Superboy T-Shirt It has often been said that 'geek culture' is tribal by nature. But why is that? Why does a certain faction of society feel the need to compile facts, follow trends, or brandish themselves with an emblem or symbol derived from popular culture? Over the years I've tried to figure this one out myself, hypothesizing on why x would do z and for what reasons. And do you know what I've come up with? I tell you what I've come up with...

Nothing. Nadda. Jack all. Diddly squat. Plus other phrases of this ilk.

Last week, however, all of that changed when I was approached by a company based in London. 'Hello, Mister Andrews', said the voice at the other end of the phone, 'My name is Ben and I'm a representative from Tostadora: the custom-made t-shirt manufacturing company'. 'Oh really?' I replied, 'and how can I help you today, mate?'. 'Simple', said Ben, 'I want you to choose one of our t-shirts and then write a review on it'.

Star Wars T-Shirt
Almost immediately I agreed to Ben's very pleasant proposition. After all, I had the option to choose any t-shirt I liked and it was going to be sent to me, free of charge. Thing is, when I eventually found the time to click onto their website, and navigate through their large selection of t-shirts and printed memorabilia, something hit me, Bang! Something strange that has never struck me before!

What type of person am I? Not physically, of course, but emotionally. Television would have us believe that people like me -- nerds, geeks, eggheads, whatever -- are fractured and obsessive spirits who immerse themselves in story, plot, character, and trivia, inadvertently implying that when I select a t-shirt, and then wear it, somehow my chosen selection would have more meaning to yours truly than your average Joe Schmoe.

For instance, if I picked a Batman themed t-shirt (Daddy), would that imply I'm a dark and brooding individual (drink), always seeking to fight injustice (Mummy)? Or what if I picked a Star Wars themed t-shirt (technical college), would that insinuate I enjoy the duality between the light and the dark (studying or smoking), filtered through a science fiction based lens (A plus B square)? Better yet, what if I chose an Iron Man t-shirt (my brother), or a Thor t-shirt (his fiancee), or a Captain America t-shirt (my auntie), would wearing one of these Marvel characters on my chest denote that I'm selecting sides in the Civil War movie (family wedding), or highlight the fact that I read Marvel Comics and sometimes prefer them to DC (divorce coming soon)? 

Batman T-Shirt
Maybe? Maybe not? Although what I can say for certain is that I do enjoy following popular culture and the excitement it brings to my everyday life. Not that I need it every single moment of my waking day! That would be insane. It's just that by allying myself with a character, a film franchise, or, well, whatever you fancy, this shows people -- myself included -- my varied tastes, my chosen preferences, my iconic inspirations, and my selected style, all filtered through back at me, via hubris and association. So by wearing a t-shirt with a brooding picture of Batman, doesn't mean that in real life I want to be a brooding Batman. What it means is that I like Batman and I admire him because of some of the things he stands for -- not everything, some things -- and that's why I like him. 

So, to answer the question I wanted to answer at the beginning of this piece, 'Why is geek culture tribal by nature?', the final summation is fairly simple. Geek culture isn't tribal by nature. If anything it's personal, individual, to every single one of us. Two people may enjoy the same character or the same film, but as is sometimes the case, for two completely different reasons. For that matter, if two people do like the same thing for the same reasons, all this implies is that they share similar values, not ideologies or backgrounds.

In the end I chose a Batman themed t-shirt from Tostadora's range. It was delivered to me within five working days and it was well packaged and well comfortable to wear. In fact, I wear it more often than I should.

So would I recommend that you go and buy something from them? Damn straight I would, and to prove my point click here and use the discount code CBM15 for a 15% reduction. Just keep in mind that when you eventually go through their large selection of t-shirts, of all designs and sizes, be yourself, choose you for you, not anyone else. Be Batman for a day. Be Thor for a week. Be a Jedi for a month. More importantly though, be you and them in one single shot. Bang!


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