When someone says they love a thing that you love, don’t challenge them; embrace them, and love that thing together.

Tomorrow, I’m heading out to Chicago for a weekend at the Wizard World Comicon. As I pack my clothes and pick out my nerd shirts, I’ve been thinking about how much I love going to cons, because I love being surrounded by people who love the same things I love, the way I love them, while also being surrounded by people who love things I don’t even know about. We all get to love our respective things in the same way: enthusiastically, completely, unironically, without fear of judgement.

This has always been my experience at conventions, from the first few horror cons I attended at the Ambassador Hotel when I was a kid, all the way to the shows I’ve spoken at as recently as this year.

But John Scalzi points out that not everyone has had the same inclusive experiences that I’ve had, because of a certain type of self-appointed “gatekeeper” who has taken it upon themselves to decide who is a “real” fan of a thing.

Scalzi writes about this from a creator’s point of view:

Almost no one wants you to be a gatekeeper. Geek dudes: Do you honestly think Marvel comics, owned by Disney, wants you to harass women away from enjoying the X-Men? Do you think DC Comics, owned by Time Warner, appreciates when you demand a woman present you with a list of every Green Lantern in order to be worthy of “true geekdom”? Do you think Paramount Pictures, owned by Viacom, is grateful that some dude has appointed himself Arbiter of Star Trek Fandom? Do you believe that Tor Books, owned by Macmillan, one of the world’s largest publishers, will pat you on the head for judging any potential customers of their books, including mine? Do you actually understand what it is these corporations do? They produce commercial art. To be widely enjoyed. By as many people as possible.

Moving away from corporations, do you think individual writers and creators really want you to wave away potential fans from their work? Almost all of them are in the same boat as I am, either directly or indirectly dependent on volume of sales for income. They are happy you like their stuff. They would be even happier if not only you liked their stuff. When you attack other people who like their stuff, you’re potentially cutting into their livelihood. You’re not making friends with the people whose work you’re making a centerpiece of your life. You’re hurting them.

Do you think the staff of the conventions you attend are in any way happy when you troll the other attendees? Those attendees go on Twitter and Facebook and blogs and talk about how unfriendly or even dangerous that convention is. Others pick up on that and amplify the complaints. The people who are trying to run the convention have to deal with it and have to apologize for the fact thatyou are being an asshole, because they are getting some of the blame for it. Who do you think the convention staff would prefer to have as an attendee? The cosplaying woman who is excited to be there and is enthusiastic about the convention, or the geek dude who spends his time shitting all over other people’s enjoyment of a convention, which the staff has invested so much time in to make work?

Nearly every creator wants you to enjoy what they create. Almost none of them want you to police it.

I’m a little baffled that we need to keep having this conversation, but that’s probably because I’m 41 years-old and I don’t have the reflexive need to establish my “geek cred” at all, much less at the expense of another person (I suppose it also helps that, when someone hassles me about my “geek cred” I can reply, “I drove the fucking Enterprise and worked at Global Dynamics,” before I drop the mic on their head.)

So please consider this, potential gatekeepers: being a nerd isn’t about what you love, it’s about how you love it. So when someone says they love a thing that you love, don’t challenge them; embrace them, and love that thing together.


56 thoughts on “When someone says they love a thing that you love, don’t challenge them; embrace them, and love that thing together.”

  1. Have a fantastic time in Chicago Wil. I’ve never been there, but would love to one day. I have to ask, what do you think of Capaldi??? I think he’s a superb choice.

    See you soon.


  2. What Misty said!

    It is infuriating when one of my BEST FRIENDS always feels the need to tell me that I’m not a real nerd because I don’t obsess about all of the the same things he does in the same ways he does.

    Wil, Thanks for being you!


  3. I have such a hard time believing that people would actually be like this. I don’t receive any of it, mostly because I’m a 40-ish neckbeard potbelly white dude who looks like he belongs at nerd stuff I suppose.

