I have seen the depths your self-important counterculture will sink to and I decree that the time has come for us to reclaim “nerd” as a devastating pejorative
I’VE BEEN SAYING THIS
Your sunday morning thought.
Whenever I see this little thing pop up on Tumblr, I’m reminded of this Ta-Nehisi Coates post:
As much as I was into nerd things — comic books, video games, D&D etc. — I think my relationship was a bit different with the culture. I spent a year dwelling in escapism, but Baltimore has a way of snatching you out of your dreams and into the real. Besides, whatever my manifold problems, despite my total lack of cool, I was generally well-liked by my peers. I was not great with girls, but neither were most of the dudes I knew. Like one out of every ten of us had game, the rest of us just kind of bumbled around. Moreover, very few of us were obsessed with the head cheerleader. It was more complicated than that.
I think for those reasons, nerd culture’s sense of alienation never quite registered with me. I had a relatively brief period of middle-school alienation, but I liked living in Baltimore. I would have stayed, had my parents not forced me out the city. But listening to this piece I got the sense of how fantasy/comic books/video games can be life-savers.
Children have no real sense of how life can flip. School perpetrates an illusion of stasis. If you are 15, and mostly hating the social world of your high school, it is incredibly easily to conclude that your life will always be that way. Childhood is so closed-off and institutionalized. It is a prison. Self-esteem, in the main, comes from three places — school, sports, and the opposite sex. If you fail at those things you are likely to have a harder time. Worse, it’s easy to conclude that this is your life, that whatever you’re experiencing is somehow a sign-posts for the rest of years.
I’m not sure it stands entirely in opposition to the oft-reblogged chain above. But I do reckon it’s more generous, less mean-spirited, and more curious about the world.
EDIT: I guess these two things show how wide our understanding of “nerd” can be; TNC and badcgijosh seem to be referring to entirely different groups of people. And I don’t really see the point in giving shit to a multitude of kids who don’t fit in just because some people who are actually adults are mad at self-important assholes on the internets.