Thursday, March 1, 2012

Am I Really a Nerd?

"In the realm of the Internet, the nerd is king," a wise programmer said once, I presume.  Probably to somebody they were trying to sleep with or to their disapproving parents.  It makes sense because if the Internet caters to anybody, it's us nerds.

 You don't have to be a nerd to attend, but it helps.

But wait, what is a nerd now?  The Internet, and the mainstream media to a lesser extent, has made the term "nerd" vague and ambiguous.  It seems like anybody who likes Star Wars can claim to be a nerd.  The problem is everybody likes Star Wars, except for hipsters who claim there hasn't been a good sci-fi movie since Metropolis, so there is no way that can be enough to deem somebody a nerd.  Knowing a lot about computers doesn't make you a nerd either unless you absolutely insist on using Linux.  Video games have gained mainstream acceptance thanks largely to the Nintendo Wii, so liking video games doesn't make you a nerd either, especially if you play the Wii.  Even liking comic books are not much of a nerd prerequisite since all the major ones have either A. had a successful blockbuster movie adaptation or B. is Ghost Rider.  So what makes somebody a nerd?  Am I even a nerd?

I know way more about Star Wars than my friends think I know about Star Wars, so much so that I know Jabba the Hutt's little pet jester thing (a character who didn't need a name) is named Salacious Crumb.  I love retro video games and wear a Galaga T-shirt not for irony but because I genuinely love Galaga and tractor beams.  I once spent most of a day at work walking in slow motion to the song from the Kill Bill soundtrack, "Battle Without Honor or Humility", playing on repeat because my co-workers didn't respect just how bad ass I am.  Even my favorite TV show is a freaking anime, Cowboy freaking Bebop.  So yeah, nerd cred?  I got some.

 I have never done a Cowboy Bebop cosplay though....yet.  Via Flickr.

But I don't fit every nerd stereotype.  I say, "Dr. who?" to Doctor Who, I care about Firefly as much as I care about actual fireflies, and I rarely read comic books anymore because, get this, the Devil destroyed Spiderman's marriage.  That happened!  Somebody wrote that!  The Spiderman comics didn't just jump the shark, they catapulted over it and landed on This is Fucking Stupid Beach.  If only Doctor Octopus turned out to be Vishnu the Destroyer's bisexual, donkey breeding father, I would probably quit comics all together.  And despite Cowboy Bebop being my favorite TV show, I hate most anime.  I especially hate those that end in "mon", "oh!", or basically any show with children forcing adorable monsters to fight to the death.  I'm sure these kids have more of a reason to enslave these monsters other than to, sigh, be the best.  Just...just the BEST.  But I can't help but feel these shows are like the cute version of dog fighting and Micheal Vick is the villain since Japanese cartoons almost never include black characters. 

Speaking of Micheal Vick, I think one nerd stereotype seems to dominate over the rest; that nerds hate sports.  While somebody doesn't need to fit every stereotype to be a nerd, the hatred for sports seems to be the most defining to me and often, the most truthful.  Sports topics at any nerdy message board either don't exist, or are filled with just five users posting random sports issues that the others don't care about.  In consecutive order, you'll find a post about Eli Manning, then the Boston Bruins, then Manchester United, then cricket, then competitive eating, then a post about Battlestar Galactica because that user posted in the wrong thread.  An actual conversation about sports occurring in a nerdy message board is as likely as Arkham Asylum realizing they need to beef up security.

 Letting a supervillain with plant powers have a greenhouse?  Nah.  Nothing wrong there.  Via Flickr.

It doesn't even have to be actual sports for nerds to hate either.  Considering how many Youtube channels there are of nerds reviewing video games, a review of a sports video game is rarer than finding a virgin who claims they didn't cry when Aerith died in Final Fantasy VII (I was a very emotional 15 year old okay?  I was totally going to marry that girl!).  The two exceptions are reviews of the Xtremely radical, so 90's it wore Zubaz pants, NBA Jam, and a game that allowed you to bribe and/or kill the referee, Mutant League Football.  Okay, sometimes there is a review of NFL Blitz too since most people remember it as the one game in the arcade nobody was playing or as the game that made you pay fifty cents to play a 5 minute 1st Quarter of the game.  Price gouging at it's finest.  It's like the actual NFL determined these prices. 

There are nerds who like sports.  I am one of these exceptions since I happen to like sports, though my nerdy tendencies punish me by giving me a receding hair line.  I don't like all sports but I like hockey, football (American) and football (everywhere else).  Baseball is okay live but I hate basketball, which I'm sure isn't because I'm only 5'7, 5'8 in the right shoes.  I would probably like basketball more if the last 2 minutes of a 92-90 game, a game that is considered exciting, didn't just render about 178 points meaningless.  All those points leading to what is basically a 2-0 game?  I haven't seen that much meaningless scoring since Ted Haggard in a gay brothel.

 Now if we combine basketball and soccer into a single sport, that would be, a sport.  Via Geograph.

So does all this mean I'm a nerd?  Kind of, maybe, I guess?  This all makes me some sort of nerd-lite, which is the low calorie nerd for people looking to not gain weight but it kind of makes you look like a pussy if you're seen with me.  Wait, no, NOT THAT.  I like having friends.  And no, I've never invited them over to play a table top role playing game nor do I ever want to.  My lack of interest in Dungeons and Dragons probably drops me 100 nerd points but that's okay.  Bigger nerds than I can carry that acne plagued, never seen boobs in real life flag.  Jokes on nerd stereotypes?  I got those too. 

There are different strata of nerd and the nerd archetype has become socially acceptable even when high level nerds shun it.  The most popular definition of nerd at is, "One whose IQ exceeds his weight."  Yes, because we have never seen a nerd over 205 pounds.  Nobody has an accurate definition of nerd so we all have some nerd in us.  How much depends on a lot of factors and how often you use a description like "high level" to describe somebody.

Now if you'll excuse me, this nerd-lite, but high level mage, is going to go watch some Ninja Warrior.  Kick some ass Masato Nagano!

Disclaimer:  This article is satirical and contains 60% of your daily nerd intake.  

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