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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Ooh, I could eat that word. Or a crisp."
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August 03 2005

Serenity mention in The Onion. Story from the Onion: Scenes from San Diego Comic Con.

Last paragraph has a mention of Joss Whedon and Serenity. Good read anyways...

Ha, I had to laugh at the attack of the killer tomatoes thing just because my animation teacher used to *work* on that show.
I usually think that any publicity is good publicity, but I can't help but feel put-off by this mention. I don't like to see Serenity associated with words like "geek" because a lot of people shy away from those sort of associations. I am a cute twentysomething female college graduate and while I personally embrace my geeky side, I can name dozens of my cohorts who would shun the film completely if the word "geek" is attached to it in any way.

I think this mention also bugs me because I feel like I see Serenity getting pidgeonholed across the board. I get the feeling that no one in the mass media realizes how very much of a square-peg/round-hole situation they're getting themselves into when they try to pidgeonhole our BDM.
Um... it's science fiction. The mainstream world WILL view it as geeky. Also, the term "geek" is slightly different from the term "nerd" - while "nerd" generally means someone who was socially incompetent in high school and also rather smart, "geek" tends to mean someone who gets really interested in a media or popular culture phenomenon. Which is what all of us are, so...
It seems to me the "geek" has lost nearly all of its socially awkward association and "nerd" is quickly losing that as well. Believe me, the whole concept of nerd chic would have really come in handy to me back in the day.

Re: San Diego. I never liked the term "Nerd Prom" -- I prefer "Cannes for Geeks."
I'm definitely a geek. I got excited when binkaboo described herself as cute.
Pseudopod, not to go all English major on you, but if you check out the definitions of words like "geek", "nerd" and "dork", they pretty much all say the same thing. Except, yknow, for the part where they mention that back in the day a "geek" was a guy at carnivals who bit heads off of live chickens. Eww.

While I agree that the words tend to hold varying connotations, I disagree that your estimations of such represent that of the general public. Where I come from, the geek is the worst of the bunch - the eternally prepubescent kid who smells funny and doesn't know how to correctly employ a comb - and the nerd is somewhat better because while he may emit a distinct odor, he can at least fix your hard drive when you overload it with too much porn. Beyond that, there's the 'dork,' and the levels of social outcastedness rises up through the 'indie' kids all the way to the 'artsy' kids.

I do not say this to suggest that my understanding of these terms is the only correct one, only to illustrate that these very common words are not universally understood. This is why I have a problem with the use of these words in connection with things I love. If some people see the word "geeky" and think, "Hey, a lot of people must really like this, I should check it out", great. But I think there are other ways to get this point across. We have terms like "critically acclaimed" and "international fan community" to describe that. Furthermore, these fancier terms hold connotations which elicit reactions of higher respect and curiosity, will not drive away the crowd that hears "geeky" and thinks "Not in a million years."
It may be that way for you Binkaboo, but not so much from where I am. With articles and terms in the main stream press such as "Geek is the new Chic", I don't see that it still holds those same connotations it did in the 80's and 90's. Pioint in fact I beleive that whole 'Net Geekdom' thing is starting to fascinate the general populas. In fact the way it is used in this article to me, seems like a positive light.

Joss Whedon showed up to preview a scene from Serenity, a continuation of his quickly canceled TV space-Western Firefly, which probably couldn't have made it to the big screen in less geek-friendly times

See, geek friendly times. It's not so much about appearance or 'smell' but more about fandom and tech loving.
It may still have those bad connotations in some cultural groups or places. However I think for the most part, it's a new fascination. Also, my goth/glam rock 16 yr old is very much into the whole geek loving, as are so many of her goth mates.
I suppose it's a lot about personal and the cultural use of such words within your community.
We've also had a few threads about this being the new vogue here and here
Thanx for that find Zuckerbaby!
binkaboo - the distinction you draw between "geek" and "nerd" is one of the clearest (and funniest definitions) I have ever read!
Don't get too worked up binkaboo. Whedon fans are a bit geeky *ducks flying rocks* but it's much more of a proud type of geeky than an embarrassing type of geeky. As for those who would scoff at the word "geek" and shy away from mention of the movie, well, if you can't drag them there and show them the light, do you still want to try and make them join the club? They can't all be members. Whedon work usually doesn't make a great impression on the lowest common denominator.

I'm still cracking up about your comments. I'm a very blonde former sorority chick who has no trouble telling anyone how cool Joss Whedon is. Until their eyes glaze over and I sense they want to change the subject. I'm worse than a proud parent when it comes to my Joss.

