Nerd Culture and You, Part 1

March 14, 2012 § 4 Comments

I have a confession to make: I’m a terrible nerd.

Don’t get me wrong, I will knock you out with my knowledge Star Wars (EU included, because people who say it doesn’t count are, at best, plebians). I will show you the mysteries of the universe as encapsulated by the cosmology of the Pokemon world, and you will marvel at my knowledge of the Final Fantasy universes.

In short, don’t mess with me when it comes to nerd-dom.

And yet I haven’t watched Star Wars in years. I haven’t seen the Lord of the Rings since before 2010. I only finished Serenity last year. I have not, will not, and have no interest in reading the New 52. I have the latest Pokemon, but for the first time since the Gameboy Advance SP came out…I do not have the most recent iteration of Nintendo’s handheld.

In shorter, what kind of nerd am I?

Let me check the listing...yup. That makes you a Class-7 nerd.

I’ve been thinking about that question lately and especially since I started working full-time. This is apparently a common complaint among those who grew up with video games but who, once they’ve grown up, don’t have the time to play those same games.

And it’s true. Currently, of the many games I have/could play, I’m only playing Pokemon Black and Battlefield 3. Pokemon, because I can play it on the subway. BF3, because I can play it for an hour or so without actually attaching myself to it. However, even that small amount is decreasing. Pokemon was cutting into my reading time, something that I actually need to do, and BF3 time is declining because I’m trying to finish Skyward Sword  which, might I point out, I’ve had since December.

But this extends beyond video games. I don’t just crawl over the internet like I used to. I have fond memories of reading link after link after link on Wikipedia, Wookiepedia, Final Fantasy Wiki, Zeldapedia, TV Tropes, Boing Boing, and anything else that looked remotely interesting. I don’t watch movies like I used to, I don’t read comics or manga like I used to, and the last show I watched was Community (for which I have no regrets, but hardly counts as “nerd”. It counts as “awesome”).

And this is why I always link to it when I mention it

So here’s my existential crisis: I walk like a nerd, I talk like a nerd, and I think like I nerd, but I do not act like a nerd; I do not do what that which is nerd does (that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but bear with me for the sake of my ridiculous hyperbole). Am I, then, nerd?

Over on The Escapist, Movie Bob (who you should all watch) had something to say directly to nerd culture. It was an appropriate message that should be repeated to everyone regardless of culture, but it mattered because it was addressed to video game culture. I watched it with glee and interest, but then I had to step back and ask myself: am I a part of that anymore? Sure, I play video games, but I’m no longer invested in them. They barely qualify as a hobby for me anymore.

But I want them to.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to give myself a project (because I didn’t just spend the last bit talking about how little time I have). I want to explore what exactly it means to be part of something like “nerd culture”, and what it means to be an honest-to-Batman nerd. This is by no means scientific, but considering I earned my MA doing exactly this,I guess it’s historic.

And on that note, I’m leaving part one with a poll. Tell me what you think of yourself, just so we can have a benchmark of my readership:

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§ 4 Responses to Nerd Culture and You, Part 1

  • Florimuned says:

    I wish I was a nerd. I’m just not smart enough to memorize any details pertaining to any of those worlds you had just mentioned. One day maybe I will be…one day.

  • Nova says:

    Sorry but this is a load of bunkum. The difference between a teenage nerd and an adult is that the adult has to make time for what he loves and that means refinement or efficiency. He or she can no longer get by doing a bit of everything and has to start choosing what it is he enjoys the most and making time for it. If you really loved it you’d make the time and anyone who says they don’t have time for whatever any more is just making excuses because they’re embarrassed having come to the realisation they aren’t as interested in that something as they used to be.

