As soon as I was exposed to it, I was a rabid fan of Star Trek. We share a birthday, September 8, and a value system that holds art and science as equals. Trek was more to me than a fandom. It was a vision of our shared future world that was achievable. Maybe not warp drive and phasers, but philosophically and materially achievable. While I loved the Original Series, it was The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine that seemed to realize R. Buckminster Fuller’s (one of my favorite thinkers) dream of universal equity.
Before news broke about Shannon Lee’s issues with the way Quentin Tarantino depicts her father in his latest film, Dominic and Keith recorded this episode in which they reexamine the auteur’s less than ideal treatment of race in his films.
UPDATED OCTOBER 13, 2019 for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s birthday. See #12-14 below!
For those visiting our blog for the first time, ‘round these parts “N.O.C.” stands for Nerds Of Color (or Non-Official-Cover if you’ve just rewatched the first Mission: Impossible film).
It’s a term of inclusivity that we wear with pride. And because part of our nerdy duties include ingesting a lot of TV, movies, and Twitter, we feel obligated to note that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is, by her choice of pop-culture references on Twitter and other forums, also a Nerd Of Color. (We’ll update this listicle periodically as Rep. AOC continues to use Twitter to do spectacularly nerdy things.)Continue reading “AOC is NOC AF! (Updated)”
Shawn returns to Hard NOC Life as he and Keith break down the week that was in Nerd Pop.
Dr. Who. Star Trek. The Twilight Zone. The Night Stalker. Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Battlestar Galactica (the original series) E. E. “Doc” Smith. JRR Tolkien. David Eddings. Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman. Joseph Campbell. The Avengers (tv show and comic), Spider-Man, The Uncanny X-Men, DC’s Trinity and on and on and on. What do all of these pieces of geek-pop have in common? They were all generated from the minds of (mostly) white men.
Not that there is anything inherently wrong with this, but it begs the question: Do I actually like this stuff, or is it all part of some kind of indoctrination into the dominant culture? Continue reading “Decolonizing My Fandom”
On a new episode of Hard NOC Life, Shawn and Keith Chow have another talk about the week in Nerd Pop, with a special focus on rebooting and reimagining classic shows.
Hell yes. Fellow Trekkies, rejoice. The first-look trailer for the new CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery has dropped, and the latest foray into the final frontier looks pretty damn awesome, not least because of one badass looking starship captain in the form of one Michelle Yeoh. MICHELLE FRICKIN YEOH.
For the last eight years, my president was Black. More than that, he was a Black Nerd, a Nerd of Color, the Head Nerd in Charge. After today, we aren’t going to see the likes of someone sit in the Oval Office as intelligent or intellectually curious as Barack Obama. His record in office speaks for itself. Because of President Obama’s leadership, 20 million more Americans have health insurance, marriage equality is the law of the land, and nerds of color were finally represented in the White House.
The day after the election, I received a message from a frenemy I’ve known since junior high. He has kept close tabs on me and my career, always presenting himself as “devil’s advocate” or “the rational voice of the other side of the argument.” Basically, he’s a book smart troll I didn’t block because of the insidious effects of nostalgia. His message was one line:
“What good is all that science fiction stuff, now that we’ve won?”
It is no secret that I love Star Trek. My daughter asked me why. I told her the following: I love it for its aspirational nature, its optimistic outlook for humankind, it’s marrying of science and art, and its borderline Shakespearean drama. I also love it for its horrible effects, its over-emoting, and the sheer high-corniness of most of the story lines. To me, Trek is the epitome of important television1. It entertained me. It made me think. It spurred me to action. Trek and Raiders of the Lost Ark are directly responsible for my pursuing undergraduate and graduate education. I learned things from Star Trek. Our conversation got me thinking about what I have learned from Trek.
Star Trek has meant a lot to me as a fan of pop culture, science-fiction, and television. It also has meant everything to me as a human being.
My grandfather, who was a WWII veteran, likely served in a segregated unit in the war. He returned home to a nation still refusing to deal with Jim Crow and other societal injustice.
When I was a very young, I recall him watching various genre programs like Wild Wild West, Gunsmoke, Rat Patrol, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and countless other series. However, he especially loved Star Trek.
Today CBS/Paramount delivered the most passive aggressive set of guidelines for Star Trek fan films. The first page was this boilerplate thank you to the fans for ticking by the franchise for so many years. They even acknowledged the hard work and creativity of fan filmmakers. Then when you clicked the link to what was and wasn’t allowable for fan films, it was like, “Here are your creative shackles.”
