My good friend, Star Wars Fan, favorite barista, and all around social media hound Alyssa alerted me to this link about an upcoming TV show via Facebook:
It’s… get this… a TV show…. ala reality way (from the producers of none other than Survivor and Amazing Race mind you) about… nerds. More specifically… the search for the “King Of The Nerds” if the title of the show has anything to say about it. You know the pitch. A hip group of well put together kids (because you can’t be too old now can you?)most likely with blocky glasses and sweater vests to rival Kanye West will compete for the title by way of various trials and challenges made to test their “nerd” mettle. Whatever that means.
How do you know it’s legit? Why they say “nerd” 16 times in this press release and “geek” 3 times for good measure, so you know they mean business. They tell you that if you are passionate in things like sci fi or gaming, or even things like learning or books, you should probably hurry up and apply. No worries about your image kids, like the pocket protector graphic says in the website “Geek is the new cool”.
Tell me Mr. Big Shot producers… why is it that if I like Star Wars or Star Trek…. If I like D&D or Comic Books…. or even if I’ve been to Burning Man ( You lost me on that one there Richie Rich) tell me why if I like or am passionate about something other than the typical top 40 music listening, get-all my-news- from- TMZ, go- see- a- movie- forget- about- the- book sheep of America I am a nerd and should be classified as different, and then not only be classified, I should hurry up to compete with the other people you exploit for your cash prizes?
Oh wait… I forgot… Your contest promises not to poke fun right? It promises to celebrate the nerd. Why you even have washed up movie stars from the 80s judging the show so I should take your hip credentials even more serious.
Yeah dude… you just don’t get it.
I guess it’s hard to explain. I keep taking you guys back in this blog. Back to when I was a kid. Back to when I was learning about the way things are “supposed to be” and how I was told to just “do what you’re told”. I sometimes look at our moniker and see the words “nerd culture” and sometimes when I talk to publicists and interview subjects and we pitch the cast, the word “nerd culture” pops up alot. I’ve written about it before. It’s confusing because when I was growing up, there was no such thing. It was simply a kid liking what he liked. There was no tumblr or pintrest. No facebook or flickr, or even blogs back then. So liking something different was really a labor of love. Playing a tabletop game like D&D meant no girlfriends could be around. If they saw, you’d likely be dateless for awhile, Star Wars was like practicing religion in a communist state, and comic books were the icing on the cake. Being a “nerd wasn’t cool. You weren’t getting invited to parties. But you liked what you liked, you lived what you loved, and if you were lucky, you made friends.
That was and is a lifestyle for me. Going out and sticking to our guns trying new music, having courage to tell dead celebrity jokes and going against the norm especially when it is tasteless and bad form is what we do. I know it’s hard for some to understand. And maybe that makes me crotchety or not with it. Maybe that’s why people over 30 can’t audition. But let me just say, that this website isn’t fooling this dinosaur. Please don’t act like you are trying to celebrate a genre that is “ascending” and “misunderstood” It doesn’t take a Mensa member to see the numbers of superhero movies and CNN updates from comic con to know what you’re up to. The only thing you want to celebrate is your future pay day off this show, and you don’t care who you step on to get it.
A few weeks ago, I put up a blog about 30 days of Night creator Steve Niles, Halo-8′s Matt Pizzolo, and Bad Religion guitatist Brett Gurewitz banding together and forming their own comic book studio to help out indie comics. As it comes to fruition, it has been in the news more lately.
I applaud the effort. While I love the comic books I grew up with, the grown up in me also loves the way comic books work as an art form. I have written about the power of the written word before. As a kid in high school, angry at the establishment and the fact I would get edited too quickly in my school newspaper, zines spoke to me, and when I started my own zine and began distributing them at shows, that was even better. Here were my words, my thoughts, my rants, and my dangerous young and growing mind on display for anyone at the local punk rock show to pick up and read.
Indie comics are pretty much the same thing. We go to events like Staple! in Austin Texas every year just to meet up and coming indie comic makers. Some of them will never see a print run of more than a few hundred, but the stories they hold are much more than the standard fare. Here are the true story tellers. The one taking chances. The people who will give you a comic that can make you think, laugh and cry. I’ve seen it. I’ve read it.
