Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Crying over movie trailers.

Coming to terms with a silly emotional reaction

I cried about a movie trailer today. This is because I am a nerd. I always have been, but for a long time, I didn't want to be. Now, I am okay with it.

I suppose it was around 2009 when I was really contemplating life due to a job loss that I realized that I wasn't really an academic. My academic credentials, positions, and publications were just a side effect of something that was true of me at a core level.

I am a geek, a dweeb, and a nerd.

I am a computer building, D&D playing, fantasy book reading, bad poetry scribbling, html coding, weirdo.

I'm not a hacker or programmer, but I know when movies consulted with real hackers. And I can write html, a little Java, a little Python. I can definately read your code and tell what you're trying to do. If it's not working though, I can't always tell you why. One time a real programmer and hacker told me I was a "power user." I liked that term. I've built computers and rebuilt broken ones. It's fun.

I'm not a scientist. I am sooo not a scientist. How many times did I take zoology in college before just deciding that I could live with a "D" because "A's" in other subjects made up for it? I am thinking at least four times. On the other hand, one of those "A's" was in physics, but whatever. I am no scientist, but I love the pop science articles. I can easily get caught up in an Ars Technica article about string theory.

I also love pseudo-science. I think most of it is bunk, but if you are a serious flat-earther, I will listen to you rant all day. I'll think you're nuts, but I'll listen. You might even think I agree. I won't, but I will be fascinated by how you think everything will work if the world were flat. Anti-vaxers, biorhythms, reiki healing, astral projection, chem-trails. I'll think you're nuts, but I will love to hear about it.

Partly, I love it because I love science fiction. This new Star Trek series, Discovery, I'm going to wait until it hits Netflix or Prime, but I've watched every episode of every Star Trek series so far and read a lot of the books. I wouldn't call myself a Trekkie or Trekker (but I know the difference), because that is too specialized a nerd. I am more of a general nerd. Besides I like Star Wars better, which disqualifies me immediately from being a Trekkie or Trekker.

The reason I like Star Wars better is because of the Force. The Force is magic. Oh, it's got this whole philosophical Platonic Buddhist thing going on, but no one really gets it. Every magical system in every fantasy universe has some kind of philosophy behind it. I think that's part of why I love fantasy. I like it better than science fiction. I almost feel like science fiction is fantasy cheats because in most science fiction if you ask "why does magic work in your world?" the answer is "it's not magic, it's science, just science that we don't understand yet." There''s no question as to why it would work in an ontological sense, the way there has to be in good fantasy.

Of course, it wasn't really magic that got me into fantasy. It was dragons. Oh, my, goodness, I love dragons. Why? Because. They. Breathe. Fire. Not all of them do, of course. In the D&D worlds including Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms dragons can breathe all kinds of things: ice, sleeping gas, lightening, acid, etc. But even there, by far the most powerful dragon breathes fire. If you don't get why that is amazing, I just can't explain it to you.

As a junior higher, especially, my notebook was filled with pages and pages and pages of attempts to draw dragons. There were also a lot of attempts at elves, especially elf girls/women. The main reason for this is that elves are beautiful. That's the whole point of them really. Women are also beautiful. They're kind of magic too. They don't breath fire, but they make babies which is even weirder if you think about it. What's more, men's part in that process is kind of interesting too. So, I'd try to draw them. I am not a very good artist, especially in the visual arts. Still, I draw all the time. I still try for dragons and elf-chicks, but mostly I do weird patterns, kind of like zen-tangles, or mandalas or something.

I like to think I'm better at written arts. I write bad blogs, like this one, academic articles in rhetoric and media ecology, poems (meter and rhyme, mostly and mostly sonnets), and science fiction and fantasy stories. The only things I've really had published were the academic works. I get paid to do that. Not directly, it's just part of my job to do it, so I do. Still, I love to write. I love to play with ideas in a way that you can't play with them any other way. I love to explore my own mind. Nerds are kind of narcissistic sometimes. I am most narcissistic in my writing. I love to sit and read what I've written.

I'm not saying it's good. Maybe it just feels magic to me. Dragons breathe fire. Women make babies. I make words. It is my best super power.

And I find super powers fascinating. I was the generation that Marvel tried to bring back with their Secret Wars series that was coupled with a toy line through Mattel and other various pre-teen marketed tie-ins in the 1980's. It worked. Most people grew out of it. I did. I stopped reading comics in high-school and don''t think I read one in college. When I got to grad-school, however, and especially in the PhD. program, however, so much of the reading was so heavy and my program had a lot of critical theory in it, which I find depressing. Somehow, I found my way back to comic books then, especially what are called "trades" which are graphic novels created from putting a bunch of comic books together.

Sometimes, you just need to see the bad guys get their faces smashed in. Especially when you're hip-deep in Derrida and Foucault and realizing you might be the bad guy, you''ve got to kill it. It actually makes a lot of sense if you look at the rhetorical concept of catharsis, especially the way Kenneth Burke theorizes it, but Aristotle too. The idea is that you need to identify with the evil inside you and see it smashed. Comics fulfill that need for me.

So do video games which I also picked back up in grad school after a near-decade hiatus.What happened was my little brothers were playing Final Fantasy 10 (FFX) one Christmas when  I came home. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. It was also magical and technological and all these other things I love. Last time I really looked at video games, it had been Super Mario Brothers, which was cool, but not like this. I took out extra on my student loans when I got home (to school) and bought a PS2 and FFX. I still mostly play PS2 games. There is too much downloadable content in more recent games. It makes them frustrating to me. I want the whole game when I buy a game.

All of this is just to say, I'm a nerd. Among my other nerdy characteristics is that I have really developed a love for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It brings a lot of my loves together. The comic universe is huge, and I really can't keep track of it all. The MCU, however has 17 movies and a dozen TV shows. I love it.

Today I saw the trailer for the new Avengers movie in the MCU. At the end of the trailer, I cried. It's not the first time I cried for a trailer. Star Wars trailers have done it to me too. I'll post the trailer here.

Now, I'll admit, the holidays are all around me. The end of the semester is hard on professors, emotionally. I've been having weird complicated dreams that I think have spiritual aspects that I am not up for. Our church is experiencing massive growth and change, which is good, but destabilizing. I probably just needed to cry and the trailer gave me cause.

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