    I really wish that i could go on not believing that people would be like this, but I obviously can’t because it’s clearly happening. :(

    1. Oooh, context from a post below… I do get the feeling that I should feel guilty about listening to skate punk music in my carseated minivan when there are youngsters around. I guess that’s a similar flavour of thing. :(

      I don’t feel guilty.

      1. I listen to AC/DC in my little sky blue super gas efficient Hyundai. I crank it up!! You would be surprised at the weird looks I get sometimes.

  4. I believe the Tubes said it best in their catchy tune, “I was a punk before you were a punk!”

    Nothing amuses me more than self-appointed experts in things which mostly exist in our imaginations.

    1. Yeah, and get yer butt to a Boston or NYC con. You know we do REAL cons, not like those posers on the west coast. 😉

  5. I agree with all this. I think, though, that the policing is a byproduct of either not fitting in or being bullied or both. I grew up in the punk scene and saw so much of this. When you spend years and years not fitting in at school, and then you finally–FINALLY–find a place where you feel safe and accepted, you tend to be defensive of that place.

    Doesn’t make it right, or course.

    And the people who do it don’t, I think, realize how much energy it steals away, energy they could be using in a more happy direction. I remember talking to a kid at a show about a band that had just signed to a major label, and how now their show were full of all these poser kids and it ruined everything for him. And I realized–I don’t care. The presence of poser kids doesn’t affect my enjoyment any, unless they kick my head in the pit–and even then. It was such a load off my shoulders to stop worrying about what everyone else was doing there and just worry about my own shit.

  6. I just started going to these cons a couple years ago with my boyfriend. I was amazed at how many different things are showcased from original artwork to comics to movies, workshops etc. Please come to the Philadelphia Wizard World Con next year. Everybody is super nice. No matter what you’re there for.

  7. When you made the speech earlier in the year, my thoughts immediately went to “unless you have a vagina, because then you get quizzed or leered at.” I run a small geek blog with a good friend of mine, and when we’ve been called out for not knowing about shows like “Comic Book Men” in its first season. We get stared at in a way that makes at least me feel uncomfortable.

    I love Scalzi’s response.

  8. Have a great time in Chicago, Wil!! I really hope that you come back next year, because I’m planning on attending it for the first time ever (with my niece who will be 18 then)! I was really bummed when I saw that it was this weekend because I have other commitments.

  9. Very intelligent as always Will. I’m a relatively new fan of yours (First saw you on TableTop) i’ve been listening to Radio Free Burrito during my spare time and i have to say that the world needs more people like you. Thank you for being Awesome! :)

  10. Thanks for posting this.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have shied away from buying some kind of merchandise because I have (in the past) been worried someone would call me out on it and I’d feel like a fake. Kind of like because I wasn’t crazy passionate about it and couldn’t tick of the top 100 facts about whatever the product was, it somehow meant I wasn’t really a “fan” and had no business buying all this fan merchandise related to it.

    Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that now, and I will say that following you and the things going on at Geek and Sundry have helped me let go of caring about the possibility of someone judging me over what I geek out about and how hard I geek out about it.

  11. Wil–

    These people make me sad, if only because I’ve never been to a con, and knowing these jerks are out there (not to mention that I’m prime target for the “fat girls shouldn’t cosplay” crowd) leaves me wondering if I should try. It’s hard enough to find someone to care for our kids and scrape together the money to go–but to get there and be treated like trash because I’m not die-hard ENOUGH? No, thanks.

    And yet…

    I read posts like yours, and comments from fellow fans, and hear the AMAZING stories of people who were hurt and found legions of fellow geeks and nerds rallying behind them…and then I am reminded: The Good Guys outnumber the rest. Wil’s friends, and many his followers–these are some of the Good Guys. If I DO succeed in making it to SDCC, or Dragoncon, or any other con, well, there will be people just like me. And we’ll love what we love the way WE want to love it, and if some gatekeeper doesn’t like it, I can direct him to Wheaton’s Law.

