Otherwise known as, my generation.
I was thinking about this recently because I’ve had reason to interact with a few people (friends as well as new acquaintances) of the same age range lately that have underlined how ridiculously cynical and negative we’ve become as a whole. I do not except myself from that at all as I fall into that trap all the time; I make a very concerted effort every day to be a more positive person.
But it really just floors me how overwhelming sarcastic everyone is. (I’d say sardonic, but thanks to Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn Trilogy” the word makes my skin crawl.) It’s almost as if we’re all falling all over each other to prove how much harder-edged we are. It makes me doubly crazy when those people are from my own sort of socio-economic background; to be honest, we should all be pretty grateful for our blessings and doing our best to share the love.
Of course, it just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take the opportunity to zero in on one sub-group in specific. One of which I am part, a fact that has brought me no small measure of self-loathing over the years.
See, I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m a geek. I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I’m a big Star Trek fan and can have fluent arguments in Kirk v. Sisko (Sisko is better than TV Kirk, Movie Kirk is better than Sisko). I own and listen to the soundtrack from Robotech. Nerds are typically better at schoolwork than people like me, but they’re in the same realm, just with fewer social skills.
The point is, I have always loved the geekier things and thanks to half-talents like Kevin Smith (you heard me) the geek subculture has been gloriously exploited and exposed over the last couple of decades. Unfortunately, the side-effect of this is that it’s given geeks license to wallow in and amplify their geekiness. There are even terms tossed around like “Geek Chic” which have allowed geeks to believe that they have their own exclusive sub-culture equal to the cool kids.
Now let me explain to any non-geeks reading this why this is unfortunate. A sizable plurality of geeks have always been jackasses. They have always possessed an unearned sense of superiority because they thought their talents at role playing character creation and movie quoting, as well as the ability to lie to themselves that they’d rather live by the tenets of Kolinahr than interact with a pretty girl and try to earn her respect.
What no one realized is, that these personality traits were forcibly expunged by the process of ostracism and later social interaction wherein these traits were in no way prized. At the very least, the geek had to learn how to master and mask their natural instincts and function with normal people. But with the embracing of “geek culture” they feel encouraged to be rude, snotty and obsessive. After all, if movies with people like them (thanks to people like Kevin Smith and also Judd Apatow) get laughs and sympathy from audiences then why can’t they be that way in real life?
And that has led to a greater magnification within the sub-group itself. Geeks have by and large elevated themselves from jackasses to worse when interacting with their own. This has made it no fun to be a geek anymore. There used to be at the very least a sense of community and camaraderie. Now you can’t even go through a conversation without some sort of snide comment, attempted cynical witticism or worse…especially if you have the audacity to like something different than your present company.
I’m just tired of it. I want to know why we can’t all just have a good time, dig what we dig and just have fun with the arguments instead of getting personal. It’s fun to argue the merits of things, but there’s no need to be nasty.
I suppose in a way, too, I should take the opportunity to try harder and stop bashing on Twilight people (yeah, I should). It’s one thing to offer criticism (and I will be offering a very robust but very fair criticism of Twilight soon enough), it’s another to stomp on something someone likes in a ridiculous attempt to prove that what you like is…I don’t know, better? More worthwhile? Smarter? It’s not a contest.
I know it’s all rooted in insecurity (trust me, I know). I just wonder what it will take to pull geeks out of this pathetic tailspin and get them back to their roots, when it was fun to go to a convention and everyone was smiling whether the other guy was wearing your team colors or not.
Goodness, now I sound just like those metal fans that lose their minds when their band gets famous and the old fans suddenly get snotty because “they always liked them.” Blech. Let’s all get back to focusing our anger and hatred where it belongs: the cool kids.