A lot of people get confused by geeks and our subculture because of obscure references. Why is it that these tiny little random moments of shows like Dr. Who, Firefly, or Buffy are so incredibly important? What separates essential from ephemera?

Beyond the cleverness of these lines, it’s more about the overall importance a line has to the show. Some such lines encapsulate a show or character. For example, fans got upset when George Lucas changed a Star Wars moment from ‘Han shot first’ to ‘Greedo shot first.’ The fact that Han shot first made him a total badass. He isn’t a pure light alignment good guy, and that’s why we love Han!

People fail to understand the true importance of things like this, and often misunderstand geeks and other fans.

Check out this recent TMZ video and caption for a prime example. I can’t tell whether the guy recording the video is mocking musicians James McCartney and Ringo Starr, but when asked about his favorite Beatles album, McCartney replies, “Let It Be.”

If you look at his face, it’s obvious that he’s trying to make a statement without being rude. While it’s great that the guy making the video loves the Beatles and became a drummer because of Ringo (according to his video commentary), he’s obviously there to get a video and sell it to TMZ. He lets James McCartney know “I love the Beatles!” which is nice, but…James wasn’t in The Beatles.

This is like the time when a violinist serenaded John Lennon with his rendition of “Yesterday,” which was a song that Paul McCartney famously wrote–but at least in that instance, Lennon and McCartney shared songwriting credit on the piece and were in the same band.

If you’d like to learn more about British musician James McCartney and his own music, check out my recent interview with him over at Yahoo!

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