Geek Etiquette: Top Ten Lists

wesandersonSMLL

Like most geeks I love making top ten lists and reading other people’s “top tens”. Unfortunately I think that some of us nerds do a poor job with it, because they fall victim to the “Top Ten Overfill”.  This is where a geek loves a series so much that they fill their top ten list with superfluous information.  For instance if a lister likes Lord of the Rings that’s ok with me, but you don’t have to fill your entire list with all three movies.  If your top ten contains three movies from the same series you’re doing wrong.  Seriously.  Top ten lists are about this delicate balance of trying to include many things you like without filling them up with redundant information.  Nobody would like it if I put six Wes Anderson movies in a top ten list even if the list was “Top Ten movies with striking color palettes and French music”

I have a friend and I know his top 13 favorite movies by heart: 1-6 are the six Star Wars films (yes prequels too), 7-9 the three Lord of the Rings movies, and 10-13 the four Indiana Jones movies (yes this means he likes Crystal Skull more than any other non LotR, Star Wars, or Indy flick).

Now I know what you’re thinking.  Couldn’t he just say his number 1 is Star Wars, number 2 is Lord of the Rings,  number 3 is Indiana Jones, and then his number 4 is his 4th favorite movie (I believe it’s Braveheart, but I honestly can’t remember for sure because too much of my memory is spent trying to remember the order of his favorite Star Wars films).  It’s a good idea, but I don’t like that either.  Just pick one.  If I ask what’s your favorite movie and you say Star Wars,  I don’t know what to think.  Is Empire his favorite or does he like Speeder bikes and Ewoks of Return of the Jedi? So just say my favorite movie is Star Wars: A New Hope, it’s a specific answer but I can assume you like other Star Wars movies.  Once again, I’m not going to put six Wes Anderson movies in my Top Ten, but if I say Rushmore is my favorite movie, you can probably assume I like other Wes Anderson movies or at least I give you a follow up question.

“Do you like other Wes Anderson films?”

“Yes! I’ve really got a thing for rich color palettes and old songs I can’t sing along to!”

So next time I ask you what your favorite movie is and you say Star Wars, don’t be surprised if I answer with: “My favorite movie is Wes Anderson.”

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Geek Etiquette

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Tomorrow is May 4th, otherwise known as Star Wars day, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about some geek etiquette.

My fellow geeks, remember to cut down on superfluous statements when talking to others with the same interests as you.  For instance, the statement: “I like Star Wars, but you know, only the original trilogy,” contains some superfluous information.  When you mention that you like Star Wars, it is unnecessary to mention that you are not a fan of the prequels.  When you say that you like Star Wars, I automatically assume you mean that you are a fan of Episodes IV-VI and nothing else.  I am sick and tired of hearing geeks quickly noting that their fandom is corrupted out of fear that others might assume they like the obviously inferior parts of it.  From now on, just say, “I like Star Wars,” we’ll know what you mean.  The same goes for The Simpsons and Lost,  When you tell us that you like it, you don’t need to mention, “Only old school Simpsons, before it got lame,” or “Yeah, Lost was great, I mean, until the ending”.

I understand that some people like the first three Star Wars or the new seasons of The Simpsons, but they are they outliers and they should be the ones who have to specify.  For example: “I like The Simpsons, even the new ones!” or “I love Star Wars, ALL OF THEM, I am going to like the J.J. Abrams movies regardless, and given the chance I’d make out with Jar Jar on Endor.”

Easy right?

May the fourth be with you.

Pride and Prejudice: A Man’s Reading

Pride and Prejudice and Star Wars

For those of you who have met me, you probably know that I like doing some unusual things solely for the experience. This time it came in the form of reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. So why did I choose this book, one traditionally beloved by women? Well maybe that was the point. So many of the women that I interact with and find interesting and intelligent, adore this novel.  Maybe if I read it, I too would understand why it is so cherished.  And I suppose I’d be lying if I didn’t secretly hope that I would magically stumble upon the secret to becoming a modern day Mr. Darcy.

Let me start by saying that I liked the book. The story is much more than a romance wrapped up in cliches that I have hated time and time again.  There are some great characters throughout whose humor kept me interested throughout the tale, especially during some of the lengthier plot points.  Also, I found that the historical bits about society entertaining, it was interesting to see how much society had changed in dealing with relationships  (and also how much it hasn’t) and also Jane Austen’s satirical views on those customs. I believe the reason women who read this book love it is because they identify with Elizabeth and all want to find their own Mr. Darcy. The novel doesn’t really describe Lizzie making it easier for the reader to be able to imagine themselves as her.  I, however, couldn’t identify with Lizzie in the way most women do, in fact there wasn’t really any character I could identify with (I suppose there is Mr. Bennet, except I think I’d considering shooting myself if I ended up with someone like Mrs. Bennet). While I liked the book I don’t think I could ever get obsessed about it like some fans. After all I don’t have any plans to watch the movie, read any other Jane Austen novels, or consume any of these other 176 books about Pride and Prejudice (Abigail Reynolds is an author who has published eleven books, all of them based on the classic book).  

I should mention, the most enjoyable part of Pride and Prejudice was the actual reading of Pride and Prejudice. I’m talking about the discussions I’ve had with women about the story and which version of the film I should watch, the awkward part of those conversation when they tell me how hot Colin Firth is, and me having to explain to my male co-workers why I’m reading Pride and Prejudice and describing to them the intricate relationships while trying to appear that I don’t care about some “chick book.” I look forward to future conversations about it, and perhaps I will learn more about why women love Mr. Darcy so much and how to be more like him.  While the novel didn’t teach me how to become Mr. Darcy maybe it taught me how to find my Elizabeth (or Jane… she seemed pretty cool too).           

Schrödinger’s Greedo: Did Han Solo Really Shoot First?

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It’s amazing how often I hear people cry out that Han shot first.  I, of course, am referring to the classic scene from Star Wars in which Han Solo shoots the Bounty Hunter Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina. The “controversy” comes from the fact that originally in the 1977 version Han shoots Greedo in the famous scene, while in the re-release Greedo shoots first, misses, and Han responds by shooting the hired gun.  Any Star Wars fan can and will tell you that Han shoots first, and that it is important that this happens as it helps define the true spirit of Han Solo.  In fact, I’ve never heard ANYONE (except Lucas) ever seriously say that Greedo shot first.  Han shots first, plain and simple, we don’t need to ever bring it up again, but I propose a new theory.  In the latest release of Star Wars, I believe you have both versions of the movie included when you buy it.  In one universe Han shoots first, and in the latter Greedo.  I propose that we are stuck in a Schrödinger’s cat situation where simultaneously both versions are canon.  Maybe if we can accept this we won’t have to argue about this anymore and can get back to more important geek quandaries in our culture.  So next time you are asked “who shot first,” remember that you don’t have to answer because the answer is obvious… Han shot first

…but so did Greedo.