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Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die

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Posted · Report post

I appreciated that. Thanks for the link, Tyler.

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Posted · Report post

Haven't read it yet, but I've just pulled up a discussion of the essay, among other matters, at NPR.org's "Pop Culture Happy Hour". Hope it's good!

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Posted · Report post

Haven't read it yet, but I've just pulled up a discussion of the essay, among other matters, at NPR.org's "Pop Culture Happy Hour". Hope it's good!

That's where I heard about it. They made me want to read it.

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Posted · Report post

I'm not quite sure how I feel about the article. It's funny and engaging, which is to be expected from Oswalt, but there's something that just doesn't sit right with me. I feel like Oswalt is bemoaning a boogeyman that doesn't really exist. I mean, I sort of get where he's coming from, but at the same time, I don't really see "weak otakus" as being this huge threat. I think this comment does a good job of summing up my own opinion on the piece:

Oh, Mr. Oswalt. You are showing your age. For every generation that grows up together, there will be corresponding sub- and counter-cultures. The popular, or “pop” culture gleans it’s memes and themes from the sub- and counter-cultures of previous decades. With the internet speeding up the transfer of information, that cycle is faster than it was in the 80s. But trust me, it still exists.

Relatedly, “nerd” and “geek” were relational terms used to refer to certain corners of the 80s and 90s sub-culture. While the labels may still be used today, they may not resonate with you, Mr. Oswalt, growing up as you did in the heyday of the terms.

Those two points established, allow me to STRONGLY disagree with your thesis of the disappearance of otaku. Quite the contrary, I believe that the expansion of the internet has allowed otaku to grow to ridiculous heights. Do you read webcomics? Do you follow any issue-specific blogs? Have you found a channel on youtube that you like? Perhaps one dedicated to recreating the entire starship Enterprise in Minecraft? Have you MET any WoW players? Do you listen to localized hiphop? Have you tried brewing your own beer? Have you visited Etsy? Regretsy? Do you read cheezburger? Do you have the hipstamatic app on your iPhone? Have you read the Hunger Games Trilogy or any other teen dystopia?

Nerds and geeks may be different than when you were a boy, Mr. Oswalt, but otaku is still around. It’s just passed you by.

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Posted · Report post

I think I'm with Neal Stephenson on this: "we're all geeks now." Steel workers who spend their time reading Civil War history. Bubbly tweens who can tell you about every Ranma 1/2 episode. And so on. I think I identify a little with what Oswalt is saying, but for the most part I think his conclusion is wrong. Still love 'im as a writer/comedian/etc.

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