rise of the geeks

It's not exactly news that geek culture has gone more or less mainstream in the last decade and change. I'd actually argue that this is a function of "the mainstream" simply getting so broad as to almost be a meaningless designation at this point. We have more culture, and more outlets to discover and consume it. As a result, we have more and better stuff, and also tons and tons of crap. But personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.

TNC points to a recent Fresh Air interview with William Shatner, and quotes this bit that I really like:

So when I left "Star Trek," I left it with pride and went on to other things. And then "Star Trek" started to become popular about six years afterwards, as it went into syndication. And then people started talking about, hey, there's - beam me up, Scotty. And there's Captain Kirk. And, you know, and then somebody would say: Do you really go where no man has gone before - in that sort of semi-mocking tone that I thought, well, all right. Maybe it wasn't as good as I thought it was. And maybe I wasn't as good as I thought I was. And I held myself up defensively.

It was only watching Patrick Stewart - and I have great respect for Patrick, both as an actor and as man. I love him. And the gravitas that this great Shakespearean actor gave to his role, that I suddenly realized that this guy is taking Captain Picard every bit as seriously as Macbeth. And I used to. And I stopped. And what the hell's the matter with me? It was a great piece of work. Everybody contributed to three years that has lasted 50. It's a phenomenon. Why aren't I proud of it? And that's when I had that moment.
Coates goes on to comment:

It's pretty much the same with comic books, D&D and computer gaming. People mock what they don't understand. What's interesting is we're now getting to this point where those elements are taking over the world. Part of that is seeing people like Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart take Star Trek, X-Men and Lord of the Rings seriously. They aren't simply bringing gravitas to the source material, they are reflecting the seriousness that those of us who enjoyed the material always felt.

My only beef with Transformers is I really believe someone with serious thoughts on animation, and a serious love of story-telling, could have taken it seriously and offered something more than explosions and eye-candy. It's the weirdest thing--the world of geeks re-animated for broskis. 

That is indeed weird, and I never really thought of it that way. Though I do find it hard to believe that is his only beef with Transformers.


RW said...

Did I mention that before it was released to the general public a buddy and I would travel up to Lake Geneva WI and participate in trial runs of D&D with Gygax as dungeonmaster? True story. Early 70's thing.

We'd show up and drop aci... er... alter our perceptions without the TSR guys knowing it and then go play. I thinkwe created some conditions that forced them into redesigning rules.

Little known fact. Nerds are everywhere.

Brian said...

Love it!

I think I played D&D exactly once. Got into an RPG based on DC comics for a while, but that flamed out pretty quickly.