Friday, October 30, 2015
STOP CALLING YOURSELVES NERDS!!! Why words like "Nerd" and "Geek" are not words worth embracing!
Nerd culture, nerdom, nerdgasm, what the fuck? Geed Squad, geek culture, GeekCast Network, Angry Video Game Nerd, Geekopolis, There's a Geek app, there's Thinkgeek.com, Geek.com, Geek culture? Nerd Block? NERD RAGE, What? Nerd Universe, Nerd Approved, NerdWallet, Nerd Fu, Nerds with Vaginas, Nerd Porn, oh good god! Black Nerd Comedy, Geek'r'Us, There's a shopping app called Geek, different from the other Geek App? FB Film Geek Circle, Guitar Geek, Geek Resort, Geek Chic Cosmetics! Geek cosmetics? (Frustrated scoff) Geek Ultimate, SWAG Geek-, I'm not making any of these things up by the way, this is just shit I'm finding by typing "nerd" or "geek" into Facebook or things I've seen over the years. I typed "Nerd" into Google, and I found that there's a band called N.E.R.D., never heard of them, I doubt anybody else- what the-, lead singer Pharrell Williams? The cool R&B/pop guy in the hat, that sings those songs I like, he's a NERD?! (Prolonged pause)
WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS WORD MEAN ANYMORE?! UGH!
Alright, maybe I missed this memo, but nobody ever went to me and suddenly told me, "Oh, hey, it's good to be a geek or a nerd now." Not that I ever was one, in fact I'm not one! Even if I am and in denial over it, I would NEVER call myself one of these terms! I hate these terms, I hate these words, and I don't give a damn how cool or accepted these are now, I'm not embracing them. I'm sorry, when I hear a word like these used in any possibly positive context, like people are accepting of themselves that they are like this, I just cringe. I don't get it. Why the fuck are people embracing this? No, seriously, why? Why has this become a badge of honor for people to wear proudly? Look, maybe some of you readers are looking at me like I'm crazy right now, and to you, it's perfectly natural and okay to, I don't know, accept this designation of themselves or of others, "Proud to be a nerd" or a geek, not that those words actually have any meaning anymore, but I don't! Furiously, I don't! Neither being a nerd being a geek is a good thing to strive towards or something to admire about yourself or others, certainly not to the point that we are at with it now.
Okay, I realize I'm coming down on an unpopular side here, and there may be a generation gap that I'm gonna have fight through here in order to make my point, and as "21 Jump Street" showed, I come from a culture where kids grew up liking Steve Urkel ironically, and now we're in the middle of a culture where kids are growing up liking Sheldon Cooper, un-ironically, and it's a culture where "21 Jump Street" is a movie franchise that exploits that culture and not a cool detective drama series about undercover narcotics officers in high school, but besides that, this needs to be said, 'cause, I-eh- I suddenly realized lately that I can't and won't accept the-eh acceptance of these words in our culture. I realize that this might be grasping at straws that are no longer there anymore to grasp onto, but this needs to be said by somebody, and lord knows, I have a history of going after people and subjects that other people will just not attack, especially since apparently, this is no longer a counter-culture thing; being a nerd or a geek is basically the norm now, at least in most of the circles I run in. I don't know when comic books became more mainstream than actual books, or when video games became high art, (I still disagree with that one) or when it ever became okay to talk about superhero movies that aren't even gonna be made for five years or when, anybody who's age or shoe size was in the double digits to still not only be creating fanart and fan-fiction, but for it to have it's own subculture of fans and followers, or-, I don't even know if any of those things are nerd things!
