Links: Geek Shame, the Lulz, and Two Meanings for “Hardcore”

This weekend’s link drop is brought to you by Church, Jordan, Cabral, various Gawker blogs, and the letter Q.

Confessions of a Sci-Fi Addict:
Let’s start with this link-ful post from the Website at the End of the Universe, brought to us courtesy Church. The main link is to a newspaper column titled “Admitting addiction to fantasy, sci-fi books” (“after years secreted in the book closet”). I was just as interested in the links that accompanied this on the referring site, though (such as these great old Worldcon photos), and the claim that “While not exactly in leauge with the civil rights or suffragette movements, geek acceptance has come a long way from the early days of fandom.”

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Checking in from Paris

I arrived in Paris yesterday, after about two weeks in Lisbon. I will miss Lisbon’s tile and cobblestone, hilly streets that challenge those of San Fracisco, humble strangers who speak more English than they think they do, and especially our hosts from Universidade Católica Portuguesa. For more info and for images of our visit to the Presidential Palace, see the page for the Annenberg Scholars Program and the official page of the President of Portugal (photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Photo #6 features the whole group, and photo #4 has a closer shot of me and Mike (my roommate here in Paris) with the First lady.

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Really Big Eyes: The True Universal Language

A post up at Kotaku tells of a Powerpuff Girls Z video game, which is a game based on an anime series based on an American cartoon (somewhat stylistically) based on anime. This bit of intercultural cross-pollination is offered without comment until I figure out something more clever to say than just, “Huh, wow.”

(Maybe it does bear brief mention, at least, that even though I just banged out this post’s title as a joke, research does suggest that people all over the world react pretty similarly and positively to childlike features, such as large eyes and small noses. I don’t know if that counts as “something more clever,” but there you go.)

A New Geek Term?

If this is indeed not just a localized phenomenon to his local bookstore, Mark Frauenfelder introduces ‘manga aisle hobos‘ to geek lexicon. He’s still seeking alternative phrases, though. (Maybe ‘manga squatters’..? And is this only with manga readers? And do I need a separate category for ‘Manga’ on the blog because I already gave ‘Anime’ a separate category from ‘Movies’ and ‘Television’?)

Update: Suggestions are piling up at this Flickr comment thread, with ‘hobotaku’ in the lead. Any manga fans out there want to comment on this? I’m very careful to “use members’ meanings” (as we learned in my Field Methods class), meaning that I generally avoid using terms to identify people that they don’t use themselves, so I’m curious whether this would strike manga readers as simply derogatory. (The commenters in that Flickr thread certainly mean it to be.)

Emphasis on the “Sub”’s The Pulse has an interview up with the creators of a comic book called SubCulture, a story about media fans.

KEVIN FREEMAN: The primary focus is on fans of comics, gaming, anime, science fiction, and the like. As a group, we’re an interesting lot, and deserving of a closer look. But we wanted the book to be more than a series of jokes. Yes, there’s humor, but it’s set within the confines of a more serious story. […]

THE PULSE: Do you think people like to laugh at themselves and see comics like this? Are you worried you might be offending your target audience with their portrayal in SubCulture?

FREEMAN: I like to think that most of us don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re an odd lot, but most of us embrace that fact. We like being different. I admit, the book does take a dangerous path. But I think the story is written in such a way that it ultimately portrays fans in a positive way. Sure, we’re all a little strange, but we’re also genuinely good people. I hope that’s what the readers get out of it.

STAN YAN: Honestly, I think that many of us that do take ourselves too seriously might not be able to see ourselves in the characters that share our “quirks”.

Mostly I’m just linking this because I like to keep track of when people specifically link the audiences of what are ostensibly diverse media (what do games have to do with comics?). It’s also interesting to note how the people involved in this interview all fancy themselves as part of the group being poked fun at here, but are still aware that some people might not find it so funny.

I’m inclined to agree with Freeman that the kind of folks who would even pick up a (somewhat harder-to-find) comic in the first place are also probably used to making fun of the stereotypes associated with fandom, especially as the creators are clearly part of the in-group. Certainly enough people can get behind that sentiment that you can sell t-shirts about self-deprecating geek humor. Maybe it helps to go the extra mile by portraying an avatar of yourself as the demented nerd in question.

Another Kind of War Gaming

The Ping Pong room will be set up for RPGs (Role-Playing Games, not to be confused with the rocket propelled grenades which share the same acronym), and the DVD Movie room will be playing Anime Movies all day in support of the event.

Ziggurat Con, Iraq, 2007: quite possibly the world’s first war zone game convention.