Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Anti-Valentine's Day Post

Let's start off by taking a look at today's edition of Newsarama...

I would like to draw your attention specifically to the description under "The Science of Jumper" headline. It's an obvious reference to Valentine's Day, the day set aside especially for lovers to express their feelings for one another. The suggestion is that, if you're looking at their site on February 14, there's a more than fair chance that you don't have anyone to celebrate Valentine's Day with. Or, at least, you're not celebrating the holiday, even if you do have someone. You're not a romantic person. You don't have a social life, you loser. You're going to die cold and alone without ever having known the touch of a woman.

A bit extreme towards the end there, but that's the connotation that comes to mind when one thinks of a comic book fan NOT celebrating today. The unhygienic, disheveled, overweight, socially awkward loner who's more at home basking the cold glow of a computer monitor in his mother's dark basement than anywhere else. Sure, Comic Book Guy is the stereotype, but can you honestly tell me that you've never met someone who looked and acted just like him? Odds are, you probably see someone like him every time you hit your Local Comic Shop or go to a convention.

Which is, of course, where my classic/infamous "Dudes vs. Chicks" posts came from.

But in those posts, I was intentionally being very snarky and trying to stir up a bit of trouble. I don't get that sense with the Newsarama line. It comes across sounding more casual and matter-of-fact. "What? You're a comic geek, aren't you? Obviously, you'll be sitting at home alone tonight."

(Side note: I'm speaking almost exclusively in terms of the U.S. It occurs to me that I have about zero knowledge of how romantic comic fans are believed to be in other countries, nor do I have any real understanding of how Valentine's Day is celebrated elsewhere. My apologies for my ego-centric approach to this particular topic.)

So, my question is: how valid an assumption is that? Is the general population of comic book fans and professionals any more or less romantically engaged than the body public? I mean, I think it's safe to assume that people who like comic books aren't exactly 100% with "mainstream" America in a lot respects and, speaking from anecdotal experience, they're largely a bit more socially awkward than most people. But does that necessarily translate to romantic isolation?

I happen to know quite a number of comic fans who have found that "someone special." Now maybe they don't celebrate Valentine's Day with chocolates and flowers. And maybe that "someone special" won't be there one year from now. But that's not my point. My point is that right here, right now, they have someone who cares for them. They have a romantic relationship with someone, and they're able (regardless of whether they do or not) to celebrate Valentine's Day.

(Another side note: Hey, Val! Do me a favor and smack Dave around if he doesn't do anything special for you tonight. He damn well better realize what a lucky bastard he is!)

If you're not able to celebrate with someone today, I wouldn't despair or let yourself feed into that foul stereotype. Finding someone you care about is an insanely difficult process, and it's not necessarily a permanent one. Even if you spend tonight dining with Chef Boyardee in front of your computer wishing that you didn't have to take the dog out, that's not to say you might not meet someone wonderful next weekend.

Believe it or not, that's how Life works. There's ups and downs for everyone, and just because The Simpsons portray comic fans in a generally negative light doesn't mean you have to live down to that image!

1 comment:

Joe Willy said...

Then again, after reading a few threads at Newsarama... you know, maybe they're right. Just kidding, of course ; )

It's kind of sad actually that in a day and age where nerds are actually sort of seen as cool in the media (looking at Chuck, Heroes, etc. it's hard not to think that geek is chic right now), they need to try to get cheaps laughs with a tired stereotype. It's like the people still telling 10 year old topical jokes (I noticed it when Republicans were still telling Clinton jokes when he'd been out of office for so long but given that his wife is running for President now you could at least argue that it is once again topical).