Reddit Gem: "Redditor explains how it is to have nerd culture destroyed."

June 11, 2012 05:45PM
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There's a whole theory of assholery behind it...
Any culture resents posers. And very, very justifiably so.
Nouns should mean things. Let's pick an entirely random culture and say "biker veterans". If I am one and I want to hang out with my biker veteran buddies, I want something specific. I do not want to hang out with stoner hippies, or PETA vegetarians, or blue-skinned Avatar fans. I want my own culture.
So I go on the Internet and search for "biker veterans" websites, and I'm overjoyed to find web pages decorated with POW/MIA "We will never forget" flags and Harley Davidson logos. Here is where I feel I belong. Now, when I meet somebody in my culture, I can talk with them on several points of identification. I know that we both share common experiences, having been enlisted in Vietnam or Iraq, having had experience biking to Sturgis, and so on. I want to date other people in my culture, I want to watch movies like Easy Rider and Saving Private Ryan, I want to attend concerts by Motorhead and Nazareth, I want to arrange a road trip with my biker buddies to visit the Vietnam memorial.
(My apologies to bikers and veterans for the possible stereotypes and mistaken impressions here. I'm just using you as a stand-in example.)
See, I don't have to explain myself or worry about being judged within my culture. All of us have experiences and points of view and personalities shaped by these things we have in common. We seek out cultures, after all, because we want people to understand us and want to identify with like-minded people.
Uh-oh, here come the wanna-bes.
Suddenly biker/veteran culture becomes mainstream. Ewe Boll made a movie about it, there's a new vampire in Twilight who's depicted as a biker/veteran, or a slew of news stories made the culture more visible. Suddenly we get invaded by 14-year-olds who think that all they have to do is wear a leather jacket and an American flag headband and they're in. They care nothing for what it's about, all they give a thin damn about is that it's "cool" now.
From the inside, they destroy the culture by watering it down. Now I cannot rely on my cultural identification markers to expect a fellow culture member. I am encountering people who claim to be a veteran but never served in the military, people who claim to be a biker but have never ridden a bike, and so on. Impostors are camouflaging themselves as members of my extended family, and worse, they're determined to take it over and take it away from me. I become an outsider in my own culture, as Weird Al Yankovic makes a song called "Bike It!" set to Devo's "Whip It!" which goes Top-40, McDonald's starts selling biker/veteran G.I. Joe toys in its happy meals, and now if I expect people who identify themselves as biker/veterans to have served in the military and know how to ride a bike, I get called an "elitist" and "old guard" and other derogatory names.
Worse, from the outside, the media eats my culture alive. Several jackass idiots set a church on fire and leave a signed note with my local biking chapter at the scene of the crime. A pedophile dresses as a biker/veteran and molests a preschooler. A televangelist preaches a sermon about how biker/veteran culture is ruining our youth. A big drug bust goes down and a picture front-paged of a meth lab with a "Ride to live; live to ride" poster behind the lab. All of these things were done, not by members of my culture, but by posers pretending to be in it. Reporters get to the scene of these crimes and, in the standard sloppy slapdash methodology that is the hallmark of media idiots everywhere, breathlessly report that the biker/veterans are responsible.
Now my house is getting rotten-egged because I have a bike in the driveway, people are spitting on me as I visit the veteran's wing of the cemetery, police stop me and frisk me just because I fit a profile, the Westboro Baptist church is picketing the funeral of one of my buddies, and every time I try to find anything related to my former culture, I keep finding plastic wanna-be flotsam instead of anything associated with anybody who knows anything about my old culture. We can't even find each other any more because we're outnumbered by the wanna-bes 10-to-1.
And after all this, I try to explain to the misunderstanding public that being a biker/veteran isn't about drugs or child molestation or Weird Al Yankovic songs, and nobody believes me! After finding my culture and experiencing the joy of identification with my extended family, I am now orphaned and cast back into a misunderstanding world, doomed to die alone and misunderstood, and when I'm buried with my gravestone having a Harley logo and POW flag on it, kids will pass by and chuckle "Oh, that guy was a meth-head Pedobear!"
And all for NOTHING! There was nothing "cool" about being a biker/veteran in the first place! Those of us who were in this culture were just here by default, because we had had the experience of losing friends in combat and wiping out in the rain and getting road rash and wanted to trade tips with people who know how to fix our bikes when they break down or work the system to get our veteran's benefits. None of us were doing it for the image. None of us thought more highly of ourselves because we were biker/veterans. There was no secret club or elitist conspiracy. The benefits of being in a culture are entirely meaningless to anyone who is not a native part of it, which is the whole damned reason for having a culture in the first place.
The exact same thing I have described has happened to countless cultures in the past.
Nouns should mean things. "Nerd", briefly, meant:
An intellectual.
Someone well-educated in computers, engineering, or related science fields.
Someone who speaks all the associated jargon.
Then Revenge of the Nerds came out, and, you'll notice, anyone who fit those criteria immediately dropped the word "nerd" from conversation. Immediately there arose the "hacker" culture instead, which meant most of the things that "nerd" used to mean.
You can all guess what happened to the word "hacker"!
So they started calling themselves "geeks".
Blammo, suddenly "geek" means you wear glasses and you're a Star Wars fan! It has nothing to do with being intellectual, nothing to do with computers, nothing to do with reading books, nothing to do with science, nothing to do with engineering...
That's three times the nerd / hacker / geek / "$NAME?" culture has had to go hide under a new rock and the zombies found them again. Once again, if you're a geek, you want to be able to search for geek forums and be able to ask somebody if they have an old copy of a Slackware distro, or date somebody to whom you do not have to explain why you have to stay up all night coding, or have a robotics convention with people whom will understand your bizarre jargon (literally, "The Jargon File"). Instead, all you can find is 14-year-old girls with MySpace pages making the Mr. Spock live-long-n-prosper sign and wearing glasses going "LOL I'M SUCH A GEEK!"
Whatever name they find to use next, people will flock to the new name. The digital age means that computer people are "cool" because they make tons of money and are generally respected in society, so the paparazzi will chase them to their graves.
It's a painful kind of hell. It's a cultural rape. It destroys lives. It wastes everybody's time. It's stupid to the infinite power. And anybody who points these things out gets hated for it.
But we write a dictionary because nouns should mean things. Could you have read and comprehended this post if every noun I used meant every other noun? If I refuse to call a tree a fish, I am not a fish-elitist who is discriminating against trees' rights to be called fish. Neither trees nor fish is an "exclusive club"; neither one is being what they are "just to be cool". I just don't want to eat a tree for dinner and don't want to climb a fish.
Subject Author Posted

