Saturday, February 15, 2014

Don't Apologize For Being Nerdy

 Here's are some things I've heard and have maybe even said about a million times:

"I'm sorry, I know that was nerdy, I just really love Star Trek."

"Sorry, geeked out for a second there."

"I mean, I like comics but I'm not like, a nerd."

Nerds apologize for being nerdy or even say they're not a nerd

all
of
the
time.


ALL OF THE TIME.

Why? Because most of us have been raised to believe that being nerdy is something you should apologize for.

I remember sitting in home room at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, New Hampshire talking with one of my classmates about Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Another classmate, who was a star hockey player and a generally cool and popular kid, out of nowhere and apropos of nothing, told us that Star Trek and Star Wars are stupid and we were stupid for talking about Star Trek.

And like, now I'm a 31 year old grown human, and I know that's stupid, but when you're 15 and you just desperately want to be liked by other 15 years olds, a comment like that cuts pretty deep. So I didn't talk about Star Trek quite so loudly after that.

This was by no means an isolated incident in my life nor was it the sort of incident that was restricted to my youth. Insulting nerds for nerdery isn't even something that's restricted to dudebros. I can't tell you how many articles I've read by intellectuals that poo poo things like science fiction and fantasy as juvenile. Why are you reading "Name of the Wind" when you SHOULD be reading "A Confederacy of Dunces?" Well, actually I've read both because I read alot, but thanks for your interest.

It isn't just subject matter we are told that we need to apologize for. The act of "geeking out" or, getting really super excited about something (OH MY GOD THE NEW HOBBIT MOVIE IS OUT AND I'M RE-READING THE SIMARILLION AND I WANT TO COSPLAY AS THRANDUIL AND AND AND) is apparently something we are supposed to feel shame about?

So we apologize, all of the time. Just for existing. Still! Even though "geek chic" is a thing and we built the internet and facebook and the Avengers movie and all of this other stuff that other people love so much. We apologize for loving the things we love and we apologize for loving them. Still.

We need to frakking stop.

  • Do dudebros apologize for talking your ear off about football even though maybe you don't care?

  • Do hipsters apologize for telling you about the new Bandyouveneverheardof album that's changed their lives?

  • Do people in fancy pants upper crust social circles apologize for talking your ear off about the new all kale diet they're on? 

No. None of those people apologize for those things. Ever. Because those things bring them joy. If you do something and it's not hurting someone or negatively impacting their life and that thing brings you joy, and helps you make sense of the world, then you should celebrate it. You should celebrate being you. If you self identify as a nerd, or a geek, or whatever, take pride in that. Wear it like Captain Picard wears his Starfleet uniform. Wear it like Harry Potter wears his wizarding robes. Wear it like Iron Man wears his armor. You are a nerd. Or a geek. Own that.

Never say you're sorry for your nerdery. Ever.

2 comments:

  1. I came here from Improvised Star Trek, and I just wanted to say I really liked this article. I also find that, because of some of the things I think are cool (medieval manuscripts, book history, architecture) I sometimes feel like I'm outside the norm even for geeks and nerds. I actually got my PhD in Medieval English Lit, but the more engineering-focused geekfolk seem to have trouble with anything humanities-related. My thought on this is that we internalize so much of this "cool/not cool" crap that we then start to do the exact same things other people did to us. What do you think?

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  2. Yeah, I would agree with that. I'm actually more of a humanities/theater guy myself, so I see that. I mean, I could write a whole blog entry about the "fake geek" thing- like who gets to decide who's a nerd or a geek? Who gets to decide what's nerdy? I think the answer is: No one but you. If you choose to identify yourself as a nerd: awesome. I welcome you as a sister or brother in nerdery.

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