I’ve been pondering again. Contemplating that discord I experience within myself between my geek like tendencies and my guilt that perhaps my interests and fascinations only add to the frivolity of our North American culture.
I Twitter follow Jason O’ Mara of the science fiction television series “Terra Nova”. “Terra Nova” has finished its first and possibly last season. It’s a great apocalyptic story of a group of settlers and military going back 85 million years in time to save the human race from its self-destruction. While there is some violence (I don’t think you can get away from violence when there are dinosaurs involved) it’s a series which many families can enjoy together. I know my family certainly does and considering the fact I’ve a teenage son, and preteen daughter, there are not many programs that interest all of us enough to sit down and watch them together.
Over the last several weeks, it was brought to the attention of the Twitter world by Mr. O’Mara that the Fox network is seriously considering cancelling this program. I was one of the first fans to write, and tweet Fox with regard to my opinion on this impending decision. “Don’t pull a “Firefly” with this show” I wrote, “It has the potential to become the new “Lost”.” “Save Terra Nova” now has a petition with thousands of signatures, there is a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/SaveTerraNova and posts in several different languages and fans all over are sending plastic dinosaurs to Fox hopefully to demonstrate to the Dark Lords of Fox the worth of this program.
A few months ago Nathan Fillion, star of the current y running hit series “Castle” and beloved by scifi fans for his portrayal of Malcolm Reynolds in Joss Whedon’s “Firefly”, twittered an article regarding freedom of speech issue. Apparently, Professor James Miller of the University of Wisconsin-Stout was being forced to remove a poster from his door which referenced a “Firefly” quote and a picture of Nathan Fillion as Mal, who delivered the line. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111227/15534717208/how-firefly-fans-made-one-universitys-campus-safe-free-speech.shtml Author Neil Gaiman also alerted his Twitter followers to this violation of the First Amendment. “Firefly”fans everywhere cried out so loudly in outrage that eventually the University had to back down. As Neil Gaiman notes (paraphrasing here), you should never upset science fiction fans who feel their favorite show has been cancelled in an untimely way.
Why? Why do we get so passionate about these programs? Why are we so focused on these seemingly frivolous pursuits? Here in lies the crux of my internal struggle.
I can’t help but look at these incidences as examples of the power people have when they band together in a common cause. Just think what the world would be like if we could channel this Geek Power and apply it to environment issues, women’s rights, government corruption, poverty… the list goes on and on. As my friend and UU Minister, Ellen – Cooper Davis wrote to me in an online discussion we had on this topic “What if Firefly fans worked to dismantle oppression/empire instead of for the fictional version? What if Hunger Games fans worked to challenge injustice and exploitation instead of just obsessing over the fictional version?” What if Terra Nova fans worked just as hard to prevent environmental disaster as we do to prevent cancelation? Could we make a difference? If we could only get as passionate about the ozone layer as we do about the cancelation of our favorite shows, yes, I think we could. Geeks change the world, look at Jules Verne, Einstein, Gene Roddenberry… television’s first interracial kiss was on Star Trek.
Human beings are story tellers. We’ve been telling stories since our pal eolithic ancestors first began painting on cave walls. Druid story tellers were considered so powerful that it was thought they could magically curse you if they sang a story against you. Storytelling is perhaps the most important aspect of humanity to separate us from animals. Stories give us a form by which we pass our life experiences onto others, learning not only by instinct or by experience but by the knowledge of others through generations of experiences. These television programs and movies are our modern cultures’ way of sharing stories. George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Joss Whedon, James Cameron, and JK Rowling are our modern Bards, their heros are our modern Heracles , Finn McCool, King Arthur, Achillies, Cu Culchulain, and St George.
We need to allow the power of story to work in us, and then we need to actually go out and become that change in the world. Look at what we can do when we voice with one voice! No power in the ‘verse could stop us.
- Save Terra Nova Campaign of the Day (geeks.thedailywh.at)
- Shannon Learns Taylor’s Secret And Intentions For ‘Terra Nova’ (VIDEO) (aoltv.com)
- Morning Roundup: Neil Gaiman is Screaming. Why is Neil Gaiman Screaming? (tor.com)
- Embrace the Geek Within (geeky-girl.me)
- Episode Review: TERRA NOVA (“Instinct”) (mralphafreak.wordpress.com)