In an interview with the Radio Times [via io9], Simon Pegg made the following comment:
“Nerd culture is the product of a late capitalist conspiracy, designed to infantalize the consumer as a means of non-aggressive control.”
Pegg has now posted on his personal blog to clarify the comment. He did an excellent job breaking down his point by explaining that this sentiment was the inspiration for Spaced, and you can also see how this also carries over to Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End. He also expressed the same feeling to me a couple years ago when I interviewed him at the Blu-ray junket for The World’s End:
“Our generation has been given this ten-year extension, maybe more, to their youth” says Pegg, “but no one knows what the fuck to do with it.”
And he’s not wrong, although later in his post he pivots to say that films haven’t totally gone down the toilet because we’ve got Mad Max: Fury Road and Ex Machina so far this year, although that still doesn’t change the fact that these movies are the exception rather than the rule. He also stresses that he doesn’t have anything against geek culture.
Nevertheless, he’s right we’ve become hung up on the wrong things, and we get hung up on them because we’re, to borrow the title of Neil Postman’s flawed but interesting book, “amusing ourselves to death.” It’s not wrong to get passionate about movies, but that passion has extended far beyond films and into teaser culture. And I’m as guilty of this as anyone because that comes with my job.
For example, in his post, Pegg finished by saying it was time to get “back to writing Star Trek Beyond.” We previously reported that Star Trek Beyond was rumored as the title for Star Trek 3, and this could be a confirmation.
At this point, people will start debating the merits of this title. And I can’t blame them! Just last week, we reported on the title for the next Planet of the Apes film. Does this mean anything with regards to the film’s plot, themes, etc.? Not really! Titles are fungible, and they’re used to sell movies.
So if I had only reported that Star Trek Beyond might be the title of the new Star Trek movie, how much would you care? Would you feel passionately about it? Would you offer different suggestions? How much does this matter? Judging by the popularity of these stories, it matters a great deal, and we should reflect on that perhaps more than what this title “means” about a sequel we currently know nothing about.