Lately, I’ve taken a few blows to my self-image, and it’s starting to make me wonder about how other people perceive me. For example, my sister still talks of her trip to Europe this past summer, and is a strong proponent of how everyone should do it. Whenever she tells me that I should do it, she always quick to point out how every hostel in Europe has Internet access. This has led me to believe that my sister perceives me as being some kind of Internet addict who will only go some place where he can plug in. Then there’s my mother. We were watching TV the other night, and one of those promos made up completely of clips from episodes of TV shows came on. My mother turned to me and said “You know, I bet that you could name every episode that those clips came from.” This led me to believe that my mother perceives me as being some kind of television addict who will watch anything that’s on, simply because it is. Another example is the postcard the L sent me from New Orleans. See, the New Orleans custom at street parties is that if you give a young woman some beads, she is to expose her breasts. This custom came as a complete shock to L, and on her postcard she wrote of the multitudes of exposed breasts she saw. She ended it with the simple words “Wish you could have been there (tee hee).” So, this has led me to believe that L perceives me as being some kind of sex-obsessed pervert. But the biggest blow came just the other day.
MuchMusic recently announced the winners of the VJ Search. And, as my spider-sense predicted, I was not among them. It was no surprise that I wasn’t selected, but it hurt nonetheless. I mean, did you see who did win? There was some guy standing there naked screaming about how much he wanted to do it, and some woman standing in a record store droning on in a monotone about how much she new about reggae. I was way more creative than that. Who else showed off their interviewing skills by doing a hard-hitting interview with the Decepticon warrior Cyclonus? Who else showed off their superior public speaking skills by preaching on a soapbox to an empty street? Who else showed off their impressive collection of Star Wars action figures? Only me. But a monotone voice talking about reggae is right up their alley. This once again reminded me of my tempestuous relationship with MuchMusic. No matter how many times I’ve written, e-mailed, and attempted to call that 1-800 number, my requests for “Weird Al” Yankovic are continuously rebuffed. It as though the heads of MuchMusic convened long ago and said “OK, this guy, Mark Cappis? He is a geek. And since we are the committee that decides what is cool and what is not, he is not.”
What is it about me that gives off these uncool vibes? Why am I perceived to be some kind of troll unfit to be paraded on even the slimiest of sideshows? When did I move from becoming the knight in shining armor to the hideous ogre that must be slain? Let’s look exactly at why MuchMusic would not have chosen me.
Number one: the lack of Spice Girls/Backstreet Boys good looks. I’m about ten pounds overweight, dark haired, dark eyed, and wear glasses. Not TV friendly. Number two: my style tends to revolve around shirts with trendy logos and faces of celebrities. I tend to gravitate towards T-shirts with the emblem of Superman, the visage of Darth Maul, and the cartoon likenesses of Pinky and the Brain. Number three: eclectic musical tastes. I own CDs of pop, rock, country, alternative, classical, and stuff that defies categorization. So I can’t be pinned down as the “the rock guy” or “the reggae guy.” Number four: I use the computer too much. So what if I got through college by doing the majority of my research on the Internet rather than in the library? Yup, let’s face it, I’m a geek. Who in their right mind would put me on the air? How about the station manager at my college radio station, where I had the #1 show for 4 years running?
What is it about the geek image that the general public finds so unattractive? Well, let’s look at famous geeks. There’s Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and John Lasetter. They are all leaders in their field and world renowned, but they’ll never be mistaken for the Backstreet Boys. Then there’s Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who have transcended the geek image to become two of the most powerful men in the universe. So would I rather be among this company, or that of Rachel Perry, Rick Campanelli, and Ed the Sock? I think the answer is clear.
The way I see it, I could be on TV raving about the latest one hit wonder, or I can continue adding to my collection of an artist who has continuously put out for the last 17 years: “Weird Al” Yankovic. I can continue listening to The Tractors, John Williams, Smash Mouth, and Aqua, or be subjected to the latest promotional album from Boy Group #127. I could jet all over the world, hobnobbing with celebrities, or I could continue to indulge in the delights of the city of Edmonton. I could wear logos that mean something, continue telling people to watch the film The Iron Giant, and debate the deeper meanings of Ranma 1/2, or I could scratch my head and ask “What the hell is Ranma 1/2?” I could be me, I could be the personification of a big business shill. But the sad thing is, they don’t put me on TV.
The only geeks we’ve ever seen on TV are Saved By The Bell‘s Screech and Steve Urkel. Geeks can be cool! Hell, I am cool! Coolness is not so much as what MuchMusic says but a state of mind. And someday, the entire TV industry is going to wake up to that. But until that day, I will continue being me. So what if my sister thinks I’m an Internet addict? She’s thankful for the personalized tech support. So what if my mom thinks I’m a TV addict? One can learn quite a bit from the Discovery Channel. So what is some view me as a sex-obsessed pervert? I’m a virgin! I tend to view a sex-obsession as optimism. And MuchMusic can bite my shiny metal ass.