Geekiness always begins from love. Like pretty much anything, in order to become proficient, it requires practice; so much practice, in fact, that it’s only through a hard, unquenchable love of the matter that we can dedicate so much time and energy to it. But there are things we all have done that we need to stop doing, if we haven’t already.
We’re always measuring ourselves against other folks doing that same thing, and once we’ve acquired decent skillz, it becomes easier to look down on those “not on our level.” In the beginning, it feels good to be the look-downer than the look-downee, because you’re actively not being shat on when you’re criticising others. And it’s somewhat forgivable; tasting that power for the first time is narcotizing. But after a honeymoon period (the honeymoon between yourself and your raging, egomaniacal power-lust) you need to tone it down and give yourself over to a greater, more nourishing equanimity.
As we’re all at least level 12 Geeky-Nerds here, I thought I’d share with you the seven deadly sins of nerdry, but I’m sure you’re all far too awesome and sexy to engage in these anymore. Right?
7. “Girls Can’t _____!”
“Hey, Useless McBooberson! You need to Get. Out. Now. No, I don’t care that this is a con about you.”
Hey, did you know vaginas are the reason girls can’t nerd? Me either! It’s why, if you attend cons, you will NEVER see a lady-womens there, or, like, unicorns, or whatever it is those crazy girls hang out with. Zeppelins? Creationists? Some things we’ll just never know, like why women are cray-cray and only do too much or too little sexings, right bros? HA HA HA MISOGYNY!
Of course, as those of us who aren’t single-celled shiteaters know, excluding someone based on anatomy is ridiculous, especially when fan enthusiasm is almost a one-hundred percent cerebral activity. Time for some real-talk: I used to be in this category. A girl I knew wanted to play with my G1 Wheeljack, and I told her I didn’t want her cooties on it, that she wouldn’t know how to play with it properly even if I did let her, and that she should get out of my sandbox and go get me a juice-box. How did this work out? Well, I learned that that was no way to treat a woman, especially on our third wedding anniversary, and I never saw that Wheeljack ever again.
For real, though, don’t exclude based on gender. Or really for any other reason. As geeks, we’ve criticized a lot of other communities for excluding us. We can do better.
6. “_____ Sux, but _____ Rulz! (Even Though They’re the Same!)”
Easily the best Call of Duty. Or Battlefield. Whichever.
Those of us still scarred from the Console Wars of the ’90s look upon today’s Xbox vs. Sony generation as pretenders trying to recapture a glory they weren’t present for, like cavemen trying to restart a once brilliant, raging conflagration by screaming terribly racist slurs at it. And while the Sega vs. Nintendo era was a crazy flame war, the reason we were allowed to compare and contrast via swears are twofold: We were kids, and and we could punch any douche who got out of line with their offensive defense. Nowadays, 99.9% of the people you argue with you’ve never even seen, much less been within bash-distance, and so taking a stand and TYPING IN ALL CAPS ABOUT HOW CALL OF DUTY IS WAY FUCKING BETTER THAN GAY BATTLEFIELD FOR THE GAYS AND WHAT ARE YOU, SOME KIND OF GAY? just isn’t fair in all the ways it should be. But for all the homophobic, awful type-screams, there’s one thing we forget…
…they are the same. They are all the same. Back in the day, when Nintendo and Sega produced a massive majority of games in-house, there was almost a reason to fight. Almost. Now though, the amount of titles released for Xbox and not for PlayStation an vice versa can be counted on one hand that’s been involved in a few firework accidents. And the whole CoD/Battlefield thing is kind of crazy, in a “my floating modern gun shooting folks in brown and grey and better than your floating gun that is doing similar things, fool!!” I understand that rallying under a banner is something we’re programmed to do as people, finding like-minded folks and also providing an Other to rail against, but it shouldn’t take you a long time to get over that internecine kind of fighting. We’re all gamers. Let’s just enjoy the incredible bounty before us.
5. “If You _____, You’re Not a Nerd!!!”
Sports: In no way related to nerdery. Ever.
The concept of geekery has spread in all directions, encompassing a whole host of other sub-groups and formerly antisocial activities, as well as tingeing former-opposites with its snotty, Cheetos-dust infused mitts. Sports and geekiness were the exact opposites (see: Jocks vs. Nerds, in chapter All The 1980s) but now, due to statistics, moneyballs, and sportymaths (?) sports fans can be counted among us, or we can come to their houses and chant “ONE OF US, ONE OF US!” (either is fine.)
So it makes it all the more difficult to exclude someone or something because of perceived non-nerdery. If we’re about one thing, it’s love: love for our favorite franchises and characters, love for blueprints of things that don’t even exist in reality, love for spending lots of money on molded plastic that moves a little, if you’re dumb enough to remove it from the packaging like some kind of dumb idiot. And guess what? People love football, and ice dancing, and flour grinding. Love, numbers, physics, biology, chemistry: all are present, and all are traditionally geeky. So while a weekend flour grinder may not find a home with us, someone who loves it to the point of creating tables, charts, and particle physics equations to better love their admittedly strange hobby is a nerd.
