At some level, though, those who assert their geekiness in this way must get something from it. Downgrading something that appeals to mass taste by claiming it is actually something only for insiders? So much of popular culture does try to individualize massive success: "I see something in it that you don't." It's a version of the beginner's cliche in criticism: "If you look at it more closely, you will see that ..." Perhaps the claim that "geeks" will get it but others won't is a version of that, and the purveyors of such claims are saying that they've looked at it closely, so they know better.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Lately, I've been seeing a lot of references to Tolkien and "Star Wars" that are prefaced with remarks like "you have to be a geek to understand this." I don't see where this claim is coming from: neither Tolkien nor Star Wars fandom is at all "geeky." After all, "The Lord of the Rings" is one of the best-selling books ever, and the three movies are near the top of the list of highest-grossing films. And the "Star Wars" franchise is also a huge success. I guess "geeky" sounds to me like something more exclusive, less broadly popular, something more like a limited "cult" popularity.