  • Tanis says:

    I’d like to counter your point Nova with the fact that I can work almost a hundred hours on my business and still not have time to get everything work related done.
    And believe me when I say I would much rather be writing the Raven of Narnia over listening to the whine of unwashed girls desperately upset because they have literally destroyed all their yaoi performing their sexual practices and are upset I don’t have more.
    I would much much MUCH rather be watching Oilers hockey than trying to mediate two grown men who stamp their feet and snort snot from their nose because someone won a card game, or because one of them got a high five from my female staff member and the other didn’t.
    And I would much rather read Young Avengers or re-read Teen Titans as opposed to research what the hell is going on on the industry stain known as the new 52.

    But I can’t, passion and choice no longer have anything to do with anything. As society moves forward the level of our general life workload increases; the more connected technology makes us the harder it is for us to have alone time.
    The worse the economy gets the more we find ourselves trying to do what we feel we need to in order to try and survive and make it to the ‘atomic family ideal’ the school system pushed on us as the only way to count as succeeding in life.
    Our busy lifestyles force our food to either be bad for us, thus forcing a need to add a bunch of exercise time into our already packed schedule or be very expensive which requires us to devote much more time than we use to either eating healthy but doing all the work ourselves at home which saves money but eats time, or eating healthy to maintain the average person’s schedule which eats a lot more money than eating unhealthy which stresses our economic situation, which forces us to spend more time on our economics.

    The biggest nail in the coffin though is no matter how refined your interest is chances are no matter how much time you spend on it, due to how easy it is to produce stuff our society produces a massive amount every day. No matter how much you go through there is always more, you will never catch up.
    Western society is also a society built on turning us against each other to get the whole down, hence we always compare our accomplishments to those around us. Someone will also always be a head, thus we feel like we are failing.
    Example: John when talking about Battlefield 3 pointed out it’s release date. This fact doesn’t actually matter except Colin is almost finished Mass Effect 3 which is a much bigger game that came out much later.
    Our friends are our biggest yardstick for self comparison and it doesn’t matter that John has already finished with Skyrim which came out after BF3 and is a much larger game because subconsciously Colin is almost done Mass Effect 3 and I (John in this case) still haven’t finished a game from October.

    To you John I have to say the following: You say you have to read, but we both know that isn’t true. You choose to believe you have to read because not only will it make you better at your job which will hopefully help you get promoted to something more but it will help you practice the tools you need to get away from Indigo as fast as possible.
    Working at Indigo is depressing, not because of the job or money issues but because you did post secondary education with as many bells and whistles as you could and it had you land at Indigo. Surrounded by all sorts of other people also with big fancy post secondary educations and in a society where we are constantly finding that time and money are fleeting; that we never have enough of either; that the idea that because you don’t have a specific type of career makes you feel that maybe, just maybe you made the wrong choice and even though it may be fun, or interesting you are now starting to feel emotionally panicked that all the time and money invested may in the end actually just be burned.
    Which leads to the same feeling you get when you sleep through your alarm only magnified by ten thousand.
    Before you continue to dissect nerd culture I want to ask you one question; If I say the following phrase how will you react?
    “I give Chapters-Indigo 5 years of my life.”
    This phrase isn’t evil, nor does it mean something has gone wrong unless you believe it does at which point you are gonna put yourself mentally and emotionally where I have been for years and I am uncertain you want to do that.

    Nerd qualifications outside of science (due to the ever evolving practice of advancing science by proving everyone before you was stupid) don’t go stale, they don’t have minimum work maintenance hours and in 99% of conversations they don’t get validated. If you make a mistake when talking to another fan of something, and it is a new fact that learn or a fact you made a mistake with, you accept the new fact find it cool or stupid and continue the conversation. You are only no longer a nerd if you believe you are or are not.

    Also would you say that I am a nerd?

    P.S. I know my grammar must be driving you crazy…*shurg*
    P.P.S. Final Fantasy Tactics has no actually characters or story in it and is in fact a thinly veiled Dance of the Seven Cliches over top a cookie cutter stolen engine. 😉

  • tall penguin says:

    To nerd, or not to nerd, that is the question.

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