Monday, April 4, 2016

Tesla and nerd culture.

So I wrote a chapter about Tesla in Fairy Punk.

I make the point that everyone is still saying that Tesla was a forgotten genius when he's probably better known today than ever. I mean, he's on that really neat cusp of where people know who he is and feel like they are in the "know" of who he is.

Years ago, I'd wear my Green Lantern symbol t-shirt and people would congratulate themselves as knowing what it was. Or the best current example of an "in-the-know" nerd thing is Cthulhu. People in nerd culture are totally aware but the rest of world still seems clueless.

That's the sweet spot. Popularity without being popular enough for Walmart to pay attention. For instance, for several years that was the boardgame Settlers of Catan. It's being sold at Target nowadays and B & N, so it has sort of tipped over a little.

I guess another word for this is "Cult." People in the know are happy to be in the know until the Cult thing is appropriated by the public.

I'm going to say something shocking: Star Wars was a flop. A big fat flop. For my store. Sitting on piles of toys that no one is interested, my autopsy was this: Star Wars is no longer a thing you go to Pegasus Books for, anymore than you'd go to a specialty bread store for white bread.

It's so ubiquitous that it no longer has any kind of Cult flavor. (It's only surprising that it kept it's Cult flavor for so long...)

I'm probably past the age where I'm really picking up the Cult nature of things. I've forgone certain areas where I really should have stayed current with -- video games, Magic the Gathering, and so on.

Then again, I'm so eccentric in my interests--and my interests are my interests--that much of what I'm interested in becomes Cult without any push from me.

It's very strange to feel so mainstream knowing the same things I knew when I was so far out on the fringe.

I haven't moved so much as Mass Culture has moved toward me.

Can a thing be "Cult" when it is also "Mass Culture?"

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