I don’t think I like this update of WordPress; I didn’t mean to upgrade, but it happened. It feels different, and I don’t like it.
Right about now, there’s a lot I don’t like…
Yes, the LotR reread is still going. I just need to sit down and, you know, write; there’s your problem, as they say. Excuses have I none, except – well, honestly, that trip to NYC kind of wrecked me, financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Example towards that last one: there I was in a room full of people who had, like me, sat in front of their computers and taken a test to try to get on Jeopardy, and had done well enough that they got a call. These were people who enjoyed knowledge and learning for its own sake. I … never have that, in everyday life. One girl, still in college, was talking about the study she was doing on Persephone. I got into a discussion with two gentlemen about what the Latin and Greek words for “word” were. This is not the kind of conversation I get to have, ever – well, maybe very occasionally online, but IRL? Never. It was great – but it made the rest of my life look … as bad, as hollow and shallow and empty, as it actually is.
That’s kind of been part of my problem all my life. It’s a thing with introverts, apparently, an impatience with small talk and pointless chatter. I can do it; I do do it when necessary; I hate it, more and more the older I get.
And, too, I’ve never found my “tribe”, my IRL group of nerds and geeks, readers and writers and gamers, who love the same things I do, who can drop a Princess Bride quote one minute and a Star Trek line the next, who take their swear words from Battlestar Galactica and Farscape and the Klingon, who don’t bat an eyelash at the admission that I used to read LotR every year, who understand buying two of the same action figure even though yes I am an adult.
I’ve never found these people – but I know they exist, partly because of Chris Hardwick.
Yes, it’s going to be one of those sorts of posts. It could probably be considered whiny, or self-indulgent, or simply silly. Sorry. I’ll delete it later.
In case you don’t know, Chris Hardwick is a guy who, he says, was like a lot of us as a kid – nerdy, bullied, largely alone in his love of the geeky things. And he grew up and started a podcast, which became an industry, which led to a tv show, which led to another tv show, along with convention panels and commercials and pretty much the perfect job for a less-introverted nerd. As of, say, two weeks ago, he pretty much had it all.
And right now I don’t think there’s much left, because sometime almost two weeks ago an ex-girlfriend posted something somewhere talking about an ex-boyfriend’s abuse of her. And it quickly became clear she meant him, and … within no time at all Nerdist, Hardwick’s former empire (which he sold a couple of years ago), had scrubbed all mention of him from their site; and AMC yanked the second show he hosts (hosted?) until further notice; and the upcoming conventions cut him from their programming.
“We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years,” the network said. “We take the troubling allegations that surfaced yesterday very seriously. While we assess the situation, ‘Talking With Chris Hardwick’ will not air on AMC.”
He’s denying allegations.
My initial reaction was – there’s no way. It’s not true. She’s lying. Not because I think all women who make this kind of accusation are lying. Not because I’m a misogynist (although there are days). Not because I know a thing about her. No – it was a reflex reaction, because I know Chris Hardwick.
No, not really, of course. I have never met the man. I’ve possibly never been in the same state with him. I’m likely never to meet him (or to have met him?) unless it was for a millisecond at a convention, if I ever go to one of those again. (If he ever goes to one of those again.) I’ve never even read his book (books?) or seen his standup or listened to more than a few of his Nerdist podcasts. But I’ve been watching him be a big giant lovable apparently genuine nerd and nice guy on his show for … what, six years?
Last year sometime Wil Wheaton did an AMA on Tumblr. Hang on: a moment for Mr. Wheaton. I hated Wesley Crusher when the show was on. So much. I was only a couple of years older than he was, and it got old watching this derpy kid save the ship week after week – when he wasn’t putting it in imminent danger (and then saving it). I hated his genius guts. (One word: envy. I was, as I said, only a little older – and I would have sacrificed a village to be where he was, on the bridge of the Enterprise with Captain Picard. Flying the damn ship.) He’s grown up, I’ve grown up, and as of the past quite-a-few years, I like and respect Wil Wheaton a great deal. He’s not Wesley; he’s made me realize that both he and Wesley were badly handled by the show; he’s a tremendous spokesman for geeks and nerds and folks with mental illness, because he suffers from depression and panic attacks, and he’s not afraid to talk about it online. He has probably saved lives.
And his best friend is Chris Hardwick. And during that AMA on Tumblr, he made a rather rightfully irked comment about someone who had sent him, WW, a message telling him something like “tell your friend (meaning Hardwick) to stop being so enthusiastic about everything.” WW gave that about the response it deserved. And, feeling brave, I wrote him …Oh, I found it –
Can you please tell Hardwick … that his genuine enthusiasm and smarts and unabashed geekery – sorry, nerdery – is wonderful to behold and helps to validate my whole life and he should never change? Which of course goes for you too. Thanks.
I tell him this all the time, because assholes on the Internet have made a sport out of attacking him for his kindness, enthusiasm, and genuine happiness.
Kindness, enthusiasm, and genuine happiness. I believed it. I believed in him as a sort of avatar for … everything I’ve always been and never had the chance to inhabit as he has – much less make a living at it. I think I’ve been known to refer to him as my spirit animal. I loved to watch him be kind and enthusiastic and genuinely happy. He knew how lucky he was, and it was great to watch him be lucky – great to watch one of “my people”, the few, the newly proud, the nerds, showing that – hey, look, it can be done.
It just seems like, one after another (and sometimes in groups) everyone in my life, both directly and indirectly (everyone who isn’t my mother), has revealed himself to be, in some way, awful. And now this. I know, with so much else wrong with the world (sheer hatred and sociopathy in the White House, volcanoes, wild fires, floods, global warming, war, famine, pestilence, death), there are plenty of other things I could obsess about, which I could blame for my inability to … move. Do. Pull it together. But I keep going back to this one. Hardwick was possibly the last person I would have expected to go down like this. The last thing he said on every show was “don’t text and drive” (because his mother asked him to) – and “be nice to each other”. (A gentler version of Wheaton’s Law, “Don’t be a dick”.) He was such a good spokesman for nerds everywhere, and seemed to be just what he showed onscreen. Despite my advanced and increasingly jaded years, and all my experience in being let down – still, I’m hurt. Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, and on, and on, and ON – they were hard because I grew up with Cosby, respected the others, enjoyed their performances … this is personal. I feel personally let down, taken in, duped. (And my heart goes out to Wheaton, because whatever I’m feeling must have hit him a thousand-fold.) And so in addition to the hurt, I’m angry.
If it’s true.
And it seems like it is.
And if it’s not true, I’m angry because of the unnecessary hurt, and because it’s not likely he’ll ever get it all back.
But it seems like it is true.
Anyway. This is all part of why I haven’t been able to turn my mind to writing about something I love (in a deeply nerdy and geeky way). I will. It’s just sad. Damn it, Hardwick.
Sad enough that I turned to powerful medicine which I haven’t gone to in years. Enjoy – the video below is one of my favorite things on the planet. (And if you know of anything terrible about Nigel Lythgoe, Adam Shankman, or Bryan Gaynor – don’t, for the love of God, tell me. I don’t want to know.)
And … don’t text and drive. Be nice to each other. Please.