Reddit Gem: "Redditor explains how it is to have nerd culture destroyed."

eSRA June 11, 2012 05:45PM

oh no i am not reading all of that

vvp June 11, 2012 05:47PM

white people in search of a cultural identity

nocash June 11, 2012 05:48PM

mindless consumers in search of a cultural identity

Xiphias June 11, 2012 06:18PM

the nerds have become unstuck in time

nocash June 11, 2012 06:34PM

they should join the klan like grandpa

Justice Scalia June 11, 2012 06:43PM

too much exercise.

nocash June 11, 2012 06:55PM

my chapter's full of fatsos

Justice Scalia June 11, 2012 10:05PM

They should attach themselves to progressive politics, or become gay

The Vengeful Spirit of Benjamin J. Bocephus June 11, 2012 07:27PM

they should define themselves solely in contrarian opposition to gays and progressives

Xiphias June 11, 2012 07:42PM

cultural identity is a social construct and it is incredibly childish and chauvinistic to claim that your social construct is superior just because it has more cultural cache

The Vengeful Spirit of Benjamin J. Bocephus June 11, 2012 07:57PM

I agree, anyone who does that is an ass

Xiphias June 11, 2012 08:07PM

If you're referring to me, I wasn't singling those two identities out for any other reason than the fact that they are the identities that socially adrift white people can and most often attach themselves to

The Vengeful Spirit of Benjamin J. Bocephus June 11, 2012 08:29PM

see I think people attach themselves to progressive values because they find those values have merit

Xiphias June 11, 2012 08:48PM

no, people only do things to make Bocephus feel bad.

nocash June 11, 2012 08:51PM


Xiphias June 11, 2012 08:53PM

I guess instead of blanket progressive values I should have said gender/racial/cultural handwringing of the FMA/nocash confederation. Except nocash likes a goofy white dude who makes fun of black people so who knows anymore

The Vengeful Spirit of Benjamin J. Bocephus June 11, 2012 09:09PM

every thought you have ever had about me has been wrong, drop your grudge already

FMA's Ghost June 11, 2012 10:12PM

It's no a grudge! It's an analysis. I think you (though you haven't been lately) are a very funny guy!

The Vengeful Spirit of Benjamin J. Bocephus June 12, 2012 04:07AM

Holy shit- Revenge of the Nerds?

phalsebob June 11, 2012 07:33PM

Re: Reddit Gem: "Redditor explains how it is to have nerd culture destroyed."

eSRA June 11, 2012 07:58PM

Re: Reddit Gem: "Redditor explains how it is to have nerd culture destroyed."

Butler's Medley June 12, 2012 02:49AM

fuck you this was my holocaust

raith June 13, 2012 06:05PM

that show fucking sucks.

Emcee June 12, 2012 03:05PM

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