I think it’s patently obvious to most, but I would consider myself a pretty huge nerd. Currently on my desk are knickknacks devoted to Doctor Who, Futurama, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. The amount of time I spend watching sci-fi movies pre-1980 is pretty staggering. I also have more graphic novels on my book shelf than regular novels, and that’s saying quite a bit. The point is, that I’m a nerd (or geek, or whatever you’d like to call it) and basically all through school it was evident to people who called me one, usually in the derogatory. I never had to prove how nerdy I was, nor did anyone. This is why it’s so increasingly ridiculous, now that “nerds” are more socially acceptable, that the term “geek cred” even exists. One’s entry into the “club” (another insane idea) should not be contingent on whether you like X, Y, and Z. What if I like X and Z, but Y is not my favorite? Am I shunned?
It’s this weird appropriation of nerdiness now that it’s become more or less a traded commodity that gives me pause. There’s more media directed to us now than ever before and, like people who were OG fans of some newly-popular band, there’s a growing population of nerds who resent it. “You weren’t there at the beginning! You don’t know how good it was, how important!” With respect, get over yourself. You do realize the more people who like something, the more of it you’ll get, right? That’s how supply and demand works. Remember how a decade ago, if you liked a thing, it’d get cancelled or they’d never make any more because not enough people bought it? Was that better than having all this content aimed at you at the expense of having a ton of other people like it? The Avengers made over a billion dollars this year; do you think all of that was from people who’d read every issue of the comic book?
All nerds are different. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t play video games. I have nothing against them — just don’t play them. I’ve played a Halo game less than five times put together. I’ve never played one Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty in my whole life. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy playing them if ever I do, but it’s not my thing; I don’t seek it out. Now, this knowledge should be no big deal at all, but sometimes you say that to a nerd and they look at you with mouth-agape shock followed by that most insipid of rhetorical questions: “You don’t play video games?!?!”
Just because someone’s tastes or preferences or experiences are different from yours doesn’t mean they’re somehow unqualified to carry the mantle of First Degree Nerd. Demanding that everything you like be the litmus test for any nerd you meet is ridiculous. Weren’t we the ones who got picked on in school? Weren’t we the ones who were treated as outcasts for not being interested in playing sports? Weren’t we the ones who never got recognition for winning a national choir competition at a high school assembly when they had no problem honoring the football team for finishing fifth in the district? (Yes, that’s a specific one.) When did nerds become the bullies? I’m tired of nerd-on-nerd crimes.
And so, friends, I have decided to install the Nerd Code of Conduct. Let us all read and follow.
One’s Nerdiness shall not be called into question for any of the following reasons:
- They didn’t like a movie based on a beloved character, no matter how beloved.
- They did like a movie that you hated, no matter how hated.
- They’ve never seen a movie you love, no matter how baffling it is to you that they haven’t seen it. (ex. Star Wars)
- They don’t play video games.
- They don’t read comics.
- They came to a thing or series later than you, even if it seems like it was just because other people like it.
- They don’t like one thing you like.
- They like all the things you like but in a way that’s different than the way you like it.
- They’re good looking.
- They’re female.
Okay everyone? I’m really tired of nerds questioning other nerds about their nerdiness. It’s like the goddamn McCarthy Hearings or something. How about you like what you like and if people like it too, great; and if not, great. Don’t be a fucking dick about it. We’re better than this.