    Thanks, Wil. (And everyone else reading this!) It’s nice to know good people.

  12. This conversation reminds me of when my ex-biyfriend said I wasn’t really a baseball fan because I didn’t watch all the games. I consider myself a fan because I enjoy watching a game and I want my hometown teams to win. No I don’t know all the players on the team and no I don’t watch all the games and I wouldn’t say I am a diehard fan or even as much as a fan as he is but don’t tell me I’m not a fan.

    It’s funny how defensive I got at the whole thing and maybe I am not really a fan as most people would see it, but I still don’t want someone telling me I am not a fan

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head, Barbara. My husband is a pretty big geek (as am I) but also a huge Red Sox fan. He bemoaned the “pink hats” and people who “only like the Sox now that they’re winners” (this was back in 2005/2006 when they had just won the World Series after 80+ years of “the curse”). He would never say someone wasn’t geek enough – but you’re not “really” a team’s fan unless you follow them through good & bad and know the statistics and all the players.

      My response was “fine, you want to call me a pink hat? I’ll be one proudly! I just like watching them play, even if I only know the names of the top 4 guys on the team.” (He has since mellowed out on his opinion. Of course he loves geeking out about baseball statistics and fantasy baseball with other guys who are interested, but he no longer makes disparaging remarks about other fans for not being “fan enough”.)

      It’s a maturity issue. The immature guys who have this behavior, it makes them feel superior to be gatekeepers. It’s particularly bad in geekdom because those guys have had so few opportunities to be good at something that someone else values – so now that they’ve found something they’re good at, something they’re passionate about, they feel the need to strut their stuff – and they only know how to do that by putting other people down for not being as skilled/knowledgeable/etc. as they are.

  13. Totally agree! And I’m glad that other people out there do as well. I had someone try to out ST:TOS once and after I stomped him I wondered what the point of it was. We will be at Chicago Comic Con on Saturday and my 9 year old daughter will be doing her first cosplay. I really hope she gets a positive experience as she’s going as Princess Leia, but gets made fun of at school for liking “boy stuff.” Hope to see you there!

  14. Thanks so much for this! I also don’t feel the need to establish my ‘geek cred’. I’m 45 and have a lot of different things I geek out about. Apparently, according to some this means I’m not a real geek since I don’t have one specific thing that I’m completely over the top about. Apparently speaking Klingon doesn’t really make me a “true” geek either. People need to get over trying to one up others with their geekiness not that “geek is the new cool”. 😀

  15. We talked about this issue recently on Metafilter (Sorry, I don’t know if you’re still mad at Metafilter for that shitty post back when you started WWdN) and I think a lot of the problem is that men and women tend to love things differently, so even when they love the same things there’s this weird disconnect in how they talk about those things. It’s not universal, because no gender-based things are, but I find that male geeks often love Star Trek in the same way that male non-geeks love Football by memorizing stats and figures and trivia and knowing the whole history of your team back to 1932. Whereas most women don’t tend to fan things in that “let’s write and/or memorize an encylopedia of facts about the show” way.

    Some men seem completely unable to comprehend the fact that you can like Star Trek not only while not being able to recognize the difference between an Intrepid-class starship and a Defiant-class starship but also while not giving a tinkers damn about starship classes in the first place.

    Being a geek isn’t just about what you love and it isn’t just about how you love it. You can love different things and you can love them in different ways, and still be a geek.

    I first loved Star Trek because I wanted to be accepted by grown-ups like Wesley and I wanted to make out with Riker and I wanted to travel to different planets and see cool aliens and be surrounded by people who cared about the cool jobs they did every day and tried to do them well. Even though it’s a totally different thing, I loved The West Wing for almost exactly the same reasons (I wanted to be CJ and make-out with Josh and write profound speeches and be surrounded by people who cared about the cool jobs they did every day and tried to do them well). I never cared about the Enterprise itself or which version letter it was or how many decks it had, in the same way I don’t care how many offices are in the White House or how they’re laid out.

