I’m still coming to terms with the idea that our president-elect is a man with no political or military experience that would have been charitably described as a buffoon less than two years ago by even the people who now support him. The fact that he has filled his cabinet with white supremacists, climate change deniers, telecommunication bigwigs, and anti-LGBTQ fanatics has done little to quell my unease about the next four years.
And though it is still hard to believe we’ve elected a man who still spends his weekends tweeting about how mean Saturday Night Live is to him, I am less surprised that people would vote for him than I was…because of shit like this:
This is a comment posted in response to an otherwise unremarkable story on GameSpot about the upcoming Star Wars movie, Rogue One. Spend any amount of time on a gaming or geek culture site and you’ll come across thousands just like it. For a long time, these anonymous internet voices were dismissed as trolls or children or both. We were told not to “feed” them, that they’d go away if we ignored them, that all they wanted was attention.
Instead, they elected a President that not only seems to share their core values of exclusivity and a white male-dominated society, but also spends an inordinate amount of time online bitching about things that don’t affect him.
The irony of Trump calling for a “safe place” is amazing. I mean, that’s Social Justice Warrior baby talk, isn’t it?
Regardless, the “trolls” in geek culture have been handed the very thing they should never be given: legitimacy. Now, instead of cowardly posting hate on fake accounts, they are emboldened to post hate under their real name. They might even feel confident enough to preach hate in real life, person-to-person. If the President can call Mexicans “rapists” and mock disabled news reporters and assault women, then why not?
I have always looked across at this “dark side” of geek culture with sadness and confusion. Not only did it suck to be lumped in with them, it was also greatly puzzling how people who consumed the same entertainment as I did could come to such startlingly closed-minded ideas.
For example, I’ve been re-watching a lot of Star Trek lately. Trek is all about inclusiveness, respect for other cultures, and respect for our environment. It’s tackled nearly all the issues that still plague us, from racism to sexuality to the balance between freedom and security. I don’t know how anyone could watch the 500+ hours of shows and movies in the franchise and come away believing that people of other races or faiths are “less than” and deserving of scorn.
Star Wars, while never as philosophical as its sci-fi rival, still espouses much the same viewpoint. The original trilogy centered on a boy, a girl, a criminal and his furry life-partner, an effeminate robot, and a green midget. The primary antagonist was a man who didn’t take criticism or failure well and led an army of identical, easily-swayed, white soldiers. (Hmm.) The Star Wars universe is crammed full of diverse cultures and creatures, and the only people who don’t accept that are the bad guys. The guys that destroy planets and kill billions.
So whatever your flavor of sci-fi, you are told very explicitly that diversity is not only good and that hatred is not only bad, but that these things cannot coexist. That whether you are black, or Vulcan, or a woman, or an ambiguously homosexual Wookie…your unity is what binds the universe. So if things like “tranny worms” and “gays lunatics,” are still being said, then the Empire is alive and well.
Time for the Rebels to stand and fight.