That's part of the problem too, it's not like "Nerd" or "Geek" every actually meant anything, they were just insults made by assholes towards people who usually were not assholes, or were less of an asshole but nobody noticed 'cause they were ostracized from others for,-, I don't know wearing Lisa Loeb glasses while not being Lisa Loeb,- they don't mean anything! They don't signify anything-!,
Alright, before I turn this into a completely meandering rant, let's look at the words themselves. "Nerd". What is a nerd? (Long pause) I'm waiting? Yeah, you guys answer, what is a nerd? What specifically makes someone a nerd, 'cause I'll be damned if I can come up with an answer. "They're smart?" Well, a lot of people are smart, and not all nerds are actually smart btw. "They like comic books and fantasy movies and TV shows?" A lot of people do. "Well they obsess over them?" Okay, that's not healthy, I'll grant you that, but again, there's a lot of people who do things like that; I should know I got shit from a lot of them, when I went after fans recently, so let's assume for the moment that that's probably more of a human trait than a character flaw; what else? "They play RPG games?" To my surprise, a lot of different people do; I found that one out years ago, I wouldn't call them nerds. "They're virgins and are adults still fascinated with childlike obsessions?" Do I have to bring up the Nerd Porn again? Uh, and no, trust me, I've seen the videos made of the drunken orgies that occurred at some of the Dungeon & Dragon nights in high school, rumors of virginity are greatly exaggerated, and I really wish my friend hadn't felt the need to show me that! (Deep Breath) "They're good at science?" Yeah, so are doctors, so are-, okay a lot of people are, and no, not all of them are nerds. "They like science-fiction", a lot of people like science-fiction, and fuck it, if an idiot say they don't like a genre, any genre they just either aren't willing to learn anything, in that case they're just a moron, or they've never seen a good one, 'cause something that's good, will find an audience even if that person isn't particularly interested in it, so that's BS too. "They're good at computers!". I think we're all skilled at computers to some extent now. I might not be able to code but I'm pretty sure most everything I could ever do on a computer I can figure out how to do, including learn to code if I wanted to. "They like video games." Who doesn't? "They wear..."-, I'm gonna stop you right there, 'cause anything you say I can very easily defeat with, "No, not all do, in fact most probably don't." (Including pocket protectors) "They cosplay?" Okay even if all cosplayers are nerds, which I have no evidence of, does that mean all nerds are cosplayers? Eh, no, I don't think so. You see, this is my issue! There has never been a consistent example or definition of these words. It can mean one thing to me, and a different thing to you, and etc. etc. etc., they have no meaning. (Okay, "Geek" actually does have a meaning, it's an alternate word for "Freak", as in circus freaks. That's the origin from the turn of the century shows, so sideshow freak, if that's what you want to be associate with [So "Freaks and Geeks" is just "Freaks and Freaks", I knew I hated that show for a reason]) At most, we have a sorta nerd archetype or two in pop culture, but even then we're stretching it. We have some known examples, yet we don't actually have a description or even an explanation of what the word is.
You know where the word nerd came from, by the way? It came from, Dr. Seuss. I'm serious, the first noted use of the word is his 1950 book, "If I Ran a Zoo", and it's a pretty innocuous use of it too. It's basically a made-up word of his, there's nothing that distinguishes it really from words like zong or gootch or glikker or zlock or sneetches or zillow, it's just a nonsense word, not even an iconic one of his like "Grinch" or "Lorax".... But something about it caught on and in 1951, the first reported uses of the word as a taunt, similar to, hmm, I guess "Square" would be the equivalent use and actually it still wasn't overly known in the pop culture until it was heavily used on "Happy Days" in the '70s, and it's not a good thing to be. It's, really not. Not because it means nothing, but it's because of the people who used it. Now, I'm not gonna pretend I can trace the pop culture status and acceptances of the word nerd, I've mentioned a few of the more common examples, but there's others. Screech from "Saved By the Bell", Nathalie Green from "The Facts of Life", Carlton Banks from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", Wesley Crusher from "Star Trek: The Next Generation"..., I guess if you go way back, maybe Margaret Wade from "Dennis the Menace", although not really, if you want a real-life one, maybe some remember Toby Radloff, from MTV back in the late '80s I believe, at least those are the ones that come to my mind, but let me use a more obscure character to make my points here:
