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Tag: opinion

The Week in Geek: Upcoming cons, new Spock, same old sexism in gaming

Contributed by
Aug 17, 2018

It's been another week of boiling hot heat followed by torrential downpours here in New York City. But the show must go on. And, like my own personal experiences, the nerdy news has been fraught with complicated situations. But don't worry — there's good news, too. In fact, because I'm such a benevolent news recapper, I'll even bookend our little catch-up with the sunnier stuff.

Here they are: The five biggest stories from... The Week in Geek!

SPOCK, THE VULCAN SO NICE THEY CAST HIM THRICE

From the moment we were introduced to Michael Burnham at the start of Star Trek: Discovery, we knew Spock was inevitable. Burnham is, after all, his adopted sister. And that inevitability felt all the more real when Discovery's first season ended with an appearance by the NCC-1701 herself: the U.S.S. Enterprise.

This week, Ethan Peck (grandson of legendary actor Gregory Peck) was officially announced as the third man to take on the role of the Enterprise's science officer, following in the footsteps of Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto. Peck has got the support of not only Discovery EP Alex Kurtzman but also the entire Nimoy clan as well.

Obviously, we do not yet know the extent of Spock's involvement in Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. But, given the big announcement, it seems unlikely he'll be left as a brief cameo. That means more reasons than ever to be excited about Spock and about Star Trek: Discovery's second season in general.

VOLTRON PRODUCERS APOLOGIZE FOR BURYING ITS GAYS

The Netflix series Voltron: Legendary Defender has been an unbridled success, and one of the audiences that stumps hardest for it is the LGBTQ+ community. From the moment Pidge was revealed to be a character who doesn't quite fit into a gender binary, Voltron felt like a series with a willingness to explore many different kinds of people and characters not usually seen on television.

One character, Shiro, was announced as being gay. And not only that, audiences were told that Shiro would have a romance. Unfortunately, that boyfriend, Adam, got two scenes in the series before being killed in an alien attack.

If you haven't been living under a rock, you've been hearing the term "bury your gays" A LOT the past few years. Shows like The 100 and The Walking Dead were called out for killing off some of the few queer characters they had in a way that plays into a long-standing trope of queer characters being killed off first in long-form fiction.

Voltron's showrunner, Joaquim Dos Santos, released a statement this week regarding Shiro, Adam, and "bury your gays" on Twitter. He denied that the intention was to queer bait (a term that refers to tricking people, especially the LGBTQ+ community, into thinking there will be queer representation but then there isn't) but also acknowledges that his and the show's attempt at representation was not a success.

Dos Santos' explanation and apology represent a change in how showrunners handle the backlash from fans within the queer community. Jason Rothenberg, by comparison, could barely eke out the vaguest of non-apologies when the character Lexa was killed off on his show, The 100.

Still, that's a far cry from actual rep on Voltron. Only time will tell how Dos Santos and his team deal with this misstep.

JAMES GUNN IS OFF GUARDIANS 3. PERMANENTLY. FOR REAL. MAYBE?

The endless struggle over James Gunn's continued involvement with Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy seems to have finally (maybe) reached its unhappy end. Rumor was that Kevin Feige was fighting to get Gunn reinstated and for Disney to admit it had made a mistake.

But when Gunn supposedly had a meeting this week, Feige was nowhere to be found. And now, for what I think will be the last time, I'm writing an article to confirm that James Gunn will not be directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. But who knows? Honestly, my Twitter feed remains full of #RehireJamesGunn. I don't think that's going to change anything, but we are still in the throes of a serious backlash.

And while there have been those who maintain that Gunn crossed the uncrossable line, it remains difficult for many who have noted that Gunn has not actually, directly hurt anyone. Certainly, there are those in media (nerd media, too) who have actively abused people both personally and professionally and either been forgiven and welcomed back into the fold or never been called out at all.

Anyway, Gunn is out and that is that. Probably.

TWITCH'S BIGGEST STREAMER WON'T GAME WITH WOMEN

Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, the top streamer on Twitch, made a pretty shocking statement this week, acknowledging that, while he may stream with people online, he specifically will not stream with women. The reason this decision is noteworthy and not simply dismissed as sexism (although it is that) is because of the explanation behind his decision.

In an interview with Polygon, Ninja said, "If I have one conversation with one female streamer where we're playing with one another, and even if there's a hint of flirting, that is going to be taken and going to be put on every single video and be clickbait forever."

Blevins is married to gamer Jessica "Jghosty" Blevins and does not like that these accusations and invasions of his privacy are so constant.

Not surprisingly, people are not really in love with his decision. And, yes, refusing to publicly appear with women is not exactly a great way to fight systemic sexism, but Blevins' decision does stem from the fact that toxicity in the gaming world is absolutely terrible. Streamers often feel overwhelmed by the lack of privacy both online and in real life. Fans of streamers are known to show up at their homes. Have I ever mentioned the time I, a nobody, had pages of a forum dedicated to my personal life because I slept in the same room as a famous YouTuber? The internet was a mistake.

Also, this is still really sexist. But that doesn't negate a huge problem within the gaming and streaming communities that needs to be acknowledged.

FLAME CON IS THIS WEEKEND

The world's largest queer comics convention, Flame Con, kicks off today at the Copacabana Night Club before it begins a weekend-long event at the Sheraton Hotel in Times Square, NYC. Noelle Stevenson, Molly Ostertag, Madeline Visaggion, Steve Orlando, Jen Bartel, Dan Parent, Amy Reeder, Vita Ayala, Amy Reeder, and on and on will all be in attendance.

Flame Con is one event I try to make it to every year. It's a genuinely joyful experience and a great place not only to meet some of your favorite comic book creatives but to take a risk on new books. And a few of us from SYFY WIRE will be walking around, too. So if you see us, say hi!

And that's all! Your Week in Geek has ended. Go in peace. Let us know what you thought of these stories. What were the biggest stories of your week? And, if you go to Flame Con, tell us what you saw/bought/love. Bye!