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If you took your lessons from TV, (where people are depicted in broad generalizations), then all nerds (or geeks, whatever you want to call the people who like the type of things we like) are part of one giant group. Apparently we all go to Comic-Con, we all dress up in costumes, we all read comic books, we all love science fiction, we all play endless games, we all play D&D, we all love Lord of the Rings movies, etc… But it isn’t true. Some of us like some of those things and some of us definitely do not like some of them.
In contrast to this strange media depiction of one giant, inclusive community of nerds, in many circles there is a pretty exclusionary attitude towards the other circles of fandom. While it isn’t very extreme (there aren’t Warriors or West Side Story style confrontation going on at conventions between Doctor Who fans and Game of Thrones fans… even though that would be very entertaining) there is a fair amount of animosity. One group will often have little or no understanding of what the other groups are into, and we can find it quite insulting to be lumped into one amorphous “nerd” banner. This kind of division can seem random from the outside, but it is nothing new, and certainly isn’t isolated to our culture of fandom. It has always existed within politics, religion, sexuality, etc. People like to be acknowledged for their unique features, not randomly labeled in ways they do not identify.
Like junk food, I expect my consumption of sitcoms to be unsatisfying and flippantly derogatory. I do not expect the same from films calling themselves “documentaries” but unfortunately that is what I experienced.
Last week an episode of the The Big Bang Theory (season 6, episode 13) featured the guys going to a small convention in costume, leaving their girlfriends to explore comic books. As usual, it was presented in a denigrating and ridiculous manner, belittling everyone involved. No big surprise, it was the usual mildly amusing collection of silly clichés played out by an ensemble of two-dimensional characters.
Outside of comic books themselves, there is very little advertising for comic books, online or on television. Targeting non-comic book readers could be effective, but are the corporations who own comic book publishers really trying to sell comic books?
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