Archive for November, 2008

Pop Culture References
November 28, 2008

For a geek, it’s not enough to like a book, television show or movie, it is imperative that they be able to recite lines from it at the drop of a hat. Should someone ask what time it is, it’s necessary to respond with the line about time being an illusion from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, regardless of whether or not the person asking has heard of it. To a geek, this represents “wit” and “humor”.

It stands to reason then, that if a television show itself starts dropping such references, then surely the geek is at ground zero of a comedy explosion, especially if the references are to mostly geeky things! The geek gets two delights out of this: first, he can be impressed with himself that he “got” the reference, since he’ll assume he was one of the few to do so. Secondly, he will feel as though the show is speaking to him, validating his sense of importance in the world. (There’s also a third effect if the reference is to something geeky on a show that is itself not geeky; it’s a sign of mainstream acceptance, which we have already established that geeks crave.)

Isn't this photo hilarious?

Isn't this photo hilarious?

The other type of reference that geeks enjoy is a reference to bits of obscure pop culture. Here the referrer has a fine line to walk. The reference must be something that is simultaneously not well remembered and not completely forgotten. The 70s is a good decade from which to mine these references, as the bands, television shows, and bad movies are just beginning to fade from popular consciousness, but are still accessible to geeks who lack the mental ability to discard knowledge they no longer need.*

Once you’ve dropped the name of an old no-hits-wonder band or single-season Saturday morning cartoon, your work is done. You don’t have to formulate a joke revolving around “Tenspeed and Brown Shoe” — simply dropping the name is the extent of the joke. Shows such as “Mystery Science Theater 3000″, “Family Guy”, and pretty much the entire “Adult Swim” lineup have made episode after episode around this idea of comedy.

There is an old joke:

A guy is in prison his first night and after lights out, the prisoners start shouting numbers.

“Seventeen!” someone yells, and the cell block is filled with laughter. Once it dies down, someone shouts, “Thirty-six!” and again, the place is in stitches.

After a while the new guy asks his cell mate what’s so funny. His cell mate explains that they’ve been there for so long, they’ve memorized all the same jokes, and now only need to refer to them by number.

The new guy, wanting to fit in, yells, “Twenty-five!” but there is only silence.

“Son,” says his cell mate, “Why don’t you leave the joke telling to someone funny.”

As bizarre as the prisoners’ concept of humor is, it’s exactly how geek humor works. What is said makes no difference whatsoever, just the idea that it is recognized by both people as something that, at some point, was funny to them. This is exactly how geeks use Monty Python references. If a third party mentions a parrot, it’s a race for any nearby geeks to start yelling about how it is “pining for the fjords”. Other geeks will howl with laughter, even though the reference adds no humor to the situation; the joke is simply that the reference was made. If a co-worker is talking about his vacation and mentions, say, riding on a hovercraft at some point, the office geek has to ask if it was “full of eels”. He’ll then look around to see if anyone “got” his joke, despite it not being a joke at all, simply a line from a Monty Python sketch. But when it was said in the sketch it was funny, and the line shares a word with the topic at hand, so by geek rationale, he’s made a joke.

Of course, like everything else a geek does, these references are also a way to start a fandom-rating contest. A glorious moment for a geek is when he drops a line from “Red Dwarf” that another geek — also a supposed fan — doesn’t recognize. Radiant in superiority, the alpha geek can now explain to his inferior exactly which episode it happened in, and then follow with the rest of the scene.

Making and recognizing them requires utterly useless information, makes geeks look “weird”, and allows them to believe they’re having some sort of social interaction, and that’s why geeks LOVE pop culture references.


* Incidentally, this is one of the areas where geeks and hipsters overlap, the latter also constantly trying to prove their reference-dropping-and-getting chops. One of the saddest sights in the world is the hipster wearing the Boo Berry t-shirt who’s just seen a guy walk in wearing Fruit Brute.

Conformity
November 25, 2008

joss_whedonAsk a geek to tell you what he thinks of the average non-geek, and ten-to-one the word “sheep” will be used at some point. Geeks consider their unwillingness to follow the herd their most important defining characteristic, and harbor great disdain for the mindless norms who will happily take anything that is shoved at them uncritically.

As expected, this is not quite the case.

Take any rant about mall punks shopping at Hot Topic and listening to Linkin Park, substitute ThinkGeek and Jonathan Coulton, and you’re still right on target. Geek culture is unrelentingly monolithic, and it does not tolerate dissent well.

