View2View: Mainstream Media Geeks
In today’s View 2 View Mike and Wilt go head to head with the following topic: “Is the fairly recent creation of “Geek” sections within mainstream media websites a good thing or bad thing?”
Michael’s stance: It’s a great situation.
The reason: I’ve been doing the nerd thing for a long time now and never before has it been accepted as much as it is now. Being a nerd has never ever been a bad thing, but finding nerd material, clothing, or information was a bit more difficult in the days before comic book movies, and with the mainstream media suddenly getting in on the act it’s not only a simple way for the studios to make money, it also expands the core audience of comics. The expansion of the audience allows for movies and risks comic book companies would not have otherwise taken. With sites like MTV and CNN getting in on the act this not only expands knowledge of comics and comic book movies, but fills the fan bases of both the movie and the comics with more material, more interviews, and more sneak peeks into whatever it is they are doing at the time.
All of this allows for a site like the one I co-own, i.e. the one this article is being posted on, to not only flourish but make contacts that would have otherwise not existed if these expansions did not occur. I like the fact that the mainstream media is taking a look at who we are, and what we do as a community rather than just labeling us as the stereotypical nerds of yore. I have heard numerous times over that so many people aren’t “true nerds” and I don’t quite get the reference. Are they talking about getting mocked, ridiculed and judged by their peers because they like comics, or theater, or they are different in some way shape or form? Because if that’s the case I don’t want the younger generations to be “true nerds” I want them to have the freedom to enjoy what they want, read what they want, and be themselves with no stigma attached. I went through the nerd issues when I was younger and I would rather not see my 9 year old nephew go through that stuff. Kids can be cruel, and if the mainstream makes something more acceptable and lessens the bullying that some of us had to face then I’m all for it.
Yes the mainstream media may not “get it” all the time, but from what I’ve seen they are hiring people who do, and doing a decent enough job of seeing what’s what. I hope that one day a site like mine can be noted as mainstream media, because when given a platform of that magnitude I can’t wait to see what good we can do on all fronts.
Wilt’s opinion: Feels that they are riding the fad wave and are only around to pull in the “geek” community.
Over the past couple years I’ve noticed the presence of mainstream news and media outlets commenting and reporting on the so-called “geek” culture. Two outlets in particular, MTV networks and CNN, have a full section of their sites dedicated to “geek” culture, MTV Geek and Geek Out! respectively. Most mainstream sites cover many of the same subjects in the aforementioned blogs in their arts and entertainment sections if they are covered at all. I feel a little insulted that these blogs are blatantly labeled “geek” it is as if MTV and CNN are telling their readers; “Hey you want to be a cool ‘geek’ too? Read our ‘geek’ blogs.” Many of you reading this are saying ‘Hey Wilt, you should be happy that they are exposing the geek world to a broader audience,’ but I argue that they are catering to those who want to look cool because “geek” is the new cool thing. Geek is not a trend, it’s a way of life, the way one obsesses (sometimes too much) over something they love and are knowledgeable about. There are sports geeks, theater geeks, movie geeks, video game geeks, the list can go on and on. When I see sites that normally wouldn’t cover this stuff 10 years ago, build sections dedicated to them I feel like it’s a cash grab.
MTV maybe 10-15 years ago I would’ve been okay with creating a “geek” blog because they had such great content that many would’ve labeled “geeky.” However the days of Daria, Undergrads, The Head, Aeon Flux, Liquid Television, Clone High, 120 minutes, Headbangers Ball, Yo MTV Raps, and many shows that would be considered cult classics are gone from the channel that now has a bunch of reality show rehashes that can not be called “geeky” at all.
Over at CNN they have articles that have some authors having to reach out about the “geek” subject that they are covering or referring to their audience as “nerds” or “geeks” which to me screams ingenious coverage of the subject matter. At least MTV Geek has people that know what they are talking about or are fans of what they are covering and don’t refer to themselves or audience as geeks and nerds.
There are many other outlets to get coverage on these subjects out there, this site (comicbooktherapy.com), ain’t it cool news, newsarama, and a myriad of others on the net that you can find linked from anyone of these sites. Usually these sites that have been around and doing their thing are going to be more knowledgeable or have the scoop either first or are a part of the spearhead of information.
I feel the creation of “Geek” sections in mainstream media are not made for the love of all things “geek” but are a disingenuous grab at a market that is considered hot and profitable.
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