Posts tagged Meta
I’ve been quiet of late here, and not for lack of things to say.
However, the last few weeks I’ve been focusing more on my fiction writing. I sold my first short story (“Last Tango in Gamma Sector”) last week, which will be published at Crossed Genres on June 1st in their issue on “Gadgets & Artifacts.”
In addition, I’ve wrapped up line edits on my New Weird Superhero novel Shield & Crocus and have started working on a synopsis while creating a list of agents to query.
This 21st Century Geek is a maker as well as a consumer of culture, and I’m trying to find a better balance of input/consumption vs. output/creation.
More pop culture ramblings will come soon, as we’re amidst a variety of season finales in TV-land.
Battlestar is back, and the WTF? factor is high. Here’s my breakdown of the episode, Spoilers Galore.
- Starbuck finds her own wreckage, with her fin #, and a corpse with her dog tags.
- The Final Four all have memories of living on Earth.
- Dee breaks down and commits suicide after one last happy memory with Lee.
- Tigh flashes back to Earth and sees Ellen, leading him to identify her as the Fifth Cylon.
- Earth is uninhabitable, and the remains discovered there are all genetically Cylon, accompanied by Centurion-style Cylons unlike those made by the humans of the 12 colonies or the Cylons they made.
1. This fits in with the fact that the Raptor that Starbuck arrived with after her dissapearance was fresh-off-the-line clean. This leads us to believe that Starbuck is a Cylon, or that she was somehow cloned by the Cylons, based off of the tissue samples they could have taken during the time she was held at the farm during “The Farm.” This is of course all interpolation. Leoban is shocked by the revelation, as it disproves/disagrees with his visions. His religious certainty is shaken, and the connection between him and Starbuck is now in question again.
2. From Tyroll walking the marketplace to Anders remembering playing “All Along the Watchtower,” this fits in line with my reading that that the humans of Earth are descended from the intermarriage of Cylons and humans who settle on Kobol and then leave for the thirteen colonies, as a part of the cycle (hence “all of this has happened before, all of this will happen again”) — This would allow for our civilization as is now to be a part of this cycle, between when the 13th tribe reaches Earth and when nuclear war destroys civilization on the planet.
The Final Five would then be the people who remember their previous incarnations elsewhen in the cycle, who are ‘Cylons’ in that they are the descendents of the re-connected species.
3. Dee’s suicide is used as the personalization of the collective despair expressed by the fleet after being let down by Earth. The people had held up hope for years and years, thinking ‘if we make it to Earth, it will all be ok.’ — and now that Earth has been removed as the great hope, people’s defenses are down and they’re crashing. Everyone of the survivors have PTSD, first from the destruction of the colonies, likely again from the events on New Caprica, and many things in between and after.
Dee had already lost her connection to Lee, before that she lost Billy, on top of the destruction of the colonies. She showed signs of breaking down throughout the episode, from the return trip from Earth to speaking to Hera to the musing about the picture from when she was five. And then, after one more happy moment with Lee, she takes her own life. This is the personalized version of the despair rampant throughout the fleet that we can see on Galactica with people breaking down in the hallways and from the graffiti.
4. Ellen was originally suspected as being a Cylon because of her mysterious appearance in the fleet, then discounted because she was too human-ly screwed up. And by the time she let Saul kill her as they departerd New Caprica, she had achieved a measure of redeption. And now by revealing her as the fifth Cylon (confirmed in the ‘next episode’ preview), they open up the question of another instance of her being alive or able to be activated. It also makes for more of a reason to stay on Earth for archaeological excavation to uncover more information and/or unlock more memories of the Four that remain.
5. This supports my ideas from 2, positing that once humans and Cylons intermingle, they will just distinct enough from humans now so as to register as ‘Cylon’ (ie. ‘Other’) — But I imagine that Hera and Nicholas, our two known human-Cylon crossbreeds would register as ‘Cylon’ under the same analyses.
Next episode — Vice President Zarek makes another power play, looking to divide the fleet. Meanwhile, people try to figure out what the hell to do now that Earth is no longer the safe End Point. Cavill’s fleet is still out there, meaning that there will be more chances for explosions and dogfights and such.
Welcome to 21st Century Geeks, an academic blog focusing on geek cultures and media convergence.
