Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Purpose of Darkness

Despicable Me.  Army of Darkness.  Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Barbie and Friends. Can you tell what’s similar about those titles.

They all share a theme.  Evil.

Why is it that it seems like every modern teen tale tries to glorify “the dark side”?  Vampires, witches, barbies, zombie gore fests…has anyone else noticed that the word “bad” seems to pop up in book and movie titles with alarming frequency.  In fact, when was the last time you saw a true hero onscreen, instead of the omnipresent antihero.

Darkness exists in all story, albeit with the children’s ones getting off pretty easy.  It also exists in real life.  But should we glorify it, putting evil men up on a pedestal and saying, “Boy, I wish I could be like them.”  Or short of that, so much of evil is made out to look ‘cool’.  Whether through savage stylized violence or whatever other means, people walk away thinking how awesome it was.

Now I’m not saying that evil should be ignored in storytelling, but quite the contrary.  Darkness can and should be present in great story, but it should have a purpose, and only one purpose fits the bill.  The only real purpose of evil in life, and what should be the only purpose in storytelling, is in fact to glorify good.

Instead of making the good guy’s negative traits be the what you admire about his character, have his heroic qualities stand out instead, using the undesirable antics of his friends or enemies to help the reader (or viewer) realize just what really is so amazing about that character.

Please don’t ride me out of town if I mess up this quote, or cite the wrong source, but I believe it was Tolkien, probably in the Silmarillion, (or possibly Lewis, it’s been so long since I read it).   Paraphrased, what the author had written was, “Good will be better for evil having been.” That’s the whole purpose of darkness and evil in stories.  And in reality, that’s the reason God allowed evil to take over for a time.

Eden was perfect, it says that in the Bible.  But because Satan was allowed to be successful in tempting Adam and Eve, when heaven and earth are remade, we’re going to get something better! Better and more beautiful, fulfilling, and joyful than perfect!

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But Pity the Geek Who Falls: Part 3

(The following is the third and final part of a treatise on two semi-not-so-secret societies. Read at your own risk.)

Another point of controversy between these two factions is the types of jobs that they will possess as adults.  Since most people regard nerds and geeks as being practically the same thing, they would think that their jobs would be very similar.  Thankfully, they are not the ones writing the comparison essay, otherwise you would learn nothing at all.  Living theirs lives in practical seclusion, both of these species spend their entire childhood without being exposed to the various type of jobs in the world.  The main difference arises when the nerds, at the age of either fourteen or eight, decide to educate themselves about what they would like to do as adults, while geeks are just playing games on their Xbox. 

By the time that nerds start on their journey of having jobs, they have already been preparing for it for quite a long time, while the surprise of being thrust into the industrial world, usually stuns geeks for a few weeks before they are able to function properly again.  An additional aspect is that, for the most part, nerds tend to grow out of their own nerdiness  and become sometimes even slightly (well, almost) valuable citizens, but geeks tend to remain creepy geeks their entire lives. 

Because of this, you will find many more people with nerdiness in their background in the higher class jobs than geeks, considering most geeks tend to remain the creepy old janitor in the science building.  After all, who in their right mind would rather hire a creepy geek over a dashing nerd.

By using the methods of telling them apart, the ways girls treat them, and the jobs they possess is it quite easy to examine the ways in which the two societies of nerds and geeks are alike and unlike.  (It is also obvious that nerds live far better lives.)  However, it could also be said that nerds could not exist without geeks, and likewise for the geeks living without nerds. 

If there were no janitors, there would be no dashingly handsome scientists, and if there were no single society that girls could always  refuse to dance with, they would refuse to dance with anyone. Furthermore, if there were no weirdoes showing up in sci-fi costumes at conventions, it could be argued that the Star Wars movies would never have been made. 

Again, from the nerds point of view, if there were no dashingly handsome scientists making messes everywhere, there would be no need of janitors, and if there were no group that girls could use to regard themselves as having done their good deed for the day, they wouldn’t be able to chew up and spit out geeks as thoroughly as they do. 

It can clearly be seen that these two great societies would not exist without each other.  In light of that fact, a wise man once wrote, “If a nerd falls down, a geek may help him up, but pity the geek who falls and has no nerd to help him up.”

But Pity the Geek Who Falls: Part 2

(The following is the second part of a three part treatise on two semi-not-so-secret societies. Read at you own risk.)

In the same way, another comparison that might be drawn between nerds and geeks is the way that girls react to them.  While this might not seem an appropriate criteria, the study of this topic can prove minimally enlightening, making it far more worthwhile to the reader than say, listening to a political speech. 

Believing that nerds and geeks are both separate species altogether, (a belief held by many others within the higher authorities), females have consistently taken to seemingly unfathomable endeavors in order to avoid both of them, although even their methods can’t rid them completely of their presence. (Well, there was this one girl that blew up a nerd’s building complex, but let’s not talk about her.) 

