Monday, December 19, 2005

Having Background Information is Useful...Being a Geek is Being a Geek

This past Saturday, I had the honor of hosting a town hall forum for some high school students who are interested in politics. In my job outside the village (that's a Prisoner reference), I promote youth civic engagement and this was a wonderful opportunity for some of the students I work with to listen to a diverse range of opinions about a politically salient topic. The topic of discussion, while it mattered to the students participating, is of little concern to the story I am about to share so let us leave it aside for the moment.

My panel was filled with excellent speakers from a broad range of professions, from academia to television writing/directing. I guess the one similarity the participants shared was that all of my speakers had been "published" in one format or another. As I mentioned above, one of the speakers was a television writer/director who has worked/created a number of shows I have enjoyed. As the diligent host, I -- who is already a geeky fan -- did additional background research so that I could have intelligent, but not "fan shocked," conversation. In other words, so that I could talk about what the writer/director is and will be doing rather than asking about minute obscuria from his shows. Who was this individual? Tim Minear, who has worked on no less than four of my favorite television shows of all time (Lois and Clark, Angel, Buffy, Firefly, to name the geekiest), and written/directed some of my favorite episodes. Needless to say, I think I came across as a fan, but not fanboy and was holding my own until the following occured...

TIM MINEAR

Comforatably enjoying his rubber chicken dinner.
[Telling a funny story about his time on Lois and Clark]

So Larry Niven wrote this short story called Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex that discusses how Superman would kill Lois if they ever tried to have children.

CHRISTIAN JOHNSON
Carefully attempting to stay cool...

That sounds like a lot of the conversations on comic book fan forums. Naturally, these discussions usually end with someone pointing out that only one person is "woman enough" for Superman...Wonder Woman



At this point everyone laughs and the joke is made. It is a veritable conversation coup. But then, alas, something I hadn't planned for occured. My deep geek knowledge, and excitement regarding the current Infinite Crisis, decided to surface. Sure the last comment was geeky, but it was a surface comment and funny. It was meant to be a joke after all, but the next comment was too geeky to be useful.

CHRISTIAN JOHNSON
Continuing obliviously

Naturally this leaves out the "pre-crisis" availability of Kara Starr aka Power Girl. Who was the Earth-2 equivalent of Supergirl, not to be confused with Supergirl who naturally died during the Crisis on Infinite Earths...


chirp chirp chirp


I am still reeling from the explosion of geekdom. I might as well have whipped out my copy of Who's Who in the DC Universe (every issue) and begun a detailed lecture on the multiple Earths and their relevance to the Superman mythos. Enough already...

Note to self, next time just leave it at the Wonder Woman joke.

At least I didn't talk about how disappointed I was that Helen Slater didn't get to talk to Patrick Dempsey when she was on Grey's Anatomy. I had hoped to see if there would be any references to Happy Together. How does this relate to the Lois and Clark/Superman story? Helen Slater played Supergirl, naturally.
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