If you’re the kind of person who has ever said “I’m such a nerd” there’s a great chance you aren’t a nerd. Not at all. Not in the slightest. Since nerd and geek are treated like the same word the case I make for nerd will be the same as geek. In fact most people probably can’t offer an accurate definition of what they mean. so let’s look them up. Those definitions are pretty negative. So why would someone proudly announce they were a nerd in their daily status? Why would they buy a pair of thick rimmed glasses just to show off how much a “nerd” they are? Most likely because they’re ignorant of what the word means and hope to gain something by association. Nerd and geek have been mutated by pop culture and mainstream entertainment to mean something else. People who rightly are nerds or geeks have earned their titles after years of alienation, as well as by zealous devotion to whatever hobby others regarded weird or lame. So let’s try an exercise Go ahead and close your eyes so you can really focus on your thoughts. I’ll tell you when to open them. Think back to a moment in your life when you felt like an outsider. When you felt humiliated or embarrassed and it felt like everyone was judging you. Can you feel the anxiety and discomfort of that experience? Good, try to stick with it. Now for however long that experience you had was, I want you to try and imagine it went on for a day. If you can, try to imagine it went on for multiple days. Try to lengthen the experience to weeks. Constantly feeling like a pariah and your friends treating you weird. People would always be whispering and making fun of you. Try to make that experience go longer. Try to imagine it went on for a year. It’d be hard to make friends and for whatever seemingly trivial reason you were embarrassed, even your parents treat you differently now. You’d snowball into an emotional mess after a year. So now try to imagine it went on for as long as ten years. you would be so mad and frustrated that everyone treated you so poorly when deep down you just wanted to be accepted. There’s two possible ways a person would come out of all this. In the first outcome the individual would be hurt when even people they thought were close to them treated them so badly. This cruel nature of others would become a new truth to them, reinforced through painful experiences. They would develop an anxiety motivated by this cynical outlook that had plenty of time to take root. The second outcome would be the person who had been so constantly prejudiced would grow from it. They would have developed the insight that this is how other people can be, and in being an underdog they’d seek to do better. They would regard their experience and whatever title used to label them as their badge of courage and strength. They would see it all as just a moment in their life which they learn to get up from. Now if you were still able to maintain this fantasy that you were that person degraded for over a decade consider that whatever that label was, that was used put you down is now considered cool. Those same people who didn’t have the slightest idea of what you felt are now saying that they are. You know immediately that this is a lie. Not only do they not accept the people that they label, but they don’t even understand what it means. If you even tried to explain this they would then say you aren’t that label that had been forced on and that you were
something else. That you don’t get it. That you’re a hater or a troll. In short they would be saying that your suffering and making peace with it all is wrong. They would be saying that your growing from this unpleasant experiences was wrong. And despite the lack of insight others failed to have, they were right for what they did and that you are still wrong. Open your eyes now. Still with me? It was a lot to imagine and it’s never easy to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Statuses like nerd or geek are things that are earned. People who are quick to call themselves a nerd or geek try to validate it with a laughable example. “I read a book today, I’m SUCH a nerd.” “I bought the over-rated, flavor of the month video game to show off gamer cred, I’m SUCH a nerd.” This is equivalent of saying playing basketball once makes you such an athlete athlete or getting good at making eggs makes you such a chef. All these things take dedication on the individuals’ part. Just like an athlete may sacrifice time to train a real nerd or geek has also sacrificed just as much or more. Sometimes not even by choice. The technical term for this is cultural commodification. It’s when someone’s culture is dismantled and bastardized rather than being appreciated holistically so that it can be sold to people who don’t understand it. In the case of being a nerd, it’s to make someone seem like a smart and unique individual. This isn’t a new thing. It has been going on for hundreds of years
even in American history Native American were branded as warriors or pure, magical people for the purpose of selling products. Even to this day Native Americans culture is commoditized for something even more tasteless than politically incorrect butter. What we have in case of self-proclaimed nerds
