Links: Lightsabers, Nerdcore, & More

A couple more long(ish) posts soon to come. For now, here are some links.

“Hero Building”: On Gizmodo, an embedded video and some comments on “NY Jedi School Trains Lightsaber Enthusiasts (To Be Bigger Geeks).” The first few comments are mostly about how people are shocked that attractive women are in attendance, but that eventually moves into discussion of how profitable it would be to own a battery store in the area. For social researchers, the clip is worth watching for one instructor’s discussion of how the classes allow for “hero building” among shy attendees; otherwise, it’s worth watching because the lightsaber fights are actually pretty impressive. Updated for the line I meant to quote from the video but forgot about, near the end (thanks, Jordan): “It’s about nerds trying to better each other, and make their lives better through the dorkiness that makes them great.”

Nerdcore is “Insane”: The Boston Globe has an article on nerdcore that touches upon the tensions in the culture better than most newspapers’ takes that I’ve seen (link via Dan). MC Chris explains why he’s trying to distance himself from the scene, some of the rappers make a case why it’s an homage to hip hop rather than a (potentially racist) parody, and some nuggets here even suggest that it’s more like mainstream music stardom than one might imagine. Of the nerdcore concert at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, one documentarian notes, “It was insane. They eventually had to shut the show down…. They caught rappers doing coke in the bathroom, they were smoking joints on the floor. There was literally porn stars there.” (Incidentally, I’ve been informed that the porn convention in Vegas happens at the same time as CES.)

The Fall of the ‘Graphic Novel’: Eddie Campbell laments the loss of ‘graphic novel’ as a useful term (link via Journalista). Those who first popularized the term wanted to create a distinction not just between saddle-stitched and squarebound comics, but between those with literary and artistic pretensions that might find a foothold in mainstream bookstores and those that still carry a stigma of juvenility and geekiness. Of course, now it’s associated with traditional superhero comics and manga. It’s uttered with irony by many, transparent as a gussied-up term for ‘comics’ with no useful formal or critical distinction. In Eddie’s words, “it got borrowed by a bunch of boobs and it came back busted.” That may sound somewhat unfair, considering that even the artsiest comics artists tend to imagine their work as sharing the same medium with Spider-man and Dragonball Z, but as Eddie’s post points out, it’s the critics who feel the need to make some distinction, and that’s a distinction that could make quite a difference for some publishers.

Nerd Politics: Z. and Matt S. refer me to this Time article on “The Ron Paul Revolution.” Apparently, this libertarian Republican is the nerd candidate:

“He’s about something that American nerd culture can get on board with: really knowing one subject and going all out on it,” says Ben Darrington, a Ron Paul supporter at Yale. “For some people, it’s Star Wars. For some people, it’s Japanese cartoons. For Ron Paul, it’s free-market commodity money.”

“The Internet’s Awesomest URL”: Kotaku refers me to Homotron, a new tech blog spinoff from GayGamer. Along with Pink Kryptonite (for comics) and Velvet Dicebag (for tabletop games), these form “an unassailable bulwark for gay geek culture to thrive,” according to Homotron’s welcome post. I’m not sure what makes it particularly “queer”—looks like your standard tech blog to me, so far—but I’m fascinated by the implication that there is a distinct “gay geek culture” separate from (or nested within) geek culture more broadly.

6 thoughts on “Links: Lightsabers, Nerdcore, & More

  1. I think that “coke and pornstars” quote from Dan was a bit of a joke that the writer didn’t pick up on. See here:

    Hmm. That link may not work. The important bit is:

    “Oh crap. I’ve learned a valuable lesson: If you tell a reporter who’s writing an article about rapping nerds an anecdote about a geek rap concert that devolved into a chaotic mess of questionable activity, the guy might like, actually print it. “

  2. Ha! When I was talking about the nerdcore article with Dan Moren, who sent it my way, I think I commented: “Either nerdcore is a lot more wild than I expected, or that’s just the kind of thing that nerds would say to screw with reporters.”

    As someone who hasn’t really met any nerdcore artists personally, though, the myspace post linked there still looks like it could be potentially read as implying that the stuff in the article did occur as described, but the source just regrets admitting to it. Not saying that’s what happened—just saying that’s how it could be read.

  3. Ron Paul isn’t THIS nerd’s candidate. I’d wager nerds are far, far more likely not to support a Republican at all (thanks to our being better informed than the average citizen).

    I’m not even sure how people can BE republican with all thier crimes so obvious to so many. Ron Paul may not count among the criminals (and makes a couple of points worthy of discussion), but he’s not THE nerd candidate. I’m not sure there is one.

  4. Apparently that story wasn’t much of an exaggeration. (note to self: hang out with more nerdcore rappers.)

  5. In my opinion the article completely missed the point as far as why Paul has been getting a lot of support from the nerd corner.

    One, to respond to Luzid, you may want to look a little deeper before painting with to wide a brush. Yes he’s a registered Republican. One who spent most of his early career in government fighting against the Republican party. The GOP has spent more time trying to get this guy out of office then the Dems. They eventually called a truce when Paul agreed to vote with the GOP on procedural matters, but the GOP doesn’t even bother hiding the fact that they don’t like the guy and would be very happy to have him out of office.

    Second, and more importantly, I’d say his support has a lot more to do with a general anti-authoritarian aspect in his campaign that goes much further then anyone else in the major two parties, then it does with any fiscal reform issues. The geek world has always had a very strong anti-authoritarian streak in it and Paul is the only major candidate that speaks to that.

Comments are closed.