DeFlip Side #119: De-Occupy Sci-Fi!


Welcome everyone, I’m Christopher DeFilippis and this is DeFlip Side.

And tonight, I’m speaking up for the 1 percent—adding mine to the ones of voices raised in protest and outrage, clamoring to take back Science Fiction from the 99 percent!

This is DeFlip Side’s call to De-Occupy Sci-Fi! We are an anti-mainstream movement intent on reclaiming our post-humanity and our speculative vision of the future from the pretenders and mundane bandwagoners who have commoditized our beloved genre into prefab retro cool or latched onto it as a means to perpetuate their belabored adolescence.

Science Fiction has traditionally been about looking forward, postulating on our possible futures in order to examine where we are in the present. But this onetime haven for the cerebral pursuits of inquisitive nerds has become a speakeasy for hipsters and slackers wallowing in self-referential pseudo nostalgia.

You know who you are, you 99 percent—you, who just bought the Blu-ray re-re-re-release of Star Wars specifically to bitch about Lucas’s latest changes; and you, who tivoed every episode of Robot Chicken so you can masturbate to all the action figures you used to have; and yes, I mean you, the douche nob over there sporting the Clark Kent glasses and Riddler t-shirt from Hot Topic.

Representing since 1987, motherfuckers!

Genre apparel used to be hard-won because you could only find it at cons, and I wore my first Star Trek shirt with an air of triumph, proclaiming reverence for the series that not only entertained me, but had taught me to think beyond myself. I donned it with clueless, honest, unaffected geek love, at a time when wearing any kind of genre shirt branded you socially untouchable. And, believe me, I paid the price, to which my non-existent high school dating record can attest.

But these days, pseudo-geekdom has become all the rage. Shirts from any old TV show—take your pick, it doesn’t matter—are a dime a dozen, mass consumed by hipsters attempting to make some kind of ironic statement, fashion accessories to compliment their secondhand Members Only jackets.

Fandom has grown far beyond its humble cult origins, eclipsing the forward-looking Science Fiction it once celebrated to become an end unto itself—self perpetuated by a stream of indiscriminate merchandise greedily lapped up by twenty- and thirty-something man/boy nitwits who live in a pot-fueled haze of comic book movies and video games, who have foregone the exploration of big SFnal ideas, to wallow in slacker wankfests like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

And we, who might crack a book once in a while and hope to maybe discuss Vonnegut or Asimov instead of the latest Seth Rogan movie; we the discriminating 1 percent have found ourselves as nerds without a country. How the hell did this happen? It would be tempting to blame Comic-Con, but that’s just the culmination of a process that began a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

Yeah that’s right. I blame Star Wars. Star Wars was such a cultural phenomenon that it tricked an entire generation into believing that it was the pinnacle of Science Fiction. The problem is that Star Wars isn’t Science Fiction. It’s just a rehash of all the most hackneyed elements of formulaic epic Fantasy repurposed as a space opera. And epic Fantasy itself is nothing more than a retread of classic myth cycles that have been around for centuries. It’s no mistake that Lucas set his magnum opus in the past.

And it’s no wonder that any sense of forward looking exploration of the human condition has since been sapped out of genre fandom, co-opted by Luke Skywalker’s whiny, navel-gazing teen angst. That’s where the 99 percent have been stuck ever since, clutching their Hasbro Millennium Falcons and looking back wistfully on old X-Men comics and He-Man cartoons. The 99 percent clamoring for an endless slew of terrible reboots, remakes and relaunches at the expense of speculative vision; the 99 percent that laud reheated trash like The Matrix and Avatar as the new gospel.

Well, we are the 1 percent and we say no more! DeFlip Side demands that you De-Occupy Sci-Fi! We’re taking our country back. Science Fiction doesn’t exist to augment your kitschy veneer or soften the loss of your youth! Take down that Mos Eisley poster and grow up! Take off that Flash t-shirt; you’ve never even heard of Barry Allen! Find a new outlet for your frustrations and baseless opinions—I hear there’s something happening on Wall Street. Go down there and De-Occupy Sci-Fi! De-Occupy Sci-Fi now!