ENTERTAINMENT: Welcome, Nerds: An Introduction
My name is Justin Williams. I’ve learned to live without a video game console in my living room. And it sucks.
We are not alone in the universe.
I remember in high school when it was but a mere myth for the “hot girls” at school to enjoy anime, play video games, or be unhealthily invested with comic book storylines. It was embarrassing to talk about my obsession with, and atrocious quantum of knowledge about, giant robot anime like Gundam Wing and Evangelion. I couldn’t share with any semi-interested girl most of the tracks I had on rotation on my .mp3 player--too many foreign unknowns, J-pop singles, anime theme songs, and tracks from Dance Dance Revolution to be in any tangible dimension of physical attractiveness.
If you watched the dope TedTalk helmed by the brilliant entrepreneur and X-Men aficionado Comic Book Girl 19--do me a favor. Find her on Twitter and ask her, regarding her childhood, how perfectly she fit into the status quo of conservative society. To my delight, she’d probably jackknife kick you in the face. After which she might redirect you toward her TedTalk where she helped facilitate her audience about her personal connection to the X-Men comics and characters because how they like her, didn’t “fit in” with regular society’s norms and expectations. This is what a lot of comic books, films and video game consoles allowed their readers: escape and acceptance. The struggle was, and still is, pretty real.
We geeks have gained immense traction though! Now we have men and women, and boys and girls who sit around and actually lie to their nerd friends about how immersed into the culture they also are, just to be a part of the universal dialog. Folks who couldn’t tell a Romulan from a Cycloid will literally pretend they were raised on Star Trek just to be “cool”. Specifically concerning video games, recent years have shown the gender gap between men who identify as gamers and women who identify as gamers (and own home consoles) has significantly come closer to equal since the 90’s (there have been multiple statistics founded by various institutions, including Variety magazine and the Entertainment Software Association that support the data that girls are enjoying gaming culture just as much as boys).
We are not alone in the universe.
We live in an age where almost all of us millenials are nerdy about something. We all have that one thing. For my wife Allie, it’s Firefly and its film sequel, Serenity. I’ve even read the post-Wash comics that continue the story after the film before gifting them to Allie. Not knowing everything there is to know about a science-fiction franchise is not an opportunity to lie about enjoying it more than you do or knowing about it more than you do, so much as it is an opportunity to decide for yourself whether or not you want to actually learn about it. If it excites you, then it deserves your attention, it’s that simple. Your friends are fools if they tell you otherwise.
So when CBG19 puts out a History of X-Men series on her website, or when MarzGurl posts videos on her YouTube channel about the untold history of DDR arcades, or when Angry Video Game Nerd reviews some of the more challenging video games of the 8-bit generation of home consoles, or when Mecha Damashii creator Ollie Barder posts another article on Forbes.com about the latest stateside release of Gundam-related media, please understand that I’m going to be totally sucked in. I really have no choice. These are the franchises and passions that I grew up with as a child, and now grown men and women are spreading their love and knowledge and passion of these things to a very attentive and captive audience in the form of blogs, vlogs, articles, and podcasts. How I didn’t catch that stupid train years ago is beyond me.
I think there is a hazardous magnitude of societal confrontation that aims to relative dialog and reconstruct it as universal. The problem that lies within the mass production of mindset is not dissimilar to the disadvantages of a hive-mind--the individual fades into obscurity. Those most qualified to speak no longer have a voice to be heard, and the only thing more dangerous than that is by giving that individual a microphone. Isn’t that the essence of the radio? Of counterculture? Of podcasting? I’ve always been a nerd, and pretending to not be that would only be indicative of motives driven by a fearful spirit of conformity and timidity, and would only serve further scathe my sensitive soul and discourage both my cohorts and the next generation. I am a cinephile, invigorated by pop culture, science fiction, high fantasy and Japanese anime. I was raised on a few DC Comics and a whole lot of Marvel comics. And yes, I’ve learned to live without a video game console in my living room. But it sucks.
There is just nothing on this planet more fulfilling than to talk to somebody about the one passion you thought you were alone on Earth in feeling enamored with. Are you that one person who loved Batman v Superman? Yes, I’d love to talk with you about it. I want to be here to provide for you an outlet to speak and listen on all topics anime, gaming, film, and comics. I want to know your thoughts just as much as I want you to know mine about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s groundbreaking format on American cinema; Riri Williams’ impact on comic book history (and why so many people are inexplicably upset about it); my honest opinion about Disney’s new extended Star Wars universe; the brilliance and dangers of the VR-technology revival; and what the Ghostbusters franchise teaches onlookers about societal standards.
This isn’t the “dawn of the nerd”, or some cheeseball, overdramatized, butthole epoch in time. That dawn already happened when J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit in 1937. When Bob Kane and Bill Finger debuted Batman in 1939. When Osamu Tezuka created Astro Boy in 1951. When Jack Kirby and Stan Lee debuted The X-Men in 1963. When George Lucas released Star Wars in 1977. When Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yadate released Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979. When Irvin Kershner released potentially the greatest sequel in cinematic history, The Empire Strikes Back, in 1980. When Ivan Reitman released Ghostbusters in 1984. When James Cameron directed another one of the great film sequels of our time, Aliens, released in 1986, and yet another in 1991, Terminator 2: Judgement Day. When the Super Nintendo was released that same year, or when the Sega Dreamcast ushered in the sixth generation of home console gaming in 1998. When J.J. Abrams single-handedly resurrected and reinvigorated the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises in 2009 and 2015, respectively. When the Russo Brothers released Captain America: Civil War this year in 2016.
The dawn already happened, man. I’m the weirdo sitting on his rooftop alone, observing the powerful dusk just to watch the dawn arrive over, and over, and over again. And there is no one dawn God has made that is identical to a former. As far as being a fan of most things geeky, I can’t wait for the next one. So, all I’m asking you to do is to watch the sunrise with me. That’s really all I’m doing.