there’s another form of cultural commoditization called commodification of dissent. Punk rock and Hip hop two examples of past sub-cultures that were commoditized for dissent. Where Punk Rock had anti-establishment, do it yourself, roots you can now buy the music off iTunes and pick up a studded punk belt and accessories at the mall. Hiphop’s focus was channeling the frustration and energy of those living in abject urban areas into music where now most hip hop endorses obscene wealth and even violence. This is the business of selling culture. This is what’s happened to “nerd” and “gamer” culture. It was inevitable that being a nerd and gamer would become culturally commoditized. When any sub-culture gets popular enough it gets torn apart and sold. As technology became cheaper and more utilized, computers and video games became less of a hobbyist’s tool and more of a common place thing for those who feel there’s no limit to how much they should pay for their facebook and twitter enabled smartphone. Not only could someone try to claim they were one of the labels for the purpose of trying to appear smarter or cooler but also gain the prestige of someone who’s insightful and was an early adopter. That they were in general a BETTER person. Remember how you felt during the exercise? How uncomfortable you were? How you’d liked to have just been accepted? That’s what gamers and nerds feel. Marketers and anyone else wanting to profit from this phenomenon not only realize that there was a demand general public but as a result of the alienation these nerds and gamers would also pay for the idea of being accepted. They would pay someone to exploit their hope. This sort of manipulation goes on constantly and it’s fed to the public in music, products and TV. The Big Bang Theory is a prominent example of this sort of cultural commodification. It’s not uncommon to find people that claim to be actual nerds that are offended by the characters on the Big Bang Theory. Some even go as far as to call it “nerd black face” and while it’s a strong comparison it’s not that far off. The Big Bang Theory is a extremely popular television show that perpetuates an image of what it means to be a nerd or gamer or even a scientifically adept person. While I could make a strong case by reading plot summaries and watching clips, I would always be met with the weak counter argument of “But you don’t watch it!” So being a reasonable person I am I took one evening and watched over five hours of The Big Bang Theory. Which isn’t hard to do when its in syndication on nearly every channel. Objectively the show is anti-intellectual and misandric toward young men who may find more satisfaction in their careers
and hobbies. It depicts them as clowns who are brilliant in their fields but mentally the equivalent of teenage boys unable to solve the problems they create.teenage boys, unable to solve the problems they create. Penny, their normal, attractive friend and from across the hall is more often than not their savior and the voice of reason. She is there for the viewer to relate to as she displays dominion over these geniuses and belittles their own agency. As to be expected nearly all the guys have been given girlfriends at this point, except for the token ethnic character because the writers have clumsily tried to develop his sexuality in the past. It seems they want to maintain the option of making him gay if they ever need to feign a greater tolerance for diversity. If one of the girls does not provide a resolution to whatever conflict the guys get into, it’s left to Leonard the most “normal” of the nerds to resolve it. If you can look at a story without emotional bias, you will not only learn about the writer but what ideas the writer wants their audience to accept. With a long running show like this these messages are abundant and consistent. If all that wasn’t bad enough it even get its references to science and the nerd sub-culture right half the time and are there just to bank on how little the audience knows while making them feel smart. Make no mistake The Big Bang Theory is a damaging show that destroys people’s understanding of sub-cultures they’re not a part of. It is the perfect example of misinformation that people not only accept but even like. What I’ve offered are facts about the shows plot and the conclusions formed are inherent. They aren’t out of spite from someone who thinks they’re being misrepresented. There are normal people who’s opinions aren’t only valued but held up as truth, who look down on these characters. This is bad. Anita: All of these ads are just using women’s
bodies to appeal to geeks and games Anita: People that look like this. If you want to see some shows that portray smart or nerdy characters in a less cynical way I highly suggest the British comedy The IT Crowd or classic TV series Fraiser. The nerds, intellectuals and every day people of those shows are presented as flawed but lovable characters, instead of ineffectual stereotypes that spout catch lines to be printed on shirts. I’ve repeatedly brought up the gamer subculture because this is where the topic has really been going. A video discussing the nerd sub-culture couldn’t be done properly without even recognizing the other Now that consoles have become web enabled, phones act like computers and websites track your peferences and “Likes” from other accounts the lines between media have blurred and there is much potential for the audience and the future of video games. The industry and it’s associated culture is still young and while there are those with little integrity and an abundance of influence with which to compromise the potential we need only to remain quiet and ignorant of what’s happening around us to let it be stripped of meaning like the cultures before. A real culture isn’t bought in a store and it isn’t sold to you in a thirty second advertisement it forms naturally and it’s human That’s why this channel exists. In future time I might make videos that address the nature of the video game industry For now though I hope I can give you enough to make those conclusions for yourself.