Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Real versus Fake in Nerdery and Geekiness

So recently in the Geek/Nerd community the idea of fake or poseur nerds or geeks has made it to the forefront.  Part of this is something I discussed in Rant-O-Rama.  This is the whole fake geek girl controversy.    The problem is who are you or I to judge who is geeky or nerdy.  It is true when something becomes mainstream there are those who jump on the bandwagon, for coolness factor.  They exist in any sub-culture.  It is something that the geek and nerd culture is not used to.  The problem is some of the people being accused of being poseurs are judged based on gender.  The other thing is there is always something that everyone is geeky or nerdy about.  So is it really one’s business to guess who is or isn't geeky or nerdy. 

Let’s go back to the sexism masquerading as fake geek girl controversy.  We have many generations of geeky guys who feel uncomfortable or were ridiculed by females.  So they now feel threatened by the increased female attendance to their beloved functions.  This misogyny is unacceptable.  I have seen them give a guy a pass wearing a superhero shirt, but grill a lady wearing one.  They will ask her twenty questions about the character in questions.  Funny thing is I know Female geeks who are old enough to be these guys’ mothers.  I know women who were into comics in the early eighties.  So geek girls are nothing new, it is they just are feeling more comfortable socializing with us male geeks.

Guys stop this no girls allowed mentality.  Just accept them on face value.  I know some of you guys do not know how to interact with ladies.  That is your problem; please do not make it theirs.  Guys you need to behave and shower more than once a week.  Another thing is just because a girl dresses provocatively that does not give you the right to leer at them or molest them.  Just treat them they way you would want to be treated.  Now I myself have made social faux pas with ladies.  I have dusted myself off and tried not to repeat those mistakes.  That is all one can do.

The idea that cosplayers are poseurs is garbage.  I know some cosplayers and I know a group of Pirate re-enactors/ performers.  They are hardcore, the time and money they put into their wardrobe and props is immense.  The dedication to getting it right is so nerdy and geeky on too many levels.  Many Cosplayers fabricate costumes themselves.  I know of a group here in Portland, Oregon that cosplays as Superpowered characters; one caveat for that group they have to be original ideas.  No characters from Pop culture allowed.  Can one cosplay using a store bought costume?  Sure, your amount of dedication is up to you.  The ones that make their own costumes however are hardcore geeks and nerds.

The poseur problem is easy; these people won’t be here in a year or two when a new fad, fashion, or trend shows up.  Be nice, do not judge.  Funny thing is they may become one of us.  They may like our community or passions.  Do not discourage them, encourage them.  They could be a geek or nerd in the closet or have not discovered that geek or nerd button.  That is that one thing that makes all people geek out one way or another.  That button is different to everyone, but everyone has one.  It could be Comics, movies, music, TV, fashion, toys, sports or whatever.  It is out there.  That Is My Not So Humble Opinion.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Media Paradigm

We live in rapidly changing times.  Technology is changing and in many ways certain things are not moving with the time.  With the hurried pace that the way media interacts with us changing, it is interesting that very few media outlets are leading the charge.  This idea came up recently while watching House of Cards, the U.S. Production.  It is the first major Television series not to be on a network.  It was produced for Netflix.  All thirteen episodes were available the day of release.  In the show itself, the subject of news and how it is disseminated in the new internet paradigm comes up.  A character, an old school journalist, calls blogging and Twitter fads.  Calling it a fad is a mistake, blogs have been around since the late 1990’s.  So we have had over sixteen years of them, many blog sites have become legitimate news sources such as Ain’t it Cool News, Huffington Post and The Drudge Report.  The show was showing the resistance we are seeing in the corporate culture of the older media paradigm.  The interesting thing is the show itself is breaking the distribution model for Television that is prevalent today.

Thanks to the internet content providers (show creators, musicians, writers, and artists) can go directly to their consumers.  This scares the media conglomerates that were the gatekeepers for the longest time.  iTunes, VUDU, Netflix, Kickstarter, Comixology, and e-books are examples were people are going straight to the consumer without needing publishers, distributors, and media company’s help.  The internet has made us closer when dealing with certain pop culture communities.  In the 80’s there were cassette sharing mailing groups, now we have iTunes and YouTube.  You can show your friends stuff even half a world a way in an instant.  Writers like Scott Sigler, Tee Morris, Philippa Ballantine, Abigail Hilton, and Nathan Lowell are building their own audiences and self publishing their works.  These examples and others by growing grass roots audiences have caught the notice of major publishers.  Many have signed, while others continue to self publish so they have more control of their work.

A new pattern for watching Television has developed.  People are waiting for whole seasons to become available as DVD or on sites like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon for purchase.  Then folks will watch episode after episode.  This is referred to as marathoning or power loading a show.  With House of Cards, Netflix put out all 13 episodes, the day of release.  Reviewers, who were used to the old way of media distribution, were use to getting episodes weekly early as screener or reviewer copies.  They had difficulty with everything being available all at once.  They were not sure how to gauge the pacing of the show with the whole season being available immediately.  Many people however are used to this.  Various pop culture web sites talk about waiting till the show is completely available online, as DVD or till the whole season is saved up on their DVR.  Some networks make it difficult to see a show online without a subscription through cable or another content provider.  Many folks would like to see an online subscription format for many cable networks.  Hulu does this to a degree with Hulu Plus.  One problem with this is that many of the cable companies and content providers are also ISPs as well.  They do not feel the need to offer this, since it countermands their methodology.

Due to the changing ways we are getting our media, many media outlets are failing.  Radio and Print media are in serious decline.  Why listen to radio where you do not choose the programming when with a smart phone or media player you program your own.  You pick you music, shows and other content, not some executive who may or may not share your tastes.  Many are doing this with television with Hulu, Amazon, VUDU, Netflix and DVD home delivery formats.  CBS recently set up a deal with Amazon to sell episodes of their shows soon after airing. Things are rapidly changing and these companies need to change or possibly become extinct.  That is My Not So Humble Opinion.