Geeks of the world relax!
Those who had watched for the signs made for safe ground early. Others, caught unaware, struggled as the waves that crashed over them. In an instant, millions of people were left facing an interminable darkness. Some lost hope; others fought on regardless. And, outside the zone of immediate impact, we all watched and hoped this disaster would not cripple the globe.
Also, there was a hurricane.
A million voices cried out in terror but, thanks to Twitter, weren’t suddenly silenced. Thus could we gauge the temperature of geekdom: Hurricane Sandy was devastating, sure, but at least she didn’t sell out to the evil corporate overlords who have already swallowed Pixar and Marvel Comics whole! That’s real evil, folks; a heinous crime worth of Emperor Palpatine!
The outrage came as no surprise. While the stereotype of the pop-culture junkie as “overweight nerd in mum’s basement” is wrong, the underlying sentiment that informs it has some degree of accuracy.
We geeks (myself very definitely included) despise change. We loathe it with every fibre of our being. Hire a new writer, fire a director, cancel a show… we know how to fix you, mass-media entities. Prepare to be bombarded with bottles of ketchup and venomous e-mails! We will attend your conventions wearing offensive t-shirts! Push us too far and we’ll go all 1990s Green Lantern fandom on you – we’ll form a politically-registered protest group and take out newspaper attack ads!
(I wish I’d made up that last one. Alas, it happened.)
But you need to do us a favour, mass-media entity: you need to pretend you don’t see us buying tickets and merchandise. Sure we’re angry, we’re not stupid – we still want this stuff, even if it’s only to complain. Such is our love/hate co-dependency with the worlds that captivated our childhoods… which is, of course, the very reason they’re worth $4.05 billion to you. Draining our wallets, in perpetuity, is worth emptying yours temporarily.
I look at the outrage and I wonder: how much is genuine, and how much is knee-jerk? Of the people screaming for blood: how many still follow Star Wars fervently, and how many are upset out of perceived insult to their childhood favourite? My devotion to the Force was dampened a long time ago (yeah, yeah, make your pun). Hard-core followers are unquestionably entitled to their distress (the day Disney buys the rights to The Transformers, I’ll lose my head) but, for we lapsed Jedi, it’s time to take a breath.
We liked Star Wars for years but not so much now. Why? Well, that Sith-awful prequel trilogy likely has something to do with it. Personally, Lucas’ endless tinkering with the original films left me mad enough to pull the ears off a gundark. We were already unhappy with the spin-offs and tie-ins, so why mourn this buy-out? Search your feelings: are you really upset or simply leaping aboard the landspeeder-of-discontent, just ‘cause the other Jawas are doing it?
Of you, my geeky brethren, I ask patience. Disney bought Pixar and, Cars aside, there was no drop in quality. Disney bought Marvel and Avengers was still great (its sequel will likely be cheaper, now Mickey has the keys to Industrial Light & Magic). This latest purchase could do great things, too. Exercise a little cautious optimism, friends; this might just be the shot in the arm Luke, Han and Chewie have needed for decades.
And if it isn’t? Well, we’ll have had three years in which to plot our aggrieved response. I figure that, for starters, we could protest by bombarding the Disney studios with bottles of blue milk in honour of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Who’s with me?
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