From 1984 til Forever

Regular explorations through infinite space.

Technology writer/editor by day, pulp writer/pop culture commentor/cartoonist/gastronome/Schlock Magazine co-founder by night.

In a perfect world I'd be making my living doing all of the above. From a dimension-crossing zeppelin fortress.

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The Death of Geek: a Manifesto

Welcome to a second Schlock Magazine blogathon! This edition’s topic is the title above. The Geek! Who needs him? Not me, surely. Livening up the chunky text are some illustrations, so maybe go through the whole thing for that. At least. Anyway, read GrandMaster T’s take on the topic here and the rest will be linked to when they’re actually, well, up. Huzzah!


I know who you are. 

Nigel just got his heart broken by the Decemberist’s latest album

You are the cute barista with the propensity for tight black t-shirts all the boys - and some of the girls - lust for (and you know it, and the potential for bisexuality scares and excites you in equal measures). You are the bored proto-hipster waiting for his girlfriend to come back from work so you can have wild monkey sex (but you won’t as the girlfriend prefers to kvetch about how Magda at the office is such a bitch). You are a second-hand bookseller of unspecified age relaxing after yet another fairly quiet day (the dog’s curled by your feet, there’s whiskey in your glass, the bottle’s still half full, and all’s well in your little patch of universe). 

You could be anyone and anything since the universe’s frankly vast and contains near-infinite possibilities. The universe’s giving birth to a baby universe RIGHT NOW and in the future a satellite called LISA will be witnessing such an act. 

We are going to your memory palace. 

Like snowflakes and human beings, every memory palace is unique— but that also means most of them look near-identical in their mundanity. It could look like the childhood home of your dreams, enormous and decaying and surrounded by immense gardens, or the penthouse suite atop the Chrysler Building, and your zeppelin’s docked right outside your bedroom window. The memory palace’s contents come in many forms— from books to pieces of furniture and half-remembered bric-a-brac to smells (the smells are especially potent). Various facets of your psyche scurry around organising and retrieving bits and pieces in order to make your very being exist, since there’s no perception without memory.

Nel’s only reason for playing Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is Mayor Haggar’s presence in the character roster

It’s here that we’ll meet your Inner Geek. 

The Inner Geek catalogues all the flotsam of popular culture that comes your way. It tends to be obsessive and has fairly specific tastes. Everything collected is classified in an arcane and baroque hierarchy as unique as its owner. When not cataloging (it’s good to point out that memories and knowledge, like cats, are fluid beasts, and move and shift around the memory palace as they see fit. Connections are remade and destroyed all the time. Think of the internet, not a filing cabinet) the Inner Geek spends its time arguing on what’s just been watched/read/heard/smelled/tasted. Sometimes with itself. Sometimes with others. 

We are going to take the Inner Geek by the hand and lead it away from its library/internet/holding pen. We’re taking it outside, to the Childhood Garden. On its far end there’s an oak tree of immense proportions directly overlooking a ravine, and beyond the ravine there’s wilderness going on for miles and miles. We’re there now. 

I’m handing you a weapon of unspecified type and size and weight. 

You’re going to kill the Inner Geek. 

It sobs and snot runs down its face.

BANG

We’ll head back inside now. In our hands there’s cans of kerosene and a book of matches. We’re going to wipe the Inner Geek’s repository clean. 

Rebecca’s answer in the Alan Moore vs Grant Morrisson debate is either Matt Fraction or Rick Remender

Fire is not only nature’s great destroyer, but also its great fertiliser. It weeds out the weak and diseased and just plain old, and their ashes will fertilise the land and feed the new growth. Some of the world’s odder ecosystems depend on yearly fires.

Still, you’ll ask, why? Why the violence, the trauma?

There can’t be change without trauma. If it weren’t for the K-T extinction, our space would be occupied by evolved dinosaurs or sentient bird creatures or simply dumb, amazing animals. If it weren’t for the Ice Age Homo Neanderthalensis might have easily beat Sapiens at the apex predator game, as brute strength at mammoth hunting could easily beat better hand-eye coordination and a knack for language. Fair enough, you’ll answer, but what does this have to do with the geek?

Everything belongs to the geek nowadays, especially most, if not all, of mainstream popular culture. It’s not a counter culture anymore (just to hammer down the point one last time). Producers strip mine comic properties for new franchises, everyone wears quirky t-shirts and the weird is watered down as to become blandly acceptable. Above all is the easy, easy access to the vast quantities of properties and entertainment out there— from television channels dedicated to the stuff, pulp novel reprints, translated manga, the internet and its various legal and illegal channels.

Mere wants have been turned to full blown needs, in order to feed the corporate monstrosity running on greed. Fancy new technology, once the tech geek and bored well off bachelor’s preserve, belongs to everyone— why yes you do NEED the latest iThing, and a new version will come out next year, and the next, and you’ll NEED it as well. 

Geek culture went to the mainstream because Mammon’s shiny charms are too hard to resist, and that’s how it’ll remain for the future. 

Marc really, really hates The Big Bang Theory

But with the geek’s death, revolution— or rather, evolution— will commence from one’s self, from the ashes of the previously known. We will make our own micro-culture, and it’ll be as uncool as it gets since that’s the point of it all. 

We will reject the machine by making our own entertainment— no more passive consumption leading to meaningless, worthless arguing. New forms will be created, rejected, then created again.

We will go back to the analogue, not because of (disgusting, snivelling) snobbery but simply because it’s simply a means, and it’ll be remixed with the digital and new anyway. 

Pornographic comics as done in Art Deco stylings, embroidered on pillow cases. 

Recordings from supposedly haunted houses mixed with Prof. Kaku speaking about the 11th dimension. 

Newly bought clothing disassembled and reassembled with the old.

The very term “geek” will be used primarily to refer to the circus/peep show/freak show entertainer of old, the kind who bit chickens’ heads off with his teeth. 

We’ll go back to hand writing letters to each other, even if one’s handwriting’s long disintegrated, and it doesn’t matter with what you’ll be writing (don’t be a prick about your $100 fountain pen, noone cares). 

Growing of food will be attempted, even though the vegetables will be invariably crappy and noone will have heart to kill Professor Kisses the bunny rabbit (we’ll end up making burgers instead, but we’ll make our own bread to go with them).

All the stultifying conventions of genre will be kicked down and the only two pigeonholes used will be named “Interesting” and “Not Interesting”. 

Most importantly, the snide cynicism and supposed irony will be squashed, replaced by wonder and excitement.

The Geek will die, replaced by the new and different and nameless.

Won’t that be something?  

  1. 1984tilforever posted this
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