The OF Blog: Nerdgasm

Saturday, April 10, 2010


If you want to lose any optimism that you have for the human race as a whole, be sure to read the hundreds and hundreds of comments to this Suvudu "cage match" between a character from the Wheel of Time series, Rand al'Thor, and a character from the Song of Ice and Fire series, Jaime Lannister.  The thought of dozens, if not hundreds of überfans (and possible untermenschen?) arguing at length and working themselves up to a frenzy over who'd win in a fictional "fight" between two imaginary, fictional characters is in turns amusing and causes for continued despair over the future of the human race or something.

I did add a suggestion somewhere in the very early hours of the 9th:  William Shatner and Danny Bonaduce would have made for a much more entertaining "cage match," not the least because the two are actual, living, breathing human beings who contain more real awesomeness in a belch than any fictional creation could maintain.  Not that I'd pay to watch Shatner and Bonaduce fight (although I seem to recall Bonaduce and Donnie Osmond boxing once), but rather that it'd be more worthy of attention that countless hours spent arguing about what fictional character would win under which set of applicable imaginary, ridiculous rules. 

And yes, I'm grouchy.  Think I'll take a nap now and sleep off the curmudgeonly attitude...


Ryan said...

fun. sabe? it's for fun. stodge. LOL is that a word? stodgy old um stodge? Now, we all know you're smart, Larry. I'm sure that's your goal by reminding us ever so gently with a brick over the head. I'm sure you HAVE to be to read a book a day? Course I like to savor a really good book. Sometimes I ever, get this, READ, for fun. 'cause I enjoy it. To me, a person who would take the time to state issues on something people are doing strictly for fun, escape, is the most telling of all. Course, maybe putting peoples idea of fun down is your idea of fun. In that case you should be ecstatic.
Myself, I'd love a cage match between bloggers. Pat and Larry is an obvious one. Maybe Neth and Wert. Maybe an actual death match with the losers blogs being actually put to death. Now, that's something I'd vote on. That's MY idea of FUN. :)

Anonymous said...

I think Glen Cook summed it up quite nicely in the aftermath of that hilarious Pat's Fantasy Hotlist interview:

"Find myself incredulous that grownups spend valuable life time waxing rancorous and apoplectic over trivia."

Anonymous said...

Snark the hell out of those clomping nerds! Yeah!

- Zach

Larry said...

I love stirring people up on occasion ;)

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

Been following it a bit (and voting) definitely hilarious stuff.

Off topic, I just picked up The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano on your recommendation and I'm excited to give it a go after I finish a few books.

Larry said...

Let me know what you think of the Bolaño after you finish with it. He's not the easiest of writers to follow at first, but after a little bit, his prose becomes quite vivid, to say the least.

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

That's good to hear. There's something rewarding about working through a work with an author that's nice to do every now and then. Thanks.

Liviu said...

Look at say fantasy football (or pick your sport); why is that "allowable" as entertainment and playing fictional characters against each other not?

Again I just do not get sometimes why stuff that to me seems silly in the highest degree like fantasy sport is "acceptable", while stuff like this here is regarded as silly...

Is something about "books are cultural artifacts" so this character match "degrades" them as opposed to "sport is low-brow anyway" so what does it matter?

Snobbery maybe?

Larry said...

I personally think both types are wastes of time, Liviu, so I'm probably not the best person to ask that...although I am a coach's son and love sports from a technical/competitive vantage point. "Fans" annoy me to no end, though, perhaps due to having grown up hearing quite a few "colorful" things said about my dad. That, more than "snobbery," might explain the mixture of bemusement and disdain that I feel for such "contests," because I see elements of those so-called "sports fans" in these type of arguments. Deadens any enjoyment I possibly could receive from these sorts of activities.


Bolaño isn't too terribly difficult as a prose writer. I'd describe his prose as "visceral," though, which isn't going to be to everyone's taste.

Liviu said...

Watching sports and enjoying the competitiveness is one thing - years ago I used to know all the games played in all World Cup final tournaments from group stage on by reading books about each tournament from 1930-1970 and watching from age 5 in 1974, and even today I watch the World Cup as much as I can - but things like fantasy sports that essentially disregard what makes a "team" for statistics are silly - so no argument there;

My point is that sometimes - and I saw that in other places and I am sure I am occasionally doing it too - we treat books as *always superior* to other forms of entertainment and that imho is not warranted

Anonymous said...

"Look at say fantasy football (or pick your sport); why is that "allowable" as entertainment and playing fictional characters against each other not?"

It might have something to due with the notion (in the U.S. at least) that putting on your favorite sports team's jersey during game time is generally accepted as completely normal behavior, while wearing something related to fantasy literature, be it a t-shirt or (gasp!) costume, is lame. So, yeah, from a general perspective I think it's that sports are still the more socially acceptable interest than fantasy lit. despite that the latter does seem to gain more mainstream ground as time goes on.

Then again, in other cases I think it comes to down to Harrison-like ideas of what fiction should do: transmit ideas and probe the human condition and all that, as opposed to treating a fictional setting and/or characters like they actually exist in the real world. Thus, Wayne Rooney could totally pound C. Ronaldo into submission is okay because, well, those chaps are real at least, but Rand a'Thor vs. Benno von Archimboldi is merely a match-up meant to be fought in the minds of nerds who'd rather pretend that their favorite book is real than face the sad reality of their pathetic lives.

Or something like that. As for my own take:

Fantasy match-ups don't really interest me that much, but I don't care if folks have fun from it. Same thing goes for that squidpunk snakepunk punkpunk-type gag.

- Zach

Larry said...


That's a fair point made there. Although in my personal case, what I think of as "superior entertainment" is very rarely discussed here, in large part because of where I live now. The play's the thing! :P


I don't mind the silly aspect of arguing the merits of who is better than whom as long as all involved keep it light-hearted. But things like this "cage match" tend to bring out those who take this so seriously that often there are ad hominem comments directed to those who disagree. That's crossing some lines there, I believe.

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