So recently Wil Wheaton won the internet (yet again) when he threw down the gauntlet for all writers (such as yours truly) when he stated that writers deserve to be paid with actual cash.
Truth be told, Wheaton was perhaps my first major crush, with a legendary character known as Wesley Crusher.
Originally posted on WilliamBruceWest.com
This past Saturday, I attended the 3rd annual Awesome Con in Washington, DC. I’d actually never been to the show in previous years, though I was aware of it. I kinda hated the name, plus I felt like Baltimore and New York Comic-Con were superior to it, so I spent my time and money going to them instead. This year, however, I’m going to be missing both of those shows due to weddings, so I figured it was time to see what Awesome Con was all about. My verdict? It’s a pretty good show.
In the last few months, there has been plenty of talk about Star Trek. Whether it is the news that Simon Pegg (Star Trek reboot-verse Scotty) has been hired to make the franchise less “Star Trek-y” or Popular Mechanics’ wonderful “8 Things a New Star Trek TV Series Must Have,” or the legion of fan films, or Adam Savage’s construction of the Enterprise’s Captain’s chair, or the frequent talk about how Trek has influenced the real world — all this, but there is no Trek property. No show. No amusement park. No decent toys to speak of. Just speculation, scuttlebutt, and rumor. Yes, there is a new film coming sometime in the future, but do we really need it? Continue reading “Star Trek is a Television Program — Period”
According to Webster, a latter definition suggests that a nerd is: “unstylish, introverted, and devoted towards academic pursuits.”
There is nothing unstylish about my nature, but for the purposes of this site, I’ll define the term as a person who has an affinity for certain forms of entertainment. For the purposes of this site, I’ll be that. A cinema nerd. A rap music nerd. A nerd divulging mythology through fiction, poetry, or graffiti walls.
Comic books were taboo in my parents’ Christian household; my collection was always stifled and intermittent. My stash was hidden in the clandestine manner young boys hid Playboy magazines; under mattresses, behind dresser drawers — ultimately found and discarded.
Last week, North Korean hackers allegedly broke into the personal files of Sony Pictures execs as retaliation for the studio producing the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy The Interview, which is about a CIA plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un. Normally, we’d be all over the nerd-friendly news about, say, Spider-Man coming home to Marvel Studios, but that’s been covered plenty of times on the web. Besides, we already told the world the best way to mashup Spidey and the MCU.
The thing to emerge out of the Sony leak that really bugged me was the assertion by Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin that “there aren’t any Asian movie stars.”
The above image is from the cover of my upcoming book: Diary of an AfroGeek.
Being an AfroGeek is all about being comfortable, and expecting, to hold immense contradictions. It is loving Firefly, Serenity, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but having a strong feeling that Joss Whedon doesn’t love you back. It is about getting into passionate discussions about why and how Storm’s original mohawk incarnation was one of the more powerful political statements in comics, but being appalled at how uninteresting she became when she married Black Panther.
Late last night, a game-changing shock wave was sent through the internet when Beyoncé dropped a brand new album when no one was looking!
Also, Sony Pictures revealed it was expanding its Amazing Spider-Man cinematic universe with separate movies focusing on Venom and the Sinister Six. And while the Spidey announcement is not quite the game changer that Queen Bey’s new album is (in fact, it’s more of a game-follower, but more on that later), it’s definitely a smart move on Sony’s part. How well Marc Webb and Avi Arad (and the nerd rage-inducing duo that is Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci) execute this move, however, remains to be seen.
I guess Bryan Singer has a complex about Marvel movie announcements that aren’t about the X-Men. Back in October, on the same day Disney/Marvel released the long-awaited trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Singer and Fox Instagrammed a teaser vid of their own X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer. So last week, when Sony debuted their trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Singer took to twitter to divert the attention of those fans who might have been willing to give Marc Webb’s sequel a chance:
Also because the internet has a short attention span. If the X-Men eighth-quel is indeed about the classic “Age of Apocalypse” storyline from the 90s — in which a mutant time-travels to the past and accidentally kills Xavier, thus setting off an alternate timeline in which Magneto assembles the X-Men, only to have Apocalypse choose that moment to launch a war that places mutants at the top of the food chain because he slaughters humans by the millions (holy run-ons, Batman!) — then that would mean back-to-back alternate timeline movies for the X-Men. But it got the Nerds to reflect on other media that took advantage of the alternate timeline/evil twin conceit. So we took to the Roundtable once again.