Go on any geek message board and declare that you don’t care for Firefly or The Dark Knight and you’ll instantly be deemed a troll. “Troll” used to denote a person who said things on message boards that were designed only to get a rise out of people, but now means a person who simply says something that is contrary to the groupthink. It’s assumed that, naturally, you do like those things and are just being contrary, either for attention or just to be “cool.”

For all their free-thinking, open-mindedness, anarchic nature, and hatred of organized religion, there are many saints and untouchables in the geek pantheon, beings and things that you fail to appreciate at your own risk.

Musically, you’ll be expected as a geek to declare that Radiohead is the greatest band of the 20th, 21st, and for that matter any other century. Failing that you have to at least acknowledge They Might Be Giants as “teh awesome”. If you don’t appreciate either of these bands then obviously you like Britney Spears or N’Sync.

Every movie that comes out would be better if it were directed by Terry Gilliam or Tim Burton, and should always star Johnny Depp or Bruce Campbell. None of these four gentlemen have ever made any bad movies in their lives.

When discussing comics, proper homage must always be made to Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, and Maus (which, as you know, won the Pulitzer Prize.)

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett do not write books so much as coagulate pure imagination into a form visible to us mere mortals.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus is revered to an extent that it merits an entry of its own.

And perhaps the geek Yahweh at the moment, he who is never to be maligned, who is the beneficent creator, who is perfect in his works and deeds, is Joss Whedon. Geeks would rather you insult their dear mothers than say anything mildly hurtful about Joss Whedon, a man who’s created two fairly successful cult TV shows, one failed TV show, and had a hand in a few marginal movies. He’s also tried his hand at some comic books, so he’s got an advantage slightly over Chris Carter, one of the former geek messiahs.

It is insufficient to merely like any of these things, they must be thought of completely uncritically. Everything Joss Whedon or Radiohead or Tim Burton or Neil Gaiman touches is a thing of rapturous beauty that exemplifies utter perfection. If for some reason any creation of theirs fails in the marketplace, it’s because it was too good for the mindless sheeple, or because it was sabotaged by studio execs or editors who simply didn’t understand its depth. In addition, it is naturally assumed that you adore all these things because honestly, who wouldn’t?

In addition to creators and objects that are beyond criticism, there are also many fundamental beliefs among geeks that are only ever questioned by trolls looking to gain attention. Among them:

* The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the Star Wars movies because it’s dark.

* Kirk was a better captain than Picard because he punched more people.

* If Batman and Superman fight, even though Superman can lift mountains, Batman will always win because he is smarter and cooler.

But it isn’t just the standard items of worship that prove the desire for conformity among geeks. The largest proof is, frankly, any assemblage of geeks, in which one can see first hand the absolutely dogmatic methods by which they all express their individuality in the same way. Go to any fan convention and you’ll have your pick of long-haired geeks in black “offensive” t-shirts wearing trenchcoats and combat boots. Visit any geek-related Internet forum and note how people who don’t follow the party line are treated.

Since they don’t mind a rigidly fanatic society so long as it’s their fandom that’s unquestioned, geeks LOVE conformity.

LiveJournal
November 21, 2008

LiveJournal was one of the first “social networks” around. It combined the ability to post thoughts and receive comments with the ability to link to various other people through common interests ranging from writing stories about grown men having sex with children to writing stories about children having sex with grown men. LiveJournal has since been replaced by other systems that are far and away superior to it, but it still maintains a hefty userbase, mostly of geeks, who still think it’s the bee’s knees. In fact, many LiveJournal users enjoy looking down their nose at people who merely have blogs.

This is partly because geeks despise change. Anything that is different from how the geek first got into it is bad and wrong and must be avoided. It’s also partly because, to be fair, many of them have deep and long-term LiveJournal relationships already established based on mutual love of not drinking soda and see no need to abandon them.

But if you look at some of the features of LiveJournal, it becomes pretty clear why geeks are enamored of it. Being a proto-social network, it allows you to have a list of friends. You can lock some posts so that only your friends can read them, and you can drop a friend from your list so that person won’t be able to see those postings anymore. This ability to see who has “friended” you and limit items solely to your friends means that LiveJournal is an excellent resource for setting up your own echo chamber where everyone can tell you how pretty, talented, and awesome you are, and anyone who is insufficiently flattering can be deemed a “troll” and banished.

