Geek Parents Are Ruining Everything
There was a time in my life where I was (literally) called–and (literally) recognized as–the “King of the Nerds”. I earned that title (I didn’t call myself that) due to pwning some serious ass in trivia games and contests in a time before Google. The internet was around, sure, but it wasn’t the fount of easily accessible data that it (supposedly) is now.
And my number one subject of trivia? Science-fiction and fantasy (which I will call “SF” from here on out). I love that stuff. I would (and still do) read technical manuals from worlds that don’t exist outside of the mind. I read stories and treat them like “future history” for worlds that no one could ever visit (outside of VR creations at some point). I just soak it up. Fortunately, I have a really good memory to hold onto most of what I consume. Is it important information in the grand scheme of things? Of course not. No shit.
Back in the at Pre-Google era, it was pretty easy to keep on top of everything being released, too. There weren’t many SF shows. There weren’t many SF movies. And there were certainly a lot of SF books, but it wasn’t anything like today since the advent of ebooks. Even comic books were easier to keep track of back then. Today, admittedly, it is really tough to keep tabs on everything going on in the realm of SF. There are so many new universes and franchises out there now (not to say that any of them are inherently good), and there’s even tons of content for decades-long established SF franchises.
Besides all of that, people age. They get jobs. They have kids. Whatever the case may be, perhaps SF fans just don’t have the same amount of time they did when they were teenagers to feed their SF passion. I get it. I certainly don’t have the same amount of time that I used to.
So one of the ways that I enjoy “filling in the gaps” of my knowledge as to what is going on in the realm of SF is to listen to perhaps the greatest innovation in entertainment since the movie theater: podcasts (it’s a terrible word, but for conventionalism’s sake, we’ll use it). I listen to various fellow lovers of SF talk about their own passion for it, deliver the latest news, hash out some insider information, and even sometimes I hear interesting insights.
I do have a bone to pick with a lot of these podcasts, though: children.
Let me give an example of my problem. Let’s imagine we’re listening to a podcast about Star Wars. And one of the hosts says something along these lines:
“Well, you know, Bill, I don’t really have the time or money to buy the past few issues of that comic book series. I have a family, you know. And when I watched that show, I really had to ask myself, ‘What does my kid Johnny think about this? Is it fun for him?’ Because that’s what I really need to concentrate on, you know? Not whether Star Wars is dramatic or sexy, in fact I wouldn’t want my kid to see that sort of thing, but just…is it fun?”
And that kind of prattle goes on ad nauseam. It doesn’t matter the podcast, it doesn’t matter what franchise of SF. That’s the kind of shit that gets said today.
Now, let me be clear, I’m glad the parent is thinking about their child, as parents doing that is a rarity.
But then what about me? Hell, what about the individual that is the parent? Does that person REALLY only care about it being only fun? You’re telling me that a 30-something male that lives in the United States doesn’t want his entertainment to be sexy or dark at least some of the time? You’re telling me that 30-something male doesn’t feel some kind of entitlement to the franchise he’s discussing? Of course he does. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The man isn’t 9 years old anymore. He’s aged. He has experienced things. His palette for what entertains him has likely changed dramatically.
Not that his passion for characters like, say, Darth Vader or Boba Fett, has gone away. He’d probably just appreciate it if their dialogue and actions weren’t wearing diapers any longer. He’d like it if Boba Fett explicitly had sex. Or that Darth Vader would lob off heads. Just something more that helps keep it all relevant to him. And before anyone says, “Well, it wasn’t made for adults, originally, so why should it change”…hey, hey…look, I guarantee you that 30-something guy was thinking about Slave Leia back in the day–and of schtupping her at that–after puberty set in (c’mon, let’s be honest here). I sure as fuck did. People “fill in the blanks” with their various entertainment as far as what they want out of it. What, just because an explicit sex scene wasn’t written in to the Twilight series that means no one ever thought about it, teenager or not (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone)?
These conventionally-termed “adult aspects” of storytelling are always there–from the sexy to the dark–whether it’s the fan or the writer that puts them in.
And I’m tired of no one having the guts to talk about it or recognize it. I’m tired of this “perpetual youth” that people slap onto SF and fandom. Frankly, it’s holding down good art from becoming astounding-fucking-art. It’s taking what has the potential to be timeless, and keeping it in the realm of the mundane and the forgettable.
And all of these fucking parents and their blog posts and their podcasts are reinforcing the social norms, and they are keeping great franchises in the purview of the adolescent, if not the infantile. And hey, if you don’t have the time to really soak in various entertainment franchises because you’re doing right by your family, just get off the fucking air and make room for someone that has done their proverbial SF homework.
I want people to talk about the fact that General Tarkin killed BILLIONS OF PEOPLE, and to consider the ramifications of that, not talk about some bullshit new trading cards series that little Johnny is just going to love! I want to hear in-depth analysis. I want to hear you say the word “sex” on your podcast. I want you to wonder if Jabba ever got a little saucy with Princess Leia (as gross as it is for me to think about).
I WANT YOU TO GROW THE FUCK UP.
Because I’ve grown up. Because you’ve grown up. You’re a 30-something and you sound like you never stopped using your “inside voice”, slapnuts. These franchises are a part of who we are. We still love SF. We evolved from acting like we’re 7, so why can’t our favorite SF franchises?
But they are never going to get serious or sexy if we just want to keep them conventionally-acceptable for 7 year old’s to consume. Star Wars has been around for 30 years now! Why the hell does it need to stay stale? Why does it need to stay relevant to “the next generation”. Let those fuckers catch up. We’re here now. We’re the ones shelling out the gelt. Give us the things we always wanted to see in our favorite franchises, but conservative society at the time was too afraid to let on the screen or on the page. Fuck’em. It’s our world now.
And making fan fiction isn’t enough. There’s nothing wrong with us wanting it done with billion-dollar budgets and on the biggest screens in the world, or on the highest-advertised book releases. And don’t go telling me to watch new, adult-themed franchises. I want this done in the franchises that I already know and love.
Take the kiddie gloves off finally when it comes to our entertainment and our beloved franchises. We never really had them on in the first place. It was the studios and the publishing houses that did. It was “conservative society” that did. And so demand better from them, too, not just the jamoches that supposedly represent fandom (podcasts and bloggers) for us. Tell them what you want. Tell them it’s preposterous that for a story that takes place in an entire galaxy (if not larger) that everything is somehow just bright and cheery and that the Emperor never gets a blowjob. That’s insulting to those of us that have been funding these franchises for most of our lives.
In the end, I want authenticity. I want something that speaks to me as an intelligent human being, not something that carefully is semi-allowable for your kids to hear (in your mind). If I have to make it myself, I will. This whole website is about things that I think should be in the world but no one else will do, so I made it all myself. I guess for once I’d just like someone else to pick up the torch.
PS: Obviously this doesn’t apply to every parent or adult. Relax. This message isn’t directed at you, then.