4. “You’ve Ruined the Character FOREVER!”
“BATMAN WILL NEVER BE GOOD AGAIN EVER!!! *SOB*”
Oh noes! Your favouritest, belovedest character does something so out of keeping, so crazypants insane, and so despicably awful that your love and respect for not just that character, but also their creators, artists, and purveyors drops to a crushing, disappointing low. So that’s the end of the line, right? Now you have to burn all your fan-love items, lest this abomination reflect as poorly on you as it does on those previously mentioned. Well congratulations, you’re now a thirteen year-old Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic writer circa Sonic Unleashed.
Our favorite characters that are passed on from creator to successor, and so on, often end up soiled by this. It happens, and it will continue to happen. And yeah, it sucks big-time, but eventually someone who knows the character as well as you do will take hold of it and do amazing things you never dreamed. After all, we got a The Dark Knight after a Batman and Robin.
3. “YOU’RE NOT NERDING RIGHT!”
Obviously collecting incorrectly = NOT A GEEK
I think this is another situation we’ve all been in: Seeing someone on a message board or overhearing someone at a con effusively praising something freely and from the bottom of their heart, and you get madder and madder as they misstate facts and figures, get names wrong, and completely confuse the premise of the whole deal. Lord knows I still turn beet-red when it comes to people screwing up data from a certain series I love (and which I will never name for fear of what it says about me.)
The other thing is how easily hateable this behaviour is when we come across it in others, provoking a weird kind of “Hey man, just let the kid love it for the love of it! He’s not hurting anyone, and we need to accep-OH GET FUCKED JANEWAY IS WHY YOU LOVE STAR TREK AND SHE’S ‘BETTER THAN WHOEVER THE SHIT YOU THINK ‘PICKERD’ IS AHHHH-BLAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGG!!!” reaction. It’s frustrating when someone isn’t familiar with what goes on, like hearing someone say “My favorite thing about physics is when you drop stuff and it flies to the mooooooooooooooon!” But we were all new to our favorite series once, and I think a lot of us were thankful that we didn’t have the Internet to call us on our misconceptions.
2. “Well Now, That’s Just Physically Impossible!”
Pictured: Someone about to do REAL SCIENCE!
This one burns me up. You’re watching a movie about a dude who dresses up like a fetishistic bat, appears from nowhere somehow all of the time, has magical toys that do nothing but defy the rules of the natural world, but when he makes a flaming icon of his symbol, that’s your dealbreaker? “He wouldn’t have had time to do that! And I thought he was supposed to be in a hurry!” Don’t get me wrong, it was a dumb idea, but out of everything else that happened, that’s the one thing you comment on as being “kind of outside the realm of believability”?
We are geeks, and so we enjoy all manner of science-fiction, superheroes, and inordinately accurate damage-soaking one-man armies, so really there’s nothing we should call “inconceivable” (except, perhaps, winning a land war in Asia). Please don’t be that jerk-off. I understand there are limits, but they should be more about “that was a stupid idea” as opposed to “hey, that thing just now? The 899,905th thing that could not have ever happened anywhere ever? Man, y’all need to hear why that’s wrong!”
1. Hating on “APPRECIATE MY QUIRKINESS!!!” People.
“Look at my personality! LOOK AT IT!”
I know there are some of us that didn’t even know we were nerds until someone helpfully pointed it out; usually that asshole Chad in middle school screaming “NEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRD!” every time we walked by. But unlike Chad, we got to choose to be that through pure love, no matter how many times his Mom tells him that that’s what his uncle had in mind when he knocked her up.
But since it’s become kind of a hot topic, some have come to see geekdom as a replacement for things like “a personality” and “social graces.” Instead of letting others come to see for themselves how quirky and intelligent they may or may not be, they instead slap on a My Little Pony shirt, a Voltron backpack, and roam about with a grin on their face that says “Aren’t I just too much?“
And those people are the worst. Why? Because they shun the community they’re appropriating for themselves. The second Chad engages them in conversation, they will take the opportunity to shit all over us while guiltily fingering that MLP shirt, saying “What, hang out with those nerds? No way Chad, I’m cool, I’m so cool we should do things with beers and maybe the ladies together while talking about cars! VROOOOOM! Wink!”
Yes, these people are asshats. But they are not geeks, or interesting, or worthy of our strongly cultivated, Internet-strengthened nerd-hate. Whatever else becomes popular, they will glom onto that, and then we do not have to worry about them. But, when they wake up at night with the crippling realization that they aren’t actually people and only have traits writ in sand instead of stone, we are allowed to grin mightily.