Yay! Fandom Friday is back! This time we’re going to explore five geeky expressions, only my friends would understand. To be fair, choosing only five geeky expressions is pretty hard since I use more than just five. Sometimes I forget who I have in front of me, and I speak in Greek to my friends. Because it was so hard to choose, I decided to feature those geeky expressions I use the most.
1. He’s such a Life-ruiner!
I know, I’m an evil creature: I write an expression and use a gif with another one. I won’t excuse my naughty behavior. When I say that some character is a life-ruiner is good, believe me. It’s true. It means that the character is so perfect that he ruins your life in the most amazing way. In fact, so much so, that you can end up with an ovaries explosion. It isn’t bad, but amazingly good. When someone is so perfect that ruins your life and makes your ovaries explode, it means that you fancy that person to the bone. [Whoever invented the explosion expression has my deepest respect. And nope, it has no puns.]
In this chapter of Geek Anthropology, we’re going to explore Geek Expressive Culture. How we interpret the world around us and how we share those views creates expressive culture. Said in other words, a worldview has established symbolic frameworks that highlights some experiences while downplaying others. A group might also share several worldviews, where one might be (or not), the dominant one.
Usually, expressive culture includes religion and the arts. But what about Geek Cultures? What can we find in Geekdom that can be defined as Expressive Culture?
Today is the World Anthropology Day, according to the American Anthropological Association (aka AAA). What better way to celebrate it than exploring the art of geek observation? Anthropologists observe what people do, why they do it, how they do it, and even when they do it. To explore a culture is to explore humanity. But can only anthropologists engage in the art of observation? Can we, as observed beings, also become the ones who observe?
Usually, the ones observing what’s going on are anthropologists. They watch, interact and take part into the object of study. But can we, as geeks, do the same? We have the idea that Anthropologists are either “Indiana Jones” or like dull academic creatures. However, we, geeks, can be anthropologists too.
Today I want to explore the art of embracing my Dark Side with villain archetypes. We have a tendency to love villains more than heroes. Although we think of ourselves wonderful people, some of us tend to root for the villains. Meanwhile, we talk all about positivity and try to be our best. However, we do have a dark side. How we manage it make us villains or heroes for the people around us.
In ancient times, people used mythology to explore their bright and dark sides. We can believe we’ve forgotten this stage in evolution, but we aren’t that different from our ancestors. The only difference is what archetypes we use. Instead of Hercules, we choose Superman. Our myths are found in pop culture, not in ancient books anymore.
So, when we are having a rough time, and we start thinking about a thousand ways to Hulk-smash someone, instead of thinking about unicorns, we would probably be thinking about Darth Vader and Loki. Let me explain.
“We are Groot” is a strong statement. The first movie of Guardians of the Galaxy presents us a plant as a Superhero: Groot. He spends most of the film stating “I am Groot.” However, by the end of it, he finally says “we are Groot.” It might look like a weak sentence but it hides a powerful feeling: that connection makes us better, regardless of who we are.
Think about the movie: an Earthling, a green humanoid assassin, an alien with few brains, a lab rat that talks, and a tree safe the Galaxy. And they do so as a team: through their connection to each other. These heroes couldn’t be more different from each other, and more diverse. They begin their quest openly hating each other, but they soon learn that those differences are but illusions.
Geek Anthropology is back! We’re going to explore the ins and outs of geek language. Humans rely on language as a means of communication. Most anthropologists tend to agree that language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols that we use to encode our experiences of the world.
The study of language from a cultural point isn’t new. Anthropologists have been geeking about language since the beginning since language is easy to observe and study in detail. It seems that all began with Sir William Jones (1746-94), who studied Sanskrit in India. He found out that Sanskrit had several similarities to classical Greek, Latin, and other modern European languages. And this was amazing since it pointed to a common origin.
Today in Geek Anthropology we’ll take a look at the definition of Geek Culture. But before that, we need to take a look at what culture might be. In simple terms, culture refers to learned sets of ideas and behaviors that we acquire as members of a particular society. During the early 20th century anthropologists defined differences based on biology. However, this was dangerous since stereotypes, prejudices and racism would kick in. Fortunately, an anthropologist called Franz Boas (1858-1942) influenced fellow anthropologists to take a look at anthropology from a different angle: culture. They would gather information about social learning differences instead of biological racial differences.
Geek Anthropology is for every fan interested in taking a look beyond what fandom offers. We can define anthropology as the study of human nature, human society, and the human past. Thus, we can define geek anthropology as the study of geek life, geek cultures, and the geek past. We can do it taking a look at what geeks do on a daily basis. Fandom is a good way to do so. But, we can also take a look at their creations. This includes comics, books, shows, and movies. In essence: pop culture.
Anthropologists tend to have a holistic view of the field, trying to fit together every single aspect of human life. Geek Anthropology would do the same but with all things geek.
Ghost in the Shell’s new trailer is out there. However, there is lots of controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson and the whitewashing of the movie. Naturally, Johansson just took the role because it’s awesome. Who wouldn’t like to be part of the film? However, Ghost in the Shell is famous Japanese anime. When Hollywood adapts Japanese anime, it does it in a very Western way. However, it might not be the correct one.
Whitewashing happens when white actors are cast in historically non-white character roles. It happens pretty often in Hollywood. Less often, we find color-blind casting. It occurs when non-white actors fill roles of characters that historically have been portrayed a white. (Remember Heimdal in Thor, played by Idris Elba; or Shield’s Nick Fury portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson). In all cases, people complain quite loudly.
Superhero fashion is mainly made by the Superheroes themselves; we can see them sewing their suits. This activity connects them with cosplayers, but, do we see Superheroes in the same light when they sew or construct their suits? For many years, sewing has been an activity attached to feminine roles. Thus, women have been seen as more suited to sewing than men have. That’s why we might see Spider-Man complaining about having to sew his own suit again and again in the comics. But, do we see all Superheroes under the same light? Has Cosplay changed our views on what gender roles are attached to sewing? Think about Spider-Man trying to make his suit, and then think about Ironman. What are the images that pop into your head? Who is cool? Who is having trouble and no choice but doing the sewing because no one must know who he is?
What is acceptable or unacceptable for male audiences has changed through time. Even if the number of male cosplayers has grown, we still have the act of sewing attached to a particular gender role. A needle and some cloth seem to dictate that a woman is involved in the activity while steel and computers seem to dictate that a man is to participate in that activity.