Nerd Badge

Via Jaquandor I find this list of 20 things every SF nerd must have (physically or emotionally): "Below is a little checklist of 20 Things Every Sci-Fi Nerd Should Own To Earn, physically as well as emotionally. If you 'own' at least twelve of these twenty things, you are entitled to your SCI-FI Nerd Badge."

Now, I have my Nerd Badge because I earned it, not because some arbitrary online list says I'm "entitled." And I earned it back in the days before the internet, back when you would get your ass kicked for saying you liked Transformers, back when you were lucky to find a single local comic book store, back before everything vaguely geeky was suddenly mainstream cool. I'm not bitter about it--hey, the more the merrier, and the more genre stuff being produced increases the chance of finding really good stuff instead of having to see Cyborg because it's one of the only science fiction movies coming out that year--but, come on, you don't tell me if I have a Nerd Badge, got it?

So, what do I own here?

1) Conan The Barbarian Soundtrack

I think this is probably the only one on here that I think is a really interesting, surprising choice. And yes, I do have this; I wore out my tape when I was just learning to drive, and then I bought the CD, which is expanded. Basil Poledouris's score is my favorite film music of all time. You can just sit and listen to this without the film and enjoy it as its own narrative, like a series of tone poems.

2) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

I do own this. I first read this in high school, in my Science Fiction Lit elective. I actually have a small number of Phillip K. Dick novels and a five-volume short story collection.

3) The Twilight Zone Collection

I do not own this, but I can watch it on Netflix streaming. I've been thinking of doing a re-watch of this one... well, it wouldn't all be a re-watch, but I've seen a great deal of it in my life. Maybe after I finally finish Enterprise...

4) The Original Star Wars Trilogy – WITHOUT ANY ADDED CRAP

Technically I don't and neither do you. For as much as the fandamentalists get all picky about what is and isn't the "original" experience of Star Wars, they seem to not notice the little changes made in the theatrical re-releases that occurred before they were made available on home video, or in, say, the 35mm and 70mm versions of The Empire Strikes Back, both released in 1980. Hell, when Star Wars was released, it didn't say "Episode IV: A New Hope." Didn't say that until 1981. Oh, wait... you say that the addition was made to give a uniform appearance to the series of films? Hmm... so in this case it's okay? I wonder what the difference is...

Seriously, I'm just so sick of the fantard whining. It's starting to get impossible to like these films again just because of the whining that's been associated with them. At what point did it become a virtue to harbor a lifelong hatred against a movie that failed to entertain you? Especially those of you old enough to know better? I fucking hated Avatar. Do you think I seethe with anger and betrayal every time that flick gets mentioned? No, because as wrong as my life has ever gone, it's never gone that wrong. I swear fanboys aren't happy unless they're bitching about Star Wars. It's been 29 years, get over Ewoks, already. And anyone my age who says they "always" hated the Ewoks is a poser.

By the way, have you seen all of the entitled fan whining over the new Kinect Star Wars game? It is truly hilarious, watching people cry over how George Lucas "dared" to have dance contests in the game, and how it kills the integrity of whatever boo hoo hoo wah wah. I think it's the best thing ever. I hope George Lucas does this to you idiots on purpose.

So yes, I own the "original" trilogy a few times over. I have the VHS boxed set that came out some time in the early 90s (a Christmas present), even though I can't watch it since we don't have a VCR anymore. I also have the widescreen THX-certified box set that came out right before the Special Editions were theatrically released. Although the THX sound might be added crap, who knows with you people.

5) A Profound Hatred for Star Trek Enterprise

Again, is it really a virtue to have a hatred for a TV show? I mean, either you liked it or you didn't or you had mixed feelings, but a "profound hatred"? Get over yourself! Not being entertained by something is not a character-defining trait. And if it is, it's a sign of lousy character.

Of course, I'm seeing Enterprise for the first time now, and there's a lot there that I like. I think the show doesn't live up to its potential because it falls back on creators who aren't very interested in doing anything new with it, but are instead milking a franchise, which is a shame. Missed opportunity. But I still feel more engaged than I did with Voyager, which is perhaps why the disappointing episodes are so disappointing.

6) The Lord of The Rings Extended Edition, The Soundtracks and all of the books

I echo Jaquandor: what does "all of the books" mean. I own LOTR, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion (and a couple of other non-Middle-earth Tolkien books). I have the theatrical DVDs and the Extended Edition DVDs (which I've been itching to watch again; it's been just long enough to really be wowed by them again), and the soundtrack CDs. These were actually the last film scores I rushed out to buy. Since then, I've not heard much that really moved me. I'm not one of those "Film music is dead!" people, but I just haven't heard a lot that I think are really, truly great.

Also, I have bunch of LOTR action figures.

I'm counting this one.

7) A Profound Sadness for the Way Battlestar Galactica Ended

I've yet to see BSG. There was a certain fan stridency that turned me off at the time, and before I did my DS9 watch, I (wrongly, as it turned out) blamed Ronald Moore for a lot of the crappiness that happened to Trek. Plus, it just looked too derivative of Farscape at a time when I had decided to no longer watch the Sci-Fi Channel for canceling Farscape. Ever since then, I've been wary of getting attached to SF shows. I didn't even watch the new Doctor Who until its first two seasons had aired.