Thus, LiveJournal is essentially a virtual high school where the geeks can enjoy all the fun of cliques and ostracizing others that they may have missed out on during actual high school. They can engineer high drama through friend list manipulation and get violently upset when they find out they have done something that has disappointed snapelovervampyre. Nothing on LiveJournal is so ridiculous and petty that it can’t be blown up into a full-scale raging Geekageddon that sends countless echoes and reverberations through the Internet. (Actually, just through LiveJournal, but for many LiveJournal users, it is the entire extent of the Internet.)

The fact that LiveJournal is also the number one website for writing stories about various Harry Potter characters having sex with each other is just a bonus. It is difficult to take even the most cursory of browses through LiveJournal and not come away thinking that 99% of it is devoted to documenting the different possible configurations of Hogwarts-enrolled genitalia.

On LiveJournal, Snape gets more ass than a toilet seat.

On LiveJournal, Snape gets more ass than a toilet seat.

Geeks love LiveJournal so much that when it does something that bugs them, such as pointing out that the Harry Potter characters are owned by someone else and are all underage, making the sex stories about them somewhat dubious, the LiveJournal people won’t actually leave and go to a different network, they just have a pretend boycott for a day. Despite the undeniable power displayed by them not posting for 24 hours, they really got a voice when an election was held for a meaningless advisory board seat and the winner (after much high drama) was legomymalfoy, who immediately made her journal private afterwards.

Unsurprisingly, having so many hive-minded geeks in the same place results in them getting a vastly overrated opinion of their importance. In any particular LiveJournal community devoted to some geek subject you’ll find the erroneous belief that, should all those members be suddenly wiped out with a well-aimed grenade, the item of their admiration would instantly cease to exist. LiveJournal allows them a common area to complain about how the creators of that item are inexplicably not keeping these geeks at the forefront of their thoughts when making plans.

Perhaps the single greatest example of this is the scans_daily community, which scans and posts current comic books. They’re not unaware that there are laws against this; they simply feel that, as fans, they are entitled to ignore them. Here they can buy comics, scan and post them, and then complain because the books are slapping them in the face. The geeks in this particular community are twice as enraged because they simultaneously fail to get the respect they deserve from both comic companies and the LiveJournal owners. But again, they wouldn’t dream of setting up shop elsewhere.

LiveJournal is a complete geek clubhouse, where you can not only discuss Liam Neeson slash fiction, but can exclude pagansexpony and talk mean about her in secret if she has been particularly heretical about pretend Liam Neeson porn.

It’s just like high school except that vampires and geeks are cool, and therefore geeks LOVE LiveJournal.

Trying to Enlist Non-Geeks Via Christmas Presents
November 18, 2008

geekgiftIf there’s a geek on your holiday shopping list, chances are you’ll be stopping at the comic or game store for a gift for him. While you’re there you may bump into him buying a gift for you, even if you’re not a geek yourself. Especially if you’re not a geek yourself.

The sworn enemy of the geek is the evangelical Christian, but like Batman and the Joker, Indiana Jones and Belloq, or Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, they are very alike, two sides of the same coin. One of the many things they have in common is the idea that the best gift they can give to someone who doesn’t share their belief is something that will hopefully encourage him to share their belief. So the geek will be giving comics, toys, or games to every man, woman, and child they have to buy Christmas presents for.

An uncharitable soul might attribute this to the idea that geeks, having little sense of empathy, can’t imagine what another person might like. Since they themselves aren’t interested in sports or pop music, surely nobody else can be either. However, this is not completely the case. The actual reason is not that the geek can’t understand someone being interested in those things and wanting presents of that type, the truth is that the geek takes pity on people who have those interests, and wishes to broaden and mature the tastes of those people beyond such pedestrian trifles.

To a geek, there’s no such thing as a person who doesn’t like comics. There are only people who haven’t read the right comics. A few geeks will even make a token effort of buying you a comic book that is aimed towards a particular genre or subject matter that you’re interested in, instead of something they thought was pretty good. If you’re interested in classical music, for example, you can expect maybe a comic book adaptation of an opera or a volume of a manga about a girl with a magic cello. The geek might try to find you a painted miniature of a bard, or a card game involving musical instruments. What you should not expect from the geek is a classical recording of any type.