Embrace your inner geek! Be not afraid for her to be seen on the outside from time to time! Show the world that we, too, can be friends of Ann Taylor and Vera Bradley, as well as add RAM to our hard drives -- with ease!
Ehhh.... I Yam What I Yam. A geek.

(But a geek with mahhhhvelous taste.)
ok, i have to weigh in on this because my friends and i recently had a long discussion about the difference between nerd and geek. We decided that while "nerd" still has quite a few negative social connotations - although it does imply an overall intellectual superiority - "geek" has almost become cool in certain circles. It has much more of a technology or area-specific association (as in "He's a total computer geek" or "I'm an aerospace geek"), and implies, as well, quite a bit more fascination than the normal population for how things work, nuts and bolts, and general hands-on knowledge of the world.
All of us holding the discussion, while very socially adept, were perfectly willing to admit to varying levels of geektitude and even nerdom.

We got some corroboration when, shortly after our discussion, Wired magazine came out with a grid with two axes - one was nerd vs. cool and the other was geek vs. wonk. (Joss was on the grid - I think he was in the geek-cool quadrant).
Also, as my friends and I tried to figure out where on the grid certain people we knew or celebrities would be, we decided that even being ON the grid carried a certain degree of coolness. There were certain people - Keannu Reaves, Britney Spears - who aren't either geeky or wonkish, and while they aren't nerdy, aren't exactly cool either.

Here, if it's helpful, is Wired Magazine's description:
Let's break it down. You've got your geeks - brainiacs who like to build things. At the other end of the continuum are your wonks - experts who think and talk about stuff. Yet life is also (still) about being socially adept. Nerds flail, careening from one interaction to the next, without style. Cool people have charisma; they're fun to be around.

This helpful chart - meticulously constructed in our secret underground lab - plots the Wired world along the geek-wonk, nerdy-cool axes. No value judgments here; we love them all. But it turns out one high school truth remains: Everyone belongs somewhere.


[ edited by acp on 2005-08-03 18:03 ]
I never even thought about this geek movie thing being a problem. I doubt that articles like this one will be read by many people who do not already have some kind of interest in comic books and such. Personally, for instance, I’m not a comic book fan. I tried them out when Joss started Astonishing X-Men and don’t think I even read the last issue I bought. As a result I skimmed this article for the Whedon reference because I was told that there was one. (I may go back and read the rest when I have time…or maybe not.)

On the other hand there are other kinds of nerds and geeks in this world. In this case I am thinking of the “artsy” kids that were mentioned by binkaboo. As everyone knows, unlike computer nerds, the theater nerds are totally useless to anyone unless they have gained celebrity (in which case they could never have been one of those weird kids)…or you are looking for a movie review.

When I walked into a comic store for the first time some months ago to help my son find Yugio cards, I was so surprised to see Buffy comic books. I had no idea such a thing would exist. If it was not for this site, I would never have heard of Firefly or Serenity and neither would any of the people I know. Except at the Serenity preview, I have yet to meet a person who has heard of Serenity or Firefly, was a BTVS fan I did not create or knew Joss Whedon’s name without my saying Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (I know, I live in a creative wasteland.)

My point is (finally!) that there being a buzz among the comics fans will probably not enter the reality or consciousness of the world at large. It may however make the theater nerds movie critics and entertainment news media take a look. If they get behind it as a good movie, then the mainstream world may follow...never even knowing anyone had heard about it before that.

“But it turns out one high school truth remains: Everyone belongs somewhere.”

Hmmm. I am remembering being at breakfast in college with a table full of other theater majors. I casually mentioned that after noticing me doing work outs in the evenings on my own, the swimming team had invited me to work out with them and maybe join the team. After answering questions that revealed that I had been a competitive swimmer since I was a little kid, including in high school, I looked up to find the table staring at me with stunned expressions. I was totally perplexed until one finally said, “My God, you’re a jock!” I just started laughing. It was something I had never thought of labeling myself and I doubt anyone in my high school ever did either. I mean, can you be a jock and one of the youngest members of the NY Gilbert & Sullivan Society at the same time? Or stated differently, if someone is involved with many seemingly mutually exclusive groups, do they necessarily belong to any of them? A mystery for the ages.
OK, can we stop with the mentions of cute geeks and very blonde former sorority chick Whedon lovers? A poor Whedonesque moderator's heart can only take so much . . .

acp: I remember that Wired chart being mentioned here some time last year. I'm definitely a geek-wonk crossover with, alas, insufficient cool.

newcj: I hear ya. I've always loved and played sports (soccer, cricket, tennis) and hung with sportie types, but also did musical theater, pure academics, D&D, and all sorts. It made me a complete schizo at high school - not really being of any one group, but boy am I glad I got into so many different activities. My mum once described me as a dilettante - so that's my affiliation. :)

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