a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by forwardslash
forwardslash  ·  3707 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: "Take off the meme shirt!"

So, okay, there has been something that has been bothering me for a while as well that is related to this, but I want to say upfront I'm not directing this at you. I'm more or less going to be ranting about a mesh of people I have interacted with on the internet, with whom I once closely identified with.

There is a word for what geek/nerd/internet culture is, but I'm not sure exactly what it is. I also thought it was something it became, but I now realize it has always been that way.

I hear so many stories of people who grew up social outcasts, bullied because they were different. Somehow they didn't meet societal norms or the expectations of their peers and found themselves on the wrong side of exclusionary culture. However, they found solace in something nerdy/geeky and they flourished to become productive/creative people.

Inevitably these stories always end in, "and that's why I have declared myself arbiter of geek/nerdiness and reject those who would dare wear the mantle of geek/nerd without my explicit permission". Recently it's rejecting the 'legitimacy' of women being gamers/geeks/nerds because someone can know an entire person's history by looking at them and know they are not true gamers/geeks/nerds.

Some of these people grow up to live the dreams they had while playing video games instead of having friends and work in the game industry. Then they put their heart and soul into these games and are rewarded by their geeky/nerdy peers with anger because they would dare reference anything that has so completely defined their life.

I found it so odd that those who suffered merely because they were different would be so keen to outcast and exclude those who are different from them. You'd think that those who saw the dark side of exclusionary culture would not go on to become that which they hated.

I now realize that it has always been that way. There was always someone else to make fun of, to look down on. There was always a social normality that was enforced by the crowd. Geek/nerd culture has not been a rejection of the systems which outcast us but merely a reimplementation of it.

I've spent almost my entire life online or on the computer. I taught myself chess, started a pokemon webring, learned to type by playing MUDs and using IRC. I don't think I would change a thing about that, but I don't want to embrace it as I once did. As they say, "When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." I'm not sure what I would call geek/nerd/internet culture, but either it has changed over the years and that's alright, or it has always been the same and should be reformed.

JTHipster  ·  3707 days ago  ·  link  ·  

An interesting point. What I'm talking about more is people who are outside poking their head in and acting like they belong. Its hard to explain just how you know, but you know. Its why I have a strong dislike for The Big Bang Theory; its a satire about geek/nerd culture without actually presenting something that people in that culture can relate to.

A hot girl who doesn't understand references? A bunch of dudes who are in to science, engineering and video games? That's not really nerdy. My friends are gamers, comic book fanatics, furries, and anime nerds. At this point I call myself a tabletop gamer more than anything else. One is a tattoo artist, three of us are history majors (myself included) and the furry is a chef in training.

Our jokes are all lots of in-jokes. Going the way of the dwarf is dying. When characters die, we play Amazing Grace done with a bagpipe because of a CD we found at a gas station while going to get Star Wars minis for a shadowrun campaign. Its both making fun of something else and of itself; yeah, its stupid that we just play amazing grace when a D&D character dies.

Its not funny when people put things off to play Halo. That's what I talk about when I say that outsiders pretending to be part of the culture is pretty grating. Its because its pretentious that people can just do that, especially when the people who step in to the culture and act like they belong are precisely the kind of people who forced nerd culture to the outside.

I will say this: I dislike people judging women who try to be fashionable and play video games. They're not mutually exclusive. I try to dress well (I am not a woman, no dick pics please) and I play video games. Its one thing to wear say, a mario shirt, or have the triforce on your clothes some where.

It's another thing if you walk around wearing a reddit shirt. That, to me at least, says that you don't really belong and that you're not willing to learn. I actually do think that geek/nerd culture is open so long as you are willing to give it a bit of a chance. But a lot of the learning is watching quietly and being patient, and when people and companies especially just sort of rush in to the culture they seem garishly out of place, like a real life version of the Star Wars Blu-Ray Special Edition.

cgod  ·  3707 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Geek/nerd culture has not been a rejection of the systems which outcast us but merely a reimplementation of it.
Seems like your thesis statment.