I won't waste much of your time going over the recent debacle involving the American Sci-Fi network's recent decision to rename themselves 'SyFy'. Much has already been made of it in the online pop culture circles and I'd only be treading a well-worn path by this point.
It did get me thinking though about this near-constant need on the behalf of the media to label those who fall outside the defined normalcy of beer/sports/infotainment that works for the vast majority of the population. And please understand me when I say this is not meant as a slight against those people. You're havin' fun doing your thing baby, I got nothing against you, we're totally cool from where I'm sitting.
I don't watch Sci-Fi (as a Canadian we enjoy our home and native Space: The Imagination Station), but I was aware of them via their website and its online presence. The decision to change their name comes as the final death knell of an original network with some original ideas. Where once roamed cool shows like Sci-Fi Buzz and the Anti-Gravity Room, now comes professional wrestling and the cinematic masterpieces of the fine caliber of Boa Vs. Python II. So they're hardly the beating heart of geekdom. Still, their decision is telling as they attempt to distance themselves from the market that made them what they are, it seems an attempt to 'Spike' their network and make it more appealing to the mainstream.
It strikes me as an example of a larger issue that's been touched on before, this knee-jerk societal mental branding that comes from being different to what others accept as 'normal'. This doesn't make sense to me. Why can't people just relax and both enjoy what they gravitate toward while leaving others to their particular entertainment of choice? Whether its a guy painting himself blue and going to an Oilers game or someone dressing in period costume and doing some LARPing, it's all the same thing really. Of course given the choice between sitting passively and watching a hockey game or donning a cloak, viking helm, and grabbing a foam warhammer to become Vladimir the dwarven trollslayer. . .I think you know where I'd tend to fall.
. . .ahem.
This strange and subconscious need on the part of people to label others and place them somewhere in a nonexistant, often nonsensical heirarchy fascinates me. Is it a holdover from our more tribal days? Is it just a product of societal pressure and a need to find peers? Is it assinine and largely redundant? I think only the last has a clear and definitive answer, though I find the others fascinating.