If geeks love it, we’re on it

No one should be ashamed of being a nerd

No one should be ashamed of being a nerd

Commentary on Portlandia Nerd PSA sketch
I watched that Portlandia PSA sketch about being a nerd, and I have a bone to pick with it. First here’s the sketch:

Nerdshaming

No one should be ashamed of being a nerd/geek/etc.

If you are happy, please stop caring what other people think about your hobbies. If you come across someone who thinks you are weird because you enjoy Star Wars, Star Trek, LARPing, Dungeons & Dragons, Furries, whatever—you don’t need them in your life.

I know and understand that it’s irritating to be pandered to with shows like The Big Bang Theory, The New Girl, and so on, but there isn’t anything we can do and it’s easy to see that right now being geek is chic. Those shows aren’t for us. Those shows are for the general public to take (an albeit kind of wrong) glimpse into our world. Turn around and do your best to use it to your advantage, because for the first time ever it’s cool to be a nerd. Don’t get carried away—just embrace yourself and who you are, because what you enjoy sets you apart from the rest. If what you read or dress up as or obsess over makes you happy, don’t let anyone take that away from you because you will be miserable for being untrue to yourself.

Don’t fake being a nerd to make others like you

On the flipside, if you are a girl who thinks it’s “cool to be a geek” and are new to nerd-dom, don’t be untrue to yourself by collecting Ghostbusters crap, Playing Call Of Duty, or anything else if you don’t actually enjoy it. Don’t pander to nerds with your feminine wiles. Boys: don’t wear glasses if you don’t really need to. The door swings both ways on the topic.

Trends come and go. Be true to yourself and what you enjoy, and don’t let anyone take that away from you, because years from now we will all still be addicted to video games, anime and collectibles. We will all look back on our massive piles of plastic crap and realize we spent a lot of time playing with toys alongside the people who share the same obsessions. Just something to think about.

Comments

  1. BobbyDigi
    BobbyDigi Well put.

    Welcome to Icrontic VampireKitten!

    -Digi
  2. MrTRiot
    MrTRiot Nerds usually get the highest paying jobs. Embrace!

    Good article!
  3. VampireKitten
  4. bright
    bright "Don’t pander to nerds with your feminine wiles. Boys: don’t wear glasses if you don’t really need to. The door swings both ways on the topic."

    By the same door swinging, don't pander to nerds with your masculine wiles. And if you're not a boy don't wear glasses if you don't need them, unless you want to try it. I know I want to try glasses some day.
  5. Winfrey
    Winfrey Glasses, not even once.
  6. Teramona
    Teramona I often hide my glasses in public for fear of being called a "hipster" or a "nerd." This article has given me the strength to finally come out and say... "Hey, wait a minute. I'm tired of running in to street signs and phone poles."
  7. RahnalH102
    RahnalH102 Nice article. The whole "poking fun at nerds/geeks/etc" theme is kinda typical, but stating that it's a horrid existence is definitely pushing it.

    I'mma play the quote card with this:
    “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”
    ― Simon Pegg
  8. djmeph
    djmeph Let's talk about how misunderstood hipsters are. They are the new nerds, now that open displays of intelligence are socially acceptable again.
  9. Winfrey
    Winfrey What kind of hipster would talk about hipsters being misunderstood hipsters. That's just cray-cray.
  10. djmeph
    djmeph One that drinks beer and farts rainbows.
  11. MAGIC
    MAGIC What a bunch of nerds.
  12. lmorchard
    lmorchard RE: The Big Bang Theory - I love it, but just read this critique on the show.

    My take is that, as a nerd, I'm well aware of how ludicrous some of my propensities are and how overly-earnest I am in pursuit of them. And I laugh at myself, but I still think I'm enjoying the hell out of life. And, I kind of think that's what happens in The Big Bang Theory.

    Go ahead and laugh at me. I already have, and I'm having a ball. If you take yourself so seriously that you're afraid to be a screaming, arm-flapping idiot about something and even laugh at yourself while doing it - you're the one who's losing out, not me.
  13. cola
    cola Hey, I wear glasses, but then again contacts aren't really allowed on Subs so...I guess I do absolutely have to XD
  14. Pacifisto
    Pacifisto Well, there's an important difference between "don't wear glasses" and "don't wear glasses if you don't need them."

    But then again, cola's so attractive I'd be willing to bend the rules even if you didn't have to wear them.
  15. Myrmidon
    Myrmidon My biggest criticism is with that PSA. Nobody is actually ashamed to be a nerd anymore - leastaways, none of the folks I know that spend copious amounts of time on their hobbies. Myself, I can thank Icrontic for that.

