ComicCon always serves to remind me that I’m a bad nerd



For anyone that is still unaware, San Diego ComicCon 2015 (SDCC) is here. What started out as a comic book convention has become the weekend when all of the major studios and networks go out and try to grab the attention of uberfans and the press with their latest offerings. 

There is a part of me that is drawn toward it. I’m a huge fan of sci-fi, fantasy, super heroes and all related stuff and always have been. However, when I stop and think about it any urge to go to San Diego fades away rapidly. 

While I definitely have an interest in all things nerd, I’m simply not devoted enough. I don't own any costumes. I don’t have any “collections” to speak of. I’m perfectly happy reading comics as e-books. I have a few action figures left over from childhood, plus a few I’ve discovered at garage sales and thrift stores. However, it’s not enough to constitute a collection and I’m not actively acquiring any. 

I know that there are a lot of big names at ComicCon but I have no desire to stand in line for hours in the hope of crowding into a room with hundreds of others to hear them talk about their projects.

Actors, writers and directors are just people. They do a job and I have an interest in the job they do but I do not hang on their every word no matter how good they are. I’ll read interviews, watch "Inside the Actors Studio”, follow them on Twitter and may even watch a few ComiCon panels on YouTube but I have no urgent need to be in the room.

I am largely immune from the mass celebrity culture that feels the need to follow their every move and study the intimate details of their lives. William Shatner could live next door to me and would largely be left alone.

Beyond that, knowing too much about a movie or show ruins the experience of it a bit. When I sit down to watch something, I try to immerse myself in it and expect the story to be self contained. The anecdotes, trivia, behind the sciences, making of, directors notes and commentary add layers that I don't necessarily want and that shouldn't be needed to enjoy the experience.  

In other words, when I watch a scene I don't want to think about the technical challenges of creating it or how many takes it took to get it right. I don't want to think about the alternate version of the scene that ended up getting scrapped or the funny thing that happened to the star on the way to the studio that day. It is too much extraneous information that doesn't add anything of value to the experience for me. I assume that the scene included in the final cut is the one the creators intended to be there and that I don't need outside information for the story to make sense. 

Autograph booths are another regular feature of SDCC. However, I’ve never seen the point of autographs. Someone whose work you admire signed a piece of paper or a photo, in what way does having that signature benefit you or improve your life? There is a list of people who I’d love to sit down for a beer with, but that’s entirely different from having them write their name for you. 

So, while I’m sure the environment of SDCC would be fun and interesting, it’s a long way to travel and a lot of money just to hang about without buying anything or attending anything. 

All of this reminds me, annually, that as hard as I might try I’m not a real nerd.

By any of the old definitions I am, several times over. I am a sci-fi and fantasy nerd, I’ve spent undo amounts of time with comic books and role playing games. I’ve spent way too much time thinking about and talking about Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who. 

I am also a science nerd, a politics nerd, a music nerd, a media nerd, a computer and technology nerd. I am generally overcommitted to any number of topics.

In the new, more popular sense of the term though; the “nerd lifestyle”, the “cool nerd” culture, I simply fail. 

So, thanks to SDCC for the reminder that nerds have taken over the world, but apparently I don’t nerd properly either.

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