It has been a while since I have written specifically about the “everything has to be online and not paid for even when the people who have made something unique and masterful are starving” culture. You already know my general mood about it: I hate it. But just recently, I became aware of a graphic that is doing the rounds on what I like to refer to as Fudgebook.
On the Quixotic Autistic jouranl, the author going by the handle Leah Jane has written a big deconstruction of this image here. But because I cannot go ten seconds without thinking of something to write about a subject that is of interest to me, I thought that I should also add my own thoughts to the “discussion”. No, scratch that. The morons who call themselves “geeks” like it is a badge of honour (hint: it is not) and claim it is a culture (I think people who know first-hand what a geek show actually is will beg to differ) do not discuss things. They decide something is automatically baad (baa!) or awesome, and tolerate no further input on the matter.
For example, we have the latest subject of my hatred about something the dorks, assholes, retards (I am just rolling out terms that suit better), and morons who call themselves geeks think is beyond criticism. Diablo III. It is not. Beyond criticism, I mean. In fact, I think I speak for anyone who has problems with motor coordination or just not pulling the “ahm so leet” shit out of their arsehole when I say that Diablo III‘s interface is akin to a car with the wheel component of the steering column gone.
In fact, allow me to give you an analogy. Imagine for a second that you are competing in a car race where the prize money is enough to help you out of a situation you would rather not be in. But when you get into the car you will be racing in, you learn that instead of using a wheel to turn side to side, you instead have to manually twist and turn a metallic column. Just to add to the fun, the power-steering facility that is pretty much standard on all cars now for a good reason has been removed. And when you start the race, you learn that your competitors have cars that can do whatever the driver wants, with no lag between decision and execution, all by mere thought. That, in a nutshell, is what playing Diablo III feels like. Yet so-called geek culture would have us believe that everything Blizzard Entertainment shits out is a gold weenie that pisses diamonds.
I will start with a bit of an objection I have to Leah‘s first criticism of the image in question. Who says that Lauren Faust, Lindsay Ellis, Rebecca Watson, Jane Goodall, Doctor Alice Roberts, Lisa Randall, Kate Beaton, or Mayim Bialik even want to be associated with so-called geek culture? Because I can assure you that educated women who have carved out a place that works for them in the world would take a good, hard look at it, and walk right out again. Just like how Jello Biafra would have walked right out of punk culture immediately if the punk culture that he found on his first look resembled this so-called geek culture.
And just to reiterate, let us talk again about what a geek show is. A geek show is a performance act in which the performer performs acts that are humiliating or disgusting (or both) in order to entertain the audience through disgust. Jim Rose and his self-named circus is probably the most well-known and recent example of an actual geek show. When I originally read about this act, the performer I am most thinking of went by the handle Slug The Sword-Swallower. He was billed as a man who would eat anything (worms and grasshoppers for instance) and “swallow” swords of varying kinds. But probably the most notorious performer from Jim Rose‘s circus would be The Amazing Mr. Lifto, who would hang cinder blocks and other such heavy objects from piercings in his body. And by piercings in his body, I mean piercings in just about any part of his body. Like his manly parts.
In fact, the one Jim Rose Circus performance I attended had Jim Rose pledging that at shows being scheduled soon, Mr. Lifto would bungee jump from one of the bridges in Parramatta with the cord only attached to the piercing in the end of his penis. Questions about public exposure notwithstanding, this is what it really means when you say the word “geek”. And you want us to adopt this as an example of non-Jocko Homo culture that is somehow beyond criticism? Or even an acceptable alternative for that matter? Given that my culture consists of imagining worlds where people born in certain nations are not just chucked out on the street to die by hospitals because they are not rich, I have one thing to say about that. Thanks, I will pass.
Leah‘s comments about the extreme desexualisation of the “positive” role models in this image pretty much mirror my own thoughts, at least after a fashion, so I will not go over that part too closely. However, there is one thing I would like to add.
