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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

question of the day: How can geeks help solve social problems in a splashy way?

In my day, the great debate was “Star Wars or Star Trek”? Today it appears to be Harry Potter or Twilight? (Openminded and ecumenical fans have always known that there was no need to choose, that there is always plenty of passion to spread around.) The half-not-kidding jokes about Your Favorite TV Show or Movie as religion have long been a way to deride geeks, dorks, and nerds in a way that, say, equally ardent fans of professional sports never are.

So this tickled me: Comics Alliance reports on a spoof “protest” at San Diego Comic Con yesterday in which costumed supergeeks pushed back against the notorious Westboro Baptist Church — you know, the “God hats fags” idiots — who were there in San Diego to inform Comic Con attendees that they’ll all be burning in hell for eternity. Why? WBC explains (as quoted at Blastr, which used to be called Sci Fi Wire):

Are you kidding?! If these people would spend even some of the energy that they spend on these comic books, reading the Bible, well no high hopes here. They have turned comic book characters into idols, and worship them they do! Isaiah 2:8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: 9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not. It is time to put away the silly vanities and turn to God like you mean it. The destruction of this nation is imminent – so start calling on Batman and Superman now, see if they can pull you from the mess that you have created with all your silly idolatry.

Fans were ready:

(Many more hilarious pictures at Comics Alliance.)

And it got me thinking: Fans have always been a socially active group — you’ll invariably find blood drives and food drives and other charitable endeavors as part of the fun at conventions such as Comic Con. But those kinds of things inevitably get lost in whatever media coverage a convention gets: The guy in the Klingon getup makes for better TV than an auction to benefit children’s reading programs. (Though you’d think a guy dressed up like a vampire donating blood would be good TV, too.) What other kinds of events could fandom organize that would, like this anti-Westboro protest, be good theater as well as good deeds?

How can geeks help solve social problems in a splashy way?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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