Okay, Stuart Minkus, from mostly the first season of "Boy Meets World". I always liked Minkus as a character. He was smart, about my age when the show was in it's first season, didn't give a shit about too many other people besides himself and generally tried to be good and better than everyone else, but in his own way. I related to him admittedly, quite a bit. That said, was he a nerd? I don't know, but the idiot assholes in class kept making fun of him and calling him one! Throwing things at him, threatening to beat him up, pressuring him to do things against his will. They were the ones, calling him a nerd. Yeah, I liked smart characters, I tried to find people smarter than me to learn from growing up, and I constantly saw mostly Cory and Shawn idiots around me. I mean, I had a crush on Topanga like everybody else, because she was smart! Not because she was cute and good-looking. I'm serious, that's secondary, I also had crushes on Winnie Cooper, Blossom Russo, and Darlene Connor for the same reasons. (Not Jessie Spano ironically, she may have been smart, but she was an obnoxious bitch, although I'd still take her over Kelly or Lisa-, Okay, I'm offtrack again.) You see, this is what I'm talking about though, this wasn't a word that was worth embracing, this is a word that the idiot assholes who I would've Columbine'd down if I could've figured out how to get away with it, (Yes, it's that part of me that's talking here) would call anybody who was smarter or different than them because they weren't capable of knowing or doing anything else! This isn't a word to gather a cultural renaissance around. You're not regaining anything, there was nothing to be gained to begin with!
Look, I'm a proud liberal, okay, and that's a word I expressly go out of my way to promote, because, A: Liberals are amazing. They've done amazing things like invent the weekend, or Civil Rights, or Food Stamps, Public Schools, worker's rights, the income tax, the voting rights act, ended slavery, to name a few of their accomplishments, and yet, B: a bunch of morons have done everything in their power to give that word a negative connotation. Well, it's not negative, they're just fucking with you to make it seem like it is, so fuck them, I'm a liberal! I get that. When people try to take away from other people, especially when it is a positive trait, then yes, that's when there should be a full-force attack on them by wearing the word so loudly and pridefully it make the gay pride rainbow flag look like it's in black & white. But "nerd", "geek", these aren't words to do that with. This is giving those idiots powers that they frankly don't deserve and shouldn't be acknowledged.
Now, I know the argument against this, why not, take a negative and turn it into a positive? People do that all the time. Hell, African-Americans say nigger all the time to each other, why can't nerds embrace being nerds, that was much worse! Well, I never thought African-Americans should say nigger either to be completely honest, or nigga or any other deviation of the word, although not being African-American I don't particularly feel capable of truly discussing that, but that said, some words are more powerful than others and nigger is a powerful word that really meant something negative. Something cultural, something historical, something specific, it actually means something when it's used, and is a vile word that's pure hatred, not just the taunts of dumbass kid. So, a word that despicable, basically the only thing to do is to laugh it off basically. That's a word that needs to have it's "power" detracted from it, it should be a joke the same way that Mel Brooks tries to turn Hitler into a joke; it's so vile that the only thing left to do is to laugh at it, or bring it down to the point where it's basically a word that means, well "friend" I guess, at least in the African-American community where it's clearly not spoken with that kind of evil incentive, in fact they went out to change the meaning of the word, at least that's taking it and doing something with it. (I have noticed though, that that hasn't happened so much with other similar words that desecrate other groups of people separated for things that are literally out of their control.)
