Monday, September 10, 2012

Geeksploitation

Just came across this:



Could be an interesting series, I'm not familiar with Adrianne Curry (not one of those who consider her "Queen of the Geeks") but one nagging concern crept into my mind watching this trailer.  This could, as it claims in the description, explore why super fans are inspiring to the rest of us fans.

But that isn't what it appeared to be doing for the most part.  There is a huge risk of geeksploitation with this, just like Morgan Spurlock's being criticized for in his Comic-Con documentary (which I haven't seen yet, man, I am behind on geekumentaries!).
geeks·ploi·ta·tion [geek-sploi-tey-shuhn] verb:
to misrepresent a segment of geek culture in a way that is unnaturally skewed toward over-the-top examples, especially for one's own ends.
Geeksploitation documentaries use the "look at these freaks" approach to topic presentation. They seek out the fringe extremists for a particular hobby, and then present them as a curiosity. One could also consider this the "Side-Show" method. People who aren't initimately familiar with the subject matter watch and are entertained by the spectacle of how the crazy eccentrics, the "other half" live.  This approach is usually offensive to actual fans of the given topic.

The opposite of geeksploitation would probably be advocacy.  These films naturally appeal to the fans of the subject matter because they treat the subject matter with more respect and portray it in a positive light.  But when you're talking about a niche topic, there's a risk of appealing to a smaller audience.  That's one of the temptations for going with geeksploitation.

Sometimes geeksploitation is unintended, or unavoidable.  But sometimes it is all too intentional, and as geek culture becomes more and more mainstream, there's going to be ever greater backlash against it.

I can think of a few documentaries that are known for geeksploitation.  Special When Lit has elements of it, as well as King of Kong and Trekkies.  Is Adrianne Curry's Super Fans geeksploitation?  Time will tell.

2 comments:

dylking said...

Lately, I've been thinking of Felidia Day as Queen of the Geeks, not this person I've never heard of :)

Rabscuttle said...

I totally agree. If this woman were TRULY the Queen of the Geeks, she would know about Felicia Day's geek resume, and would have the sense not to call herself the Queen of the Geeks...