I think most of us agree that geeks are passionate people. They don’t just watch a film or television show, they adore it. Rooms become temples to other-worldly beings, superheroes and time lords. They dress up as their favourite characters. They declare their love from the rooftops (or on twitter at least).
It’s a beautiful thing.
But it can lead to some very fiery arguments, especially online.
As somebody who has sometimes stumbled into these arguments, I’m often surprised at how nasty they can get.
“Anybody who doesn’t like this is lacking a soul!”
“This is a pile of **** and only appeals to ****tards!”
I’ve been wondering why this might be. I think that when people criticise a story that we love, it feels that at the same time they’re criticising us (even though they often aren’t). So, “That film is rubbish” becomes “You are rubbish”.
Naturally we want to defend things we’ve identified with.
When I declare a love of a book (like Dune for example) and other people say, “Yay! I love that book.” There are mutual feelings of love and happiness. This person ‘gets’ me. They are clearly of good taste.
Conversely when my English teacher told me I should be reading ‘proper’ books and not Dune, I had this feeling of not fitting into the world and of being stupid for not liking more literary classics.
So where am I going here?
Well, there are a lot of things people rave about that I think are pretty terrible, for example:
X-men: First Class
Star Trek (2009)
When people say how great they are I get the urge to argue with them. I want them to understand that these are not great works at all.
I want them to understand me.
But maybe there is something darker at play here too. Because I think I’d rather enjoy writing a post that demolishes the Star Trek reboot*. I also think there’d be something nasty and triumphant about it too. An attempt to prove superiority.
Opinions are just opinions. You may love all of the above when I don’t, and that’s cool.
I’m just going to try and keep my cool next time we talk about it online** and be careful to add some of the following addendums to anything I say:
I found it…
In my opinion…
This did/didn’t work for me…
Because when I’m talking to fellow geeks about sci-fi or fantasy, what I’m really talking about is love. And it doesn’t get any more personal than that.
*I’ve already ranted about X-men: First Class and I’m too scared to wake the sleeping Whovians. I’d also like to add that I get angry with these things because I love the characters so much.
**If we’re in the pub however, all bets are off!