Imagination Connoisseur, Douglas Hyatt, shares how and why he’s become a part of the Post-Geek Singularity. Share your journey with us and send us a letter today!
I believe myself to have been part of geek culture from my first coherent memories. I do not wish to waste your valuable time with a recollection of my nerdy bona fides, I will simply say that I was that guy who dressed up as a high school drum major and had a light saber duel during homecoming’s half time show, and convinced my graduating class to change the recessional theme to the Imperial March. Hopefully that is illustrative of my geek devotion.
Having said that, I wanted to focus on recent developments of this culture in our highly politicized world.
Geek culture has become mainstream for a variety of reasons that this audience understands quite well, and that is an achievement to be proud of. What concerns me is a fracturing, and almost weaponization, of this culture in recent times. In my own experience, I always found geek culture to be a mixture of passionate discourse, tempered with tolerance and inclusivity.
I myself am a midwestern conservative cornpone, but I am fortunate to have met many friends from across the globe through a shared love of some aspects of geekdom, some of which are diametrically opposed to many of my beliefs. We argue about things within a fandom, political philosophy, religion, but we still love and respect one another. We share a variety of common bonds realized through the connections made by some aspect of this culture. This is what I fear is in danger of being lost in this algorithmic era where rage is a growing commodity.
A very obvious example is that which appeared from the fallout of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (SW:TLJ). With the rise of the “Fandom Menace” versus the “Disney Shills/Reylos”. It may sound easy to dismiss this rift as “nerds in their mom’s basement” arguing with one another over the Internet. I contend however, it is just a piece of a growing cultural divisiveness.
When you have major media publications, or new media thought leaders, utilizing a piece of our culture to drive home some talking point, you really should take notice. What I find unsettling, is the growing trend in purity tests and corresponding exile to heretics not in ideological lockstep. I find this is clearly reflected in the Star Wars drama. I believe we need to be responsible ambassadors of geekdom, by choosing to respectfully engage one another, even if we disagree.
This is why I think voices like your own need to be recognized.
From first seeing you on Collider Heroes (RIP to the great John Schnepp), through your current success as ROBSERVATIONS, you have always presented yourself as an insightful, and moderating force. You offer opinion with civility, charm, and humility; which is sorely lacking in our discourse. I have seen individuals from both “factions” whom you maintain great relationships with, while not compromising your own thoughts or integrity.
Some individuals thrive on conflict, but I believe most just want to engage with others who share a similar passion. That is why I thoroughly enjoy the community you are helping to build. It is one of thoughtfulness, and general respect. I want to encourage you as you engage with various creators to be our responsible ambassador and know that you have a mountain of support.
Thank you for all you are doing, and I wish you only the greatest of success.