A few years back Utah was determined to be the nerdiest state in America based on Facebook posts and their contents. I live approximately a 4 minute walk from ground zero of the Salt Lake Comic-con and I’ll testify. Not like at the big churchy building across the street, where I’m not allowed to do that. Anyways, off-topic. I’m rambling.
My point is everywhere else I have visited or lived I am considered a hardcore nerd. I know many people here who believe the same thing. But those are people who don’t know the other people I know here. The real nerds. The ones who argued when the list came out that the nerd criteria and method of data gathering lacked empirical validity. The ones who model what commitment, enthusiasm, creativity and camaraderie can accomplish. And the alphas of those nerds are the cosplayers. The hundreds of hours that go into a costume are truly mind boggling. Not to mention the positive self image. I can’t even get away from using facebook avatars that look like this:
So I will never understand those that laugh at these grownups playing dress up. They must not be not aware of groups like Heroic, who perform good deeds for charity and delight children and adults throughout Utah as the walking avatars of beloved fictional characters. Or the Mandalorian Mercs– an international group of Star Wars cosplayers who perform charity for underprivileged families while counterintuitively dressing as bounty hunters. (Side note- this is where I display my casual rather than deeply embedded nerddom by admitting that I don’t know if all Mandalorians are bounty hunters or if I’m racially profiling. If this is the case, I apologize for my insensitivity #notallmandalorians)
I’m not sure if it was evident before, so let me state explicitly that I do in fact have a point. Back during SLC Nerd in 2013 someone took a truly epic pic of Batman of Heroic riding off with a Mandalorian from the Krayt clan. It was a great pic, but the background was asphalt. Boring asphalt. So I made it into this: It just felt better. I’d like to do it again. If this is the sort of thing you’d like to see more of, I’d like to invite all of our cosplay heroes to send me anything you have that you just know could be epic with a push. I can’t promise to get to everything, but once or twice a week at least I’d like to share these inspirational moments. And a big shout out to our heroes above for their kind permission in letting me put this out there.
There’s a wonderful word among our Jewish friends that refers to someone that would give you the shirt off their back. Or drive you to an abyss even if it was way out of their way. That person is a mensch. It basically means not a saint, but a stand-up kind of guy.
Then there are the ubermensch, brought to us by wacky funster Friedrich Nietzsche (as in Nietzsche is Peachy! – little known slogan for his overlooked run for Kiwanis Treasurer in 1892). An ubermensch is beyond human, above human- “better than you” is the shorthand.
Whether Nietzsche intended it or not, the Ubermensch concept was seized upon by white supremacists and eugenics advocates. Some pretty awful things were based upon this concept in the 1930s. That’s right, I’m talking about Action Comics and that Superman guy. I think there was some other stuff too, but the specifics evade me at the moment.
We’ve come to expect a high degree of invulnerability and strength from our leaders that’s not to be found among real people. But if you actually run across someone that has those qualities to the degree of which we demand, is superdickery.com not the inevitable result? To be better than human is to be inhuman. I can’t speak for all of you, but I can use all the empathy I can get.
I feel this to be a particularly timely message especially to my American friends as we have an election coming up soon. You may have heard something about it in the news. Now I’m not saying either ticket or party represents this:
But I do believe there is a ticket that represents this:
I’m begging you, my fellow humanists, let’s not let 2016 be the Rise of the Supermen. Let’s make this the Year of the Mensch.
In the Marvel Universe there’s a character known as the Watcher. It’s his job to y’know… watch things. Think of him as a peeping Tom with the entire solar system as the bathroom (I know there are plenty of other ways in which you can envision reality as a toilet, but let’s not depress ourselves).
The Watcher is someone who is, above all else, supposed to watch and not get involved. See, he has this Prime Directive that he can’t interfere with developing cultures. Wait…. that’s Star Trek. I’m always confusing the Watcher with Jean-Luc Picard. But still… you get the gist.
Here’s the thing though, the Watcher is about as faithful to his guiding principle as a Star Fleet officer three days removed from his Kobayashi Maru (boy, these genre mash-ups are fun!), and that has a tendency to get him in a lot of trouble with his people. His problem, as I see it, was that he felt too clever by hiding in plain sight. The Watcher lives on the moon, which even mortal man can get to with rockets, to say nothing of reality bending smarty pants like Dr. Strange.
If the Watcher hid in the Sun instead, all his problems could have been averted. You look at people from the one place they literally can’t look at and you’re safe as long as men have retinas.
Some time ago, my good friend Ben- who is a genius and my biggest fan that’s not my mom (hi Ben!) had an idea that I still feel was eons ahead of it’s time: The Large Hadron Collider Joke Facebook page. I was lucky enough to be a part of that and it sparked my interest in the large hadron collider in Geneva.
Before anyone calls out my ignorance, I do know that the collider is what’s large and that the hadrons are in fact subatomic. But that’s what makes a joke a joke. The idea of Godzilla Higgs-Boson eating Switzerland and then the world cracks me up.
Why do I bring this up now? Because the big news this week is that our friendly neighbors to the North (unless you’re in Alaska, in which case it’s the friendly neighbors to the South…. Oh and Hawaii I guess makes them…. You know what? Let’s call them Canadians) have a theory that there are alternate two dimensional universes lying one on top of another and microscopically separated. These theoretical universes are known as branes (or in zombie universe: BRRAAAANNNESSSSSS!!!!) and it’s possible that Black Holes may be doorways to these dimensions.
This is big news to us for two reasons. One, because it means that DISNEY WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG and we can finally bring Hans Reinhardt home. Second, we may in fact be Universe 616.
This leads me to one inescapable conclusion: The Large Hadron Collider is going to be used to prove that God is, in fact, the disembodied frozen head of Walt Disney, running the omniverse from an underground bunker deep in the hills of Anaheim. God has one prophet, and Stan Lee is his name. There’s a reason why Disney acquired Marvel on it’s way to acquiring everything else. (Side theory:Michael Eisner is Galactus -think about it). All the public figures that are making our lives so… huh? are in fact animatronic next gen Disney cyborgs that are paving the way for us to want to move a universe over.
… I am of course open to alternate theories.