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Les Nerds Et Mort

« September 2012 »


Like rock, God, and Generalissimo Francisco Franko, nerditry is dead. Unlike rock and God, it's going to stay that way, and unlike rock and Franco, lots of people will deny to their grave that it's dead, but it's dead. It was murdered in its sleep by horny fifty year old women.

We can quibble over definitions, but the key aspect of nerditry for my purposes here is the latching onto and obsession over an obscure chunk of pop culture or just culture. Chess, Lord of the Rings, D&D, Star Wars, spinning wool, whatever. The point is, you found a thing and you fucking clung to it out of love or a need for identity or any number of reasons good and bad, and it made people look at you funny, but you bought the t-shirts and the soundtrack album and fuck those normals.

And who was the opposite number to a nerd, especially a child nerd? Who was the most normal of them all? Who, when confronted with an inexplicable undying love for Luke Skywalker, allowed the toy store clerk to convince her that the knockoff astronaut figure was even better because it was outer space AND educational? The late middle aged housewife aunt. They didn't get obsession like this, and never, ever would.

Well, that final frontier has been breached, my nerds, so it's time to hang up our propeller beanies, take our buckyballs, and go home. Those women are now nerds too, and it's all thanks to an awful, awful book.

I'm speaking, of course, of Fifty Shades of Grey, the books that started as Twilight fanfiction with light S&M elements. The author changed the names, put the book out, and it caught fire amongst an entire subset of the population that, until now, didn't care about such things.

Now, if you want to read shitty little bondage romance novels slightly elevated by being shelved in the "Fiction" section, released in trade paperback format, and released as a lengthy trilogy, I'm not going to stop you. Partly because that would be wrong, and mostly because I don't have that power.

But Fifty Shades has sold a shit-ton of copies, and like anything these days that sells a shit-ton of copies, it becomes a franchise. And a franchise exists to exploit the fanbase. And so, a subset of society that, 30 years ago, wouldn't have known or cared about the difference between Obi Wan Kenobi and Mr. Spock suddenly finds itself very, very interested in the music Anastasia Steele might listen to, the food Douchebag McGrey might eat, etcetera, etcetera.

Yes, you can buy a classical music collection inspired by the books, officially licensed garter belts, obligatory T-shirts, and home decor items considerably more expensive than X-Wing twin bedsheets.

And, of course, there's the cooking class, in a California strip mall, that will teach you how to cook "bondage-wrapped shrimp".

See that? Right there? Right at the "r" in shrimp? That's when you, as a nerd, stopped being different. The last wall has been breached, we are all nerds now, getting together in costumes to eat pretend food from our favoritest books / soon to be movies. You might as well start watching sports.

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