    I know that you personally know it’s okay that I loved Star Trek for those reasons (well, I don’t know how you feel about my desire to kiss Riker), but I feel like some people look at ‘it’s not what things you love, it’s how you love them’ and use it to justify their feeling that I love things the wrong way.

    1. I’m not mad at Metafilter, I just feel profoundly unwelcome there. It’s the same thing with Fark, which *really* makes me sad, because I used to spend a lot of time there. Time is limited, so I choose to spend it on things and in places that make me happy, where I feel welcome.

      I sadly agree with you that this is primarily a male-driven problem, but a lot of us are working to make it stop.

      1. Sorry, it was wrong of me to pin that on you. I was trying to be funny, but it wasn’t fair of me to make that comment and make it about your emotional reaction instead of about the shitty behaviour on MeFi.

        I’m pretty sure if you posted on Metafilter, the vast majority of members there would lose their collective minds in excitement, but no doubt some of them would still be asses.

  16. Thanks for writing this, Wil. This point apparently hasn’t been made enough times yet, so good thing there are folks willing to keep making it.

    At 44 I’m in the same place you are when it comes to this vacuous notion of “geek cred”. I don’t need someone else’s accreditation, as far as I’m concerned I have nerd tenure.

  17. I completely agree with the sentiment of this post. There are people out there who need to accept the fact that geeky and nerdy conventions are attracting a wider and more mainstream audience, and to love a thing does not mean the thing needs to be guarded. But I don’t think telling these exclusionists to quit it is going to work, because we’re not addressing the root cause of why they exclude.

    I’m sure we are all familiar with the story of geeks and nerds being excluded by the popular and beautiful kids. The outcasts, because they are not accepted by their peers, attach themselves to a hobby and establish their own social circle evolving around said hobby. They then build on that community, collecting other outcasts and uniting on the internet and at conventions. Think back to what it meant to be that guy. The guy no one wanted, the guy who had to hide in another world to cope with being an outcast, and who had to fight tooth and nail to maintain and build his self worth.

    Now imagine that guy feeling he’s finally found his clan, people who are like him gathered at a convention celebrating a shared hobby, a hobby that lets him cope with being an outcast, a hobby that at this place at least, makes him a part of a community. It’s a great feeling, and we’ve all felt it. It’s home to us, because it accepts us and gives us value.

    What do you think happens to that guy when he shows up at a convention and sees the very people who have excluded him in his normal life? People who, despite sharing his interest, have no interest in him? Imagine his initial joy when he finds out that he possesses knowledge and skill that may get him accepted by the popular kids, and then imagine his crushing anguish when he realizes that it’s worthless because none of that skill or knowledge can overcome his undesirability as a human being to the mainstream hobbyists.

    I think this is why exclusionists exist. They do what they do because they feel that mainstream geek girls are taking away from them places that they can feel like they truly belong. Conventions are no longer places where they can leave their normal life behind. So they try to take it back with a strategy that simply causes more ostracizing.

    But what do we do about that? I don’t think there’s any easy answer. Telling them to let their guard down won’t work though. The core of the problem is that they don’t feel like they are accepted anymore.

    1. Here’s the thing with that attitude. People change.

      That fat chick in marching band with the horrible acne, borderline fashion sense, who was a card-carrying member of both the math and science club?


      Still not thin but the acne cleared up, I stopped trying to follow fashion trends that didn’t work for me, and put more effort into my hair and makeup and all that fun stuff (at least when I go out). Still have my math and science cards. I still geek out over books and TV and movies. I’d still rather watch just about any superhero movie than any rom-com.

      But I don’t look the same.

      Thing is, people don’t judge me by the fact that I *WAS* that nerd back in school. They look at me NOW and assume I never was that girl.