Yeah, I agree with Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, it's not the words itself it's how it's used, but that said, you gotta pick your battles more selectively. There's no meaning behind "nerd", originally or even in insult form or even really "geek" for that matter, and there never was. There's other words too, but those are the two I see the most and I-, ugh, Why?! Why is this embraced; why can't we just, be? Just exist, not be subjected to a simple meaningless word or a description. This isn't regaining a word, this is just another way of separating people out. I know, supposedly, because they're nerds and not the assholes that created the word as a negative stereotype that now "Everybody's a nerd", well, no! I'm not, a lot of people aren't. This isn't embracing, this is accepting disguised as embracing, and worst of all, by embracing it so much, they are separating themselves, purposefully, and again, going to my post on why I hate fans, I'm not in favor of that! And in that post, I do compare the rise of obsessive fandom overtaking pop culture to the words "Nerd" and "Geek", and yeah, I probably shouldn't do that, but it wasn't a compliment. You can review that blog for yourselves at the link:
Look for everything I said of fans, well I meant it, but take that away, why are you using "Nerd" and "geek"? You'd think you'd come up with something else, but you got beaten down so much by people slinging those words at us, that after, 50-60 years tops, we decided to turn that into a representative of us, our culture as a whole? Yeah, you know what, that's just lazy. If you're going to separate yourselves from people who are not like you, you could've done better than accepting that. I guess people have diluted themselves into thinking that by accepting and wearing these monikers that they're subverting the people who use it negative, but that's not what's happening; they're subverting themselves, and that's not good. It's not claiming or even reclaiming a word, it's just another way to separate and distinguish certain people from other people. Essentially, it's the same thing the assholes who called us these names were trying to do to them.
Maybe I am being harsh, but this is the pop culture, so invades the entertainment world and one reflects the other, blah, blah, blah,... anyway, they are the zeitgeist, this is the way pop culture's going and the words that they decided to embrace about themselves and whatever aspects of that that may entail, doesn't matter it came from people who don't know any better, "We're smart, we'll fuck them over and make it our own. Ha ha, ha ha...". No, if you guys were really being smart, you would've made up something they would never use and classify yourselves like that until everybody called you that, and not just let it be. But, I guess it worked. Ever since, I don't know, Bill Gates became the richest person on Earth and everybody suddenly realized, "Holy shit, the Internet!" or whenerer the hell it was, we've basically been corrupted and taken over by the once-mocked and ostracized bunch of nerds. Well, not all of them, but the ones who call themselves nerds..., yeah, I've tried and I don't get it. And, since this is now the zeitgeist of today, the acceptance of "Nerd Culture," whatever the fuck that means, I'm gonna take more advice from George Carlin, who nobody would ever call a nerd or a geek, who wisely once said, "Don't ever take shit from the zeitgeist."
So, I'm not gonna pretend I'm with the "Cool kids" or the jocks or the nerds or, whatever other else group their was that people separated themselves into, 'cause ask anybody who knows me, I don't belong to any of them, 'cause I was the one and only David Baruffi, and there wasn't anybody gonna change that and classify me in any simplistic terms. I may have been alone but at least I wasn't gonna let the assholes douchebags of the world categorize me into anything. I start my own things and don't ever give them or any other group the satisfaction of converting me. You may have turned the people who called you nerds into nerds themselves now, but you all let to them tell you what you were when they didn't have the ability or the right to, and you ran with it. Embraced it, glorified it! Look, like whatever the hell you want, to whatever degree you want. Film, music, video games, books, comics, novels, television shows, whatever, have as many conventions as you want, dress however you want, I'd rather you not go all out fanboy/girl on stuff, but dear God, don't call yourselves nerds or geeks and everybody else, don't let these nerds and geeks, as they call themselves let you think that those words have any meaning or value as a symbol of anything other than people trying to put you in their group and separate you from everyone else and to all those who promote and find a positive identity by referring to themselves as nerds, well,
(MIDDLE FINGER, DOUBLE MIDDLE FINGER!!!!!!!!!!!)
yeah, that's what I think of that. Screw you all.
(MIDDLE FINGER, AGAIN)
These aren't words that you should be identifying yourselves as! I expect so much better! To accept what someone insults you as, especially when it isn't true and especially with these words which maybe, barely-at-best have even a real meaning behind them, it's giving them power not taking it over for yourselves. It's giving in, and gonna do that just because everyone else is, and I don't know why everyone else does either.
Posted by David Baruffi at 6:17 AM