WARNING: This post could be easily misread as an insult ('these genres are stupid and you're stupid for liking them') or as frustrated complaining ('waaah, why won't people like the stuff I think they should like'). It is neither. Nothing in this post is meant to insult anyone or complain about anything; I'm just looking for explanations for something I've noticed.
There have been endless debates about the meanings of the words 'nerd' and 'geek', and about the differences between the two. In this post, I'll use 'geek' to mean, roughly, 'someone with an interest in mathematics, engineering, programming and/or the natural sciences, who isn't overly concerned with mainstream norms for "coolness" or "popularity"'. I think this is a definition we can all more or less agree with; at any rate, I don't want to debate it here.
No matter what you think of geeks - it will probably be something positive, since you are likely to be one
- you've got to give them one thing: on average, geeks are smart
. The "geeky" interests mentioned above all require a considerable talent for learning and analytical thinking.
Besides stuff like maths and programming, geeks are also associated with certain genres and works in media. Fandoms
which are traditionally seen as geeky include those for:
...and I could go on for ages; these are just the ones that spring to mind right now.
Now, most of these have a few things in common. One is escapism; most works covered by this list are set in a fantasy world far removed from the audience in time and place, or in a world closer to home but full of fantastic elements. Another... well, let's be honest here, they're not exactly known for their intellectual complexity. (Yes, I know there are plenty of exceptions; please don't start listing all of them. Like I said, I'm not trying to "prove" that anything is "stupid" here).
Many of these works share a focus on action rather than characterisation and psychology; the stories often have clearly identifiable "heroes" and "villains"; and much of the material was originally marketed to children and/or seen as "pulp".
Why, then, are they so popular with the intelligent people of this world? Why aren't most geeks enthusiastically reading Lit Fic
, watching Le Film Artistique
, going to performances of classical Greek drama, and listening to Bach
In Buffy Speak
: why do the smartest people like stuff that hardly requires smarts at all?
I'd be interested to hear your theories.
edited 30th Aug '12 8:46:06 AM by MidnightRambler