      So for you, imagine being the kid who was ostracized by the popular kids back in school. Then you grew up and came into your own, but now you’re ostracized by the same people who would have been your group back when you were in school.

      And on the flip side of the coin… if those people who used to treat you like shit show up, so what? You’ve been there already. People KNOW you (or should). You’re the cool kid there. Own that.

      And maybe, just maybe, they’ve changed enough that they want to know you. Maybe they even would feel bad about not knowing you before.

      Scalzi also did a little piece about going to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in May. I can second everything he said there. I never used to read romance, but I went to my first RT con in 2010 and was welcomed with open arms. It didn’t matter one bit to those authors or fans if I didn’t know who was who or what they wrote. I’d come to learn and celebrate. And that was enough.

  18. I tried to be happy about normals embracing aspects of nerddom, but I don’t know how to move past how shitty it is to see the downey in weird science types enjoying downey as iron man. A few good movies does [i]nothing[/i] to undo that damage. It doesn’t go back in time and make the normals not ostracize us. It doesn’t cure anyone’s depression or anxiety from growing up without any friends. It doesn’t keep socially stunted guys, who would otherwise be good people, from falling for pickup artist bullshit and treating women like dirt. It doesn’t bring back anyone’s dead friends. It doesn’t destigmatize mental illness. It doesn’t give acknowledgement to the generations of suffering — suffering perpetuated by the culture norms shat out by the same media companies to whom we now trample over each other in a race to give our money. It doesn’t lessen the social crimes of people like the guy who owns the comic shop I used to go to, who played football in highschool and bullied the D&D nerds like a gay republican.
    And it doesn’t make outcasts know how to or feel comfortable being inclusive.

    I’m glad we have good nerd movies, I’m glad geek&sundry exists, and I’ve never called anyone besides JD Salinger fake. But I don’t see anything substantial being done for those of us who have suffered and/or continue to suffer. If all we get are a few non-Uwe Boll movies and TV shows? I don’t think it was worth it.

    Excuse me while I reread you are not alone in this fight and derpession lies

    1. Yeah, we’ve all had rotten childhoods and excruciating experiences in high school. There are many, many of us who are socially stunted, introverts, suffer from anxiety and depression. Hell, I’m an agoraphobic fattie who almost never leaves her apartment because of the big bad world out there. And yes, we’ve lost friends to suicide because of bullying. It’s a sad, harsh and disgusting world we live in.

      But you know what? It doesn’t give us license to treat anyone else like crap because we’ve had a very less than ideal time in this life. Furthermore, it does NOT lend any right to any man (you included) to “treat women like dirt” because you were mistreated back in whatever part of your growing years you cannot get past.

      You may be miserable, but do not make others miserable due to your own malcontent.

  19. I feel,thankfully, that the recent acceptance/embracing/rise of geeks and geekdom has led to a more open, welcoming and overall enjoyable experience for people who wish to participate in many of the previously slightly intimidating environments that existed. Online forums, conventions, clubs could all act as a firewall in the past more than the gateways they should be. Gateways without a keeper, just a welcome mat and plenty of guides. The more the merrier! The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy has had his day :)

  20. I try so hard not to be “that” Star Trek geek. I will NOT be Kirk and utter the phrase: “I was watching Star Trek when your grandmother was in diapers!” But sometimes it is very hard, especially when a young person tries to tell me why I am wrong in MY geekdom. *sigh* Live long and prosper, y’all….

  21. The obsession with “authenticity” is not only tiresome, but it seems to be hardwired into our tribe at the canonical level, in the form of a variety of tests common in these works to root out the infiltrating outsider. Think about it:

    Blade Runner. The Voigt-Kampf test roots out replicants pretending to be humans.
    The Thing. The crew runs blood tests to find the creature, which could be posing as any one of them at any time.
    Dune. The Gom Jabbar test discerns the difference between a human and an animal.
    Misfits. MONKEYSLUT!
    Deep Space 9. Blood tests to root out Changeling infiltrators.

