Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On a Certain Popular Vampire Book which shares it's name with an old U2 song

I find it amusing that Twilight fans have somehow become the bottom feeders amongst nerd culture fan groups. There's a big, big backlash at Twilight out there, almost all of it, I suspect, stemming from this summer's San Diego Comic-Con. There thousands of Twilight fans essentially took over the first day of the con, camping out for days- if not weeks- outside the San Diego Convention Center to get into the Twilight panel. That's right, a panel: a little hourlong chat that would be widely available as a podcast. The vast majority of those people in line, by the way, never even made it into the hall for their oh-so important Twilight lovefest.

But their effect was felt. The talk for days after Comic-Con was that Twilight "ruined" Comic-Con, which is fairly preposterous. After all, it's Hollywood that ruined Comic-Con; once all these non-comics TV shows began using the con as a platform to reach fans, it was inevitable that one would come with a large fan base that could give a whit about Spider-Man's marriage.

Of course, the real objection is not to Twilight itself but to the assumed demographic of the fans: teenage girls. It must have been quite a blow to all those former and current high-school outcasts to see the object of both their desire and derision finally at Comic-Con... but for some stupid vampire romance thing. To be fair, I don't know if teenage girls do in fact make up the majority of the Twilight fan base; the one that I know reasonably well rolls her eyes at it, although sources indicate that she was into it not all that long ago. Teenagers, they be a fickle beast.

(As an aside, if the majority of Twilight fans at Comic-Con were in fact teenage girls, and this meant that their parents shelled out for con tickets, made travel arrangements, booked transportation and lodging, and either allowed their daughters sit for days outside of the San Diego Convention Center alone or held a place for them, all so that they could squeal at some actors for an hour, that's some !@#$ed-up parenting there. I can say that, no, when my daughter comes of age, we won't be doing anything like that. It reminds me of those stories of parents pulling their daughters out of school to go see that Hannah Montana movie that played for a week a few years ago. I understand not wanting to disappoint little Kaley, but you've got to draw the line somewhere.)

Really, what's extraordinary here is that Twilight has become big enough that it's fans can be lumped together as a unique nerd-culture group. This is not as easy to do as one might think. For example, I don't really think there are Transformers Nerds are GI Joe Nerds; most likely, they would be general Toy Nerds, and would cross between the two. Oh, I'm sure some would argue otherwise. But I don't think there's enough people that are exclusively or primarily fans of one of those properties to identify themselves as such to the exclusion of anything else.

Likewise, I doubt that there are many Battlestar Galactica Nerds, as any fan of the show is almost sure to be a Sci-Fi Nerd in general. But there are, no doubt, Star Wars and Star Trek Nerds that are devoted only to their particular property. They would, of course, make up two of the largest and most vocal nerd communities, though there are many others. There's Toy (or Action Figure) Nerds, and Comic Book Nerds, and the aforementioned Sci-Fi Nerds, and Gaming Nerds, and Video Game Nerds (and no, those are not the same thing). And Furries, I suppose, but that's really more of a fetish thing, and besides: we don't want the Furries lumped with us.

I myself am a Comic Book Nerd. I would not classify myself as an Action Figure Nerd, despite my home being literally littered with action figures, because I basically only buy comic book related figures. So this collection is really more of an extension of my Comic Book Nerdom (or Nerdhood). My friend Kevin would be both a Comic Book and Action Figure Nerd (among other things), because he collects comic books and action figures like GI Joe. See the difference?

I doubt that Twilight will have the staying power to become a permanent Nerd demographic, but one never knows. It's already made a name for itself in Nerd culture circles; after all, I don't recall anyone ever accusing Harry Potter of ruining Comic-Con.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Goodbye Curb

If last night was, in fact, the last episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm-and, considering that Larry David has been something of a bald, Jewish Brett Farve in the past when it comes to ending the series, I'm still not 100% convinced that it is- I would certainly say it's time. It's not that the show isn't funny anymore, but it's always funny in the same way, episode after episode, season after season. Larry runs afoul of someone; sometimes he's in the right, sometimes he's in the wrong. Never really matters. There will be some kind of minor thread weaved throughout the episode, which seems unimportant but will somehow tie in to the resolution, in which Larry will most likely end up with egg on his face. Over and over and over.

Considering that this same basic formula was also applied to most every episode of Seinfeld, it's pretty remarkable that David has been able to do so much with such a narrow view of what it funny. Plot was never very important to Larry David-- which may be why his only movie effort, Sour Grapes, is almost unwatchable. Observation is, and by and large those observations are spot on. David is also the one comic that's been able to make jokes about the bathroom without resorting to toilet humor, for which I applaud.

I also appreciate that David tackled the elephant in the room since Curb began, the Seinfeld reunion, in the same fashion he did other season-long arcs like his ill-fated restaurant and Broadway appearance in the Producers. That is to say, it remained the backdrop, but never dominated the season. Unfortunately, that meant we didn't get to see much of the Seinfeld cast; a shame, because all were excellent in the famed Curb improv format. Jerry Seinfeld, in particular, seemed to be having a ball. I would have greatly preferred to see more Jerry then, oh, Mocha Joe. Let's just hope that the DVD set has a longer look behind the scenes.

I don't have too much to say about the finale. Like most of the season, it had its' moments without being particularly memorable. Seeing Larry attempt to fill Jason Alexander's shoes as George Costanza was one of the highlights of the series, but the episode's sub-plots (Larry's feud with Mocha Joe, and his attempt to find out who put a stain on Julia Louise-Dreyfuss' coffee table) were tedious. Did anyone else notice that, at the same time that Mocha Joe was threatening to have Jason Alexander's beloved dogs destroyed for attacking him, Jason Alexander continued to buy coffee from Mocha Joe? Yeah. It's time to end it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I am a Bad Blogger

No, no, it's true. I think that, having not posted since July, it's fair to say that I have not kept up with this endeavor. Thing is, I want to have a little place online to express my thoughts, dreams, and what not, but the mechanics of actually doing it are... sucky. But I'm going to recommit to doing this thing, and God knows when I commit to something... it doesn't mean a whole lot. So we'll see.