In Which Geeks Save the World

Last week’s post generated more views and more comments than anything else I’ve written thus far. Since it’s posting, I’ve thought a bit about a particular comment and my response. In it, I tried to discuss why we, as geeks, should have a lot more openness to each other. Specifically, what I said was:

I wish there were more discussion. I think each of us have a tendency to sit in our groups (Atheists, Gays, Christians, Democrats, Republicans, whatever) and believe that the absolute worst of the other group represents reality. It doesn’t. That’s why I love being in the geek community too because I think our mutual love of things geek can overcome that mistrust and allow us to associate with each other.

Diversity of opinion is a great and wonderful thing. But as I see more and more name calling and the lessening of civility in our culture, I’ve come to believe that we Geeks can really save the world. Not in the sense of Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day but in the sense of coming together and appreciating the diversity of our culture. Some Star Trek novel I read said Vulcans value IDIC – Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. That’s what we have in our culture today and Geeks are uniquely positioned to show how to embrace that diversity and work towards a common goal.

As a geek you really begin to appreciate the diversity of people. Every week in my Comic Book store or in-game sessions I see people from a variety of backgrounds and I end up talking to all of them. And the beauty of it is once you get to know the people, you realize it’s pretty hard to pigeon-hole them, much less demonize them, because their beliefs or politics differ from yours. Can you still disparage them? Can you still make overbroad statements like “all people who believe/do whatever are all scumsucking morons.” It’s pretty hard. At the least, you have to say, “except for this one girl I know, she seems OK.”

We’ve never been in a better position to save the world than we are now. Geek is chic. Big Bang Theory is the top rated show in America. Comic Book movies are blowing the doors off the theaters. Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are hugely popular TV shows (I know it’s reached saturation because my Mother watches Game of Thrones. Trust me, society is all in.) President Obama even threw out a Vulcan salute recently.

So let’s use our power for good. Let’s show people how to come together. Invite your friends over for a game. Bring your Christian friend together with your Atheist friend and roll some dice. Show your Republican friend and Democratic friend how to settle Catan. Teach your jock buddies why you should never pick up a duck in a Dungeon. We can do this and we can do it one friend at a time.

Who’s with me?

In which I explain why I teared up at the end of Captain America

(To be clear here, I said teared up, not wept.)

A couple of weeks ago the boys (they’re 14 and 12 for the uninitiated) and I went out to see Captain America, the First Avenger. Without a doubt this was the best superhero movie we saw all summer and definitely one of the top 3 I’ve seen since the current superhero movie run began.

Seeing movies like this with the boys is important to me. Of all the geek stuff I am into, comics are my #1 passion. Aside from a brief collection stoppage when I first got married, I have collected comics since I was about 13.  I have worked hard to pass this along to both boys.  I started out sharing comics with them early, both reading them to the kids and getting additional superhero books for them to read. They both have at least a long box of their own (which hold double capacity the way they have them piled and jammed in there, no CGC 9.8 ratings in there ).

The along came the superhero movies. When X-Men came out in 2000 they were way too young to watch it with me. I showed them clips and trailers though, longing for the day when we could share the full experience. Little did I know then how comic book movies would explode through the 2000s. So many great (and good) movies were made. More often than not I went to see them alone or worked to convince a friend to hit the movies with me. My wife is geek adjacent (thank Wil Wheaton) so she understands my love for these things but that doesn’t always extend to sharing that experience (unless Hugh Jackman is in the movie).

So accelerate now to the closing minutes of Captain America. Sure it’s a bit sad as we realize that Steve will never get that dance. But that’s not what choked me up. As I watched the last minutes of that movie, after watching so many fun superhero movies with the boys this summer, I realized what a great summer it has been. At a certain level this is what I always wanted Fatherhood to be, to share my interests and passions and to pass them along. Then I realized that they’re 14 and 12, they were just toddlers when X-Men came out. But it seems like just yesterday. And now I have only a few years left with them to share these experiences. I want to cherish each and every opportunity I have over the next few years before they head off to college and their own, independent lives.

And that my friends, is why I teared up (I did not weep) at the end of Captain America. They were tears of joy and love for my boys who all to soon will be men.