March 6, 2014

Fake Nerds

I recently read this blog post online:

I have a few problems with this post. Not that I disagree that fake Nerds are the annoying jocks of the geek world: seriously, clambering for attention, trying to take advantage of a niche they think is somehow both inferior to them and something to be objectified is incredibly wrong, not to mention rude.

But the handling of the situation is something we can improve on. We cannot stoop to their level. Running up and quizzing them about every aspect of a fandom only to knock them down? That’s something they do. Not us. We’re better than that.

Being a nerd is being passionate about something that matters to you. It’s not some exclusive club which only allows membership to men or women who can recite every plot line of every show deemed to be in the realm of Nerdom, or only validates the aspirations of those who live and breathe extended universes.

I am a nerd, a proud one, a scientist who loves well written sci-fi and brilliant shows that make my mind wander and dream. I love to meet with people who are as passionate as I am about the future of mankind in space, or who enjoy discussing the implications of some thought provoking shows.

But I have never stepped inside a comic book store. Why? Because I’m afraid of getting treated as people suggest we treat fake nerds. I’m afraid of getting quizzed on subjects I don’t know of because I’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy them before. I’m afraid of being bullied because I’m not what you would call a nerd.

When you talk about harassing people who you call a ‘fake’, you’re a bully. And I’m pretty sure most of us know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of bullying. I know I do. And yes, some of those ‘fake’ nerds are only here to bully us, but we are adults now. Is our only response really doing to be bullying back?

So here’s how I suggest we deal with the problem. Instead of calling them out, making a scene, making them feel bad about themselves, why don’t we instead show them what we are about. We teach them. We share our loves with them. No shame, because that’s not what we do.

Some of them only want attention. Fine. Don’t give it to them. But don’t you dare mock them or ridicule them. Don’t you dare bully or harass them. It is your job to try and stop that kind of thing, not encourage it!

If you encourage bullying, then I think you may be the fake nerd. Please consider treating everyone you meet with respect, and remember that shame and mockery are never the answer to any problem.

We are nerds. We are real geeks. Let us act that way.

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