For the most part, I love me some nerd culture. It’s clusters of inclusive groups made up of people looking to share their interests, hobbies, creations and ideas with one another, and that willingness to reach out and connect with like-minded peers is something to be celebrated.
That said, can we all just collectively shut the hell up about “Firefly” for a bit?
Alright, previous outburst requires some elaboration and reasoning, lest I sound like too much of an embittered old shitbat. For all the wonderful inclusion and culture building that the nerd community has fostered, a large portion seems caught up in a repeating pattern of circle-jerkery that takes completely unrelated conversations hostage and steers them toward pre-programmed and done-to-death discussions on the inner circle of nerdiness.
That’s where “Firefly” comes in, along with the rest of the Joss Whedon catalogue. And the “Song of Ice and Fire” series and that constantly bubbling-yet-never-built-upon-for-fear-of-some-fatal-jinx-or-something question whether GRRM will croak before he fires off the last entry in “A Game of Thrones” series, leaving millions hanging. Pretty much any word Neil Gaiman has ever put onto paper falls somewhere into this stew as well.
These nerd icons have been molded into a holy trinity of sorts. Rather than saving souls, turning water into wine or lighting talkative shrubs on fire — or any of that associated fun deity stuff — they mostly have their works ceaselessly shoehorned into any conversation regarding geeky pop culture or fandom.
That’s not to say that the Whedons and Gaimans of the world are producing bad work; the exact opposite is true. They’ve become the gold standard of fantasy and sci-fi worldbuilding for a generation, and it’s no mystery as to why — their talent and the things they’ve created speak for themselves.
But having the inevitable “Firefly being cancelled so early was a goddamn crime” conversation crop up at the first mention of anything sci-fi feels a bit like that kid in your polysci 101 class asking “have you listened to Dark Side of the Moon yet, man?” for the fiftieth time after catching a wiff of anything even tangentially related to music preferences. The show’s become the Bob Marley dorm-room poster of the nerdosphere.
And that’s not to say Whedon, Gaiman and Martin shouldn’t be enjoyed just because they’re popular. It’s just that fan circles could be doing so much more to use their works as bridges into other interesting series or creations rather than having the same redundant conversations on their merits with each other over and over and over again. They shouldn’t be both the starting and stopping point of a discussion.
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