Jul 23, 2011

Comic-Con and Cowardice

With Comic-Con happening (have to chuckle because I typed "ComicCon" in MS Word and spellchecker reminded me about putting the dash in), anyone who has even a bit of geek in them (myself included) seems to have written their obligatory article or post related to the big event and who would I be to not toss another log onto the fire?

It's interesting how some argue that being a geek or being geeky has gone mainstream and evolved from a cottage industry to the big leagues evidenced by the amount of media and corporate attention lavished on what used to be a small gathering of devoted followers.  I've never personally attended Comic-Con, but kudos to those who do so not because they're financially obligated, but because they simply enjoy doing so.

Growing up, I got into Star Wars, Star Trek, The Evil Dead, The Highlander, superheroes like Batman and other shows, movies or comic books that have cult followings and I did it because I enjoyed it.  Phrases like, "This is my boom stick!" or "There can be only one," are uttered between fans and followers with great joy and satisfaction, sometimes leaving outsiders wondering what the heck we're talking about.  Humans are clique-oriented creatures and if we couldn't join the football team in high school and were never part of the popular crowd, Geekdom offered a comforting alternative to be ourselves and we gratefully joined, finding acceptance among other likeminded individuals (sounds a bit like the first "Revenge of the Nerds," but I have to admit I've never owned a pocket protector or worn glasses held together by duct tape).

The reason I write all this is because while I considered myself a bit geeky as a kid with some of my interests and hobbies, I never took it all the way and in some sense was a coward about all of it.  If you're standing around the water cooler with some friends at work and bring up something like a Star Trek or Sci-Fi convention, odds are the subject of fans dressing up in Boba Fett costumes or Star Fleet tunics may be mentioned, usually with smiles and laughing involved.  To the casual observer it is humorous, but I have to tip my hat to those devoted followers who have the courage to do so.  Like the rest of us, they are who they are and they're comfortable with it.  As a kid or teenager I wouldn't have had the guts to do that sort of thing, but there were those who did and continue to do so and they do it because they want to and that's enough for them.

We have the good fortune to live in a time and place where the idea of being who you are and doing what you love is becoming accepted and advocated more and more and as I said before, the concept of being geeky appears to also be going more mainstream and becoming more commercialized (I may get some flack from diehards for saying so), but deep down, it's not about the press promotions, PR or glitz of a convention or movie release, it's about feeling comfortable in your own shoes and not being a coward about who you really are.  Trekkies, Twihards, fanboys, whatever you want to call them, they know who they are and it's something I've taken to heart as well.  Now it's time to pull out the light saber and Jedi robes.  Just kidding!  Or am I?

As Ricky Nelson would sing, "Well, it's alright now, I've learned my lesson well, you can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself."