Strange Perceptions of SciFi

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Strange Perceptions of SciFi

Postby BlackAdder on Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:40 pm

Hey there, I ran into this elsewhere. So, I'm going to change some specifics so that I don't bring the other board into it at all. It wasn't the board, it was a specific mentality that had me intrigued and started me pondering. The board is not at issue.

On a discussion board for Lost and under a different screenname I noticed another fan from BSG. Since we were in a thread for "Bitterness" we both started talking about emotional progressions and comparing them between shows. Nothing was really said that was even close to unkind just basically we concluded that "Yeah, can't wait for BSG to return."

If you're familiar at all with Lost then it isn't as if it has zero fantasy style show qualities. As we were discussing it another poster commented that we could not possibly be seriously comparing a real show to something like Battlestar Galatica and saying that BSG was better. Then the person commented "Beam me up, Scottie."

No big deal and neither of us took that bait, we just continued with the discussion and agreed we were looking forward to BSG returning. No blood spilled and nothing against the board this took place on.

But it did strike me as odd and maybe worth pursuing as a discussion. Why is it that non SciFi fans do that old chestnut "Beam me up" to people that like SciFi? Lost has a lot of surreal aspects to it and it was just odd for someone to be so dismissive.

What has to happen in someone's perception that they need to slot someone into a "you must be a geek go play with the other geeks" kind of mentality?

Battlestar Galatica won the Peabody last year, which if you aren't familiar with that, it's a very prestiguious award. It was named by The New Yorker as being the best thing on TV. Critics are clambering for the new season to start. I thought if anything could help start to wave the perception that SciFi is for strange people that like people with pointy ears that this might accomplish it.

Evidently not so.

I mentioned liking Farscape to a good friend of mine and she laughed long and heartily. When I asked why she was laughing her answer was "But you do things like read Proust in your spare time." and started laughing again.

It's been a long time since the wooden acting of SciFi has defined the genre. Shows like B5, Farscape, Battlestar Galatica (the new version, I guess I should add) and the X-Files brought a lot of attention to what good SciFi is about.

I just don't quite understand why someone that knows me well enough to know my reading choices would find it hilarious that I like Farscape. When I got her to stop laughing we actually didn't continue the conversation because it was already awkward as it was.

I just sometimes feel as if I like the red-head stepchild of genres and I always feel a little bit sorry for the person making that sort of comment. It just seems to me that if SciFi isn't your cup of tea, okay, but what is so downright funny to other people.

I swear, I feel like I'm missing a joke and they are missing the boat on some really good entertainment. I've managed to get a lot of people hooked on BSG but not so with Farscape.

By the way the friend that I recommended Farscape to had a blast telling everyone I know that I'm a "SciFi Geek" and luckily my other friends just said "And....you didn't know she likes Science Fiction, really?"

But even my closest friends treat it as somethink kind of cute. Like a quirk in my personality. One of this, "Pat her on her normally intelligent little head." sort of things.

I guess I'm posting this because there aren't a lot of places where you can just admit that you get treated like an eccentric at best or a nutter at worst for liking SciFi.

Even with BSG, the friends I've gotten to watch it say "Well, it's not really Science Fiction. I mean, no one has tentacles." that sort of thing. It's like they have to make themsleves okay with liking something by denying that it is something they think of as taboo.

Has anyone else run into this? Is there a good and graceful way to extract yourself or defend the genre? I've tried every angle. I don't think I've ever been a rude beast about it.

Everyone's entitled to like what they like and visa versa. It's just that when you are a fan? It seems like you started out in the "defend it" stance already.

It's not a big deal I guess, after I married someone that also likes SciFi and we happily tune in for the shows we watch. There's always the internet too, it just struck me as a bit odd. After all, this all occurred on the same board, meaning that two clicks away and this person would have been in our BSG discussion area. Plus, surrounded as we were with other people from the BSG section, it was just funny.

Again, no slight against the board or even the poster that commented intended. I was just surprised that "Yeah, Lost...etc." but "Beam me up, Scottie." as a catch phrase it's been thirty years and that's the label, still.

Oh well, I wear my label with pride but am a bit exasperated. I mean, you don't get that sort of reaction if you announce "I like cheese." People just accept when declare an inclination for something usually.
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Postby SunKrux on Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:20 pm

People mock what they don't understand. It's that simple. I figure that people who laugh and make fun of Scifi fans have no imagination, period. They like to think they do...but they don't. They don't understand the fascination that Scifi fans have with the genre.

One of my co-workers ribs me from time to time about my being a geek, I just laugh her off and ignore her. She doesn't get it and never will. Why should I waste my time with someone like that?

I wouldn't stress or worry over people who don't get Scifi or the fans it has. Think about it...Scifi draws fans like you (who reads Proust) and like me who don't read books by Proust (yet...maybe some day). It draws in a wide varity of folks and amazingly enough, we're usually very accepting of newbies (until they piss us off. ;) ).
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Postby BlackAdder on Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:46 pm

LOL, okay, well I keep the pissing you off in mind, SunKrux :) I'll mark that on my little list of things not to do.

You know, I do take your point though. That there's a requirement for suspension of disbelief but anyone that ever watches any kind of fiction is taking a dive into the "not real".

Yeah, that didn't work so well. I got that look like "You're wearing a shirt constructed from tinfoil." or something.

Thanks for letting me vent a bit though.

By the way, I like cheese. Mock at will ;)
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Postby SunKrux on Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:28 pm

BlackAdder wrote:LOL, okay, well I keep the pissing you off in mind, SunKrux :) I'll mark that on my little list of things not to do.


I'd actually recommend not pissing off the moderator side of me. ;) :P :twisted:


You know, I do take your point though. That there's a requirement for suspension of disbelief but anyone that ever watches any kind of fiction is taking a dive into the "not real".

Yeah, that didn't work so well. I got that look like "You're wearing a shirt constructed from tinfoil." or something.


The thing is...they don't see fiction as "not real". Let's just say they have stunted imaginations, hows that? ;) :lol: I know a lot of people(adults mostly) who honestly don't have imaginations or fantasies. It's a shame because that's how I make it through the day sometimes...I imagine myself in a different happier place so I won't get the urge to kill. ;) :lol:

As for the looks...don't let it get to you too much. They're just jealous that you whole heartedly embrace your imagination/fantasy and they don't/can't or won't. ;) They'd rather dream up safe, normal things then try to imagine the wonders we've seen by being Scifi geeks. I too proudly wear that badge. I'm a geek and I'm PROUD!!!.

Besides...most folks like that would rather watch WRASTLIN' on SciFi. :lol: ;)


Thanks for letting me vent a bit though.

By the way, I like cheese. Mock at will ;)


Vent anytime you want, especially when you put the thread in the right forum. ;) Thanks! :D

btw, I like cheese too. Much to my evil twin's dismay. She doesn't and admittedly I mock her about that sometimes. What's not to LOVE about "CHEESE GROMITT!" :D :lol:
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Postby KaraS on Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:31 pm

When I was in college (in the mid '80s) a friend of mine got me hooked on comic books.

When I went home I just couldn't get my mother, the woman who hooked me on scifi as a child, to believe that "comic books" by Frank Miller and Neil Gamin weren't meant for kids. I said comic books and she thought of the Archie and Uncle Scrooge comics she had read as a child and just couldn't encompass the idea that the medium had changed or that adult ideas could be communicated through the medium of comics.

Other people are that way about scifi. You say scifi and they think of Godzilla or Mars Needs Women or some other silly thing and can't accept the idea that it might be more than that.
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Postby AERYNSUN on Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:09 am

There are two show that made me become a real fan. Ones was when <I was very young, a sci fi show calles Sapce 1999. Well, I was a little girl so It was considered normal that I talked in a very passionate way about the show. Nothing happened then. Tere was another one, that was not a sci fi show it was called The charlie's angels. I do not know if some people here remembers that show.

I liked it maybe because the strenght and determinations of the three main characters and the mistery of never seeing who was this Charlie.

And the tirhd one is Farscape. This show came when I am an adult person and it's suppose that at this age you should keep you feet on the ground and it's taken, as somebody above said as if you are not adult enough, well, I do not find the right word, sorry. I have some Farscape stuff, I'm proud of have it but there's only a few people I can talk about that, in my personal life, I mean. On boards as often as I wish.

I know a guy, he is swedish but is living here in Barcelona. He likes sci fi too, and agrees with me with everything I said. He has a girlfriend, I know them both, but he only talks with me about sci fi shows.

