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.

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