Archive for the Stuff Geeks Like Category

Stuff Geeks Like #2: Idol Worship

Posted in Stuff Geeks Like with tags , , , , , on September 23, 2008 by Jeff Carter

Much like the ancient Greeks looked toward the heavens for guidance and wisdom from their Pantheon of Gods such as Zeus, Poseidon, and Ares, so to do geeks in modern society worship powerful beings who sit upon high thrones and dispense their wizardry to the masses. These powerful beings, however, are more apt to entertain their followers with retarded Rastafarian aliens or homoerotic hobbits than cast down thunderbolts or give fire to mankind.

The “Geek Pantheon” is primarily dominated by men whose physical traits consist of beards, glasses, and a large, unkempt mass of hair. The hierarchy of Geek Gods is as follows:

George Lucas (The Geek God of Star Wars, Indiana Jones). With his towering mane of white hair, a mighty white beard, and a double chin the size of a fetus, Lucas bears more than a passing resemblance to the Lord of the Gods, Zeus. But instead of casting down thunderbolts to punish mankind or impregnating various women to create more Gods and heroes like Hercules, Lucas gave birth to Star Wars, one of the most beloved (and also heavily scrutinized) science fiction/fantasy franchises of all time.

Though he is still powerful and influential, Lucas’ wisdom and judgment (especially regarding the Star Wars franchise) has deteriorated to the point where he believes Jabba the Hutt’s uncle should be covered in neon-colored tattoos, wear a feather headdress, and speak in a homosexual southern accent.

Stan Lee (The Geek God of Comic Books) Though many say his longtime creative partner Jack Kirby is the true power behind the early days of Marvel Comics, no other figure is revered or beloved in the comics world as Stan Lee. A jovial, kindhearted man with a penchant for alliteration, Lee is credited with the creation of dozens of popular and enduring superheroes such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Hulk, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four, and The X-Men.

In his old age, Lee is little more than a mascot for Marvel comics, spending most of his time making brief but amusing cameos in the big-budget film adaptations of the characters he co-created over 40 years ago.  Lee’s most recent cameo was in Iron Man, where he was mistaken for Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner. This comparison isn’t much of a stretch, considering the last relevant contribution from either one occurred in the late 1970’s.

Peter Jackson (The Geek God of Lord of the Rings), When the first of the Star Wars prequels failed to meet expectations in 1999, there seemed to be a desperate cry from the geek legions for a new fantasy franchise that would capture their imaginations and suck their disposable income dry. Enter Peter Jackson and his adaptation of one of the greatest literary works of all-time, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Audiences thrilled to Jackson’s beautiful gay love story of Sam and Frodo, two tiny hobbits who braved a treacherous journey through a mystical land of evil wizards, orcs, and a giant eyeball, to frolic together in a fluffy feather bed with two other hobbits, a dwarf and an effeminate elf. Truly Moving.

Jackson has recently violated the geek idol appearance code by shedding 50 lbs, cutting his hair and getting Lasik eye surgery. For these crimes, and for the King Kong remake, he is dangerously close to being cast out of the Geek Pantheon.

Gene Roddenberry (The Geek God of Star Trek): Though not bearded or bespectacled, Roddenberry is slavishly worshipped and idolized by Trekkies, the highest echelon of geek culture. When questioned about their great love and admiration for Roddenberry, Trekkies will undoubtedly regurgitate the standard cliches regarding Roddenberry’s “visionary” ability to “hold a mirror up to society” and use science fiction metaphorically as a means to explore controversial themes such as civil rights, racism, gender roles, interracial romance, military politics, and the mating habits of fuzzy balls.

In the mid to late 90’s the vast Star Trek empire began to crumble with the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a TV show so monumentally dull and nerdy that even the most socially retarded Dr. Who fans balked at watching it for fear of being labeled “uncool”. Despite this, Trek conventions continue to attract millions of unwashed virgins each year, and fans of the saga hold on to the delusional belief that LOST creator J.J. Abrams “re-imagining” of the Star Trek universe in 2009, which stars the bad guy from Heroes as Spock and Harold from Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle as Sulu, will somehow usher in a bold new era for the franchise.

Other lesser Geek Idols include Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, George Romero, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Anne Rice, Jack Kirby, Ridley Scott, and Gary Gyax.