Here are the stakes:
We are entering and/or are already in a golden age of geek culture. Geek movies continually rock the box offices (Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man, Transformers, Iron Man), video games have become an immensely profitable entertainment medium embraced by the mainstream, and techno-culture is in.
Fan culture has grown and diversified, and convergence media allows for consumers to become cultural producers with wide distribution of their works, with intensely complex and thought-out works that bring into question the validity of IP and cultural ownership which is very visibly bringing copyright and IP into question. Harry Potter slash-fiction may prove to be one of the primary factors that leads to the downfall of copyright and IP laws as we know them. People who grew up in slash-writing communities move into college and go to law school and become IP lawyers years down the road. Each generation re-works the social order in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to fit their generational worldview/zeitgeist.
When the Napster Generation/Gen X/Y/Insert Catchy Generational Label Here hits the age of being able to dictate policy on these matters, we very may well have a sea change on our hands. Music distribution is already changing, especially as stockholders check the numbers and move to handing over the reins to younger execs more in tune with Web 2.0 and other 21st century marketing/business models, where attention is the commodity to be cultivated by a company. In a world where you can watch the whole first season of the smash hit Heroes online and watch one add five times instead of ten adds five times, the advertising paradigm has to change. Combine that with the rise of DVD-sales and direct-to-DVD cultural properties and we’re already in a transition.
What does that have to do with geekdom, though? Well, if we look at things like the short-lived show Firefly which was re-lit for a feature film because of intense fan engagement and DVD sales, or the direct-to-DVD Hellboy and superhero films, we’re seeing that geek media is in the foreground of these transitions in marketing strategy and cultural production. Where geeks go, the technology follows. Or where the tech goes, the geeks follow. It’s a perpetuating cycle of technological advancement and commoditization of cultural production.
As geekdom continues its ascent and moves towards the mainstream, it’s also manifesting more and more distinct subcultural markers. T-Shirts seem to be the primary display of geek style, with obscure video-game references, coding jokes, and markers of affiliation with comic characters providing the canvas for geeks to display their subcultural affiliation. Recognizing and obscure t-shirt is one of the secret handshakes of geekdom. It’s one thing to compliment someone on a Greatest American Hero t-shirt, it’s another thing to identify the Blue Sun logo and greet a fellow Browncoat and reminisce over shared love of Firefly. Geek culture is being marketed top-down and bottom up, with Geek Magazine, Hot Topic’s t-shirt lines, and in situations like online dating, with www.geek2geek.com and www.sweetongeeks.com – where the early adopters of the internet, dissatisfied with the mainstream inclination of most online dating sites, have moved to create geek-friendly dating sites, where the ability to have an intense discussion about time-travel physics or partition a hard drive are the turn-ons, and Mac vs. Pc (with/without Linux) or X-Box 360 vs. PS3 vs. Nintendo Wii are sorting questions for potential partners.
Geek culture has long been decentralized, fractured but interconnected, with cultural properties bringing their fan bases across media, across subcultures. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer follow the tv show, then pick up the collectible card game and move into another geek subculture, then stop by the comic store every other week to buy the comics. Geeks move between the member subcultures of what I call the ‘geek subcultural complex’ – basically a bunch of overlapping subcultural groups that draw from similar sources and have developed interconnections while remaining sufficiently autonomous such that one can be a geek without necessarily participating in any one of the groups, as long as they participate in others.
A superhero comic reader who plays MMOs need not be a programmer or play Dungeons and Dragons to be a geek, but their D&D playing comrades are no less geeks for eschewing MMOs and not being able to tell Captain Marvel from Captain Mar-Vell. There are many ways to be a geek, and they feed into and out of one another. Convergence culture and transmedia storytelling (ala Henry Jenkins) means that these connections are being strengthened as they are commoditized, with IP crossing media with properties like the Matrix series, which had films, anime, video games (console and massive online), comic books, and more. A fan of a world/universe will follow that cultural property across platforms and into various groups, under the rubric of their own fandom, and thus, the groups cross-pollinate. Follow the money. Or, follow the fandoms. It’s another cycle, a feedback loop.
There is lots of geek culture out there. And lots of people talking about geeks. What I hope to facilitate with this community is a place for scholars of geek culture to meet, collaborate, and draw together disparate threads of geek studies as the subculture grows and changes in the age of digital convergence and massive wars over IP/DRM/revolutions in distribution and commercialization.