25 September 2011

Nerds are the best kind of people

I’ve just returned from the Arizona Browncoats’ sixth annual Can’t Stop the Serenity event, and if that didn’t make any sense then you’ve probably never seen the cult classics Firefly (the TV show) or Serenity (the movie).  Obviously I recommend both.  And I bet you wouldn’t argue with me that Can’t Stop the Serenity is a nerdy event.

This event represents exactly why nerds are the best kind of people.  On every scale, it exemplifies the very best that people can be, and what they can do when they come together for a good cause.

To summarize in one sentence, Firefly was a space cowboy sci-fi show that waxed profound in its portrayal of a group of mercenaries struggling to survive a universe that failed to appreciate their particular brand of morality.  Firefly has a wealth of fantastic messages enmeshed in it, about ethics, righteousness, equality, the list goes on.  I mean to say that this nerdy space cowboy show in and of itself was a production promoting the best kind of people. 

But it was canned in the first season by Fox. 

Enter the browncoats, the cult followers of Firefly.  Like the characters they idolized, they banded together for a common cause: to give a final voice to their favorite show.  They actually scraped together the cash themselves to fund a full-length film chronicling their favorite crew, and out of that sprung Serenity.  How awesome is that?

And it gets better.  Now around the country, browncoats put on annual Can’t Stop the Serenity screenings of the movie, and all the proceeds go to benefit Equality Now and other organizations seeking the empowerment and equality of women worldwide.  It’s a charity the show’s creator, Joss Whedon (of Buffy and Dollhouse fame), feels very passionate about.  Six years in, these screenings have raised over half a million dollars for Equality Now.

So yeah, all of that is great and all – strong moral messages and philanthropy and whatnot, it’s real nice.  But would you also believe that nerds are the most courteous moviegoers I’ve ever had the pleasure to sit with?

I know!  This is at a dedicated cult-movie screening where you’d expect people to be all rowdy and annoying.  And still no one yelled over the dialogue, no one clapped out of turn, and when the important bits came around no one ruined the surprises for anyone who hadn’t seen the movie yet (yes, there were two of them in the crowd).  One cell phone did go off, but the girl instantly turned it off and looked absolutely mortified.

The husband and I have all but sworn off movie theaters after our last twenty our so experiences where we’ve been subjected to people having entire conversations throughout the movies we paid ten dollars a ticket to watch.  But these browncoats were fantastic and their conduct throughout the whole evening – in the theatre, during the speeches and fashion show and front-running show screenings, milling around the lobby, even in the bathroom – was exemplary.  It was amazing.

I’m totally going back next year.


  1. Too awesome. I haven't been to one of these, sadly.
    And I'm wearing a shirt right this very now that says "I'm a browncoated frakhead...why choose?"

  2. Haha exactly!!! The speaker said something very preachy at this Serenity event and I had a strong urge to say "so say we all" at the end of it. I don't think I should be punished for that.


    On a semi-related note, at least to my befuddled brain, I'm also jealous of the fact that you have seen a Stargate.