In my opinion most people are close-minded and don't understand that for example if this person likes footbal, he wants respèct everytime he talks about ootbal. So sci fi fans, want the same respect that they are claiming for them.
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Postby BlackAdder on Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:47 am

All good points. :) I'm sure there's an alternate reality version of me that is lactose intolerant or worse, a vegan that would argue the cheese point with me ;)

In all seriousness, it was not a matter of "Wow, this is bugging me, I need to vent because I'm bugged by being judged." Offline, we're judged constantly for other things - the sort of job we do, the kind of car we drive, opinions that are held.

I'm used to that kind of silliness. What I was surprised by was the generic insult that I don't think the poster actually knows the full line on. "Beam me up, Scotty, there is no intelligent life here." If he or she does know the full line then they were just out to get under my skin. Tweezer time :)

Mostly I just felt for the kind of person that doesn't get to play in the happy sandbox. But you all make good points, they hear a key phrase and have a generic reaction. They envision something that isn't in place of the reality of the genre because it's just what the term causes them to associate with overall.

Heck, SciFi itself makes judgements. Like, if you like one SciFi show then "THIS IS A MUST HAVE FOR ANY FAN". This brought to you directly from Season One BSG ads on DVD that assurred me that Cleopatra 2525 was something I had to have. Well, I'm seen a bit of that and trust me, it's not for me.

Yeah, I'm cool with being called a geek. I'm called a book geek also. Doesn't bother me :) "Geeks" are happier, more imaginative and funny to boot. There also nice enough to respond on the "Wow, I found this odd." kind of reaction, so thanks, all of you :)
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Postby Vye King on Thu Sep 14, 2006 8:34 am

It depends on who your talking to. My mother is not a sci-fi fan. She couldnt tell the difference batween Moya and the Enterprise, but she accepts the fact that I am a sci-fi nut, even when I drag HER friends into sci-fi conversations. On the other hand, I've been mocked as a sci-fi fan at games of Dungeons and Dragons, so you never can pick who'll accept it and who'll mock it.

P.S. Kirk never once said the line "Beam me up Scoty"
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Postby KaraS on Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:31 pm

Certain phrases have entered popular culture.

Beam me up Scotty.

I'm a doctor, not a (fill in the blank).

Luke, I am your father!

Play it again Sam.

We're off to see the Wizard.

And you don't need to have seen the programs/movies involved to know what they mean. Everybody knows. It means that that phrase or concept had permeated the popular consciousness.

The same way I know that when someone yells TOUCHDOWN! it means they have succeeded at something, even if I don't know another thing about football.

The fact that so many of these phrases come from scifi or fantasy projects and not some other genre has to mean SOMETHING. These things strike a cord somewhere in everybody, even the most die hard anti-science fiction nazi.
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Postby BlackAdder on Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:18 pm

Vye King, actually the full quote is from a bumper sticker that was ragingly popular at one point. It's not a quote from the show, it's a faux quote from Tee shirts and bumper stickers in that particular instance :) I once had to take an entire class on pop culture and marketing trends. Sadly can discuss bumper sticker trends at length because of it. Don't worry, I generally refrain from doing so :)

It's also part of the common phrasing for association that KaraS pointed out.

That's why I said I was fairly certain the person didn't know the full quote on that because the full quote is a very sarcastic and kind of mean spirited thing. It's a way of calling the other person stupid.

Since it has long since been shortened to Beam me up, Scotty. I'm willing to bet the person I encountered did not have to sit through that same class :) Which, by the way, writing papers for that class was absolutely a scream.

Doing things like trying to predict the probability of resurgence in an interest in pet rocks. No kidding. Seriously, I had this semester long class where you'd have to sit there and discuss very seriously mood rings, chia pets and a long defunct company called Ronco and how the impact it had upon consumer consciousness. :shock:

I wish I still had the books from that class because I swear to you they were just unitentionally fall down funny. There would all these long paragraphs full of statistics and graphs next to a picture of Strawberry Shortcake and My Pretty Pony.

This class is also famous for me because it is comes with the footnote of "Why I decided to change my major."
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Postby MadaboutBen on Sun Nov 26, 2006 4:19 pm

Recently, at a meeting of a certain car enthusiasts/owners geeks, I was talking SciFi with a couple of them. I mentioned I had all the Farscape and Babylon 5 DVDs and I could lend them. Another one pipes in calling us geeks (in a friendly way but nonetheless it was the reaction).

