I realized something as a result of Dark Knight Rises—I have become one of those kinds of geeks. The kind who get annoyed listening to non-geeks talk about things I consider part of my culture. The kind who look upon non-geeks with disdain when they are incorrect about totally insignificant-to-real-life- details. God save my soul. What have I become? Is there an inner fat man named Jeff Alberston inside me? I’m pretty certain that had I been born a man I’d have wound up just like him. I love food and science fiction too much.
On my drive to work one morning the radio the jockeys were discussing the new Nolan film (proclaiming it the greatest superhero film of all time, ugh no) and I kept shaking my head and thinking “WRONG!” I feel this way a lot of the time lately when people try to talk to me about superhero movies but clearly don’t know anything about the stories. I feel like a total “Comic Book Guy” to admit it, because I know these people just are trying to engage me and connect over something I love, but I wish they’d just stop. It gets frustrating to hear people just be plain wrong. I would feel bad about ragging on the radio hosts but I don’t since they were mocking the nerds (emphasis of distaste placed on the word by the radio jockeys) who were upset about the fishing scene in the superman trailer. The fishing thing does bother me! When the fuck does Clark Kent go out on a fishing boat?? No it’s not the end of the world but if you are generating a trailer to set entice fans with his new story why would you put so much emphasis on this moment that has no tie in to the hero lore? Eh whatever, superman is lame anyway. Lamest superhero ever.
The reason I get so agitated by people who try to engage me in discussion about geekery is that well, I’m suspicious of it. When it dawned on me, or rather when I recognized, that I was feeling that way it also occurred to me that a number of others out there probably have this same response. Geek Culture has become Popular Culture these days and I do believe it comes from a well-intentioned place. Folks are starting to realize that intelligent, and often quirky, people are valuable in society and so they are getting a little bit more respect and admiration. But where does that respect/admiration come from? What is it rooted in?
Nerds are making lucrative careers out of the past times that were strange and isolating in school. Money = success to Americans and so now suddenly these odd interests serve as indicators of mental fitness and fiscal success. The difference between a true geek/nerd and the people, who I am usually suspicious of, is that the interest and passion in things like comics, computers, cosplay for “True Geeks” isn’t fiscally motivated.
There is a real love and joy in doing, collecting, creating, playing…all of this is something done because it brings happiness. It’s…unattractive when people flock to interests and fake an interest in it for reasons akin to gold-digging. Geekxploitation. It’s tacky, false and to anyone who really loves the subject matter whether it’s video games or physics, it can feel offensive. So yeah I get incredibly suspicious of their motivations. Are these people only showing an interest because they see an opportunity to get close to money and fame or are they actually showing an interest because they find the subject matter compelling?
My criticism of those interested only for money isn’t just because they leave a bad taste in my mouth either. Tacky is tacky but it certainly isn’t the worst crime in the world right? Well my realization about being suspicious of people who show an interest in geekery was rooted in the radio show I mentioned earlier. The whole concept of a hipster culture that pretends to be geeky is frustrating because while in the same conversation they will take about how awesome batman is, those same geekxsploiters will turn around and make fun of the culture. It’s high school all over again. It’s infuriating that these people will try to monopolize on the success of the kids they pushed out to the fringe and STILL mock them for living there. It revives images of the movie bully asking out the geeky girl to prom, only to show up in a limo when she arrives at the door and egg her. Since I know a number of people will turn around and make fun of me, call me weird, I hesitate when anyone who starts to ask me questions about my interests.
It’s kind of ironic that I can recognize how I feel about this and yet at the same time I often am bemoaning OTHER nerds/geeks who question me for the same reasons. I don’t “look” the part and so get the same suspicions cast my way. Oh life, you do have such a funny way of making me eat humble pie when I’m dishing it out to others. Thanks.
Let’s bring this back to my frustration with people, non-geeks, who get things wrong about my interests. See when they get it wrong, I start to get sucked into this debate about whether I should smile and nod or actually explain what’s wrong with it. If this person is really showing an interest then I want to share with them and get to a place where we can geek out. If they aren’t then I know they are only going to find my annoyance at their incorrectness to be gross what a nerd-y just like the shock jocks on the radio. It angers me that these are the sort of people who will capitalize on my passions while still criticizing me for having them. The business that is superhero films for example, would not be nearly so successful without passionate people but we get criticized for those passions.
I don’t know if most of this makes any sense. I feel like I’ve just be-plum a total jumbled mess of contradictions. What I do know is that the thing that pisses me off most is when I get treated oddly for being attractive and a geek. What? A moderately cute girl who would otherwise be accepted by society would rather see Spiderman for the third time than Magic Mike? There must be something wrong with her psychologically. Seriously people ask me what happened in my childhood.
Hey those people: FRAK YOU.
For those who made it through this jumbled mess please enjoy this recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Flip Over Plum Cake. This cake is kind of like me I guess because it’s a weird mix of two very different things. It bakes like a cake, comes out looking like a cake but it has a surprising and delightful pudding texture. You’ll be unable to slice it and instead serve it up with a spoon. Warm is best, with some whipped cream especially delicious as the plums make the cake a little tart. Again, just like me. The plums will start out on top but the cake mixture will rise up and over take them, leaving flirty peeks of purple under a delicious melt-in-your-mouth dough. When I served this up my stepdad was ready to go back for thirds until I yelled at him about his blood sugar. Even then, I think he snuck an extra piece so be warned, it is super addictive.
Flip-Over Plum Cake
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
- 2 pounds ripe but firm plums, pitted
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 ground coriander
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Have at hand a 9-x-12-inch baking pan, prefarably Pyrex or porcelain.
Cut each plum into 4 to 6 pieces and toss into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, the cinnamon, ginger and coriander, stir the plums around and then let them sit, stirring from time to time, while you prepare the batter. They will give up some juice and a syrup will develop.
Put the butter in the baking pan and melt it in the oven, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
Give the batter a light whisking and pour it over the hot butter–it will probably set around the edges immediately. Scatter the plums over the batter and drizzle over whatever syrup has accumulated in the bowl.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the top is golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes, or let cool to room temperature.
Makes about 10 servings.
Bring the cake to the table in its baking pan–it’s way too soft and creamy to even think about unmolding–and serve it family-style.
The cake is best–and most like pudding–the day it is made, but it can be cooled, covered and refrigerated overnight. Served chilled it will be firmer but still delicious.