The Terrorists Have Already Won so Quit Bitching and Buy Tickets to Brony Con
Funny thing about how fandom and nerd culture has, somewhat, imploded on itself. There has been a substantial paradigm shift and while I enjoy a certain level of entropy, this one bums me the hell out.
I absolutely love that nerd culture has completely taken over pop culture. For the first time, not just in decades, but ever, the Geeks have inherited the Earth. Comics are have broken the boundaries of film and television and we’re doing it better than anyone ever has. Old cartoons are coming back to reaffirm their place in children’s entertainment and we’re doing it better than anyone ever has. Web content has bridged the gaps between properties making it easy for a fan of one thing to be a fan of 100 things and we’re doing it better than anyone ever has. This can go on and on. It really can, because for every one thing I use as an example, there’s a fan of something else that I never even considered, and our Venn diagrams will eventually overlap.
Strange, though, to think that the surge of it all came from somewhere so painful.
It was impossible to grow up as a fan of anything without your fair share of bullying. It really doesn’t matter what it is… comics to anime to D&D to CCG’s to… ANYTHING. If there was something you loved that the football team didn’t approve of, your life was shit. Now, parents attempting to raise children in a wholesome environment full of platitudes such as: “Just ignore them” and “You don’t need to be friends with them anyway”… wake up and smell the coffee. You are delusional self-righteous assholes and you are a detriment to your own child’s development. The thing your child loves the most is getting them physically and psychologically abused on an hourly basis and you can’t see it because you haven’t allowed yourself to be a part of that thing they love so much. Your kids will never come to you about their problems as long as they know you aren’t on their wavelength.
Kids, especially teenagers, love to throw out: “You don’t know anything about me!” and “You never listen to me!” and they’re right. You don’t, because in that headspace, the entirety of a relationship can be boiled down to the one thing they know you have no interest in. Well, what if that one thing was the gateway to guaranteeing their emotional safety and security?
Yeah. Start taking notes. The tidal wave of nerd culture in pop culture comes almost entirely from two key contributing factors that are closely intertwined.
1. Retro Cool is a 25-30 year overlapping cycle. What was cool then will be cool again with a slightly modern twist. Clothes, music, movies and TV, even food trends… things have a way of coming back and that’s all we’re seeing now. It’s usually just a recycling of old crap that has been tried and tested over and again to be “cool” and marketable.
2. The children of the ‘80s (and now the ‘90s) have reached our 30 year spike and now WE are the ones with jobs and money and influence over consumer platforms. We’re also the ones who grew up with all these nerd-based properties… and damnit, we want them back.
You see, we tried for years… many years… in fact, we tried for our entire childhoods to enjoy these things and at every turn, at every school, in every town, and across race, gender, religion, or anything else that usually separates people… we were hated for it. We weren’t the football team. We weren’t the cheerleaders. We didn’t smoke in the bathroom between classes. We weren’t the cool kids. We were beaten and ostracized because of it. We were told to kill ourselves and a lot of us have.
But no more.
Now it’s ours. It’s ALL ours. We own you fuckers and WE are raising YOUR children and WE put price tags on all of it. How’s that for Guerilla warfare? We didn’t sneak into your camps and capture your flags. We snuck into your lives and captured your offspring… and you paid us to do it.
The bullies will never really disappear on their own because they simply can’t. They are the weak and frightened people who have never been able to love what they choose. So influenced by the opinions of others are they that they’ve lost their grip on what controls mass entertainment. And if Empirical Expansion teaches us anything, it’s that a society can be measured by how it entertains itself. As children, we chose to love certain things, and we were nailed to our respective crosses for it. Now we choose to love those things again and we have the resources to make you love them too. Wanna’ know how we’re doing it? Wanna’ know the secret of how you lost your battle for playground supremacy?
Yup. It’s that simple. While you were afraid of appearing weak for expressing love, friendship, honesty, loyalty, kindness, and compassion, we were cultivating an entire movement that not only expresses those things, but encourages outsiders to do the same.
It’s funny… when we were young and you made such brutal fun of us for enjoying cartoons, comics, movies, and music that celebrated these things, when you blackened our eyes and bloodied our noses, when you spread rumors about us just to make rooms impossible to walk into… you never stopped to consider that you might have kids of your own some day and you would never want THOSE THINGS for them.
Hey… we’re not perfect. Sure, there are factions amongst the whole and not all of us are in love with all the same things, but we’ve learned that we don’t need to be fans of the same stuff be to supportive of each other. And yes, there have been few of us who flew off the reservation just long enough to turn to tragedy. Turns out you CAN bully someone to go too far and in general, nobody wants to claim them, but for their suffering I absolutely will. I cannot in good conscience celebrate their actions, but I can, in full confidence, understand and lament what drives them to it. So to the Bullies young and old, I leave you with songs of redemption and warning:
Young Bully… we love you. We forgive you. We want you among us, not to love our silly cartoons and comics and cosplays and such, but to simply be yourself… whoever “yourself” may be. THAT “self” is always welcome among us and we look forward to whatever creativity you have to share.
Old Bully who never learned… you had EVERY opportunity to apologize, and you still can, but if you think your actions have not had lasting effects, think again. We can forgive, but it’s not in us to forget. You made sure of that. Still not scared? Next time a child brings a gun into a school, ask yourself who YOUR kid likes to make fun of.
Just ignore all this and go on living the way you do. We’ve infected enough of your spawn with love, tolerance, acceptance, and kindness at this point, to just sit back and let you die. Don’t worry, with all you cool kids out of the way, we’ll have hover boards, replicators and warp drives in no time.