    I’m not saying we can’t ever enjoy these works (because they are awesome), but we need to get over the notion that outsiders entering our spaces present a threat to us. These “outsiders” are hear to learn, and frankly, that should be our goal, too. No one’s life and interests are so amazing that they have nothing to learn from someone else.

  22. There needs to be a corollary to this. “If someone else loves something that you DON’T Love, (as long as what they love doesn’t hurt anyone else), don’t hate them for it. Be happy for them that they have something they can love in much the same way you love your thing.”

  23. I hope Chicago goes well. I actually have Friday off, and am about a 4 hour drive away, but as much as I’d like to geek out I think I won’t. I’m struggling with the idea of whether it’s creepy to want to meet the people you are fans of, and I’m not a big fan of long car rides. Will just have to leave “attending a good con” on my bucket list a while longer I guess.

  24. “I drove the fucking Enterprise and worked at Global Dynamics” – I laughed so hard. I think you can win any dispute with this. Please make a business card, LinkedIn profile, or something and only put this on it.

  25. Luckily, my first experience at a con was this year at Phoenix comicon and it was amazing! Of course the highlight was randomly running into you on a street corner when we were headed back to our car. I had on a Codex costume I bought online and felt a little nervous that I would be harassed for not having made my costume but when you found out you were excited that they even made codex costumes. So thanks for making this gal’s con experience one to truly remember…in the best of ways!

  26. Dude you said it. Everyone geeks out differently and I think that’s awesome because they may bring a different way of thinking about things to the table and I’m all about learning different ways to love awesome things.

  27. Sadly, this occurs a lot in sports as well. Only instead of being told you’re not a real fan, one could call you a bandwagoner.Its something I’ve seen quite a bit of over the last few years with my favorite sports team, the Tampa Bay Rays.

    As a small market team, its always struggled to fill the stadium here and that doesn’t even consider that it is in a bad location for the region or that it looks absolutely terrible on television(its kind of nice in person but not an A-level venue). For the first 10 years of play since starting in 1998 they were also pretty bad. But in 2008, things changed and they started winning. A lot.

    But due to the issues of the market, the stadium and economy, legions of fans never found the stands so to the folks watching at home and especially the nationally media(here’s looking at you ESPN), we have no fans here. Despite this, attendance has actually gone up a bit and TV ratings and merchandise sales have soared. But when new groups of people make it out to the stadium, it seems every few games if they don’t know exactly who is on the field or exactly who has been doing what this past month then some grumpy “hardcore” fan has something to say about them not being “true” fans.

    Pile on that the national media who continually question our attendance and make jokes at our lack of fanbase, making the potential new fans feel like they’re freaks on an island and probably riling up the old faithful as well. And of course just like the other geekdom issues(sports geekdom is totally still geekdom), women also can find a rough time finding acceptance as a fan though based on the amount of truly awesome hardcore baseball fanatics I know that are mostly women I’d like to say our fanbase may be ahead of the curve just a bit.

    I have watched passionate fans I know go nearly for blood over twitter just because one person is not a fan the way THEY are a fan. Both are loyal and devoted fans, they just celebrate their love differently. One incident actually caused a schism in a large fan club that had gained some decent local recognition, the fan club is now nearly defunct except for a rarely used twitter account.

    As someone who sat in a barely populated major league stadium watching a team struggle just to keep from having the worst record in history, I have tried to be welcoming to as many new fans as I see come in. I like to share as much information as I can and create a nice environment that people want to return to. Maybe that game is the only game they’ll go to that year, but maybe they’ll come to two next year. Maybe they’ll bring their son next time. Maybe that son will be a season ticket holder in fifteen years. Seeds of love and fandom grow everywhere and in different ways, the way I see it. I hate to see any of it crushed.

