[webcomic] - Questionable Content - June 14, 2006

Jun 18, 2006

I'm not sure what's the worst part about Thursday, June the 14th's deathbot joke. That he said it, that I understand it, or that I found it so. damn. funny.

I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with Questionable Content by Jeph Jaques. On the one hand, I like the bulk of its intelligent humour, I like the art, the characters have depth and backstory, and it's grown a tremendous amount since its inception (which, in my opinion, is an important feature in a webcomic). I dislike the indier-than-thou attitude (and the growing secondary nerdier-than-thou tones) and the fact that it's basically a male Mary-Sue story (or a human Tenchi Muyo story?) kind of puts me off.

Indier-than-thou and Nerdier-than-thou are starting to permeate our culture. Before people could like whatever they wanted and to any degree they wanted, but to be a part of these exclusive cliques, you must conform to the rules.

To be Indier-than-thou, you must only like things that very few have ever heard of. You must wear clothes with either these same obscure bands portrayed or phrases that only somewone who is also indie would understand. Clothes are better if they are vintage and buying things at big-name stores is an Indier-than-thou faux pas. The most important thing about being really indie, though, is that you must dislike, or cease to like, anything that is mainstream. I think indier-than-thou can be exemplefied by places like Threadless. Threadless takes shirt submissions by creative artists from anywhere. The designs are put to a vote, and then the winners get put on T-shirts. The t-shirts are made in one run, and one run only. If you get it, you get it and you'll be so indie for having it, if you don't, there's a chance that it will be never be made again. So if you didn't get it when it was there, you can't get it --- unless you get it used. [vintage ;) ]

Nerdier-than-thou, however, does not care what you like as long as you like it more than anyone else. You have to subscribe and follow the feeds from the nerd-channels and keep active on forums. To be Nerdier-than-thou you have to be up on what is up-and-coming and you should always get it first. To be nerdier-than-thou is a game of one-upmanship, you must have read one more comic than your predecessor, know ten more facts, have twenty more nerdy t-shirts. It's not very important to the nerdier-than-thou what they wear, as long as it is nerdy and not trendy in nature. Internet in-jokes, fandom and engrish are all popular nerd wear, but unlike Indier-than-thou, it doesn't matter where you got it. If you got the same t-shirt that 50000 other people have from the exact same site... big deal. You're still nerdier for it. Of course there is a bit of overlap with indier-than-thou culture... if you can obtain something nobody else has, your nerdiness goes up. I'll admit to being somewhat nerdier-than-thou, but I'm trying less to be ;)

It seems that Questionable Content is beginning to synthesize the two. Nevertheless, I really enjoy Questionable Content and I do recommend it. You might not get all the indie-music jokes, but hey! My friend Red follows Jeph's recommended listening and looks up the bands mentioned in the strip, and he's picked up some cool new tunes that way :)