Geek culture is bigger and has more influence than ever before. This is a circumstance we should enjoy and celebrate. Now, it is significantly easier to share with our like-minded brethren all the things we love and to greet with open arms all those who want to join in the fun. That isn’t always what happens though, is it folks? Geeks and nerds used to go on and on about how bullying was so unfair. Only now that we have a little power, many of us have become bullies ourselves.
The recent debacle surrounding the release dates of Marvel’s Captain America 3 and DC’s Batman vs. Superman showed me that once again, we have become what we once hated. For those of you in the dark, after a bit of schedule shuffling, the studios have decided to release both films on the same day, May 6, 2016. Instead of rejoicing over the fact that we now have two huge superhero films to watch at that time, we immediately regressed into our factions and the internet hate tirade flowed like the mighty Euphrates. Insults were hurled, preferences were belittled, and the discussion about the release date immediately turned toxic.
It seems the “cool” thing these days to badmouth any variation of geekdom we may not personally care for while simultaneously holding our own preferences above reproach. I remember a time when you could have a passionate yet reasoned discussion of the classic “Marvel vs. DC” where you could choose a side and yet still appreciate and enjoy the other. These days you find people either spoiling for a fight or people so wary of the possible fight that they won’t even come near the question. The fights about video games and their various platforms are even worse. Can we get a little civil discourse injected back into the mix, instead of all the pointless dick-measuring contests please?
However, despite how crappy we are to each other, we are even worse to outsiders looking in, those who have only a passing interest or are only starting to explore geek culture. A good amount of us treat them like shit, either blowing them off and calling them “fake” or constantly quizzing them belittling them for not having as much knowledge on whatever subject that we have. Particularly vexing is the geek community’s vitriolic pushback against women who are into video games, comics, or other such media. Is it any wonder so many people feel this culture is too complicated and hostile to get into?
Ask yourself, is this who we want to be?
HELL FUCKING NO!
We need to put the weapons down, step away from our keyboards hot from the latest flame war, and step back into the light. We need to take a breather and ask if all this posturing is about anything other than our own egos. Passion is great, but left unchecked it can grow into hatred. Do you really want to take these things you enjoy and make them about hate? I get pissed when someone talks shit about something I care about, but instead of flipping shit (which I am guilty of) like I used to, I’m trying these days to play the role of welcoming educator. We can’t force people to learn, but we can be there to offer them the chance to see the other side of things. We can be there to help guide and encourage those that want to explore more things. We can take this thing we’re a part of and work to keep it about the love instead of hate. It doesn’t cost us anything and we get to share cool stuff we like with cool people we like and perhaps make some new friends along the way. Wasn’t that the dream?
Just don’t be a dick, okay? You’re better than that.