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Geek Culture and Self-Image

23 April, 2011

The RPG Corner links to this interesting post over at Dave Ex Machina where he talks about being a nerd and a problem he has, to wit.

That problem being, I am sick to death of “nerd culture”.

Go and read the article, it is quite interesting, the important thought that he brings up is:

[Y]ou can be into a thing without having to be into being into a thing.

Now, I work in a game store.  I deal with people who are . . . committed to various points of view.  People who live Magic, people who hate D&D 4e, people who love Pathfinder, people who can recite the history of the Clans in Battletech, people who dispise Magic, people who are Clan Loyalist for the Legend of the Five Rings setting and so on.   I get to interact with them all.

Now, I have opinions on games, comics, movies, which may not align with those of the people I interact with.  But unlike so many people I deal with, I do not feel the need to defend my choices or (more importantly) the need to denigrate theirs.

My self-image is not so fragile that it will be shattered by someone who, for example, does not like Joss Whedon’s work (Dollhouse was not his best effort after all), who prefers Magic: the Gathering to the Shadowfist CCG (where I am in the opposite camp) or who loves zombies (which I feel have been very overplayed).  Different people like different things and to different levels, I am entirely cool with that.

People need to be accepting of other peoples views and not defensive when their own opinions are challenged.  I try to be curious instead, for I do want to understand what people liked about, say, a movie I disliked or a game that did not grab me.  Dialog is far more valuable, and less destructive, that reflexive defensive hostility.

Anyway, just my thoughts on this subject.

Edit: L of Geek’s Dream Girl puts it much more eloquently in Amicable Disagreement 101.

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6 comments

  1. On zombies: Zombieland finished saying the last few things that might potentially need to be said about zombies. They can go back to being fodder in tabletop, live-action, and video games now; we’ve pretty much exhausted their usability in books and movies. I’ll consider repealing this ban in… let’s say ten years.

    On Cthulhu (not the mythos as a whole, just the big green guy): Dude, you’re agonizingly overexposed. Give it a rest. I’m benching you for the next ten years, just like the other brain-eaters I mentioned above.

    On Joss: Go back to working with Ben Edlund, please. Those were your best years. Unfortunately, he may not need you anymore. Maybe you can get him to create something as awesome as Bad Horse for you again.

    On Dave Ex Machina’s actual point: I dunno, there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s overdone and trite, but maybe you could find it in your heart to let other people do what’s fun for them, and you go find something that’s fun for you? It’s not like D.E.M.’s kvetching about fannish behaviors will change their minds or cause the scales to fall from their eyes. It just means that D.E.M. and the people he’s around will be equally unhappy.


    • That was sort of the point I was trying to make. We all have what we like, let other people like what they like and either try to understand it or let it go, in either case, no point in getting upset about it.


  2. I don’t know, while I agree with some of his “tired of” list, I can’t escape the feeling that the need to trumpet to a group of people that “I’m tired of the things you like!” and then chastize them for not being more understanding, and suggest they need to read more runs the risk of looking like hypocrisy.

    It’s a tough line, I know, but maybe the real superior stance would be to chuckle at the foibles of “those nerds” and just ignore it.


  3. Which I guess is similar to what you’re saying. 🙂


    • I am not a big fan of edition wars and similar craziness. We are a small enough hobby without turning on our own. And there are very few, if any, games out there that I cannot find some good idea to liberate. So, I would rather find out why people like a game than criticize their choice.


  4. I’m with you. We can disagree without being so emotional about it!



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