Monday, October 23, 2006

The Thin Line Between Geek and Nerd Pt. II

The Thin Line Between
Geek & Nerd
Part II

If you remember from Part 1, I've listed Stephen Colbert and Kevin Smith as archetype's of Hollywood Geeks. However, one the really stands out in the scene (and one that I consider a god amongst directors) that has acclaimed geek status is Quentin Tarantino. Wikipedia puts him in words a better way than I can:

"...well-known for his public persona as a motor-mouthed, geeky hipster with an encyclopedic knowledge of both popular and art-house cinema."

What makes him a geek? His encyclopedic mind - the fact that he can spit at any information about every single film made on Earth (Note: that is a hyperbole). What makes him a Geek and not a nerd is the fact that Tarantino is a his works aren't only meant for critics, but for subculturist and the mainstream folk as well. Now, the people in the "Mainstream" (People who enjoy Michael Bay movies, the Fast and the Furious, Frat Pack movies, anything with lots of explosions, guns, and cars, etc. Though, don't get me wrong - I enjoy Frat Pack movies and several Michael Bay movies as much as the next guy) value him and his movies because of the amount of violence in them (As to quote Dane Cook, "Everybody loves a little violence in their life."). However, subculturist enjoy his movies because of the many pop cultural references and influences in them. One prime example of this out of Tarantino's movies is Kill Bill Volume I & II. There are many East Asian fun facts throughout the movie that Quentin Tarantino can just sit down and point out in every minute of the movie. There are many examples, but to list a few:

- Hattori Hanzo is based on an old Japanese historical figure that has been depicted in many movies and television shows, and the man playing Hanzo, Sonny Chiba, took on the role of Hattori Hanzo in Japan's Kage no Gundan.

-The plot line of Kill Bill is also based around The Five Deadly Venoms, a Hong Kong Martial Arts cult film from '78.

-Pai Mei is also based off a Chinese historical figure, and the character has been featured in several old
Hong Kong martial arts movies as well; Gordon Liu, the man who took on the role of Pai Mei in Kill Bill II, had the honor of fighting Pai Mei in the movie Clan of the White Lotus.

- He's also portrays a scene similar to that of the opening of Samurai Fiction, with the lights turned off and the blue drop-off in the background.

- The yellow jump suit the Bride is wearing is the same one that Bruce Lee wore in his final movie, The Game of Death; the masks that the Crazy 88 wore are a nod to Bruce Lee's work in The Green Hornet

The point is - Quentin Tarantino is a geek himself. And a god.

I believe I've got my point across as to what geeks are: likable, social, bitchin', culturally refined intellectuals. As for nerds well, there aren't really any great examples. Why? Because a) You probably have never heard of them and b) Neither have I. (I'm still young and learning) And even the most famous nerds are only known within their own clique of nerds. For example, if I were to ask a hardcore Star Trekkie that Eugene Wesley Roddenberry is in the room same room as us - a true Trekkie would know that I'm lying (For the record I am not a Trekkie - could never get into it.). Heck, ask anybody who Erneste Gary Gygas is and they'd probaly have no idea. Of course, if the "anybody" did have a faint idea of who he is, he'd/she'd either be a) a very, very, very big nerd or b) have some knowledge of gaming history. (Gygas is the father of Dungeons and Dragons and modern role play, which has led to the basis of Role Playing Games, or RPGs) (Ladies and gentlemen, Exhibit D: I know actually know who Erneste Gary Gyas is) If somebody were to know this - how would this make them a nerd? Because nerds are socially inept. They obsess over these kind of stuff - and these kind of franchises are so big that it would take quite literally a lifetime in order to keep up - and it keeps growing, too. Just look at the comic book industry. There have different universes, different versions of a heroes, new teams, new look, new heroes, and the list goes on. Thanks to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby - they've started a whole generation of nerds/geeks. The only nerd that has really achieved any fame in pop culture is Bill Gates - but only because he's the richest man alive (Well, techinically second richest now - haha, poor bastard... pun intended). And heck, I'm not even so sure if one can consider him a nerd - he's somehow managed to mate, fornicate, and breed (Melinda Gates and three children). He's just good at what he does.

To sum it up: Geeks are intellectuals who can actually pull away from their hobbies and Geeky obsessions and go out - have a life, get some friends outside of the Geek clique, get some fresh air, can actually do a push-up, have some appeal, mate, know what's going on outside of their own little world, and actually socialize with the opposite sex. Nerds? Still living with their parents, either in a room or their basement, with bookshelves filled with fantasy and/or science fiction novels, playing D&D, with the internet as the only means of communcation with the outside world. As you're reading this they're eBaying for that Ultimate Star Wars collection set and putting their house up for mortgage... again. If they're more obsessed with getting the original VISOR that LeVar Burton on the set of Star Trek rather than getting with somebody of the opposite sex - then Houston, we've got a problem. That's what separates the Geeks from the Nerds: how far an obsession can take you. Would people be impressed with your collection of Star Wars paraphernalia or rather your knowledge of the series? Would you rather watch reruns of Star Trek all day long or actually get up and do something with your day? Or perhaps even your life?

Does an obsession consume your life - or do you take control of it?

With too much time on his hands, and too many things on his mind,
Henry "Pootie Chang" Pham

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