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Cultural Revolution

September 4th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

This week is well known throughout the gaming/geek community: This is PAX. For three days, Seattle will be on fire. It will be lit by DSs and iPhones, and the sirens will not be the wails of fire engines, but the tweets that float through the ether, the beeps and clicks of programs and keyboards, and the great cheering of a thousand geeks, screaming in unison.

Does the rest of America know what’s going on this weekend? There’s Labor Day, sure, so people get to relax instead of getting to work immediately, but I don’t think that they realize quite yet that at this 5th PAX, the rules are changing. PAX sold out on the West Coast this year. We have complete dominion over the convention hall. If we had the Pike St. Annex, that would be ours too, as it was last year.

Google changed its logo for Comicon, which gets national attention from media sources ranging from newspapers to TV stations. Comicon deserves that attention, but what is more interesting to me is how long it will be before people pick up on what we’re doing here. Blizzard’s demoing Cataclysm, the newest WoW expansion, more than a year before its scheduled release, and its two games that are much closer are also here: Diablo III and Starcraft II are on the tweets of a lot of people.

The panels are wide ranging, from topics involving gay gamers to the law with regards to the industry and how to get involved in the community through blogging and podcasting.

A conversation last night and a panel in a few days about Nerdcore has got me wondering about the shifting landscape of music. As more people become interested in MC Frontalot and his work, and all the other Nerdcore rappers, we have to wonder if the mainstream is becoming us, or if we’re infecting them. What may be more interesting is that all the buzz about nerd rock isn’t new at all. Weird Al Yankovic was doing it back in the early 80′s, and one might make a valid argument (or at least it was suggested last night) that prog rock group Devo could be pointed at with regards to the music of geeks.

When the subculture becomes mainstream, and when the minority becoms the majority, it’s something to recognize and accept. But what if we’re not becoming the mainstream? What if we’ve been the majority for a while, and are just now realizing it?

Lots of people gave the groups participating in the Triwizard Drinking Tournament last night, but they were just as eager to be horrified at a bunch of kids dressing up as wizards as they were willing to ask us questions and get plastered with us. People wanted to feel like they belonged to a group as integrated and together as we did and do.

I think that we’re not going to be talked about as if we were outsiders for very long. I think we’re on the way to being the center.

This post is dedicated to Carie, for the original idea, and for Lark, who wants to see a revolution in her lifetime.

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  1. Bret Hewes
    September 4th, 2009 at 22:43 | #1

    I think the fundamental differences between Devo, Weird Al and MC Frontalot (and MC Chris) is the content. Certainly Devo and Weird Al are listened to by nerds, and proudly so, but not often the topic of their music is about what nerds do. MC Frontalot, MC Chris and their kind tend to rap about gaming, geekery, robot dogs and Star Wars.
    As for the acceptance into the mainstream? Maybe. Technology is steadily and even rapidly advancing. More homes are receiving what was once the domain of the nerd (personal computer, video game entertainment system, cordless/cellular phones, etc) and businesses which control what’s popular talk up the nerdy tech. We have a nerdy president (despite the flak he’s been receiving in the past two months for his reforms), actors and musicians, symbols of sex and popularity, admit to playing video games or D&D.
    There’s still the stigma though. those who hold jobs in other fields, those that take years and years of paid college/universities, look down upon these geeks as upstarts or folk with no financial future. Those that are pretty or athletic still spit and joke, even when failing tests in class.
    The role of the nerd is to be the smart ones, capable, but not socially adept or accepted. Both a shield and a curse.

  2. Shane Koestner
    September 8th, 2009 at 23:05 | #2

    Indeed, and to not that we might become acceptable normality is almost an affront to us.

    Technology is not the sole domain of the geek. It hasn’t been for a long time. After all, what are Cel Phones if not an extension of the pager. The original bit of bling. Bling not being our domain, but the domain of the true hip hopper.

    We are the last remaining fire. Burning bright in our defiance and certainly our hearts.

    I see us not as a vanguard, forging our way into the darkness of general apathy. But instead we are the rebel fighter pilot, praying that our last torpedo can and might destroy what is the Skynet of Amreican Banality.

    While I might see your Son of Ether, Virtual Adept approach and grudgingly sheer you on. I choose to remain the Defiant Kithain. I am the Redcap, with unseelie desires will burn brightly in my need to cling to my pen and paper. My discebag still snugly seated in the center console of my car.

    I don’t want acceptance. I know myself to be a member of an Elite Family. We are the Kithain, the Traditions.
    The lonely few who fight the good fight. And one day I plan to pass the Nerd Guild Tabard to my beautiful children. Who will be the first to correct some ignorant Technologically “Adept” Thug’s grammar. Who will refuse to use the letter “r” in place of the word “Are”. Who will be outcast for their imagination, for their need to be in the Drama Club and to act out their most savage desires around a table with a select few who will know what AP and a D6 are.

    Use your weapons, and use them well Patrick. But do not disregard the Old Ones. For one day the stars will align and will not be poisonous to us. And then we will rise… Rise….

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

  3. Shane Koestner
    September 8th, 2009 at 23:07 | #3

    Bah, things misspelled, but note I did say Grammar, not Typing. Stupid Technology.

  4. Elegbara
    September 10th, 2009 at 13:47 | #4

    Although it is only an ancillary point to your post, I feel that I must point out that They Might Be Giants were very much pioneers in the Geek music world.

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