Saturday, January 1st, 2011
Comedian Patton Oswalt recently set the Twitter-verse aflutter with a piece he wrote for Wired magazine entitled “Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die.” With its title reference to a bit of dialogue from Blade Runner, Oswalt’s article laments the death of nerd culture as he once knew it, calling for its necessary death in its current form as a way to “save” it for future generations. Or something. He kind of goes off the rails in the last few paragraphs in an attempt to make some kind of big poetic flourish. Even so, I think Oswalt’s larger point still stands — things ain’t how they used to be. Anyway, you can take a look at the article here and see where you fall on this issue.
While Oswalt is speaking to a larger geek culture that enjoys Star Wars, Marvel Comics, Lord of the Rings, and various other iconographic cultural texts of geekdom, that have gone on to become real cultural forces in the twenty-first century, I want to focus on something far less ubiquitous — Hong Kong and, to a larger extent, all of Asian cinema — or to be more precise, the people who enjoy it. I think of the things Oswalt mentions about geek culture still applies to HK/Asian cinephiles, even if our numbers have dwindled rapidly since the early 2000s. Could it be that we’re on the brink of extinction?