Nerd Factor: Batman’s Day

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Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

Last weekend, major cities across the world held Batman Day events. In ten of these global Gothams, the Bat-Signal was lit in order to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Dark Knight Detective. Was this a commercial stunt? Of course it was. Batman’s corporate owners can always benefit from some more sales of comics, movies, and merchandising. I think, however, that there is something else going on here. After all, Batman is not something we are required to celebrate. We love this Caped Crusader.

One of the enduring appeals of Batman is that he is a human being. No solar rays activated his alien biology. No laboratory accidents or radioactive creature bites gave him superpowers. No mutant genes lurked in his DNA until puberty.

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Nerd Factor: The Eagle Has Crash Landed

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

 On Friday, the social media sphere was abuzz with the portents of a full moon falling on Friday the 13th. But the day was also the fake twentieth anniversary of the day the moon was blown out of orbit on the classic science fiction show Space: 1999.

     The show debuted in 1975 and pretty much from the very beginning it was a mess. Set in the then far off date of Sept. 13, 1999, the series took the audacious premise of our lunar satellite being knocked into a space warp after a disaster involving radioactive material that exploded. That scenario offered a weird combination of previous old school sci-fi hits Star Trek and Lost in Space as the many inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha dealt with the dangers and wonders inherent in living on a former satellite careening randomly into the beyond. 

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Nerd Factor: Henchman Hints

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

Getting started on any career path is challenging, but first steps in the super-crime business are particularly problematic. Unless you are one of the fortunate few who survive accidents with weird radiation, who discover ancient artifacts that unlock secret mystic powers, or who stumble upon alien space weapons, then chances are you will not be starting right at the top. That means you’ll be a henchman, and “henching” is hard.

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Nerd Factor: All’s Well That Endgames Well?

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

[Warning: Spoilers for this summer’s Marvel movies]

     Hurrah! Happy ending! Thanos is beaten and all is well in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mean sure, heroic sacrifices were made and all that, but such things should be expected when the ultimate evil is engaged. The important thing is that things are back to normal.

     Avengers: Endgame was a movie built upon time travel hijinks and superhero brawls. At three hours long, one certainly can understand that not every aspect of the temporal dilemmas and not every question about alternate universe experiences were addressed in it. Spider-Man: Far From Home did take on some of the problems of half of the world’s population being returned to life after five years. However that exposition was abandoned in favor of a summer class trip inspired adventure. 

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Nerd Factor: Awkward Easter Bunny Photos

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication

When I arrived at the restaurant, Thanos was nowhere to be seen. Thanos is a notoriously difficult interview to get. He does not do the usual press junkets.  He did not really sit down with anyone to promote his last movie. The popular theory on this reluctance is that Thanos is not actually real. I had factored that into my interview plan, of course, but this was still too good of a chance to pass up.

Thanos’ absence was one thing, but my more immediate worry was the restaurant itself.  Oh, it was a fine establishment with some old school art deco touches and a particularly pleasant outdoor eating area in the back that despite being private felt like dining in a vast garden.

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Nerd Factor: Awkward Easter Bunny Photos

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Illustration by Nicole Freewalt 

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

In malls across the country, kids are lining up for the annual tradition of the photo with the Easter Bunny.  In recent years, another tradition has sprung up in parallel with this ritual. Thanks to internet sites and social media, it is also time for the annual sharing of awkward Easter Bunny photos. Pictures of overwhelmed little kids encountering the terrifying costumed rabbits fire about cyberspace to the amusement of viewers everywhere.

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