Keep in mind that when you are shopping for the geek, be very careful. There will be many angry message board and blog posts from geeks who just can’t believe that a well-meaning relative would buy them a “For Better or For Worse” collection because they “like comics”. The geek will wonder how the relative could be so thoughtless, especially after the geek gave them a burned Slam Dunk anime DVD he downloaded because he knew the relative liked watching basketball.

Should you receive one of these gifts from a geek, simply say how much you look forward to reading it or watching it or playing it or putting it on a shelf and looking at it and move on. It’s the thought that counts, and believe it or not, there really is some thought behind it other than, “Anyone who is not currently reading manga should begin reading manga because I like reading manga.” Don’t worry about the geek asking you later if you enjoyed it or what you thought of it; the idea of doing so will not occur to him.

Since it’s a way to do their holiday shopping without ever having to stray too far from their familiar territory, geeks LOVE Trying to Enlist Non-Geeks Via Christmas Presents!

Antiheroes
November 14, 2008

A quick survey of the geek landscape reveals that geeks love a good tale of heroics. Whether it’s warriors rescuing damsels, rebels fighting the evil Empire, superheroes punching villains, or sexy chicks kicking vampires, geeks are always happy to see some good old Manichean duels.

Or at least, they used to be.

At some point it was decided that out-and-out heroes were “lame” and “boring” and heroes needed to be darker. In the comic books, characters such as Wolverine (slices with razor-sharp claws) and the Punisher (shoots people) became the new breed of anti-heroes, and the geek world has never looked back. These days there’s no point in presenting a new hero to the masses without first having him kick a kitten or set a baby on fire to prove how badass he is.

The badassness of current heroes is not to be understated. For geeks, a hero should dress in black leather and/or a trench coat, be a loner, be ultra violent, have little mercy for his foes, and make supposedly witty wisecracks constantly. In other words, he should be a projection of how the geek imagines himself to be. It goes without saying that women should throw themselves at him for no fathomable reason.

For the geek, this sort of antihero is more realistic and less childish than heroic heroes. It’s a known fact that as far as geeks are concerned, “darker” means “more realistic and mature,” even when such darkness is taken to ridiculous cartoon levels.

Of course, every antihero must demonstrate that he’s more badass than the rest, providing an ever-lowering bar for them to slither under. Since geeks never know when enough is enough, this has resulted in all sorts of despicable persons being labeled as heroic by geeks.

A hero mows down innocent bystanders.

A hero mows down innocent bystanders.

This is compounded by the fact that geeks don’t know the difference between “hero” and “protagonist”, so they assume that the lead character in any work of fiction is supposed to be admired and emulated. As a result, many so-called anti-heroes are actually villains, with few redeeming features. There are two notable examples of this. The British comics character Judge Dredd began his life as a parody of ultra-violent dark “heroes” and now is considered one. The other notable character is Alex from A Clockwork Orange who is a sadistic criminal, yet is seen as an “antihero” simply because the system opposing him is somewhat worse.

For geeks, the trend towards antiheroes and villains means that they are free to remain self-interested assholes and still feel they’re the “good guys.” They don’t have to feel bad about themselves for not trying to act like decent people, and instead can congratulate themselves for being more mature and honest. As an added bonus they get to wear clothes that they believe make them look cool and dangerous.

So because they convince geeks that assholes are really cool, geeks LOVE antiheroes.

Strong Female Characters Who Actually Aren’t
November 11, 2008

There was a time when women in genre media came in three types: powerful rulers who just needed a man to tame them (Wonder Woman), helpless damsels that needed to be rescued and fall in love with the male lead (all other women), and invisible (all other movies and TV shows). There was also the Gor series, where women are, quite literally, simply sex slaves. When Star Wars introduced Princess Leia, a cocky woman who takes the gun from her would-be rescuers to effect her own escape (all while not wearing a bra), this was seen as a watershed moment for women in science fiction/fantasy. Princess Leia was seen as a fresh new type of female character, one who was actively involved in the story beyond just a plot device.

Of course, in the next movie of the series, Princess Leia falls in love with one of the male leads and by the third movie she dresses in a gold bikini, gets chained to a slug, and then plays with teddy bears. At some point, she plays all of the above traditional female roles. So one step forward, several steps back. Nobody goes to conventions dressed like Leia in her Hoth outfit.

leias

Strong, empowered women posing for men.

