Archive for February, 2013

The Apocalypse
February 27, 2013

They typical geek on day two of the apocalypse.

They typical geek on day two of the apocalypse.

We’ve made the point time and again that the social group geeks most closely represent are Evangelical Christians. One of the points of similarity is how much both groups are looking forward to the end of the world. Evangelicals have their Rapture fantasies and geeks have The Singularity. Both events await freedom from ugly mortal shells, sparing of the true believers, and lots and lots of apologies from those who gave those believers grief.

Most geeks, however, prefer the other type of Apocalypse, the kind where everything goes to hell and the living envy the dead. Whether it be nuclear, ecological, or zombie, one outcome is guaranteed: the geek will thrive while others perish. Somehow in the geek’s mind, a person who is lost if electricity goes off for 15 minutes will successfully navigate a post-apocalyptic planet. Apparently the geek’s particular talents are, on a daily basis, hampered by the rules of society. Should society suffer a catastrophic collapse that renders its rules null and void, the geek will shine.

Perhaps the geek will be a warlord, ruling with an iron fist in the burned out shell of a land that once reviled him. Perhaps he’ll be a hero, defending those hapless souls less prepared than himself and getting praise from those who once reviled him. Maybe he’ll just be a lone drifter, walking the wastes, spoken about in hushed, reverent tones by those who once reviled him. Whatever the outcome, he’s going to look cool, have lots of guns (and a samurai sword), and command respect while the weaklings who need “social rules” to keep them in charge suffer.

What’s even more interesting when comparing the Christian and geek end-of-the-world scenarios is how “rebuilding civilization” never enters into it. Once the world falls, that’s it, it’s going to be like that from now on. And that’s how it should be, because the world is being punished, punished for rejecting Jesus or Joss Whedon. It had a chance, didn’t take it, and now this is what it gets. And only those with the knowledge, the ones who paid attention, and who prepared will prevail. They alone will rise above, while everyone else merely bemoans a fate both inescapable and deserved.

They get nanobots or guns, and either one will do, so geeks love The Apocalypse!

Completion
February 20, 2013

catchemall

How do you make a geek continue to buy a comic book he was thinking about dropping? Simple: tell him it’s going to be cancelled soon. No matter how much he didn’t like it before, if he was about to drop it completely he’ll now buy the remaining issues because then he’s got a complete run.

Completion is the whip that scars the geek’s back. Consumption is what determines one’s standing in the geek community, and the thought that there might be something out there that someone else has and he doesn’t is possibly the most existential threat a geek faces.

For the geek, existence implies necessity. If a thing I like exists, then it’s a thing I must have. Never mind if it adds nothing, or if I already have several things almost exactly like it, it’s a new one and it’s there, so I have to get it. Completion is the alchemical marriage of Collections and Accuracy, and is essential to the Hierarchy.

Existence implies necessity, which in turn implies (as always) entitlement. Making a bonus card for this game I own not only means I have to get it, it means the producer is obligated to make sure I can get one. It’s not fair if someone else has something I don’t, rendering a game I previously liked and was satisfied with “incomplete” and now indelibly tarnished. Even if the bonus card is worthless and he’d never play with it, the geek won’t be happy unless one sits in his box doing nothing.

Of course, the opposite doesn’t apply: if something is limited and the geek does have one, then whoever doesn’t just needs to stop whining and be as good as he is at acquisition. Many angry words have been written about Kickstarter “exclusives” that later turned out to be available for just any old loser with money to pick up, making the ones belonging to those who got them first “worthless”.

For people marketing to geeks, completion is a boon. Why release something in one part when you can make it in more? Why sell a quality item when you can seel a substandard one and keep “improving” it for people who will keep re-buying it? Why not keep futzing with Star Wars, since the people who complain the loudest about it will still feel obligated to pour money into it?

A way to justify pointless consumption AND keep score? No wonder geeks LOVE Completion!

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