Your Hisses Are Wasted On Me

Dear geeks,

Congratulations!  It is my understanding that you have taken over mainstream culture recently, and while this has caused consternation in certain quarters, I am the magnanimous sort, and besides, whenever someone says the words “culture war”, my eyes glaze over like a Honey Baked Ham.

It has, however, come to my attention that you’re messing everything up.  This is nothing to be ashamed of and is in fact as inevitable as crashing your car within six months of ‘learning to drive’, or vomiting out two bottles of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill at your first ‘apartment-warming’ party.  Being in charge is new and fun and it’s easy to go too far.  But at some point, you have to take some responsibility and start driving on the right-hand side of the road like everybody else.

Thus this quiz, the taking of which will help you determine if you are the harmless, pleasant kind of geek who is just happy that you’re no longer young enough to have to take constant shower-beatings, or the toxic, aggressive kind of geek who has created a climate in which people who don’t know or care who their senator is will write long, angry letters to media outlets if they misidentify the jersey number of a backup defensive lineman.  (Please note:  this entry is meant as a companion piece to this episode of the triumphantly returned Wasted Words podcast, which tackles the same subject with considerably less curiously personal hostility.)

1.  When encountering anything at all — person, place, thing, current event, philosophical concept, anything at all — is your first reaction to wonder how it could be turned into a Star Wars reference?

(a)  Yes.

(b)  No.

(c)  Which chapter of Star Wars?

(d)  My first reaction is to wonder how it could be turned into a Star Trek reference.

2.  What minor celebrity must express an an opinion about a social or political issue before you can be bothered to give a shit about it?

(a)  Neil Gaiman.

(b)  George Takei.

(c)  The guy who played Wash on Firefly.

(d)  I cannot answer this question because I am too busy writing you an angry e-mail for pretending that you don’t know that the guy who played Wash on Firefly is named Alan Tudyk.

3.  Do you believe that how defensive someone gets about being a Harry Potter fanatic is in an inversely direct ratio to how much literature they read that is not intended for children?

(a)  Yes.

(b)  No.

(c)  “Inversely direct ratio”?  That sounds like math.  I’m a geek, not a nerd.

(d)  Harry Potter is not ‘for children’.  Allow me to explain…

4.  Do you hate people who can’t go more than five minutes without mentioning Jesus, but you yourself can’t go more than three minutes without mentioning Green Lantern?

(a)  Yes.

(b)  No.

(c)  Not if you mean the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern, duh.

(d)  I find the love of Green Lantern perfectly compatible with the love of Jesus.

5.  Do you dislike most mainstream popular culture, but find yourself reflexively defending it just so you won’t seem like an elitist snob to some total stranger who doesn’t give a shit about you or your opinions?

(a)  Yes.

(b)  No.

(c)  I do the opposite:  I reflexively despise anything that comes from mainstream popular culture, even if I don’t know anything about it.  Is that better or worse?

(d)  Seriously, fuck you so much if you do this.

6.  Which of the following things do you consider yourself a ‘geek’ for enjoying?

(a)  Science fiction, even though it comprises the most successful movie franchises in the history of the medium.

(b)  Comic books, even though sixteen of the top ten biggest-grossing movies for the last ten years have been based on comic books.

(c)  Video games, even though they routinely outsell blockbuster movies.

(d)  Biting the heads off of live chickens.

7.  Why is Ian McKellen a bigger gay rights icon than Quentin Crisp?

(a)  He is alive.

(b)  He’s not, you know, gay gay.

(c)  Quentin Crisp did not play Gandalf or Magneto.

(d)  Who the fuck is Quentin Crisp?

8.  From where do you get the majority of your tech and science news?

(a)  Wil Wheaton.

(b)  Felicia Day.

(c)  They Might Be Giants.

(d)  I don’t understand the question.

9.  Who most influenced your views on feminism?

(a)  Simone de Beauvoir.

(b)  Phyllis Schlafly.

(c)  Power Girl.

(d)  Joss Whedon.

10.  What was your reaction to the possibility of Donald Glover playing Spider-Man on film?

(a)  Rage.  Spider-Man is white, damn it.

(b)  Relief.  The more black nerds there are, the less white guilt I feel.

(c)  Confusion.  The last time I saw Donald Glover was on Smallville, and he seemed way too old to play Spider-Man.*

(d)  Indifference.  I only read DC Comics.

*:  If you get this joke, I hate you.

2 SHOTS LICKED so far.

  1. Nullstellensatz
    12/01/2011 at 7:03 PM

    Let me try:

    1. My first reaction is to wonder how it could be turned into a Gilbert & Sullivan reference, especially Iolanthe. Definitely not Princess Ida, though.

    2. Neal Stephenson, because he has terrible opinions on every issue.

    3. Inverse proportion and direct proportion are opposites. Get your math straight. I’m a geek AND a nerd!

    4. I only do that because I’m using the sentence “Colorless green lanterns sleep furiously” as an example of the difference between syntax and semantics.

    5. Since counterculture is now mainstream, I choose to rebel against the mainstream by embracing conformity.

    6. Math, Morris dancing, HARD science fiction and classical music: the only parts of geek culture that haven’t gone mainstream. I WIN!

    7. Peter Tatchell’s account of Crisp doesn’t put him in a very good light. Since McKellen never met Tatchell, he wins by default.

    8. You don’t understand. Jonathan Coulton is for science, They Might Be Giants is for history.

    9. Alexandra Kollantai

    10. c

  2. His Shadow
    07/15/2012 at 2:03 PM

    Excellent. 10 years ago I’m sure I would have found this enraging somehow, still convinced as I was that “scifi and comic books” were counter culture underground movements.

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