Apparently geeks weren’t quite ready for a woman who wasn’t going to go all weak in the knees for them, so it was necessary to scale back Princess Leia to be more palatable to them. This seems to be a common fate for female characters. When Rose Tyler was introduced in the new Doctor Who series, she was lauded as being a companion who did more than just scream and ask the Doctor to explain things to her. Before long, though, her purpose seemed to be merely to make goo-goo eyes at the Doctor and ask him to explain things to her.

Which is not to say that geeks don’t embrace strong female characters. They still love Buffy the Vampire Slayer who, it must be admitted, really did embody many feminist character traits. However, it should be noted that in the Buffy universe, it’s dangerous if female empowerment extends to sexuality. Buffy loses her virginity to Angel, who then becomes evil. Faith, the alternative slayer, is sexually aggressive and also, eventually, evil. The parallel universe Willow is also sexually aggressive (and evil) and also a lesbian, which the real Willow also becomes after losing her virginity to one of the male characters. If there’s one important lesson to be learned from Buffy, it’s that it’s probably best to leave sexual power to the men, as the women just can’t seem to be trusted with it. Buffy’s creator and geek messiah, Joss Whedon, has, by association, taken on the mantle of Feminist Ubergeek, despite his next female lead, River Tam from Firefly, being an essentially brain-damaged fighting machine. (Interestingly, the actress who played River Tam is now on The Sarah Conner Chronicles, playing a Terminator.)

Speaking of Firefly, The other female characters on that show were the whore with a heart of gold (though it’s okay because whores are apparently highly respected in that universe) and the sexy farmer’s daughter who crushes on the nerd (but it’s okay because she’s also a mechanic) and the remaining type of female character in the geek world, the wo-man.

The wo-man is a male character who happens to also have breasts. She is written exactly as the male characters are, shares all the same interests of the male characters, and has all the same problems of the male characters. Other than the breasts, her only other signifier of being female is that she will be in a relationship with one of the male characters. In addition to Zoe, the Firefly character mentioned above, other notable wo-men characters are Dana Scully from The X-Files and Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica.

In the comic book world, if there’s an alleged strong female character, you can count on one thing: she was raped. Rape seems to be the hands-down favorite motivator for turning an ordinary schlubette into an empowerment role-model. Famed comics writer Chris Claremont was a champ at rocketing women from the doomed planet of Rape-ton to emerge as Superwomen. That is, when he wasn’t creating imaginary girlfriends for geeks.

The bottom line is, geeks are quite accepting of Strong Female Characters so long as they know their place as secondary to the Strong Male Characters. Even the wo-men listed above, strong as they may be, are still subordinate to a male character. If possible, Strong Female Characters should have been made strong due to actions taken by male characters (preferably via textual or subtextual rape). It is also vital that the Strong Female Characters show a fondness for either the character that is most like the geek himself or the character that the geek is most likely to think he is.

So long as they don’t get too uppity, geeks LOVE Strong Female Characters Who Actually Aren’t.

Mainstream Acceptance
November 7, 2008

Geeks are the ultimate individualists. They move to their own choreography, selecting their tastes and actions not by what is popular or conventional, but by what truly moves them. They have nothing but the lowest contempt for the world of the mundanes, laughing snarkily to themselves at what the norms find relevant and interesting.

Or so they would have you believe.

The truth of the matter is, they crave the acceptance of the outside world, and revel in it when they have it. They need for the rest of the world to recognize and understand that their geeky interests are actually very important and meaningful.

The first piece of evidence to support this statement is the cottage industry that has arisen in pop culture “philosophy” books. These books assure the reader that, for example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn’t just a TV show about a teenaged girl who kicks vampires, it’s a work of organized thought on par with Kant and Kierkegaard. Other geek-related topics you can learn the philosophy of include The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Superheroes, The Matrix, Star Trek, The Legend of Zelda, and, of course, Monty Python (geeks never get tired of pointing out the college degrees of the Python members). As these books often consist of several essays by academic types, they are used to show that these things “are studied in college classes,” a boast that ignores the fact that, in the post-postmodern era, anything is studied in college classes. Every so often a call for papers will go out on some geek subject (Buffy the Vampire Slayer seems to be a perennial favorite) that will fire up geeks with excitement and pride over the fact that academia is seeing the true depths of the phenomenon. (Academia, incidentally, is not overly impressed with job applicants who have such presentations on their CVs.)