So one of "us" asked him about Xbox, to which it turned out he spends a lot of time with and has a lot of the games for. So, we called him a geek. :lol: He got the point and said that was fair.

Basically we can all be geeks for something that we are passionate about and that others do not understand.

I agree that people that do not get the point of SciFi tend to have limited imagination.

On another note, I often get surprised looks when people realise how I like SciFi as I am perceived as a very down to hearth, no non-sense, logical, intelligent, direct talking person (in particular in my work) and it does not fit with the image of the Sci Fi "geek". But then I think it is good as it keeps people on their toes and force them to keep an open mind about the person who is in front of them. Nobody had ever called my a geek in a detrimental way to my face. :wink:

There was a Star Trek "geek" once who tried to argue with me that Star Trek had saved Babylon 5! :roll:

We are all the geeks of someone else.

:D
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Postby Vye King on Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:53 am

Thanks Blackadder. Didn't know the origens of "Beam me up Scotty", I just like usless trivia. What was the full quote? If it is an insult PM it please. Also MadAboutBen, as a fan of Babylon 5 but not Trek (to far out there for my tastes) I would love to know the Trek geeks arguments. Thanks.
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Postby bwilli18 on Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:17 pm

BlackAdder wrote: ...a long defunct company called Ronco...


What!? What if I need to get a replacement part for my Ronco (tm) Pocket Fisherman? :shock:
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Postby sleeper on Fri Dec 01, 2006 4:22 pm

MadaboutBen wrote:There was a Star Trek "geek" once who tried to argue with me that Star Trek had saved Babylon 5! :roll:
:D


Obviously the Star Trek fan knew nothing of B5.

There were 3 scifi shows that I watched when I was a kid, Space 1999, Project UFO, and Star Trek. Then came the Movies, 2001, Star Wars, Alien. I became obsessed with Dr. Who (Tom Bakers is still the best Dr. btw) when I found it late one night on the local pbs channel. It wasn't until all the stupid ST spin off shows had finally ended that I was finally able to turn my attention to Farscape (I never had the scifi channel :( )
I watched the PK wars first and I was hooked....took me about 2 months to absorb all the shows and I enjoyed it all. CB is HOT!

Anyway to get back to the theme of this thread which is about "Beam me up Scotty" It's just a catch phase that some comedian started as a joke and unforturnatly it has stuck with the uneducated scifi person as an attempt to be funny when they don't want to be embarressed in how little they know about scifi. :wink:
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Geek chic

Postby bwilli18 on Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:13 pm

sleeper wrote: "Beam me up Scotty" ... just a catch phase that some comedian started as a joke and unforturnatly it has stuck with the uneducated scifi person as an attempt to be funny when they don't want to be embarressed in how little they know about scifi. :wink:


I think we should embrace our geekiness. Modern, mass culture sucks one's soul out at worst and is just depressing at best, and universally perceived as such. Geekiness, or perhaps connoisseurship, is a way of breaking out of the mind-numbing monotony of western life. Someone earlier said that people at work were surprised at his interest in sci-fi since he was so level-headed. I think it's precisely the level-headed, type A, driven, successful type who needs an outlet like FarScape, where John's problems are so much more interesting than completing the year-end budget reports (something I should be doing right now :P ).

As to the B5, Star Trek, etc. embroglio, I'm a fan of some sci-fi shows and not of others. I certainly don't begrudge others their interests. Indeed I take your recommendations to heart and sample the shows that I hear about on this forum. (I don't always agree, I admit.) I love FarScape and FarScape's fans are a part of my community, despite the fact that I do not know a single person in the real world who even watches it.

The tired cliche of the geek as obsessive loser is simply wrong. I thought most people had figured that out by now. I'm sorry that the person whose careless insult sparked this discussion does not know that, but that is certainly that person's problem and not ours. Besides, anyone who posts to a Forum about a tv show doesn't really have the standing to exclude him or herself from the geek label while applying it to others.

Now, a geekiness bliss-out: Next to my passionate devotion to FarScape, I recommend any film by Akira Kurosawa, particularly if it stars Toshiro Mifune (my avatar). Don't limit yourself to the Mifune movies, though they are the pinnacle of the form, at least to this Samurai movie geek. :)
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