I’ve been hoping and praying almost every day for past few years that this cottage industry built around flattering and pandering to “nerds” (whatever the hell that even means anymore) would finally start to die, but it hasn’t slowed at all. Can we at least hope that it’s peaked? If it hasn’t jumped the shark yet, here’s to hoping that “The Geekies” will finally do it.
The no doubt entirely corporate underwritten “awards show” dedicated to “celebrating independent creators, artists and filmmakers in the ‘geek genre'” presented Marvel’s Stan Lee with a lifetime achievement award at a ceremony this week. It must’ve been important, because it had its own promoted hashtag. Other honorees included Nathan Fillion, the Mars Rover team, and blah blah blah comic books. Lee added a decorative Geekie ray gun to previous lifetime achievement awards he’s received from the Visual Effects Society, The Harvey Awards, The Jules Verne Awards, The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, The Savannah Film Festival, The Burbank International Children’s Festival, and the cameos he gets in the four Marvel movies they release every year now.
The 90-year-old Lee even sang a song for this one:
To the tune of “Yankee Doodle,” Lee sang:
“Let us praise those who are geeks / And pity those who aren’t. / We’re a very special clique. / All else is just abhorrent. / Only geeks know what is in – / That’s why we’re so admired. / You could hear geeks speak all day / And never once be tired. / That’s why I’m so proud tonight, / Because I’m with my peers. / All of those who aren’t geeks / Are crying in their beers. / So here’s a toast to all things geek, / So hip, so in, so clever. / My heart is filled, I can’t speak, / But I’ll be geek forever!”
“I still have no idea what a geek is, but I’m glad to be one. All I can say, and it comes from the heart, is excelsior!” [LA Times]
Stan Lee is lovable enough, and he looks great for a guy who’s 90, but mother of God, get a load of the introduction speech he gets from Seth Green.
I’ve transcribed it:
GREEN: I’m here to present the first ever Geekie Lifetime Achievement Award to a man whose work has inspired, either directly or indirectly, everyone in this room. The very first comic book I ever read was the Fantastic Four, when I was a kid. It changed my life, by introducing me to characters who quickly became much more than drawings on a page. They were… like my friends, guys. And that was only the beginning. Soon after I became fanatical about all the characters, Iron Man, Hulk, the X-Men and especially Spider-Man. I was completely and totally captivated by the heroes that lived in the Marvel Universe. So I owe a lifetime’s worth of gratitude to a man whose extraordinary imagination built that universe, Mr. Stan Lee.
Stan Lee is the ultimate geek-maker. He turned me, he turned you, and millions of fathers, sons, mothers and daughters into geeks like us. And for that we couldn’t be more grateful. He was able to do this because his characters resonated with readers. No matter what their age was. Ordinary people called upon to do extraordinary things, with super human abilities, but heroes who were flawed, just like us. They were misunderstood outcasts with problems you could relate to. So sure, Spider-Man had to deal with a symbiote from space, a man made of sand [...] but he also had girl problems. And I loved seeing that because I could totally relate. Because I too was having run ins with a lizard all the time! These days, Stan is still a pure geek at heart. But he is also part rock star. He’s the Godfather of ink. He is the chairman of the drawing board. The man is the Hugh Hefner of comic books!
But not only have his characters permeated pop culture through movies, but Stan himself has become a cultural icon.
Holy Lord, Moses himself couldn’t part a sea of bullshit that thick.
At this point, I’d rather hear Gwyneth Paltrow credit her rock hard abs and teenage boy butt to her strict diet of gluten-free Unicorn meat enemas than hear another famous actor with 15 projects in the works shed crocodile tears about being an outcast when he was 12 in front of an auditorium of cheering sycophants. WE GET IT. You liked comic books when you were kid and someone said it wasn’t cool. Now that it is cool, do you really need to give yourself six trophies?
Half of the movies are about comic books now. There’s a videogame awards. You can write “GEEK” on your knuckles and get a book deal. YOU HAVE WON. It’s time to enjoy your victory lap and shut the f*ck up about it. How much more evidence of your complete cultural dominance do you need before you can give up this weird persecution complex you’ve let define you? You’re like the Boston sports fans of the entertainment world.
Like what you like, I don’t care. But for the love of God, drop the phony self-deprecating act. Stop acting like saying you read comic books growing up is some kind of embarrassing confession, as if you’re inspiring some poor soul to finally come out of the closet and say, “OH MY GOD, YOU LIKE STAR WARS TOO?!? LET’S START A F*CKING ZINE!”
Geeks, nerds, gamers: you are Budweiser now. You are Ford. You are Coke. You are McDonald’s. Drop the outsider shtick, you don’t get medals for being a consumer.