There is also a lot of commotion in the geek world when a previously “fringe” interest suddenly hits the mainstream news sources. A television show such as “The X-Files” will suddenly be hailed by a mainstream magazine, for example. Perhaps a well-known actor will reveal that he plays Dungeons and Dragons. If it’s a slow news days and the newspapers suddenly take an interest in one of the many universe-changing events going on in the comics, it’s evidence that comic books are still important to the outside world. Or it may be something as simple as a genre movie doing particularly well with a general audience at the box office. Geeks who dismiss popularity as a sign of mediocrity will be quick to cite that same popularity as evidence of quality if it’s something of their own.

mauspulitzerAnd if some kind of official recognition is involved, look out! Should The Dark Knight get nominated for an Academy Award, geeks will suddenly recognize how important and relevant an Oscar win is. And, in perhaps the most famous example of geeks accepting the judgment of the outside world, they never get tired of reminding you how the comic book Mauswon the Pulitzer Prize” (which is an oft-repeated yet somewhat sketchy claim.) If the outside world wants to hand an award to the geek world, the geeks will fall over themselves accepting it.

Geeks talk a good game about not caring what other people think, but even more than the acceptance of other geeks they crave acceptance by the mainstream. Other geeks sharing an interest in something they are into merely gives them someone to measure the lengths and depths of their fandom against. Acceptance by non-geeks assures them that not only do you like this thing I’ve devoted significant portions of my life to, but you like me as well. It’s often interpreted as some kind of conversion of the regular folks when in fact it’s a chance for the geek to breathe the rarified air of the conventional world.

Geeks desperately want the entire world to love what they love and to love them, and this is why geeks LOVE mainstream acceptance.

Boycotts
November 4, 2008

A geek boycotting Nintendo for refusing to develop a new Kid Icarus game.

A geek boycotting Nintendo for refusing to develop a new Kid Icarus game.

Hell hath no fury like a geek scorned. If you really irritate a geek, you’d best look out, because he may unleash upon you the awesome tool of the geek boycott. Geeks are under the impression that they represent an enormous portion of the marketplace and that their combined voice carries great influence throughout the halls of power.

The boycott is the greatest weapon in the geek’s protest arsenal, because it actually requires him to do nothing in order to supposedly effect his will, so no valuable World of Warcraft time is lost.

To the outside observer, it may appear that geeks will boycott at the drop of a hat, but this is not the case. Geeks only boycott under the most dire of emergencies, such as when their childhood is being raped, fans are getting slapped in the face, or traditions are being insufficiently respected. Of course, since these sorts of things happen several times a day to the average geek, the end result is the same. As soon as these conditions are met, the geek’s blood will begin boiling and he will cry out for the need of a boycott.

However, the boycott should only be completely superficial and pointless. A geek boycott will never result in a geek not getting something he wants. If a movie has delivered a big “fuck you” to the fans, the geek will still go see it of course — and on opening night — but will only go see it once. He’ll still buy the DVD, but only if it has really good extras. If an action figure insults collectors by being a limited release that costs more, they will still buy it, but may send a strongly-worded email to the company expressing their disgust for such practices (though more likely they will simply buy it and complain about it on some forum to other folks who also bought it and are similarly outraged.) If a television network is the target of the boycott, usually for canceling a show, there’s no reason all the shows on the network should be avoided. The geek will announce that they will never watch anything in the canceled show’s time slot ever again, without mentioning whether or not the replacement was something they were interested in. They’ll call for a boycott of some mainstream movie coming out from the offending studio, but still happily go see the studio’s other geek-friendly movies. They won’t ever buy anything from that videogame company unless, of course, it’s something they really want.

Comic book geeks are especially prone to faux boycotts. Every week hundreds of comic book fans declare that, because of some perceived outrage, they will never buy anything from DC or Marvel again. And the following week they proceed to do so because otherwise their runs on titles will be incomplete and because what else are they supposed to do? They’ve been reading X-Men since they were nine and aren’t going to stop now! Within weeks of the “true fan” declaring that he’ll never buy another Marvel comic again he’ll proudly declare victory for Marvel when an issue of their current “event” comic sells a few dozen more issues than an issue of DC’s current “event” comic.

In short, the geek boycott should not, under any circumstances, inconvenience the geek in any way. After calling for the boycott he should still be able to buy, read, watch, or do whatever he wants, but the act of calling for the boycott will assure him that a message will have been sent to the “morons in charge”.

A way to take action and lead the charge against injustice that doesn’t require the geek to leave his chair or do anything but complain out loud? You bet geeks LOVE boycotts!

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