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DIGITAL DEBATE WEDNESDAYS: Immigrants, We Get the Job Done

(Our attempts to find the author for this beautiful piece of Hamilton fan art are coming up nil, so if you know who it was so we can credit them, please let us know!)

Every Wednesday, the staff of The Ace of Geeks will get our keyboards ready for a good, old fashioned nerd argument, and you get to hang out with us! Feel free to email us any ideas you might have for future debates, or let us know in the comments! Until then, here’s this weeks topic:

We’re a country of immigrants and immigrants are what make this country great. Who is your favorite geek immigrant icon, and which is more influential- immigrant creators or creations?

Mary Anne Butler: Bobak Ferdowsi, NASA mohawk guy. No, really, his twitter has been a thing.

  • Jarys Maragopoulos: OMG thank you for sharing this
  • Mary Anne Butler: He’s amazing. And would make a good interview subject iffen you guys ever want to.
  • Jarys Maragopoulos: I don’t know anything about him personally, but I love that he nicknamed GOESR to “The Gozerian”
  • Mary Anne Butler: That was its original name before it got changed at the last minute

Lauren Harrington: It’s hard to place a favorite geek immigrant icon, but most of society doesn’t pay attention to who creators of things are–they pay attention to the achievements of those creators. Characters, scientific advancements, those are more influential in that those are what society focuses on. Not to say the creators aren’t important, they’re IMMENSELY important.

John Garcia: Jim Lee of 90s comics, Image, and current co-head guy at D.C. comics…he has an awesome interview of him “training” to be an artist in the Fatman on Batman podcast

Raven Knighte: George Takei. He’s not an immigrant, but his father was an immigrant, and right now he and his activism has been heavily on my mind.

  • Lauren Harrington: I was going to say George, but didn’t because he’s not an immigrant
  • Jarys Maragopoulos: It’s true, Takei was born, like me, in LA. The only difference being that he can stand LA…. oh and that I can’t hold a candle to him 😉

Tyler Dent Hayes I am having so much trouble figuring out who is and is not an immigrant — especially because tons of influential people are the children and grandchildren of immigrants (George Takei, Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian…the President…). So with that in mind, I have to jump to answering the second half:

I would argue they are equally influential. Immigrant creators stand as an inspiration to immigrants, a living reminder that you can, with hard work and (let’s be real) a little luck, achieve your dream. That’s what the so-called American Dream is founded on, right?

The creations of immigrant creators, however, can be powerful testimonials. Representation matters, both to the people in the group represented and to the people outside it. One of the best ways to change a person’s mind is to force them to see things from a different point of view, and if someone is told that something they love, something that makes their life possible, something they cherish, was built by a group they are prejudiced against, it may help them to reconsider their views.

James Paul Lucky Not sure what it says about me that I almost never take note of whether or not someone’s an immigrant.However I think the answer for me here is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Terminator, T2, Predator, and Total Recall were all very early sparks for my love of sci-fi. As for which is more influential (the creator or their creation) that’s contextual in my opinion. The creation has the potential to long outlive the creator and inspire generations but would never exist without the creator. Moreover creations and works are unchangingl, immutable snapshots of their time, that can lose context as society advances. While people can and do change as time advances and their perspective changes, and evolving leadership that they offer can shape nations and the world.

Jarys Maragopoulos I would argue that Creations will always be more influential than creators, because (fictional) creations are stories, parts of culture. Creators live, love, and die, but their creations live on in everyone who has ever heard about them and still on in everyone those people tell. A part of culture can continue to inspire decades, centuries after their creators last worked on them. Additionally, Immigrant creators may not have a healthy enough relationship with their place or origin to tie their immigrant status into their public persona, an example being John Muir: Original Hiking Nerd. Muir was from Scotland, but that details barely factors into his legacy. Other Authors like Art Spiegleman, who wrote the comic Maus, are much more known for their immigrant story, in comparison. This gets tricky though, for people like (Discordian Saint) Joshua Norton, who is both creator and creation. Norton crafted a story of himself that is much more widely known than his “real” history. A prominent fact in both is that he came to San Francisco as a struggling immigrant from South Africa. That he died the Emperor of these United States (and Protector of Mexico) might demonstrate that America the Concept loves immigrants, even when individual Americans fear or hate them. is Emperor Norton I my favorite though….hmmm….

Mark Foo Can I answer Superman to both questions?

Scott Woodbury Stargate Atlantis first season cast. Technically immigrants to a new galaxy, the international team always held a soft spot.

Korbl Klimecki My favorite immigrant character is Superman, not for love of Superman, but because he is the ultimate immigrant, perfect as a hypothetical for how our immigration laws work in America.

As for whether creations or creators are more influential, I think it will always be creators. Creations can always be swept aside as imaginary, but creators are real people.

Korbl Klimecki
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Korbl Klimecki, professional warlock, is also a writer, baker, slacking artist and inveterate games tinker who occasionally actually plays the games they tinker with. When not lurking in gaming forums or throwing together their latest ill-advised D&D class, they may be found rampaging through the streets of Steelport, or the wilderness of Skyrim. Or possibly pursuing yet another major as if they were trading cards.

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