What, exactly, is wrong with you, so-called geek culture? “Chastity and baby-isation are soooo mainstream”. Seriously, that is what came to mind when I saw this image. Telling us you are so much better than the mainstream culture and actually being better than the mainstream culture are two different things. And you only excel at the former. Let me tell you something about how I feel when I see people promoting the idea that we should stay chaste children forever and it is somehow “coooool”. I feel sick. I feel dirty. I feel like, as I have put in one story that has not been published anywhere as yet, I have worms of living shit in my skin. So let me tell you something, geek culture: the women on the bottom row that you say are ideal role models for any daughter(s) I might have, or my sister’s daughters, they make me feel so uncomfortable that I would happily provide you with a world of your own to fukk up beyond all recognition if I could.
Leah‘s commentary about her unease at the conclusion that one should buy their daughter a “ray-gun” instead of a Barbie doll is not one I can really say much about, either. The complaint about it being an either-or proposition is a good one, though, but I have a different thing to say about this aspect. I am male. I grew up watching images of brave men running around with ray-guns or the like, shooting the shit out of each other (and yet leaving strangely small amounts of blood or burned flesh, if any at all). But when James Cameron was actually an adult (as in thinking like one), he made a film that concerns itself with the transition of a nineteen year old girl into a woman who can order men to kill on her behalf and be taken seriously. At the film’s beginning, she is a waitress one step from being sacked. In the film’s climactic battle, as her seriously-injured protector and boyfriend is falling on the floor, she is roaring at him, “on your feet, soldier!”. The film is about a transition. All good stories are to some degree. In the examples of ideal role models given in the image, we are shown women who, at least as I have perceived it from the in-some-cases limited information I have accessed, are leaders and standover tacticians from the get-go. Even ridiculous machismo-based films like Machete show at least some transition on the part of at least one hero (Lindsay Lohan shows more of these things even after spending a good percentage of her screentime naked). Leadership without qualification or without example is really no leadership at all. Whilst it is not really even mildly up to me, I do hope that Jade and Jasmyn grow up with better role models than that.
You have seen a couple of specific examples of women I would rather spend my life with than the geek-approved shitstains in the bottom row of that image in my writing. Linula is such a person because she is among the few (maybe three percent) people in a given populace who might actually have greater cognitive capabilities than I do. She is such a person because her entire childhood has entailed getting closely acquainted with how cowardly and selfish people can be, and yet not turning into one of them. She is such a person because in spite of only being four feet tall and weighing around seventy pounds (a slightly curvier than usual Halfling, for those who do not get the description), she damned well knows that one would have to be legally blind in order to mistake her for a child. And she does not mind deriving enjoyment from rubbing this fact in the faces of people who are offended by that.
Corrigwen is such a person because, as I have represented her in my work and understood her to be represented in her creator’s own “plays”, she is clever enough to not ever bore me. (Such is generally a requirement of being what I refer to as a “spirit-wielder” in my work.) The character and the person she is based on make me look into myself and confront questions that scare, worry, and in some cases encourage me. Corrigwen is the one person, both in a fictional and real-world context, whom I could contemplate being married to without feeling that shit-in-the-skin feeling. Not because she is a good little girl who keeps covered up all the time (she is not), but because she has enough going on under the hood, so to speak, that I can be around her without ever thinking I want to be anywhere else.
I have mentioned the bottom row in that image several times prior to this point. But this is part of the vital point I feel a need to impart. The two rows do not have anywhere near as much to differentiate them as proponents of the image think. None of the women in either row of this image are anything other than repellent to me. Which goes to one important point I reached in a discussion elsewhere. What is hanging out (or not) is not nearly as important as what appears to be going on in the head. And this is where the “yay I’m a geek” bullshit comes crashing down in a heap. Because both groups of women seem to have the exact same thing in their heads: “I’m ‘hip’, I’m noooooow”. That worked as a marketing gimmick in 1992. It stopped working when Peaceville could get its product known through the World Wide Wait just as easily as Sony. That was around sixteen years ago.
How does it feel to know that I left you behind the lion’s share of two decades ago, “geek culture”?
So when I see posts online with statements like “hooray for geek women!!” or the ilk about images like this, I feel compelled to put my head in my hands and weep. Not for myself, but for the poor, stupid sods who think they have come so very far as they embrace and cheer on the posting of imagery like this. Because let me tell you something. From where I sit, a person who has more brainpower in his little finger than the entire bottom row has demonstrated they have in their collective forms, it looks like you are going backwards.