Wednesday, 14 November 2012

West Coast Geeks vs Nerds - Indiana Jones vs Tintin Debate

You've seen these arguments before. I know this because you're on the internet, which is filled with them. Who would win in a fight between super spies James Bond and Jason Bourne? Or how about a wizard duel between Harry Potter and Harry Dresden? Maybe a medical match-up between Dr. Mario and Dr. Doom? Popular culture is filled with such debates, and there's no right answer. Typically, these arguments tend to devolve pretty fast when they take place in online message boards and chat rooms. It's pretty much the exact opposite of your high school's debate team. Unrestricted by any kind of moderating influence and protected by anonymity, fans will fight hard for their icons, citing obscure sources and taking every cheap shot they can in pursuit of victory. (Psst. The correct answers are Bourne, Dresden, and Doom.)

If you read all of that and thought to yourself: "Wow, that sounds like the kind of thing I'd want to see performed live on stage..." ...really? You're a huge nerd and/or geek. Which is why you'll thoroughly enjoy West Coast Geeks vs Nerds! This live event pits two teams of master debaters pop culture scholars against each other to determine which of two given icons is considered to be the objective winner.

The debate itself is structured and moderated to ensure a fair fight, with each side getting two minutes to present their case in different categories, followed by a five minute free-for-all round before the audience gets to cheer for their favorites and the moderator declares final judgement. I went down to last night's show to get a taste of the madness for myself, and I'd like to share my experience with you. Come along, shall we?
I fought the urge to ask Tyler if he knows who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
The first debate of the night was a contest between two globe-trotting adventurers: Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr. versus Tintin. Two teams of three, designated "Geeks" and "Nerds" took up their respective sides and instead of a coin toss, debate order was determined by both sides rolling a 20-sided die. Amazingly, Team Geek managed to roll a 20 (though the die apparently read 0, which I found even funnier), so they elected to allow Team Nerd to proceed first. The Nerds describe Tintin for the benefit of the audience, which I appreciated because I had no idea who the hell Tintin was. To sum it up, Tintin is a character from a French children's comic series. He is a world renowned reporter and adventurer who often finds himself in dangerous situations along with his faithful dog Snowy. He's traveled to pretty much every country (including a few fictional ones), and has even been to the freaking Moon. Next, Team Geek painted us all a picture of the heroic adventures of Indiana Jones, world renowned archaeologist, treasure hunter, and Nazi Exterminator.

In the second portion of the debate, both sides took an offensive stance and attacked the efficacy of the opposition's character. We were treated to a brutal takedown by the Nerds, featuring Indy's encounter with Hitler, his questionable use of Short Round as child labor, and a deconstruction speech so thoughtful and efficient that it left the moderator and audience alike gasping for relief. The Geeks countered with something just as vicious and direct: Photographic evidence of Tintin's own dark history, including the abuse and subjugation of native Africans in the Congo. Both sides definitely came prepared for this one, ladies and gentlemen.

They got a LOT of mileage out of these cards. :P
Next came the obvious question: Who would win in a fight? Team Nerd painted us a lovely mental image of Indy and Tinty (no? I'll try harder, I promise) doing battle in a Gladiator Arena, wherein Tintin uses his wit and skill to escape captivity while Indy is seduced by Nazi prostitutes and dies from contracting various STIs. It certainly is a vivid mental picture, but the Geeks fire back with one simple statement of fact: Indiana Jones is a grown man (and war veteran) fighting a teenager and his dog. Hard to argue with that one.

The final round consisted of a five minute free-for-all where both sides were free to speak openly and challenge each other directly. All participants made their voices heard, and strong points were made on both sides. I'll admit that I went into the debate entirely on the Indiana Jones side of the debate (because I basically had no idea who the hell Tintin was), so the fact that I was even considering the possibility of a Tintin victory is a credit to Team Nerd. Ultimately the moderator turned his attention to the assembled audience, with cheers going up for Indiana or Tintin respectively. Tintin was declared the final victor, though it's probably because Team Geek elected to hum the triumphant Indiana Jones theme music, while Team Nerd was forced to simply cheer because nobody in the room remembered that Tintin even has theme music. Seriously, I was having flashbacks to Madeline and freaking Babar.


The main event that night was a match-up between Superman and Goku, two impossibly powerful beings who destroy planets by blinking. I would love to have stuck around for that one, but sadly I am NOT an impossibly powerful being and I work for a living, so I had to head home so I could be in decent shape to get up for work at an ungodly hour of the morning.

West Coast Geeks vs Nerds was a lot of fun. The debate was engaging and spirited, the crowd was having a blast, the friendly staff of Yuk Yuks Comedy Club were always nearby to provide drinks (and they take debit!), and geek-themed cookies and treats were available in the lobby courtesy of Jenny and Geek Sweets. The next event will be taking place on December 11th, pitting Gotham City's own Mr. Freeze against Mortal Kombat veteran Sub Zero, as well as a pair of Creepy Christmas Cranks (I just love alliteration, don't you?) as Jack Skellington takes on The Grinch. It was plenty crowded in there already, so pick up your tickets fast before they start selling out shows!

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