And yet… they may never get a chance to distribute their labors of love. For most, it will not matter. One does not create to make money. One creates to put something into the world. It’s inside them. It cannot be fought. So I personally welcome Black Mask Studios. I hope they really make the waves they need to make. I hope it takes off better than Image did in the 90s. I think that it can.
It’s interesting that this is being done with a punk rock DIY ethic, and that it takes these awesome people involved to make headlines when indie comics have been around as long as mainstream. But hey… welcome to the party.
“We share that DIY approach; everything I know about business I learned in the New York hardcore scene,” he explained. “We designed the company to be more creator-friendly than the majors, but less winner-take-all than the indies. We want to build a coalition where everyone can do their own thing but interests are aligned so we’re all in it together.”- Pizzolo in an interview with Wired
“Dear Tumblr, We have decided to cancel FALLBRAWL from the FIRESTORM FEST 2012lineup. The music video for their song “Can you dig it” explicitly show that they have an opposite view on feminism and women’s rights than us. We don’t want to support such behavior in our scene and therefor we had to take action. We understand that some of you wanted to see FALLBRAWL, therefor we are truly sorry for the inconvenience. Please reblog this and spread the awareness that issues like this still exist in the hardcore community and that you should not be silent (but this does not mean that you should use violence). Talk with the bands, put pressure on the promotor, gather your friends, whatever small thing you can do. If you have any questions/issue with our decision, please write us an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or talk with us during a show. Kind regards, Stockholm Straight Edge”The band responded with a post on their Facebook:
“Everybody should know that you cannot get any conclusion of how we treat women and how we think about their rights cause of our video. We had a really good time at the shooting and the girls ,too. We wanted to do something new in this scene without giving a fuck about any SCENERULES and the outcome is musicvideo with sexy girls. Not more not less. In the Year 2012 everybody should know that women and men are equal. But it shows how intollerant some people are. Everybody loves to see beautiful people of the other gender ( or the same) cause its in our nature. We even think that this behaviour makes it even more hard for women who outlive what they like to fit in society. Everybody should do what she/he feels like and if you would rate this video it would be FSk 16 or even below cause you cannot see anything there. TREAT YOUR GIRLS GOOD GUYS CAUSE THEY ARE THE BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL WE HAVE ON EARTH! We even ask ourselves if the promoters are in the right position to offend us cause they have a burning church on their flyer where we got kicked from. This puts down a whole religion and reminds of warscenarios. Is this how to treat people who are not the same? We dont want to point with the finger on someone but we didn’t started it. Fuck intollerance!!! Peace”This is the flyer the band was talking about, in the season of fairness before I weigh in on the situation, it turns out to be the city’s city hall, and apparently the reason why everything is burning is the night of the fest is something called “Walpurgis Night” in which it is a tradition to light bonfires. (Personally they would’ve sounded tougher if they didn’t apologize for a burning city hall but whatever) So here’s what I think (and let’s be honest that’s the reason you read this blog) Do I think that Fallbrawl could have shot a better video? Yes, of course I do. I think it’s a little to “bro” and “fratboyish” for me… but that’s my personal opinion. When I was your age sceney-beanies, hardcore was bands like Black Flag, Gang Green, Verbal Abuse, Minor Threat, Jerry’s Kids, Bad Brains, etc. You see what I did there? I mixed in a bunch of bands with different backgrounds and belief systems. Stay with me kids, because that’s the point. So to answer one question, do I think that Fallbrawl made a great video? Nope not really. It looks well shot and all like it cost some bucks to make, but if I was going to make a music video, I would put a little more depth into my video about not giving a flying fuck to better use. But I also wouldn’t write a song like “Can You dig It” because it’s not my musical bag, I mean, the hardcore I grew up with is different. Nowadays… it’s just called “old punk”. I don’t really get off to it, it’s my opinion, and makes no point in what I am going to say next. I agree 100% with Fallbrawl. This isn’t about Feminism or Women’s Rights here, it’s about a band’s self expression and the right to make the video they want to make. I love the idea of getting away from “scene rules”. The punk rock genre (and by default hardcore) was started with a DIY ethic that this podcast adheres to. Everything we do here is made with our hands, or from our contributors, as a result, we let them have banners on our site and blogs to push their thoughts and what they think is important. See what we did here is build a community. Dean, who doesn’t like punk rock at all, comes every weekend to record with us because he likes the experience of the