Wednesday, March 05, 2008

You Brought us Geeks Together

In the wake of the yesterday’s passing of tabletop legend Gary Gygax, geeks everywhere have memorialized him in their own indubitable fashions. Though the various epitaphs scrawled across blogs and Internet message boards may seem sardonic and mocking to outsiders, those of us in the know realize that these references to Constitution modifiers and saving throws are, more often than not, the result of genuine, heartfelt sentiment regarding the passing of a man who helped to craft those undeniably dorky concepts.

And while the Web’s foremost comics mark Gygax’s passing with images and its most studious bloggers do so with words, nerdy musicians pay tribute in song. The first of these, to my knowledge, comes from self-described “Sock Puppet Rock Band and Multimedia Extravaganza-thon-a-rama” Uncle Monsterface.

Frontman Marty Allen says, regarding the track,
we realize all too well the unfortunate truth is that too often, folks wait until someone has kicked the proverbial bucketcan before they say all the nice things they meant to say about them. that isn't reason enough not to, let it just serve as a collective reminder to us all that we should tell people that we like them and that we like what they do. before they [d]ie. people have tried to convince me otherwise, and i refuse to believe it. but if you miss the boat, make them a song.
And with that, I submit for your approval “(thank you) Gary Gygax,” freely downloadable from

Irreverent? Yes. Strange? Absolutely! But also sincere and ridiculously nerdy. Because Gary deserves no less.


Jason T said...

Personally, I think part of what had me concerned early on about people's "saving throw" comments was the possibility of a mocking tone (which is kind of hard to discern on the internet sometimes). One forum post I read even felt the need to warn people that this is the wrong time to tear the man down. I guess it's easy for many to forget that the internet is a place where rather personal feelings get expressed, not just rants and critiques of our culture (I say with some sheepish self-awareness).

Thanks for gathering these heartfelt responses, Z. People who don't know what "nerd music" is probably have a harder time of understanding just how touching geek culture can be.

Z. said...

Yeah, Jason, after I read your post about the responses to Gygax's death I really started trying to pinpoint whether some of the more "topical" references were the result of Gabe's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory or just good-natured nerdery.

After listening to the Monsterface track - which has a certain vein of silliness that runs through it - and talking to the band (Hey, Dan!), I think I started seeing a lot of these comments as simple references to the nerdy cultural touchstones that Gary helped create. Geek homages, if you will.

Sure, some folks are just trolling, but I think others are simply trying to keep their humor intact in the face of tragedy, which is an earmark of greater geek culture.