Patton Oswalt: Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die.

29.12.2010 Misc #Nerdism

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Der großartige Patton Oswalt in Wired über das Ende von Nerdism und Geek Culture, ETEWAF (Everything That Ever Was, Available Forever), über eine „A-pop-alypse that rains cleansing fire down onto the otaku landscape“. Ich weiß nicht, ob ich jeden Satz in diesem Text unterstreichen kann, aber fast. Absolutes Must-Read.

When everyone has easy access to their favorite diversions and every diversion comes with a rabbit hole’s worth of extra features and deleted scenes and hidden hacks to tumble down and never emerge from, then we’re all just adding to an ever-swelling, soon-to-erupt volcano of trivia, re-contextualized and forever rebooted. We’re on the brink of Etewaf: Everything That Ever Was—Available Forever.

I know it sounds great, but there’s a danger: Everything we have today that’s cool comes from someone wanting more of something they loved in the past. Action figures, videogames, superhero movies, iPods: All are continuations of a love that wanted more. Ever see action figures from the ’70s, each with that same generic Anson Williams body and one-piece costume with the big clumsy snap on the back? Or played Atari’s Adventure, found the secret room, and thought, that’s it? Can we all admit the final battle in Superman II looks like a local commercial for a personal-injury attorney? And how many people had their cassette of the Repo Man soundtrack eaten by a Walkman?

Now, with everyone more or less otaku and everything immediately awesome (or, if not, just as immediately rebooted or recut as a hilarious YouTube or Funny or Die spoof), the old inner longing for more or better that made our present pop culture so amazing is dwindling. The Onion’s A.V. Club—essential and transcendent in so many ways—has a weekly feature called Gateways to Geekery, in which an entire artistic subculture—say, anime, H. P. Lovecraft, or the Marx Brothers—is mapped out so you can become otaku on it but avoid its more tedious aspects.

Here’s the danger: That creates weak otakus. Etewaf doesn’t produce a new generation of artists—just an army of sated consumers. Why create anything new when there’s a mountain of freshly excavated pop culture to recut, repurpose, and manipulate on your iMovie? The Shining can be remade into a comedy trailer. Both movie versions of the Joker can be sent to battle each another. The Dude is in The Matrix. The coming decades—the 21st-century’s ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s—have the potential to be one long, unbroken, recut spoof in which everything in Avatar farts while Keyboard Cat plays eerily in the background.

But I prefer to be optimistic. I choose hope. I see Etewaf as the Balrog, the helter-skelter, the A-pop-alypse that rains cleansing fire down onto the otaku landscape, burns away the chaff, and forces us to start over with only a few thin, near-meatless scraps on which to build.

In order to save pop culture future, we’ve got to make the present pop culture suck, at least for a little while.

Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die (via MeFi)