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?
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”).
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: