Archive - Jun 7, 2005

The Be A Better Nerd Manifesto

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Today, on YAD, we begin a bit of a departure from the usual ranting, raving, and mocking. We're going to do something that borders on constructive. Which is why I'm introducing the Be A Better Nerd series of columns - on days when the news either fails to inspire, or brings us the same stupidity I've beaten into a fine equine paste, I'll put up these little instructional guidelines on how you, a nerd, can be better at it. Healthier. Happier. Saner. And most importantly, less annoying and embarrassing to the rest of us.

But I can't do that until I've laid some groundwork here. I need a base upon which to build, a point to which I can refer back in the future. Because this is the Internet, and now that they've moved all the porn to the .xxx domain, that leaves .com, .net, .org, and .tv devoted almost entirely to nerds getting pissy. And I don't want that.

The last time I pissed off a group of, shall I say "dedicated animation connoisseurs", for example, they managed to bring all these latent jock-swirlie issues to the party, painting me as some kind of symbol of their oppression. And the last thing I want is for people to be pissed off at me for the entirely wrong reason. So let's clear some stuff up right off the bat, and from now on, whenever I feel the need to do one of these, I can just magically link to here instead of boring the readership with more exposition.

TERMINOLOGY:

For purposes of this discussion, consider "nerd" to be the all-encompassing terminology for, well, you. Since you're surfing the Internet, most likely instead of working, and since the last time I checked, this wasn't ESPN or americanidol.com, you're a nerd. I'm fully aware that the terminology and the etymology and the preferred nomenclature varies from tribe to tribe. I'm more of a "geek" man myself. But if we spend time quibbling over definitions and gradations, we'll never get anywhere. So "nerd" it is. What's a nerd? Anyone who displays pretty much any of the character traits common to the word and its ilk.

CONFESSION:

Yeah, I'm a nerd too. I rant on the Internet. I buy action figures for myself. My video game consoles number in the double digits. I own, and wear, clothing emblazoned with Transformers symbology. And in my time on this planet, I've been through pretty much every nerd experience I can think of. Well, OK. I haven't fucked anyone while dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog, but online or off, I've been part of or seen a vast percentage of the subculture gamut. And I've learned. Not "grown out of it", but learned.

THE SEX THING:

And one thing I've learned is that nerds get laid all the time. The inability to get laid is an entirely separate, if correlative, issue to being a nerd. And getting laid is not some kind of magical cure-all that removes all traces of fringe behavior, self-esteem issues, and desire for replica lightsabers the instant the pudenda are breached. It's bullshit, and more importantly, it's deeply, deeply trite. So no "kissed a woman" cracks, no "parents' basement" cracks... pretty much the entire content of the Shatner SNL sketch is off-limits.

WHY?

Because I can. And because it'll be funny. And because there's always that tiny, infinitesimal chance that some nerd will read this, recognize themselves in what I describe, not get pissed, and actually decide I'm right and they should do something about it. Of course, doing the math on the odds of this ever happening on the Internet, versus the size of my audience, I'd probably be better off playing the lottery. But with the lottery I entertain nobody, and with this I can entertain almost a dozen people. And it's practically free.

So keep an eye out in the upcoming days and weeks, as we discuss fanboyism, relationships, arguing on the Internet, filk, online personae, and more. No jokes about Spock ears or pocket protectors, I promise.