I posed a question to myself last night: is there a day that goes by when I don’t think about, reference, somehow discuss, or in any way access knowledge about Star Wars. I don’t think that there is. Ever since the first star destroyer crawled across screen back in 1977, all I’ve thought about has been Star Wars. I’m not alone, though. It has infected almost every frame of reference and conversation over the last couple of generations of Americans. I bring it up or mention it in some manner every day, and I’m not even what you would call a Star Wars fan. I don’t own any light saber replicas or life sized R2-D2 models. I had action figures, but that was 30 years ago and they were all destroyed by a younger sibling. In all honesty, as much as I love the idea of spaceships and light swords and ancient Jedi religion, I think that I, like most geeks, spend more time thinking about what’s wrong with the Star Wars films than celebrating them.
Which brings me to what I have determined to be the definition of a geek: A geek celebrates crap while hating shit.
There is no right way or wrong way to determine what is what or which is which. As a geek you will adopt an undying affection for one complete and utterly useless pop cultural subject, and swear vengeance against another. I love Star Wars but I hate Star Trek. How did this happen? Don’t remember. It’s possible that at a very young age I realized that I’d rather see people jump and shoot lasers than over-act at each other.
But as I said, this skewed fandom also turns in on itself. To truly be a geek, you must be able to argue against the thing you love as much as you could argue for it. If you truly love something, you have to be able to pick away at each and every single little flaw until that thing is truly yours. Most of the time I spend thinking about or talking about Star Wars is spent thinking or talking about what’s wrong with it.
I don’t know if every geek has made peace with the fact that loving the things he loves is a waste of time. By its very definition, geekdom is the passion for dumb shit. There is no such thing as a Beethoven geek. If you love Beethoven, you’re a connoisseur. If you love Weird Al, you’re a geek (and also, you have no true sense of music. Ugh.)
I know that most of the things I love are stupid. I make no excuses for it, and I know better. I went to art school, studied Voltaire, DADA, and the subtle frame artistry of Citizen Kane. I read Joseph Campbell and the Heroes Journey. I can recite Eraserhead. I can hang in any real uppity conversation about film and art criticism and I can school you on all the things you “think” you know about modern cinema. My passion, though, lies with discussing the paradoxes created by Doc Brown and Marty McFly. You want to see a happy man, ask me about the alternate 1985 timeline where Biff is rich. I call it Biffworld. I have almost completed an opera about Biffworld. That’s passion, son.
Somewhere right now there is a dude excitedly building a helmet covered in magnifying glasses that he will proudly add to his steam-punk ensemble for the next Renaissance Fair (completely missing the point that steam-punk and the Renaissance are two different yet equally annoying forms of geekdom).
Somewhere right now, there is a guy spending two months salary on eBay for the bandana Jeff Goldblum’s stuntman wore in Buckaroo Banzai.
Somewhere right now, there is a busty yet slightly insecure secretary getting a tattoo of a half-vampire baby on the small of her back because she so loved a series of badly written pre-teen novels that she had to mark herself for life.
This is geekdom, people. For all of its uselessness, it is what binds us—that is, it binds those of us that refuse to be bored by the ennui of the “real world”. Who has time for the real world when there are blogs about how stupid Snooki is that must be read—nay, must be written!?
As for me, your geek leader, I’m looking for that busty secretary so we can start a life together. Perhaps she’ll hate Nic Cage as much as I hate shirtless werewolves. Somehow, we’ll make it work...
J’Mel Davidson is the founder of a local improv comedy troupe called The Feminist Debutante Guild. You can send him the love—or a list of reasons why George Lucas shouldn’t make Star Wars 3D—via editor@bhamweekly. com or email@example.com.