Ryan Thomason

WPR Discusses: Is Patton Right?

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If you consider yourself a geek, then you probably know who Patton Oswalt is. If you don’t, he’s a guy that some geeks look up to as an idol of sorts, his words carry credentials that few can obtain, oh and he’s a stand up comedian. He wrote an essay in WIRED magazine (view his article HERE online) saying that Geek Culture is basically too overdone, and needs to die out. Since we have a lot of people who associate themselves as geeks at WPR some of them wanted to weigh in with me about what Patton wrote.

Nick West: Is Oswalt playing a practical joke here? Can he really be serious? He says there’s no going back then immediately outlines a plan in which (he envisions) it will go back–his pop-culture “year-zero.” This article is insane at best. As a child of the 80’s I understand the “good ol’ days.” Hell, there’s things I miss too–scouring a record store for that one cd that will change your life, a spoiler-free world, even writing letters on actual paper!

But man, I’ve read my history books, I’ve studied my Steinbeck, I’ve been knee deep in The Old Testament. The truth is, there never was “the good ol’ days.” People have always just been people. Art and media cannot be controlled. All that we can do is add our voice to the harmony or dissonance that is presented to us.

Time will tell, but I don’t think Patton Oswalt is a pop-culture prophet. He’s an insightful man to be sure. I’m glad he wrote an article to challenge our ideas and force us to think outside the box, but let me go ahead and prophesy myself: In ten years, we will look at Mr. Oswalt’s article and roll our eyes.

Brody Cates: It is people with this kind of “Patton” attitude that is everything wrong with “Geek Culture.” It is elitist and it is bullshit. It is this kind of attitude that leads to the asshole in the comic book store that thinks that he is better than you because he has read X-Men from issue 1. This is the attitude that keeps us from having nice things. If it weren’t for the popularity of all things geek do you think that Iron Man would have been made? how about The Dark Knight? would you be able to go to a big box and buy a Captain America t-shirt? Keeping things back and lording your geek knowledge over what you consider the lesser geeks, doesn’t make you a better geek, it makes you a douche bag.

Chad-San: Is Mr. Patton being self-indulgent and whiny–albeit it subtly. He is saying it was better when I was younger, right? However, that will get us no where. This is the way the world is now. Almost 12 million people subscribed to WoW this year. Iron Man 2 sucked, but people ate it up. Two years ago, The Dark Knight Returns was one of the best movies of the year.

He may not sound whiny, but that is just because he is being pretentious: using arguments that sound good and resonate with people.

In the end, though, it just doesn’t work that way. The world moves on.

If you had asked a teenager in the 1930’s what life was like without the Great Depression, what would he have said: He knew nothing else. That is the way it is now. Kids who are younger than us will know nothing else.
The same goes for the statistically obsessed: Ask that same kid about baseball… Now, baseball is not the number one sport in America. Baseball cards are fairly passe. Back then though…
I have this horribly deep knowledge of comics from the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s. Big deal. My friend Punk can give anyone a run for their money on quoting Star Wars lines. Big deal. That is who we are from who we were in those times. Who people will be from now, who knows. And who cares? We will know when we get there.

As for Patton, he is obviously too sentimental. The reason I couldn’t get through the article the first two times I read it is because I got annoyed with the “when I was” schtick. I am the same age as him and remember a lot of things like he does, but I, for one, don’t give a damn.

How’s that for an opinion?

My Input: Honestly, reading this from Patton makes me have no faith in the guy. The only thing that his whole article seemed like to me was an old guy from the self proclaimed “Greatest Generation” talking about how awesome it was fighting in WW2 and saving the planet from Nazi’s. Except you replace “Greatest Generation” with “Generation X” and “WW2, Hitler killing” with “Geekdom”. Everyone generation wants to make a stamp on the world, and Patton and his ilk are so desperate to make theirs they are willing to claim “Modern Pop Culture” as theirs.

Not that it existed with their parents in “Beatlemania” or their grandparents with the invention of hitting a rock with sticks. Patton to me just reeks in desperation to try and claim that something as tiny as “King Geek Credentials” within the huge pop culture context means something. We are all geeks, nerds, and dorks. Everyone just has their own way of showing it. So claiming that your youth is being shit on because everyone has access to it and loves it in a different way than you did is pointless. It just makes you look like any self absorbed person from every other generation that wants to claim that they had it the best and the kids / new technology are ruining everything.

Being a geek is not for one archetype, I am “the guy wearing a boba fett helmet shirt as he works out” that he claims somehow taints Star Wars. Sorry, I like to be in shape and having muscle definition. I also happen to be a Geek. Fucking deal with it Patton.

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