So this article got linked by one of the webcomic artists I follow on twitter.
I have to admit, these kinds of complainy articles really tick me off. Part of it is personal; I really didn't get to a level of geekitude that was in any way hardkore until I got on the internet, and especially not until I got into the various transformative works and remix cultures: fanfiction, FSTs, cosplay, roleplay, whatever else I've dabbled in. There was no community before that, just me watching Star Trek: The Next Generation
with my dad and hoping that because I was dating a guy with a good Magic: The Gathering reputation they'd let me in on their games with my less than stellar deck.
I wonder if the guy that wrote that article has ever had to sit around for four hours waiting on their boyfriend to finish playing hackey sack so they could have someone, anyone
to talk to about programming with, and then just being given a book and told that they were being "clingy". Or immediately jumping at the new girl in school because OMG SHE HAD A TOMOGOTCHI SHIRT ON. Or waiting years to buy a PS2 because there were too many pressures in his life both personally and professionally to even attempt
to escape into another time consuming hobby. Or spent months roleplaying someone else's videogame character and finding it was the only thing that they could look forward to in the day.
Probably not. He wouldn't be complaining if he had. He's one of the Chosen Nerds, one of the kinds that merely had to like something to be considering Important. And it's bullshit.
I personally love
the increasing accessibility of everything
; not necessarily by content, but by means. It is not more shallow to have an iPod instead of a Walkman, or to torrent the show you're obsessed with instead of having to wait weeks for it to come in the mail. More accessibility has always meant more options, more people, more viewpoints.
Without the internet I never would have considered some of the implications of my chosen forms of entertainment, untangled my sexuality, or learned how to sew. Without the internet I would have continued to think that my creativity was something silly and unnecessary and to just focus on practical things.
And even still, we can't forget this is a first world accessibility, one which still excludes so much of the world.
Did I sometimes wish that one of my major gateway fandoms, Final Fantasy VII, had been less popular so I could continue with my own theories? Of course. And did I whine about new canons not following my standards set by the original (and imperfect too!) one. I got over it, because it's a waste of energy. I found new places in old places and old places in new ones. I adapted, not expecting a whole franchise or fandom to bend to my will.
But that's the difference between you and me, Patton Oswalt, isn't it? If you knew how to adapt, how to see outside yourself you wouldn't be writing articles on Wired complaining about other people's passions and enthusiasms not living up to your 1980s ideal.
The internet and the information age has many issues, but the popular culture accessibility is the least
of its problems. There are journalists who are lying and ruining their integrity because it is so easy to just hit "post"; you can smear someone's entire reputation in 140 characters or destabilize people's finances simply because your credit carrier doesn't agree with some group's idea of free speech. THOSE are some real issues.
So wake up complaining dude, and realize that it's you who has become outmoded.