Wow... I mean really, wow. It takes a lot to get through the jaded skin to shock me--after all, I worked retail for years upon years--yet something has.
I'm utterly flummoxed and flabbergasted.
I would say I'm speechless, but I have a tendency to spout off about my utter astonishment as opposed to just staring at the wall, trying to determine if the source of my astonishment is really as grumpy, grouchy and just that mean.
What am I talking about? Why Roger Ebert's review of the movie Fanboys. Now, I never expected high-cinema from this thing (after all, it was a low-budget film that the Wienstien's purchased and added to). And if Ebert (and please note that he has now lost the "Mister" honorific I usually provide) had managed to stick purely in the land of critiquing the movie, I'd probably have agreed with him once I got to see it.
Unfortunately, he just didn't.
Let's look at my two favorite quotes:
Extreme fandom may serve as a security blanket for the socially inept, who use its extreme structure as a substitute for social skills. If you are Luke Skywalker and she is Princess Leia, you already know what to say to each other, which is so much safer than having to ad-lib it. Your fannish obsession is your beard. If you know absolutely all the trivia about your cubbyhole of pop culture, it saves you from having to know anything about anything else. That's why it's excruciatingly boring to talk to such people: They're always asking you questions they know the answer to.and
But enough about my opinions; what about "Fanboys"? Its primary flaw is that it's not critical. It is a celebration of an idiotic lifestyle, and I don't think it knows it. If you want to get in a car and drive to California, fine. So do I. So did Jack Kerouac. But if your first stop involves a rumble at a "Star Trek" convention in Iowa, dude, beam your ass down to Route 66.Like I said, I was utterly flummoxed that a nationally, known personality would sit there and blatantly insult large portions of the population.
Here's a secret: I'm an extreme fanboy. I suffer at the desire to purchase EVERYTHING geek related. I want, and I want, and there's just no stopping me when it comes too books. That incessant need for more Geekry is why I ensured that there was at least one good used bookstore close to my house when purchasing it.
Yet, I'm not socially inept. Sure, I may be a tad taciturn and not apt to speak out unduly, but that has nothing to do with my fandom. Heck, I managed to expose enough social skills to get and keep my beloved wife.
But according to Ebert, that's exactly what I am. And why am I socially inept? Because I love a certain segment of pop-culture, to the exclusion of more "acceptable" forms of that self-same pop-culture.
And yes, I know probably 90% of all there is to know about Star Wars. I've dedicated a lot of brain space to the franchise, in addition to big chunks of a few dozen others.
Yet, I also must know thousands, upon thousands of other things. I'm a husband, a father, a Christian, and a software engineer. I have to know basic home, auto, and lawn maintenance. I have to know which stories my sons want read before bed. I have to know how to comfort and how to punish. I have to know enough programming structures, database concepts, as well as just the sheer creative gumption to create software programs. I have to know enough to determine the best way to do my taxes.
I have to know all of these things, and soo many more.
And yes, I know about Star Wars. I know about a good bit of the history of the X-Men. I know a wide swath of the Marvel and DC universes. I know about Star Trek, and Cowboy Bebop. I have hundreds of books, ranging from horror to true crime to my beloved speculative fiction.
That is me, he is talking about.
And probably it is you as well. Even if you've never been to this site, and know nothing about science fiction or anime, or fantasy.
Because, I find discussions on football, baseball, and even NASCAR (much to my Beloved Wife's despair) to be as boring and tenancious as Ebert apparently finds my beloved geekry. And for every parent's basement dwelling SF fanatic out there, there's someone whose entire existence revolves around beer and football.
The difference between me and Ebert is that I'd never have the gall, arrogance, or the outright hate, to tell the people that do love sports that they're wasting their times and their lives. That they're hiding behind their team scores and driver rankings in an effort to not have to deal with people on a personal level.
But hey, it's just Geeks, so where's the harm in insulting them, right?
And for the record, I think it would be an awesome road trip that involved just traveling from one convention to the next for a month or two...