Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fiction's Finest Nerds: The Cowardly Lion

Sure, from the movie and original Baum book, The Cowardly Lion seems like an unlikely candidate for Fiction's Finest Nerds, however when looked at through Maguire's A Lion Among Men his image takes on a new cast.

The cowardly Lion, or "Brrr" as Maguire names him, is a false jock. He is all bluster and no balls—the worst type of bully. But through Maguire's lens, the lion is a troubled youth who is shunned by his kind and others. He is mocked by a society to which he feels he belongs, turned out by another pride of lions, treated as a novelty by the only group that takes him in, and knows that the medal for courage means nothing. He is also, like so many of Maguire's Wicked Years characters, an abject failure.

This makes his bully persona in Baum and the movie more understandable. Often outcasts are most cruel to their own kind. How often have you been involved in some nerdly activity, thinking yourself to be among peers, only to find at least one complete bastard at the table? He (it is typically a male) will often be the most socially unacceptable of the group and somehow feels that his fellow nerds are the only outlet for his aggression. Fanboys was a great example of this. The Star Wars fans beat up on the Star Trek fans, because if they went after jocks or douchebags they would get their asses handed to them. Randall Graves from Clerks is like this as well; disparaging others for interests that are oh-so similar to his own.

So, we should learn from the cowardly lion that nerd-on-nerd "violence" is not acceptable, witty, or self esteem building. Trolling on blogs, tea bagging in World of Warcraft, and 'dissing your fellow D&D players just shows your self-loathing. Be nice to your fellow nerds, for one day they may be the only friends you have.


Cala Gray said...

Interesting look at the Cowardly Lion though the remark about nerd-on-nerd violence made me giggle. I've seen too many digs on WoW and D&D players, but then again I'm nice to everyone! :)

Nathan said...

Isn't the Scarecrow more of a nerd than the Lion? The Lion is more of a simple outcast, I'd say.

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