When the occasion arises that a female happens to collide with one of the representatives of either of those kingdoms, her reactions may be foretold if one is aware whether the guy is a nerd or a geeks.  (There has been discussion on whether females are a separate species altogether, but let’s not talk about that either.) 

For example, when a nerd, who is at, say, a barn dance, goes up to a girl and asks her to dance, even if that girl is not known for kindness, there is an exceedingly small chance that she will refuse him, although when a geek tries the same thing, he will be chewed up and spat out. 

Why the difference?  Generally, nerds are known for being nice guys who just don’t fit in, so out of pity, (nothing else, believe me) the girl will accept, but as everyone knows geeks are creepy.  So while the feminine mind views each them with approximately the same amount of disgust, nerds do get the best of it in the end.

But Pity the Geek Who Falls: Part 1

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(The following is the first of a three part treatise on two semi-not-so-secret societies. Read at your own risk!)

For millennia two forces have always existed, shifting the path of history in numerous ways, each of them believing themselves better than their rival.  These forces are: nerds and geeks.  Until almost twenty years ago, nerds were looked down upon in disgust, while geeks were plain creepy. 

But now, with the most recent revelations of the mystical conundrum called human fads, nerds are looked upon with awe, as they dashingly stride down the hall, waving to each person right before they walk into a wall and knock their glasses off, although geeks are still creepy.  The mysteries surrounding these two societies, no, these two races, have never and will never be fully understood, with the complexities of their similarities and differences being too numerous to unfold. 

However, there are certain things, such as the characteristics you can use to tell them apart, the ways girls react to them and the jobs they will have as adults, that are quite useful to know if you ever want to study nerdology or geekematics.  But in the end, in spite of the any differences they might have, they are still eternally entwined and reliant on each other.

Using superb methods of observation and deduction, it has been revealed that it is in fact possible to tell the difference between these two secret societies.  While both nerds and geeks practically always have pale skin (from staying indoors), generally geeks have a much more pastel skin tone from being isolated in a dark basement with only a hi-tech, customized computer, because once in a while nerds have to actually go outside, if only to rent another book from the library. 

Another way of tell them apart is by facial hair and handicap equipment.  Behind every smiling face that glistens with glasses and braces, you can be sure that a nerd lies hidden, while most people who look as if they haven’t shaved for several weeks and who are sporting cybernetic limbs are probably geeks. 

Finally, the ultimate way to tell nerds and geeks apart is by the way that the two different species express themselves. But wait, you say, how can you tell who is who by how they talk? IDIOT! I’m not referencing how they talk! Stop interrupting and let me finish!  Anyway, the final, diabolical way of telling the difference between the realms of nerdiness and geekdom is to go to a convention such as Comic-Con. 

At these places, nerds, who are always dressed up in fanatically fabulous fantasy costumes, do not hesitate in making their presence known, while geeks always wear sci-fi costumes.  All of these methods have been tried and tested and have proven reliable about fifty percent of the time in identifying nerds from geeks, proving that these methods are a valuable commodity out there in the wide world. 

Two Guys on a Porch

Sven Hurtsalot and I were sitting out on his front porch a few days ago.  We were sipping iced root beer, tanning our feet (real men do that, right) and swapping accurate retellings of the good old days.  That is if the good old days had existed in the first place.

“Once I kissed a lizard,” he said after a long lull in the conversation.

“No you didn’t,” I said.

“Yes I did.”

“No you didn’t, that was my grandmother,” I told him.

“Oh.”

It was at that point that the quality of the conversation began to diminish.  As I poured my sparkling sarsaparilla down my guzzle, an odd sensation began to grip the ends of my toes.

“I get the feeling that bare feet outside during the winter is a bad idea,” I remarked after trying to figure out what that sensation was.

“I don’t know what you’re complaining about, the bears seem to love their feet,” Sven responded, one of his toes falling off and rolling down the porch.

I took another gulp.  The wind howled by, even as huge icicles began forming on the edge of our chairs.  Clearly, the Jamaican weatherman had got the forecast wrong.  Or was that forecast for Jamaica?

At that moment, Sven’s phone rang.

“Hello,” he answered.  “Yes.  What?  No…it can’t be.  Your uncle?  His brother?  Her third cousin twice removed?  Where?  I will.  Don’t worry, it’ll only take a little bit.  You’re welcome.  Never call me again.”

“What was that about?” I asked as he hung up, flinging his phone into the yard some 4 feet away for some reason.  I could never understand his stupidity.  Now he would have to go buy a new phone.

“The pizza place just called to say that our pizza delivery guy had an accident on the highway.  He suggested we take a moment of silence.”

“That’s too bad,” I said, musing over the brevity of life.

“I know, I wanted that pizza,” Sven grumbled.

“Should we go inside yet?”

“Nah, the Jamaican weather guy said it’s eighty degrees out here, we’re fine.”

“If you say so,” I said, proving my own stupidity by hanging out with this guy in the first place.

The end.