This Is Nothing

Insane Graduate School Edition



Something’s been gnawing on me a little bit, and I just had to “write it out” as opposed to “walk it off” so that I could get on with my day.

A couple weeks ago Andy and I went to go see the GI Joe movie, which pretty much met our low expectations for mindless action fun. But as the credits rolled, I couldn’t help but overhear a guy complaining about the quality of the movie, how the characters were miscast and the plot ridiculous. And I thought to myself, “Which is stupider? This movie, or people who come to this movie expecting some sort of masterpiece?”

Lately, I’ve been thinking about going to see “Julie and Julia” which is two biographies crammed into one movie: one of Julia Child and the other about a blogger who decided to try to cook all the recipes in one of Julia’s books in one year. I read the book of Julie’s blog, which was fluffy, fun, and self-deprecating because Julie isn’t a chef, just some lady trying to find herself through a year-long project. When I suggested an outing to go see it, someone just had to argue that they didn’t want to see the “Julie” parts of the movie because she’s just a blogger and not even a real cook.

Last night, I admitted to some of my friends that I was kinda hooked on the “Twilight” series. I fully admitted that it’s not high-quality reading. That it’s fluff, and not even fluff meant for my age group. Still, someone felt compelled to expound upon why the series was lame, that they couldn’t enjoy it because the vampires glitter in the sunlight, and that if Buffy would show up the whole series would be over! Hah hah!

Sometimes, I just get frustrated because I feel folks are missing the point entirely. I mean, there are some movies, some books, some works of art that are enjoyable because they are excellent, a shining example at the top of their craft. But why do folks feel compelled to rule out fun things because they don’t meet some criteria of excellence? I remember folks who wouldn’t watch the Buffy series simply because of the name. A friend who won’t read Stephen King because he needs a better editor. I remember not reading Harry Potter because I was deep into LOTR and looked down my nose at the latest fantasy fad. When I started reading the Sorcerer’s Stone, I realized I’d been, well, kinda stupid.

Some of my personal frustration is just people not listening to what I’m saying. I say I like something, even though I admit it’s silly. And inevitably someone has to argue how silly something is. All I wanted to do was share. Blargh.

And the other thing is that, in the realm of geekdom, I think it’s important to remember that almost everything we as a subculture enjoy seems stupid or un-classic to another group. And the whole notion that what you like can make you cooler just frustrates the hell out of me. I spent too much of my life feeling like a weirdo for what I liked to turn around and try to find ways to be a snob to people.

My final memory on the topic is a conversation I had long ago with a new grad student at a party. I found out she did role-playing games and so I was trying to find some common ground. The conversation in summary went like this:

Grad student: I'm a girl that does Dungeons and Dragons and that's super rare!
Amber: Hey cool! I've done D&D too! What edition did you play?
Grad student: No, you see, I'm a girl that does Dungeons and Dragons and that's super rare!

There I was, saying "hey you're not alone! There are other girls doing D&D!" and her reaction was along the lines of insisting that she was the only girl gamer alive. Like she couldn't hear me, wouldn't hear me. Because if she was less weird, she'd be less special. It really surprised me, because I've felt weird my whole life, figured other science nerds had felt the same way, and we'd all be so happy to finally belong somewhere. But maybe some people are so used to being the odd person out that they start to find their only satisfaction in staying that way. And maybe the dude at the GI Joe movie could only find satisfaction in finding what was WRONG with a movie. I just think it's sad, but I realize that's just my perspective!

Okay, rant done!


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