Um, I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now [bangs on the table] you’re selling it, you wanna sell it.
–Dr. Ian Malcolm, “Jurassic Park”
It’s too easy for me to interpret Jurassic Park simply as an allegory about “science-gone-mad.” I really see it more of a statement on the new era of entertainment that was dawning in the 1990s, and that would mutate and take over movies, TV, video games, and comics.
On my mind today: there has been this trend within “geek circles” which you may or may not be aware of where a bunch of guys basically make their living being “feminist allies” to women and being loud anti-Trumpers/anti-Gamergaters/etc. These individuals—some of whom are famous directors, actors, bloggers, and so on—like to visibly virtue-signal how “woke” they are and call out various “bad guys” on the “alt-right” and whatnot.
And then it turns out that they have their own skeletons in the closet and are the LAST people in the world to be lecturing on sexism and etc.
I’m going to tell you a tale about fight radar, and performance art, and frogs, and the President of the United States, and somebody who used to run around with these robots that turned into trucks, and like the future of humankind.
Once upon a time, there were these movies called The Transformers. They were made by a gentleman named Michael Bay and they starred the hottest young actor (so we were told by the media) at the time, Shia LaBeouf. They were supposed to be about how this “geek” (who was actually really really cool) befriended the most popular toy line from the 1980s, and got smokin’ hot babes. Plus: Optimus Prime.
Look at it: A world built on fantasy. Synthetic emotions in the form of pills. Psychological warfare in the form of advertising. Mind altering chemicals in the form of food. Brain washing seminars in the form of media. Controlled, isolated bubbles in the form of social networks. Real? You want to talk about reality? We haven’t lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century.
—Mr. Robot, “Mr Robot”
At the end of March of 2013, I resigned from my job as editor/writer of a “geek culture” website for one of the biggest entertainment conglomerates in the world.
Now, this bomb is armed! This bomb is mobile! And the identity of the triggerman is a mystery. For one of you holds the detonator! And we came here not as conquerors, but as liberators to return control of this city to the people. And at the first sign of interference from the outside world, or for those people attempting to flee, this anonymous Gothamite —this unsung hero—will trigger the bomb. For now, martial law is in effect. Return to your homes, hold your families close, and wait. Tomorrow you claim what is rightfully yours.
—Bane, “The Dark Knight Rises”
do yourself a favor, go watch the batman #tooreal.
—Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after watching “The Dark Knight Rises” (3 days after the Aurora theater shooting)
Oh, America. I wish I could tell you that this was still America, but I’ve come to realize that you can’t have a country without people. And there are no people here. No, my friends. This is now the United States of Zombieland. It’s amazing how quickly things can go from bad to total shitstorm.
I know zombies aren’t technically considered “comic book culture”—well, unless you count The Walking Dead and any number of rotting versions of your favorite superheroes that had become so popular since the debut of Marvel Zombies in 2005 and the DC Comics crossover event Blackest Night in 2009.
Last week, I was knee-deep in San Diego Comic-Con. I had been in sunny San D since Tuesday, July 10th. Throughout all the festivities, I felt a sense of…what is the word…objectivity about everything I saw. I just couldn’t let myself fall into the “wonder” of the pageantry before me —instead, looking at the whole shebang with the clinical eyes of a sociologist, not a fan.