    Upon NYE 2012-2013, @Canti, @UPSLynx, @Teramona, @Bandrik and I walked past a gym where people were working out. And we teased them amongst ourselves. "OHHHH MAAAAN, look at those JOOOOOCKS. Hey jocky jock, why don't you go back to your gym and lift shit? Ohhhh, look at those biceps, huh? I bet your World of Warcraft character isn't even 85 yet! Joooooock!"

    True story.

    tl;dr, in my world, NERDS are the height of the social food chain.
  16. djmeph
    djmeph It's too bad they took down all the videos of Big Bang Theory with the laugh tracks removed. It really showed how unfunny that show is.
  17. QuadWhore
    QuadWhore Well... there are a lot of nerds who are very open about it, and it is very much more acceptable than in the past, but that doesn't mean that it's unanimously loved now. Kids and young adults are still afraid of being nerds, and we should teach them to EMBRACE IT.
    It's too bad they took down all the videos of Big Bang Theory with the laugh tracks removed. It really showed how unfunny that show is.
    I just looked some up on youtube and found some. I hated the show enough already, but dear god, man. At least it's concrete evidence to prove that the show is garbage.
  18. Canti
    Canti Nothing better than asking a guy, "Hey bro, do you even lift?" while he's bench pressing.

    [spoiler]Because if he gets mad about it he'll drop the bar and you can use math to tell him how much his neck got squished.[/spoiler]
  19. Lincoln
    Lincoln I get recommended Big Bang Theory a lot. I hate laugh tracks.
  20. Church4252
    Church4252 I have never been afraid of being a nerd. I have always embraced it. And @Myrmidon I used to be one of those jocks too.
  21. Thrax
    Thrax
    I get recommended Big Bang Theory a lot. I hate laugh tracks.
    I hate the show because it shows the socially maladjusted side. The 4chan side. The "oh god I might get germs for talking to other people" side. The "lol I have OCD because I'm particular about my action dolls" side. The "we're too fucking dense to realize bronies are a sly joke, so we're taking our furry fetish there!" side.

    I don't like that side. And I hate that the show has popularized/publicized it.
  22. JBoogaloo
    JBoogaloo If the show is taken for what it is, then it really isn't that bad. Big Bang is no different a show than The Jeffersons, Outsourced, Married with Children, All in the Family, Tyler Perry's whatever, any political based "corruption/scandal" show, The Cleveland show, Family Guy, the list goes on. These are all shows that take stereotypes to the extreme and poke fun at them. Sure, it tends to lump many people into groups but only to the ones that are too stupid to realize that television isn't reality. Unfortunately, there are a great number of these people and they seem to outnumber the intelligent. I don't personally think it's so much the fault of the media painting stereotypes in a bad light (because let's be honest, stereotypes are hilarious and make for great humor) it's the person (includes parents, etc...) that isn't or can't differentiate between tv and life and trying to live one like the other.
  23. Winfrey
    Winfrey The show's not really for the nerdy, it's for "normal" people that have nerdy friends. Which there are a lot of, so the show stays on air.
  24. Kwitko
    Kwitko Nerd pride, yo. I'm so nerdy I listen to nerdcore hip-hop.

  25. CB
    CB
    The show's not really for the nerdy, it's for "normal" people that have nerdy friends. Which there are a lot of, so the show stays on air.
    Exactly. It's the diffence between laughing with and laughing at.

    (I get recommended this show often as well, especially by my students. I watched through the first season to give it a chance. It had its moments but I can't say it was particularly compelling. Partly, however, it's because I'm not really a sit-com kind of guy. Seinfeld is the only one I've ever really enjoyed.)
  26. I-need-a-better-name
    I-need-a-better-name The whole nerd thing is just too self aware for my tastes. When I was in school I knew exactly what a nerd was and I knew exactly why I wasn't one (no pocket protector, no glasses, I wasn't a teacher's pet). But let's be honest, the definition has broadened somewhat and a lot of people who are technically geeks are claiming the nerd moniker for themselves. We're just lucky that culture caught up to us. Maybe some day even the dorks will have a place in society.
  27. cola
    cola Anyone who hates on me for being a nerd gets to meet my collection of everloving dickclowns.

    Also, the school I'm at right now is like 90% nerds, including the staff. It. Is. Awesome.
  28. Myrmidon
    Myrmidon
    I have never been afraid of being a nerd. I have always embraced it. And @Myrmidon I used to be one of those jocks too.
    jeeeeeeeOOOOOOOOOOOOCK
  29. VampireKitten
    VampireKitten Okay so, here are some extra thoughts. I personally don't have a problem with TBBT, it's the closest things to a nerd sitcom on TV and I find it quite enjoyable at times.

