«

»

Jul 20 2017

Nerd Cred / Nerd Acceptance

A few days ago, I posted a rant that mentioned how nerds don’t like change. To prove that I truly can complain about anything, I’m now going to rant about the exact opposite position. Today, I’m going to talk about how a certain subset of nerds need to embrace change.

I don’t know if it’s always been this way and I’m just now noticing it because I am awoken, but it seems like there’s been a rise in male nerdom acting like those hillbilly Trump supporters. When The Force Awakens announced that a brotha would be a storm trooper, they freaked out. After seeing the movie, I’m just upset they made him so stereotypically black. When the Thirteenth Doctor was announced, people were outraged that the actor was a woman. When Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker, or Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, or when Jared Leto was cast as the Joker, fans fumed. Well, they kind of had a point with Jared Leto. The point is that nerds have this strange pattern of hating any portrayal of their thing that doesn’t perfectly match they way it is in their head.

In my Star Trek article, my argument was that canon should matter, and revising it was my main issue. I don’t care if a woman does the thing, or a lesbian does the thing, or if a person with dark skin does the thing. I like to think that most nerds agree with me. I have a female friend who is a huge Doctor Who nerd. Yes, they exist. Her objection to casting Blondie McWhateverhernameis as the Doctor is that it doesn’t serve a narrative purpose. It’s just social justice for the sake of social justice. If the Doctor had regenerated into a woman’s body after Rose was trapped, or something, then it could have some storytelling weight. I kind of get where she’s coming from. That seems like a valid argument. I don’t remember if people reacted the same way when the Master was cast as a woman. I do know that every time a new Doctor is announced, people instantly hate them, then grow to like them, then can’t imagine anyone else playing them. Rinse. Repeat.

Think about it this way. It should be about the character and the story, rather than going down a check list. “Ok, we got our white man, a white woman, a black man, an Asian… oh. We need a gay person.” That doesn’t affect the story at all. Take myself, for instance. If you look at me, at my core, who am I? I’m a person who is miserable, prone to depression, mildly humorous, and who complains constantly. I could be cast as a woman, a black person, or a gay, and it wouldn’t matter. My core identity would be the same. Now let’s look at Luke Cage. Luke Cage is a black man. He deals with the life a black male would lead. He sees the world from the perspective of a black man. He must be cast as a black man. Do you see the difference? It’s not about filling a quota, it’s about telling a story as accurately as possible.

The Doctor is an alien with two hearts who travels through time and space and helps people. No penis necessary.

So I’m not talking about fans who have rational arguments about the casting choices or the storyline issues. I’m talking about a particular subset of nerd culture who doesn’t want to share their toys. The ones who use the same bullshit reasoning as when Republicans fight gay marriage. “If a gay gets married, it ruins my marriage” is the same as “if non nerds like my thing, it ruins nerd culture”.

I get it. We have a hipster mentality about our thing. We were into superheros before they became blockbusters. We were bullied for liking nerdy things. Comic books were ridiculed as cartoons. It was fucking hard for us to make friends, but when we did make friends, they were our fellow nerds and we could share our love of the thing. I totally understand. I’m one of you. I recently overheard a conversation on the bus where two dudes were arguing about the Batman lore without knowing anything about the Batman lore. One dude claimed that Michelle Pfeiffer is the only woman who has ever played Catwoman. It infuriates me when people don’t know the thing as much as I do. I understand.

At the same time, it’s a dumb argument. Let’s not be coy about it. “I don’t want people to like the thing that I like because then I won’t enjoy it anymore.” Really? Then are you really a fan? Or do you just like to be unique?

It’s a lot like how hipsters reject popular music. Why? Because it’s popular, of course. They can only admit to liking obscure bands, or they lose their credibility. And even though most of those bands are obscure because they have no talent, they cling to that credibility. Same thing with nerds. Die hard fans cling to their thing as if it’s their secret identity, and if it gets out, Gotham will burn.

Here’s the thing. We are becoming bullies. We are becoming the people we hated. Mocking someone for liking nerdy things? Doesn’t that reek of similarity? “Oh, you’re a girl who likes superheros? You’re dumb.” Didn’t you have to put up with that shit? You know that feeling of acceptance that you never got, because you were a nerd? Well now you’re doing that same thing to other people who actually WANT to be nerds.

The truth is, that the rise in popularity of nerdy things, particularly superheroes, has increased the population of people who like nerdy things. This includes non white males. Women like superheroes. Gays like superheroes (especially the outfits). Asians like superheroes. It makes sense that they would want to see themselves represented on the screen. That’s not people being politically correct social justice warriors, that’s entertainment reflecting reality. That’s Marvel and DC trying to give everyone someone to whom they can look up. Someone to idolize and want to imitate. How is there anything wrong with that? I hate the character of Supergirl. I also hate the character of Superman. Their gender is irrelevant. They are just dumb characters. I’m not going to protest them so that no one else can enjoy them. Let nerds enjoy nerdy things. Isn’t that what you wanted way back when?

Now, I want to make one quick point. There are some people (mainly cute chicks) who CLAIM to be nerds but who really aren’t. Fuck those bitches. Wearing ugly glasses a nerd does not make. Fuck you. I hate the idea of cultural appropriation, but if that really is a thing, then this is an example of it. Oh, you wear a shirt with the Triforce on it, but don’t know that Zelda is the princess? Go fuck yourself.

There are, however, plenty of legitimately nerdy women. And nerdy black people (nerdy negroes?). And nerdy gays. Why would we want to dissuade them from being nerds? What does that get us? We live in the golden age of nerdiness. After being bullied and mocked for decades for being passionate about weird things, now we live in a time where it’s acceptable, and you idiots want to fuck that up for us?

Let’s say that you got the movie executives to stop casting women in superhero roles. Then women wouldn’t be as excited to see Iron Man v Magneto: Legion of War 3, the Legending. Perhaps, those women would give up on their nerdy passions and become normies. The normies mock us. So now there are even fewer women who date nerdy men as before. Good fucking job, dipshit.

Not to mention all the things those nerds will accomplish in the future. Nerds are by our very nature, creative. We are innovators. How many technologies were inspired by Star Trek and sci-fi in general? That was mostly created by male nerds. Imagine all the cool stuff that we could have had if more women got into nerdy stuff back in the 60s? That’s twice as many nerds, creating twice as much cool stuff.

We should want our numbers to go up. We have the chance to make nerdom a beacon of progress. Where anyone, ANYONE can feel free to enjoy the thing. Where everyone accepts everyone else’s thing. Where the people who make the things get money, and can make more of the thing. So stop scaring people away. “Oh the world is too PC. Storm Troopers can’t be black. This is Disney selling out.” You realize that you’re crying about space wizards, right?

About the author

Chris Dantes

My name is Chris. I currently live in Seattle, though I’m formerly from California. I’m a writer, comic, and superhero (allegedly).

I complain. A lot. About everything. I also tell jokes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>