Friday, April 10, 2009

Freaks VS. Geeks

This week was Opening Day for The Boston  Red Sox, so we here in Massachusetts were subjected to countless "Human Interest" stories on local news broadcasts. No matter where you reside, I'm sure you have seen similar stories in your area. You know, like:

• Tales of the enormous lengths folks have gone to to get opening day tickets.

• Interviews with people who have lined up hours, even days, in advance in horrible weather to be the first to enter the stadium.

• My favorite: When a reporter asks some yahoo if they are missing work to attend the game, they reply, "Yeah,  my boss thinks I'm sick, HAW!" Guess what, genius? There is a really good chance that your boss isn't a (complete) idiot, and might have done the simple equation, YAHOO YOU + OPENING DAY = YOU'RE  NOT SICK  BUT ARE SKIPPING WORK TO GO TO OPENING DAY.

Even if his/her math skills are poor, the odds are pretty good he/she or someone he/she knows owns a television set. Imagine his/her surprise when he/she sees you laughing about his/her naivety for all the world to see. We hope you enjoyed the game, it might be the last  one you can afford to see for awhile.

• Another classic: Parents bringing babies and toddlers to their "first game". Note to these people: Junior will have no memory of this, and enjoying the game while juggling a screaming brat is as much fun for you as it is for everyone around you.

• The likelihood that any or all of the above individuals have painted their entire body the team  colors or are wearing a ridiculous outfit to demonstrate their "team loyalty" is also excellent.

To the uninterested observer, the above behavior may not seem very rational. However, to the media and their fellow fanatics, they are "true fans supporting their boys", and "what makes this game great", etc.

There is another group of people who are equally passionate about their interests, and exhibit the same sort of  behavior. They are the Sci-Fi/Comic Book/Fantasy fans, or "geeks" as they are more commonly referred to  by the press and the general public.

These people have all the same enthusiasm for their passion as the sports  fan, and behave in similar ways. They too wait for  days in long lines, wear ridiculous get-ups, skip work, etc. However, when ever there is a news story about them, they are always labeled, "weirdos", "nuts" or worse. On any story about a comic book convention, will you see a story about a literate  author like Harlan Ellison talking about the trends in science fiction literature? No, you will see a reporter talking to some awkward teen dressed as a Klingon, while the reporter rolls his eyes and adds  snarky commentary.

This attitude to me is highly hypocritical. Is a kid dressed as a Klingon any more ridiculous than a 300 lb. guy in a bathing suit who has painted his entire body red & blue? Of course not, but sports are "cool" and comics  and the like are for "nerds" and "people who have never grown up".

I  wish this attitude would  change. Can't we just see all these people as fans going all out to enjoy their interests, instead viewing one group as demonstating acceptable behavior and one as weird?

Of course we can't. This is America, Land of the Double Standard.

I'll cut this post short now. My new Doctor Who DVD just arrived, and I still haven't set all my action figures up in front of  the TV!

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Blogger Pepper Potts said...

I love your take on this, Bill.

I think the "geeks" as you refer to them are viewed more as loners than the average sports fan who loves to gather with other equally boisterous fans and drink lots of beer.

Besides, with sports it's all about "my team is better than your team". There doesn't seem to be that division in the geeky sci-fi world. Unless there is some Klingon equivalent of which I am not aware...

Now move those action figures out of the way--the Red Sox game is about to start!

April 10, 2009 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Gary Fields said...

I think what you need to do is paint your body like those half-white/half-black guys from Star Trek and go to a Black Sox game. Two nerds with one stone!

April 10, 2009 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger MikeH said...

Double standards in the media? I'm as shocked as Claude Rains in Casablanca.

The holier-than-everybody Fourth Estate would no doubt give a quick retort to the charge siting regional loyalty, as the other poster so keenly pointed out. (One other distinction could be that Sci-Fi geeks aren't as prone to property damage as sports fans are when their team wins a major championship!)

I feel so privy to be a part of so many geek clubs meself being a Beatlemaniac, Whovian, early Trekkie, Glam Metal freak, Mony Python fan, James Bond junkie and such a devout enthusiast of ladies pro wrestling (no wonder I have no spare time!). One thing I've noticed in life is that, whenever I become disdainful of various enthusiasms, I tend to forgive all when the enthusiast in question turns out to be a gorgeous female with a pretty face (I've always liked my own double standards better than everyone else's anyway).

If there's a point anywhere here, it might be in the addage, "If it's good, I like it!"

Hey Gals, Go Sox!

April 10, 2009 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger David said...

"and I still haven't set all my action figures up in front of the TV!"

Dear God, you didn't take them out of the package did you?!

April 13, 2009 at 5:55 PM  

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