Recently, I started reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time. After 32 years, I was probably well overdue, and… well, it sure is detailed, now, isn’t it?
My intermittent antipathy to the tales of Middle Earth goes way back*. I’ve seen** the movies, but they never seemed to connect with me like they did with a lot of my other nerd brethren and sistren. In fact, I saw only Fellowship of the Ring (2001) in theaters. The most memorable thing from the screening was laughing—and being the only one to do so—when Frodo uses the alias Mr. Underhill. The reason I laughed? Well, my friend, I laughed because that was the same alias Chevy Chase used in Fletch (1985) to infiltrate the country club. I’m willing to venture that I may be the only man on the planet who laughed at that particular moment, for that particular reason.
So, to put it mildly, I don’t have the fond, entrenched relationship with the works of Tolkien that you might. I didn’t grow up with the stuff. That’s okay; you’re going to miss some stuff. Nerd culture*** has become so undeniably massive that it is impossible to absorb everything. For instance, I desperately want to watch Penny Dreadful. It sounds like it might be right up my alley. Also Daredevil, and Jessica Jones, and Westworld, and pretty much everything, on and on, forever. Amen. And yet, I haven’t watched any of them. There’s a lot to take in, and not a lot of time to do it, especially when I’ve got to spend some time making stuff destined to join that pile.
There’s also some stuff that once tried, doesn’t taste good and recedes further into our blind spot. We all have them, the nerd blind spots. I’ve met people who have read every X-Men comic ever printed, but have seen only one episode of Star Trek. It isn’t for them. Clearly, these people have never seen Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), but that’s okay. They will, and then they will come around.
I’ve got my own blind spots as well. Countless people—many of whom I respect—believe that television was perfected with Supernatural. Now, again, these people have clearly never seen The West Wing, or Community, but I digress. Whenever I, if even for a few minutes, watch the adventures of Steve, Blinky, and the archangel Bert****, I lose interest. I come to the conclusion that whatever the show is doing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer did it better. I know I may be alone on this one, and I accept both my solitude and your judgments.
My own nerd blind spots don’t stop there. I hung in with The Walking Dead for a few seasons because I felt like I should like it, but I never did. The show has carved a nihilist odyssey out of the zombie genre, and I’m left sitting here knowing that—were I a character on the show—I would have been one of the few reasonable people that went up with the CDC*****. Pokémon? I have next to no awareness of pocket monsters. Pokémon GO flew right over my head. Anime in general has never appealed to me. Yes, I know that will only invite further judgments, and yes, I’ve seen a few episodes of Cowboy Bebop, and no, it doesn’t do it for me, either.
What are your nerd blind spots? How crazy are my own blind spots? Let me know in the comments.
*You might say it goes there and back again. Ha! You see, I’m picking up the lingo!
**read: fallen asleep during
***A term I think I loathe, but I am also at a loss for a better term of equal brevity that I could use.
****Those are the names of the characters on Supernatural, right? Admission: I have yet to watch Supernatural for more than a few minutes.
*****No, I still want to live, despite the entire world being essentially on fire now. I don’t see the point in going on in the face of abject, unrelenting dystopia, or you know… more than 48 hours without wi-fi.