8 ) A Passionately Favorite Version of the REAL Doctor Who

Is the revival series not the "real" Doctor Who? See, this is the kind of fandamentalist whining that makes it so hard to be a genre fan sometimes... The first Doctor Who I ever saw, incidentally, was the much-derided 1996 TV movie with Paul McGann. About the only useful thing my roommate at the time did was introduce me to the rest of the Doctor Who universe. I've honestly never been able to really settle on a favorite Doctor; Tom Baker is magical, and Peter Davison is wonderful, but Jon Pertwee is so dashing and fun, and I do love William Hartnell as the Doctor. There's no "one true Doctor" for me.

I'm not going to count myself on this one because the whole passionately strident about one specific thing hoo-har is the worst part of fandom.

9) A Fear That Will Smith Will Someday Star in The Movie Adaptation of Your Favorite Book

Meh. I don't like Will Smith--I'm pretty bloody sick of him--but I'm not one of those guys who gets all pissed off about a shitty movie being made from a book I like. So they made a shitty movie? Still have my book. Get over it.

10) Toys from Your Childhood That You Refuse To Part With

Sure. Hell, I still have a number of my original Star Wars figures. They're not preserved in amber anywhere, they're just in the bin with the toys that aren't on display. I also have my first Kermit the Frog stuffed toy, and a Winnie the Pooh doll from when I was an infant. I'm not passionately hoarding them, I've just never wanted to get rid of them.

I have a bunch of my old GI Joe figures, too. Kept the ones I wanted and dumped the rest.

11) The Belief that the Word Midichlorian Was Just from a Nightmare and NOT a real Star Wars Movie

Midichlorians don't bother me. Again, I agree with Jaquandor: what was the point of having them? I guess when Chancellor Palpatine explains how the midichlorians could be manipulated to result in the birth of a powerful Sith, they make sense. I didn't like how they made Jedi seem like a master race in the interim between Episodes I and III. But again, seriously, if this is still a passionate topic of debate with you 13 years later, get back on your meds.

12) The Original TRON Movie

I saw Tron when I was about 16 or 17. Caught it on television once and found it thoroughly boring (except for Cindy Morgan and the Wendy Carlos score). I've always thought I'd go back to it and check it out again, but after being thoroughly bored with Tron: Legacy (except for the Daft Punk score), I'm probably going to give it a pass.

13) An affection for the TV show Firefly

No, not in the least. I've tried to watch it and just didn't care for it at all. I feel that way about most of Joss Whedon's output, though I've got my fingers crossed for The Avengers.

14) A Hatred for Chris O’Donnell

I have no opinion of Chris O'Donnell. Batman Forever and Batman and Robin have so many other things wrong with them. And if you're going to pick on anyone's performance in Batman Forever, why Chris O'Donnell's? Everyone pretty much sucks in that stupid movie. Except for Michael Gough. And Ed Begley, Jr. He gave me the movie's one genuine laugh.

15) You Know Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics

Indeed! And I've also read a lot of Isaac Asimov, something that used to be a sign of being a geek before it became 97% about movies, television and comics...

16) You think Cheetara is HOT!

When I was 10, sure.

17) You Believe Aliens are our REAL Gods

I don't believe in aliens or gods. I believe in the probability of aliens.

18) You Have a Favorite Animated Cult Sci-Fi Movie

I'm not even sure what would count here. Heavy Metal's an okay movie. The Iron Giant is SF but hardly cult; I don't think there's a cult around Titan AE, either, although I think it's pretty underrated. Is the 1986 Transformers: The Movie a cult flick, because I love that movie.

Oh, I guess Starchaser: The Legend of Orin must count. I dig that movie. I have that on DVD.

19) You Blame Hot Rod for Optimus Prime’s Death

Well, he did get in the way, but it's really the fault of Hasbro for misjudging how much kids loved Optimus Prime. They had to undo the whole thing, anyway.

20) You DESPISE Michael Bay for Masturbating on your Childhood

Meh. There are lots of reasons to hate Michael Bay. I was disappointed in Transformers, but it's not like I couldn't pop the DVD of the 1986 flick into the DVD player if I wanted to revisit the characters. And as for what he said about the upcoming TMNT movie... who cares? They haven't made a good Ninja Turtles movie ever, it's not like I expect them to start now.

Even being generous, I put myself at eight. But since I think this is a pretty limited measure of a person's state of inner geek, it doesn't really bug me. What about those of us who grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons with a very small group of people because people made fun of you for playing it? What about being one of the first people in the neighborhood to even own a personal computer and play text adventure games on it? How about being part of a mailing group devoted to one particular fandom long before you could go on the internet and get lectured about Robert E. Howard by little punks? Have you ever driven to another state to buy used books because it was the only way you could get a copy of Phillip Jose Farmer's Tarzan Alive or find the really early issues of Cerebus or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

I don't know, the more I look at this, the more I'm kind of glad I don't have a lot of the superficial qualities that qualify me for this particular Nerd Badge. Being defined by your stupid disappointments is petty and makes you pretty boring and small. There's so much to enjoy in genre, why would you obsess over the things you don't like? Because you can't get over it?

Then why do I want to talk to you?