The Weekly Geek: A love-hate relationship with pop culture

Truly, one of the hallmarks of being a geek is being obsessed with something. Whether it’s Star Trek, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, freshwater ecology, Euclidian geometry or baseball statistics, it’s the tendency to pore over every detail that shifts someone from being an “enthusiast” to being a true “geek.”

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And out of this wonderful species of folks (we, the geeks), there are the pop culture obsessive’s — our geek brand of choice here at AfterEllen.com. And guess what? We may all be in an abusive relationship with our object of lust.

We have all the signs listed in this Io9 article, especially when it comes to lesbian-themed entertainment. We hear about a new queer woman in TV, a new lesbian character on TV, or a juicy tidbit about the dropping of an album by a favorite gay lady, and we’re hooked:

So that anticipation is stoked, fed like a coal fire. Posters begin to leak. Trailers pop up online. Authors do secret (or not-so-secret) readings. Bands slip a new song or two into a set. If managed well, that Anticipatory Surge can be all encompassing.

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The cycle has begun! It can progress into flat-out lust.

We, as an audience, are made — sometimes skillfully, sometimes hamfistedly — to fall in love with a Thing. And that love is pure, and urgent, and chaste because all we’ve seen of the Thing we’re in love with is a flash of lace, or a tensed forearm, or an unbuttoned button.

Then comes the Night with the Thing. When the anticipation is uncorked like a bottle of the good scotch in a bar that’s a little too hot. And then —

And then.

What do we do when our pop culture lets us down?

There goes Erica Hahn

When we get disappointed, it progresses to what Io9 writer Marc Bernardin calls: “Suck leads to blame — blame leads to cynicism.” Just check any internet message board, comments section, or local geek hangout, and see where that jaded cynicism leaves us.

It seems to me that we in the LGBT community are more susceptible to this abusive, love-hate pop culture geekery. “Our” media is often under-funded, and representations of us in the mainstream really run the gamut, so it makes sense that we get so attached.

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So what’s a smart, empowered geek to do? I have a few solutions. You can “take back” the story or character you love with a nice dose of fanfiction. You can get revenge on a crappy movie in a beloved franchise by brutally making fun of it. Best of all, you can come here and rant with other like-minded, queer pop-culture nerds.

So have at it, readers: What series/film/TV show/etc. has roped you into a love-hate relationship? It’s time to get even.

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