Friday, April 27, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of April 27th, 2007)

Today, Gentle Reader, found me Quite Aware of several of my popular cultures. I went to The Coffee Conglomerate Giant to get some work done, and I carried said work in my Buffy the Vampire Slayer tote bag. Then I wandered over to The Corporate Toy Store to search for the new series 2 of the Marvel Legends figures for Mr. Reads. While searching through various Wasps and Emma Frosts and Planet Hulks (oh my!), a Nice Young Gentleman asked me if I needed some help.

“No, thanks,” I said. “Just looking.” I wasn’t intentionally terse, but I was on my cell phone with Mr. Reads at the time, trying to determine which figures, specifically, he was searching for.

“By the way, your shirt rocks,” Nice Young Gentleman said, and gestured at my “Justice League of America” t-shirt. “They won’t let me wear my fun shirts to work.”

“I can’t wear mine to work, either,” I said. “So I wear them when I can.”

Mr. Reads, still on the line, was laughing, as we have often commented on How Incredibly Cool and Friendly the Nice Young Gentlemen and Ladies who work at Said Toy Store are. “Cool” for Mr. Reads and This Humble Author means, of course, that Said Cool Person is Pop-Culturally Aware of the things that We, Ourselves, are aware of. That is to say, Mr. Reads and I often define “Coolness” by one’s competence and knowledge in Those Areas of Fandom That We Love.

This Fandom Moment was rather welcome today, as I spent the majority of my morning seething over something I read on The Internet. In fact, I seethed so much, Gentle Reader, that I delayed, yes, *delayed* writing this column because I knew, ultimately, that it would disintegrate into a rant. And while I appreciate The Occasional Rant on The Internet (and have Indulged Myself a time or two), I remember, above all else, the lesson I learned upon first experiencing The Internet At Large, some ten, twelve years back:

Do Not Feed The Trolls.

So instead of responding, or writing this column, I seethed quietly. I mentally composed tomes of replies, and I persisted in these useless responses until I remembered to marvel at my Buffy bag, I had the opportunity to share in the delight of the JLA with a Fellow Fan, I popped in a CD and continued to (talent) crush on Nathan Willett of Cold War Kids Fame. Until I remembered that Pop Culture is about Us, All of Us, We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Fandoms.

These things, these fandom objects, seemingly, then, carry a mystical, portentous weight. My Buffy tote bag, my JLA t-shirt, my Wonder Woman day planner, the Reads Family Spider-Man travel mug, even, define me (and in the latter’s case, Mr. Reads) because they were objects chosen, specifically, by me, for me. They were objects purchased with the intent for public display. Unlike some other items in our fandom—my signed copy of Connie Willis’s Bellwether, say, or my Boba Fett pez dispenser—that stay within the home, these other objects are almost talismanic. They are proclamations of the things we adore. The things that make us happy.

But further, they are, above all else, invitations for communication.

I invite you, Gentle Reader, to communicate with me. What are some of your talismanic fandom objects? Tell us about your Batman messenger bags, your Superman ties, your X-Men t-shirts. What’s your favorite item?


Revena said...

I have a big collection of geeky t-shirts, comics characters, D&D references... Even one with a clever HTML joke. I tend to get excited responses to my dork apparel at the toy store, too, and also at the pharmacy counter at the supermarket (yeah, I dunno what that's about).

I also own a Boba Fett pez dispenser. ;-)

Amy Reads said...

Hi Robyn,
I have a big collection of geeky t-shirts, comics characters, D&D references... Even one with a clever HTML joke. I tend to get excited responses to my dork apparel at the toy store, too, and also at the pharmacy counter at the supermarket (yeah, I dunno what that's about).

I, too, get responses at the supermarket, or at the local coffeehouse. The town Mr. Reads and I live in is pretty conservative (a big state university with a town pretty much sprung up around it) so you don't really see all that many geeks wandering about. The over-excitement is really a crisis of recognition, I think ;)

I also own a Boba Fett pez dispenser. ;-)

I also have Darth Vader, Wonder Woman, and Wolverine :)

I have a former Gentleman Caller who used to say that he had a "Boba Fett-ish." It was Quite Clever, I must admit, but he was all charm and no substance, which is why he's a former Gentleman Caller and not, say, Mr. Reads.

Fanboy said...

Good question ...

T-Shirts: Muppets, Homicide: Life on the Street
Ballcap: Itchy and Scratchy (which I "borrowed" from someone who was passed out - and on the way to the slammer - at a part in college)
Toys: Dazzler (I just dig the whole 70s look)
Comics: A giant gorilla rack of longboxes
Blog: Many folks that know me professionally are not aware of this fannish addiction of mine. When they find about about the blog it surpises them (but does not scare them, as far as I can tell)
Furnishings: The leg lamp from A Christmas Story and everything from Archie McPhee

How you have totally piqued my interest about what you didn't see in this email. Send me a personal email if you want to divulge. Also, leave a comment in the post I left today on my blog. I'd love to see your POV.

Ami Angelwings said...

I have a Hello Kitty black bag that is teh smex :D I use it to carry (among other things XD) my comics on new comic day :D It's the perfect size for it! :3

And my sister got me a plush 1-up Mushroom for my birthday recently! :D And I luff it so :)

eek said...

May I comment on your old post? It made me think about some things I find important.

I suppose you were looking for more straight-up "nerd" examples, but I am also in an overlapping category, to whit: Metalhead (let us recall that that in high school this group was otherwise known as "those losers who hang out by the bathroom," and that it is a not-cool non-mainstream preference. Plus, all the other metalheads I know are also nerds.)

Being of the female persuasion, the waist-length hair is not "read" as the flag on me that it would on a male, and I am undecided as to tattoos, which leaves the all-important band tee shirt (with old, worn-in jeans and boots.) I have Slayer, Down, Danzig, and Type O Negative so far. A Cannibal Corpse tee was offered to me as it did not fit its purchaser, but I refused because that would be false colors.

"Girl" works so against "metal," that without a flag my metal-ness would be overlooked, discounted. I think this is also the case for nerdy-ness. I remember the last time I was browsing manga whilst wearing a dress and got an odd, unwelcoming look from the teen male further down the aisle. Of course, older-than-high-school + female is two factors working against recognition.

It also reminds me of Cole Cash (Grifter, of Wildcats) to whom his "colors," his costume and especially his mask were vitally important to his sense of honor/role/self.