Of all the people to accuse science fiction and superhero movies of dumbing down the movie industry, you don't expect it to come from Alpha Geek Simon Pegg. The same Pegg that co-wrote the sitcom Spaced, which throws in nods and references to sci-fi and comics in every episode and has Pegg's character, Tim Bisley, not only named after a comic book artist, but playing one too.
Pegg's geekery is part of his personality as an actor, which is why it comes as a shock when in a recent interview with the Radio Times he talks about his discomfort at being the poster boy for the current geek culture that has permeated popular entertainment.
“Before Star Wars, the films that were box-office hits were The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Bonnie and Clyde and The French Connection – gritty, amoral art movies. Then suddenly the onus switched over to spectacle and everything changed.” he tells the British magazine. Before continuing "Now, I don’t know if that is a good thing. Obviously I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science-fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and just thinks we’ve been infantilised by our own taste."
He then goes on to say we're consuming "very childish things" and calls it "dumbing down" and laments that it's taking our attention away from serious real-world issues. Then he drops this bombshell: "I honestly thought the other day that I’m gonna retire from geekdom." King of the Geeks, retire?
As you can imagine this didn't go down well with his fans and fans of sci-fi and comics in general. For many of them Simon Pegg is their celebrity geek god.
Naturally they were OUTRAGED. Because being outraged is Twitter's default setting these days.
Here's some of what was said.
But not everyone disagreed with Pegg.
And then Pegg himself decided to clarify what he said by writing a blog post explaining what he meant, and to try and quell the internet outrage flames. And no doubt keep employment in Hollywood.
It makes for a very interesting read and it also reveals that Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan are both Stormtroopers in The Force Awakens, which is the real take away from this whole sorry affair.