That’s a super interesting way to characterize it, honestly. And it does ring true with my own experiences in geek culture.
I remember how a lot of the “throw-aways” you referenced used to gravitate towards either the more rebellious cultures like the punk/grunge scene or the more nerdy ones like geek culture. The punk/grunge kids weren’t part of the “in” crowd, but they were mostly recognized as a legit culture of their own (at least where I grew up), whereas the nerds and geeks were consistently treated as self-alienating losers. And a lot of those kids built up their identities around the social isolation they experienced in their youth. In that context, everything you said makes perfect sense. The commodification/gentrification/mainstreaming of the culture they built has put them on the defensive, and I can most definitely understand why.
At the same time, I feel like a lot of the infighting and political tensions that have infected geek culture/fandom is just plain unnecessary (in my humble opinion). I totally understand and sympathize with the backlash against the corporate and political factions that are trying to impose their will on the geek community. But at the same time, I think geek culture suffers from one of the same big problems that politics suffers from — a lack of self-policing. And I think that’s made the problem infinitely worse than it would otherwise be. That’s probably the biggest reason why I sort of pulled myself back out of geek culture. I still watch the movies, play the games, and read the books. But I don’t really engage the fandoms anymore. It feels like there’s an eternal feedback loop that has poisoned everything, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, not with how politicized and fractured the culture has become.
Thanks for reading and commenting, by the way. I always appreciate it! :)