podcast, drinking some drinks and lively debate. M-dawg is strongly focused on video games and pop culture, so he focuses on that, Brea works on tech stuff pushing local and DIY art, and I just rant on how things are better when I’m right. Scene rules are for kids who are playing adult. If you don’t like something, then move on to something you do like. But I will say this Stockholm SxE , obviously there is a reason you liked this band to begin with or you would not have booked them. In our podcast we play with bands and interview artists who have opinions and viewpoints different from us. It’s not unccomon for us to play a total liberal left wing punk band then follow it up with an outlaw cowpunk song. We’ve interviewed a Christian Metalcore band then a few weeks later interviewed a film maker who made a movie about killing his cheating girlfriend with a gun-dildo (yes really) mid coitus and surprise… the two entities are shooting a music video together… You see kids… We’re all about bridging the gap here. Underground music is supposed to remind us of what rock and roll used to be like. It’s supposed to be dangerous, it’s supposed to be raw and real. It can’t be “tough but not too tough to offend someone” You have to let that run it’s course. It doesn’t matter what you do, someone is not going to be pleased. I hate to be the one to break it to the world. But the world is not fair. There are bigger things to worry about than accusing a band for not having the same views as you. (I’m pretty sure you have booked bands that drink, just saying). And I will also let you in on a secret. I know some strippers here in Texas. They are good people. And I also know that not one of them does it because they are forced by society to do it. I know that some of them dance on weekends when they want extra money. These girls have told me secrets on how they spot a person who would be easily convinced to spend lots of money on them, and they have these great stories about their roommate skipping on the lease and how they are “all alone with no bills to pay”. I’m just saying there is a sucker born every minute and based on the people I know, I think these girls have the ultimate form of empowerment. So unless it’s different in Sweden like a trafficking business, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I don’t think the women in Fallbrawl’s video minded being in a video at all. I for one, would love to interview Fallbrawl. Maybe I can make that happen. As for the promoters, They are known as an entity called “Stockholm Straight Edge”. I don’t have a problem with Straight Edge kids at all. I have a lot of friends who were straight edge, and even one or two that stayed true to it when they hit their thirties. The thing I think about my older straight edge friends is that they can all agree that the movement they believed in has changed. There is nothing wrong with committing yourself to a drug free lifestyle, more for me I say, I just think people need to lighten up about everything. There are a lot of “ism’s” in the world for people to rally around or rally against, (“racism” “feminism” “class ism” etc.) People accuse people of all sorts of things when they see something they don’t like or that they don’t understand. It’s very easy to join the bandwagon and stay on the safe side of the street the moment someone accuses someone else of being “insensitive”. Hell, I’m sure we are seen in that light because we have never been politically correct or shy about our stances with slacktivists, sheep, or anything else for that matter. And that’s our right. And Stockholm Straight Edge, if you don’t want a band at your show, well… that’s your right too. I don’t question your actions, I question if you forgot to take the hanger off before you put your hoodie on because you’re so stiff maybe you need to loosen up. MUSIC IS AN ART, censorship is worse than any video this band could have done because when you start denying a band or chastising an artist for their contribution to the free world, you hinder and dilute the message of what it is whether you agree with it or not. You know, there is a condition called “Stockholm Syndrome” (seriously look it up) that actually got it’s name from Stockholm Sweden. It’s where victims end up emotionally attached to their captors. The original case came from a bank robbery in that area where the captors actually defended the bank robbers on trial after they were freed from a six day ordeal. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a hostage situation, but I think maybe you’re being held hostage by your own scene, it’s just a thought and a funny similarity to me. Then I see your picture on your tumblr page and it makes sense… Look how cute you are! You’re a bunch of fresh faced kids. You really have no idea of the things I’ve told you because you have not lived them, you have only read about them on things like the internet. You’re more obsessed with wearing your hoodie and bright colors and hipster glasses, the concept of the seedy rock and roll lifestyle that I grew up with is lost. I’m sure you all can’t wait until you get those really cool tattoos to show the world you mean business. I guess people like me are dying out and people like you really are taking over. That makes my podcast more important than ever. Stockholm Straight Edge pictured below (from their tumblr page) No one was offended in the shooting of this picture. Hardy har har