t like. Just ignore them. Don’t bring attention to them, because when they don’t get pulled, people will go out of their way to purchase that thing you’ve made a big stink about because you made a big stink about it. “This is controversial so I can flip it on EBay and make some money.” That is all your noise is really doing. Sorry, but it’s true.
On the other end of the spectrum, once the Tipper Gore’s have got their hashtag trending, the anonymous monsters come out to play. While the ones screaming of “racism/sexism/homophobia/whatever” may be just overly-sensitive and putting way too much thought on the subject, these trolls spew their venom and all but prove the delicate liberals right. It is one thing to construct an actual argument and lay it out with people. You can disagree and have an educated conversation or counter viewpoint. This is part of life. In fact, as much as I disagree with the people raising a fuss over a geek subject, I would rather talk with them on the subject than these stupid assholes that I may actually share a basic viewpoint with. We both think the other group is incorrect about their viewpoint, but I’d rather develop a counter-opinion with some thought and logic behind it where as these idiots just vomit more hate-speech on the internet.
You’re not helping. You may in fact be making things worse. Again, just like the sensitive types, it’s more productive for you to ignore them that send a curse laden tweet at them. You’re only securing their position that there is an undercurrent of sexism and racism penetrating geek culture. You’re proving them correct when they aren’t!
Also it just shows you’re ignorant. If you can’t develop a single thought that isn’t profuse with hateful and hurtful words, you are truly a worthless human being and you make me embarrassed to call myself a nerd. Just shut up. Also, if you come back and say “I was only joking,” know that sarcasm and subtext are generally improbable to discern from the characters allowed in a tweet, and that is exponentially increased to a level of near impossibility if you’re just some trashy scumbag who no one knows. So, that’s a stupid argument. You aren’t Andy Kauffman, so it isn’t clever or genius when you make a joke no one understands is a joke. It’s just a bad joke.
Also, it is vitally important to understand that while hate-speech is protected under the first Amendment (as it should be, but that’s another argument), threats are not. So not only is it a childish and vile thing to threaten someone online, it’s illegal. Oh, and it’s immoral and it helps everyone know that you’re not a soul that should be missed when your life is snuffed out at an early age due to choking on store brand Cheetos. So go back to just putting your worthless thoughts in notebooks next to your s**tty poems about the popular girl in high school you had a crush on who would never give you the time of day (hint: she probably ignored you because you’re an example of the worst part of humanity).
The most important thing to always remember is that these two groups are JUST the vocal minority. Most of us understand that if you don’t like something you don’t give that thing your money (it’s why I own nothing Apple related or anything by Rob Liefeld). And you don’t announce it from the rooftops that you aren’t. You simply go on with your life and save your precious energy for something that needs actual attention like brewing coffee, having sex, or reading comics. You know, the things that matter. I like to think most of us do this, so thank you to you who none of this little editorial applies. And yes, that was a Prince reference at the beginning.
Staff Writer/Columnist: Nerd Nation Magazine
NOTE: as with ALL columns at Nerd Nation, the views and opinions expressed by Mr. McVicker are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Nerd Nation Magazine, our sponsors, or anyone else for that matter. So please don’t be a d-bag and try to sue anyone over the stuff he writes. It’s called an opinion. Don’t like it? Feel free to comment below. Still don’t like it? The internet is a big place, just go read something else (preferably right here on NN!). =)