Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Geeks, Nerds, and Liberty

I feel obligated to tell you, guy who's staring at the screen right now, that May 25 is a day of some celebration. More than just a time to nurse those Victoria Day hangovers (Oh, you Canadians and your silly customs), it is a time for celebration in various realms of geekery...

Towel Day - On May 25, 2001, two weeks after the death of science fiction writer and all around funny guy Douglas Adams, his supporters decided it would be a pretty good idea to carry around towels all day while heroically pointing their thumbs at the sky. All this in the name of commemoration of the man, whose The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series is the greatest absurdest comedy science fiction by a British man the world has ever seen, probably. Why the towel motif? Well, in Adam's humble opinion, a towel "is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have." Along with the number 42 and the urgent plea, DON'T PANIC, towels are an integral part of the series. How absurd! (See, that's exactly why I don't watch British television...)

In reality, the celebration of Towel Day leads to no more than a few hundred minor events scattered around the world -- everything from parties, to lectures, to giveaways. And one can't forget about the few thousand photos on Flickr or the many exciting contributions from the Youtube crowd. Finally, that guy with the intentionally thick-rimmed glasses has an opportunity to forgo his Abercrombie & Fitch scarfs in favor of a towel -- if only for one day. And the heavyset dad type can wrap a towel around his neck before heads off to his IT job. And then there are the real fans...

Geek Pride Day - This is a similar, apparently non-copycat event that is also precisely 15.3% more annoying to me. Some guy was trying to get the holiday off the ground since 1998, originally in honor of the anniversary of the opening of the first Star Wars film, but it only really took off in 2006, when geek chic was in full swing. It's cool to be a geek, I guess -- my little mind don't understand. A random blog has more:
To the gadget-obsessed, math & science savvy, sci-fi fanatic who hyperventilates with excitement the moment you step into an Apple store – today is for you. And even if your geek colors only run as deep as being a Tina Fey devotee and Glee-k (fan of the tv show Glee), revel unashamedly in your geekiness.
Revel! damn you. Just what are you supposed to do on this day? Well, there's a list going around -- apparently part of some manifesto gobbledygook -- but I suggest quoting without attribution. "Just what makes you a geek? [Reverse?] plagiarism" -- Neil Gaiman.

Glorious 25th of May - In honor of Terry Pratchett's long-running and absolutely massive fantasy comedy series Discworld, which is also a lot less funny than H2G2 because I never read it. I don't get the significance of May 25 to this series; I don't want to... I've been meaning to read at least one of those books, but there are like, uh, fifty of them, man.

Argentina's bicentennial, Lebanon's Liberation Day, Jordan's Independence Day and Integrity Day, "a day of contemplation of L. Ron Hubbard's 1965 study on Scientology Ethics." (yay!)

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