  28. This really goes beyond nerd/geekdom- it’s a problem in every genre. From concerts to crafting, parenting to faith, some people just can’t let you be you without feeling some sort of way about themselves. Like their identity is so wrapped in this thing and their imagined superiority is “who” they see themselves as. It’s a damned shame but you can’t help but feel sorry for people who can’t get out of their own way sometimes.

  29. The thing is that people rely on intuition too much and it is often wrong. They feel that because they have invested so much in a thing, that they know the best way for it to be appreciated. They fail to realize that someone else can put just as much time in that same thing and have a completely different and yet equally great joy as a result. I call it “I’m the only one who knows how everything should be and its my job to tell everyone else”, or if you prefer, rule #1 in life…just ask anyone out on the highway. Save vs. Know-it-all and save vs. superiority complex. I’ll take even playing fields for $400, Alex.

  30. Wil, do you still interested in Horror Cons? There’s one going on this weekend at the Crowne Plaza across the street from Chicago CC. Not sure if you’re a Rocky Horror fan, but Patricia Quinn is hosting a viewing/performance on Saturday night (should be off the hook!!).

    See you Friday!

  31. I had no idea that this is a thing.

    I have many solutions to this problem, although most include violence and humiliation.

    The trick is to teach remorse without lowering oneself. Tough trick! When this occurs, try to observe the offender with an open mind. Not just the nasty trollspeak, but the subtext. Probe for data, and observe like a Mentat. Don’t get suckered into their script.

    Also, be confident but humble. Know who you are but be willing to grow. Don’t give the troll anything to resonate with.

    When i was a camp counselor many moons ago, we were taught a strategy for encountering bears and cougars: gather the kids into a tight group and sing ‘Jingle Bells’ as loudly as possible. The theory was that animals have a ‘fight-or-flight’ response, and absurdity cannot be processed in either category.

    So, circle the wagons and be absurd. It will make you feel free and cause no harm.

  32. Not to condone negative behavior especially since I have never felt the need to behave that way…in fact, the idea of having MORE people to share something I love with is a big plus, last I checked.

    The reason for the disclaimer is that I think, at least for some, I understand what they’re doing. Everyone, whether they realize it or not, have struggled with identity. For some it’s easy and they just fall into an identity without issue. Otherwise, never find one they like or actively choose one that is different for various reasons.

    My theory is these assholes who go all high and mighty about “their” particular nerd niche act like they do because they’re responding to the infiltration of what they love and the dilution of their identity.

    Being half Japanese, I’ve seen just how much Japanese youth have latched on to various identities to separate themselves from the herd.

    Now, as I said, I’m not condoning their behavior. In fact, I tend to be the type of person who has no problem coming to the defense of anyone being treated like shit (yes, I always root for the underdog, too). But, I think this might be a way to at least understand what their problem is. I’m not a fan of the bully system (bully bullies someone, that someone makes it their goal to achieve something and end up bullying someone else once they get there…I was working towards a sciences PhD and it’s rampant there in academia: undergrad < grad student < post doc < PI and within the PI ranks Associate Prof < Assistant Prof < Prof < Emertius). Even so, I think without making it vicious or losing our intelligence doing so, we as a community, whether you like the specific thing or not, to knock those that would attack others just for liking something they like as well back down…take those egos and puncture them. More often than not, taking away any anonymity and splaying their basic information public can go a long way to control some people.

  33. What upsets me is that anybody who would self-apply the honored title of Nerd with pride and love, would then deign to be as negative and elitist as the very jackasses of our youth who tried so hard to make Nerdism such a bad thing.
    And just when we are finally starting to come into our own, too. Nerdism is ubiquitous in the media these days. It is taking on the hero role in the mainstream for the first time since the “Revenge” movies of the 80s. Shame on these people who would sully our good name. To be “Nerd” is to be creative, open-minded, eclectic, accepting, intellectual; none of which lends itself to hierarchy or exclusion of one another… or simply being downright rude. Shame, shame, shame.

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