You know what the hardest thing for a writer to do is? Introduce themselves in a new space, we aren’t good at that. You want a turn of phrase or an epic poem, I’m sure I can create one in no time at all. Cantrips or Haiku I got you, seriously, I get bored constantly, so I have notebooks full of things that I will never use. Writing something new for any sort of publication can be a massive undertaking and I’m going to be honest here, at least for myself more than a little harrowing. So after that massive amount of over sharing I’ve decided to go with something that I’ve been passionate about for some time, and hopefully keep the screwing up to a minimum.
Disclaimer: I have been contemplating this issue for a good portion of my geeky life and though I am hoping it won’t end up being one long massive thought even after hours of proofreading, but I guess we’ll find out together. So what has come out of that previously mentioned contemplation are many conversations between friends and acquaintances from all facets of our hobby. The state of being a nerd and what that means in our society today. This seems to be an incredibly popular topic of conversation on websites and forums across the internet at the moment. With so many people being accused of not being “real fans” because of the popularity of the movies, or the ostracization of different groups from our ranks because they don’t fit our criteria for what a “proper” fan should be. So keeping this in mind, let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was a wondrous land where the ranks of nerds, geeks, dorks, and fans of anything remotely nerdy could gather. We will call this Con-World, not to be confused with the world where hardened prisoners reside (because that would be silly). Con-World was an amazing place to be, a place where you were accepted, wanted, and possibly most of all, a place where your knowledge of Klingon grammatical structure, your mastery of Doctor Who trivia, or your ability to recite the entire lineage of an obscure d-list superhero was prized. At least that’s what the image of utopia was, but let’s be clear, a utopia this wasn’t. Infighting amongst Trekkies and Star Wars fans people things…(Warheads? I gotta say I love that one) would erupt in some section of Con-World and in that moment all would be awry. War would rage from end to end and nothing in the world could stop it. THE END IS NIGH! THE END IS NIGH! The Bronies would cry out in loud voices. “Fake Geek Girls” roamed the edges of the pack picking off the weak, giant media companies took advantage of our greed. In the midst of it all none of us were to blame, and our lamentations filled the air. Then all was silence.
Okay, so obviously that is about as over dramatic as anything could possibly be, but hopefully it serves to make my point. Which is why in a hobby that is so multifaceted and varied as ours do we feel the need to prove our superiority against one another? There are those that claim that at one time conventions and comic book stores or any sort of hobby store was a safe haven for all, but those are people that seem to be blinded by nostalgia. Maybe at one time there was a handful of stores that were really all inclusive, or where women didn’t feel ostracized or threatened. While those stores are cropping up again we have entered a period that has lasted way too long where we’ve made our hobbies our Grail, and we forgot or chose to ignore that there were real human beings on the other end of the internet or that message board we loved to visit on a regular basis. There is this pervasive need in our culture to prove that our love of something is greater than another persons, I have been guilty of it before and every once in awhile I still find myself silently judging one part of the hobby as beneath my own. In it’s own way that should be heartbreaking to the many people that have fought to make this culture accessible to everyone.
No matter what facet of the hobby we love, movies, games, comics, toys, television, or cosplay there seems to be reluctance to change. While there is progress in inches we need to be moving in miles. We need to stand up for the men that love children’s television shows. The women that are booed for asking questions that should have never been needed in the first place. We have failed, it was never our place to police this culture, but rather to help it grow in ways that were previously thought impossible.
None of us are blameless, and that’s the good news. Everyone can do something to change the things that keep us apart. Whether it’s not calling a girl’s geek cred into question just because of our insecurities, or judging a guy because he’s a “Brony”. At one point or another we have all been new to the hobby or been ridiculed by people that didn’t understand our passion for a TV show, comic, or movie.
So what does that mean for me at IHOGeek? I am going to be diving into parts of fandoms that I haven’t entered before in an effort to understand and grow. My articles outside of reviews and the other things I am passionate about will hopefully reflect that. My hope is that, for those of you that like me that may have stayed within your corners of the hobby might come along for the ride and we’ll discover these new things together. Either way, it looks like it will be one hell of an unexpected journey.