Stuff Geeks Like #1: Zombies

Posted in Stuff Geeks Like with tags , , , , on August 29, 2008 by Jeff Carter

Welcome to “Stuff Geeks Like”, a new regular feature on Six Demon Bag that explores the anthropological reasonings behind the attachments geeks form to a wide variety of genre media and culture. These posts will be familiar in structure and style to those found on the awesome blog, Stuff White People Like.

#1- Zombies:

The legions of the undead have been a constant source of entertainment and obsession for geeks since the late 1960’s, serving as popular antagonists in countless films, TV shows, novels, comic books, and video games. Zombie geeks are a proud, tightly-knit subdivision of geek culture, openly displaying their love for zombies by wearing T-shirts, reading Fangoria magazine, and attending conventions where they can meet actors and actresses from zombie films and engage in social interaction with other zombie fans. Zombie geeks also have close ties with the geeks of the Heavy Metal community, sharing their affinity for long hair, black clothing, and bands that utilize horrific imagery such as Iron Maiden, Dio, and Slayer.

The prevalence of Zombies in geek culture can be traced back to the successful 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead, directed by George Romero. Geeks regard Romero as the patron Saint of zombie filmmaking, holding him in the highest esteem. Though the concept of a re-animated corpse has existed for thousands of years (with its primary origins in Afro-Caribbean Voodoo culture), and several notable films such as 1932’s White Zombie pre-date Romero’s work by over 30 years, geeks firmly believe that the history of zombies begin and end with Romero. Do not attempt to dissuade a geek from this belief, as you will be met only with hostility and ridicule.

When questioned about their admiration for Romero, geeks will often cite his use of zombies as a device for social and political commentary. They will say things like, “Romero is holding a mirror up to society man! In Dawn of the Dead, he’s showing us that shopping malls, commerce, and urban sprawl are turning us into soulless, mindless, drones. WE’RE THE ZOMBIES, DUDE!”, in a thinly-veiled effort to sound scholarly and disguise their juvenile predilection for mutilation, decapitation, dismemberment, fake blood, latex intestines, exposed “scream queen” breasts, and cheesy synthesizer soundtracks.

If, by some strange reason, you wish to impress a zombie geek in a conversation, it would probably be beneficial to mention someone like Tom Savini. Savini is a powerful and well-loved figure in the zombie-geek community, as he was responsible for the majority of the gore and makeup effects in Romero’s movies. Saying something like, “Romero is fantastic, but Tom Savini is the man,too! That machete through the head effect he did as one of the bikers in Dawn was awesome and so innovative!” This will illicit an enthusiastically positive response from the geeks, and should protect you from further humiliation or social awkwardness in the presence of zombie fans.

Be cautious though, saying something like this may invite more probing questions from the zombie crowd, delving into obscure zombie trivia or even worse, they may attempt to engage you in a discussion of foreign zombie films such as Zombi 2 or directors like Lucio Fulci. If this happens, it’s best to just excuse yourself to the restroom or change the subject to another suitable geek topic that you are more knowledgeable about. Under no circumstances should you attempt to discuss the Resident Evil series as valid entries in the zombie genre. Doing so may result in permanent banishment from the zombie community. 28 Days Later is acceptable in some cases.

Many geeks, at some point in their lives, will inevitably feel “inspired” to make their own low-budget zombie movie using their parents’ video camera (or outdated video equipment borrowed from their local community college), thus adding to the countless thousands of no-budget zombie movies featuring nine or ten pasty high school/college students wearing torn flannel shirts and sloppily-applied $2.99 iParty makeup kits devouring overcooked linguine and cherry Jell-O “guts” off of some poor kid’s stomach.

Some geeks will make these films just for the fun of it, but a good percentage of geeks suffer from the delusional belief that their zombie project will be “unique and different”, and propel them into a successful and lucrative film career. This ludicrous pipe dream has been perpetuated by individuals such as Peter Jackson (Braindead), Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead series), and most recently, Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), who have parlayed early low-budget zombie filmmaking into worldwide popularity and God-like status in the geek community. If a zombie geek approaches you to appear in his or her low-budget zombie film with promises of future fame, immediately run away. Fast. It’s likely the only audience this “film” will ever reach is the 10:45 AM “Intro To Video Production” class at (Insert town name) Technical Community College.