    I agree with Bright, I probably should have stated the same thing about girls.

    I also more or less drift towards the Simon Pegg quote that was posted. He's got it right and I wish more people would see that quote, thanks for posting it.

    I have something for hipsters:
  30. djmeph
    djmeph I was hoping this discussion wouldn't denigrate into pontification over the difference between a nerd and a geek.
  31. DGMOckingJay
    DGMOckingJay If you are a nerd who doesn't see much daylight, you should be ashamed. Not because you are a nerd, but the fact that your hobby is keeping you from making general interaction with people..

    And Yes, dont be a fake either just for attention, drop the big ass glasses, and try being yourself for a change.

    Thank you..
  32. Canti
  33. djmeph
    djmeph but I love my glasses. I get them big so they don't break.
  34. GnomeQueen
    GnomeQueen Yeaaa, I have a lot of problems with this PSA on a variety of different levels.
  35. LightningRunner
    LightningRunner I agree with the views of this article; we have a lot more going for us nerds than we've had in the past. We get higher-paying jobs than the average person, thanks to some of our technical skills, and for the first time ever, we have an entire sect of certain nerds (bronies), that are openly welcome by the community, for the most part. We shouldn't be ashamed with what we do, because what we do could end up landing us somewhere that would have the average person fuming in jealousy. Just look at Rooster Teeth, at first they were just a bunch of nerds doing machinema and no real funding, but now they have ascended and have a partnership with Bungie, who do their animations for Red vs Blue. All in all, don't let the rest of the world try to take you down just because of what you like to do, collect, etc.
  36. fatcat
    fatcat tldr I'm a jock and a nerd. dealwithit ;)
  37. Teramona
    Teramona Hi, there. I'm Terin of Icrontic fame. You might know me from such threads as "Terin's Tasty Teatime Treats", and "Bobby Miller Is Not A Beer." I have a lot of thoughts on this subject. Though, as I think them to myself, some are a little conflicting. I will attempt to map them out in the string of consciousness that follows. Read, don't read, but above all... don't get offended. This isn't directed at anyone specific.

    What I think, is that nerdom shouldn't be treated with any kind of exclusivity. I was a drama geek in high school. I've always been very proud of my ability to read and write well, foregoing parties to instead stay home and write a story. I was never very popular, and was always classed as kind of a "nerd". Recently, my roommate referred to me as a "gamer", though I wouldn't have ever technically applied that term to myself. Also, I was a cheerleader. Also, I ran half marathons, and spent A LOT of time in the gym to train. I ran on the hamster wheel, I box jumped, I cycled... and bro? I lifted.

    Now, what does any of that really say about me? Nothing. It tells you about my hobbies, but it doesn't tell you about my motivations. It doesn't tell you what kind of person I am. When we start treating a word like some kind of noble distinction, it becomes very very divisive... especially when it has as much to do with how a person is perceived as it does with how someone perceives themselves (i.e. the famed "you're not a hipster if you say you are, but you are if you say you're not" argument).

    Am I a nerd? I don't know. But I do know it's conversations like this that make me feel inherently excluded... in a forum where I have otherwise come to feel very comfortable. I don't know if I'm a gamer now, I just know that I enjoy playing games. I don't know if I'm a hipster because I have thick plastic glasses, or I wear scarves in what some people might consider warm weather, or because I obsessively collect tea memorabilia. I also don't particularly care. It's subjective, and everyone is going to have a different opinion.

    So, I mean, I say let them wear their big fake glasses. Let Big Bang Theory cater to people who only get one side of the whole equation. Let them. Because if you're really being true to yourself... what do you care? It only becomes a problem if you think these things threaten your own identity. If you know who you are outside the context of what everyone else might think or say you are, then you don't need titles.
  38. Thrax
  39. GnomeQueen
    GnomeQueen I think the article did a good job of pointing out that it's dumb to be ashamed of being a nerd anymore. I really don't think that most people are. I admit that I still feel some trepidation about talking about nerdy things in some company, but I try to do my best to ignore it. The main issue is with older generations; a lot of them simply do not understand typically nerdy things on a fundamental level. And then of course you have my parents, but that's an entirely different issue. *Rolls eyes*

    My main issue with the PSA, which @Teramona (Terry) touched on a little, is the way it puts down the girl nerd in the video; really, the way that nerd culture can be so exclusive in general. The girl in the video is set up to sound like she's fake and really has no idea what she's talking about, but nothing she actually does shows that. I understand the reason why there's a desire to set up barriers between who is a nerd and who isn't, considering that some of us went through a lot of bullying as kids because of our love of nerdy things, but there's really no way to tell who has and who hasn't suffered the nerd hate without walking in their shoes.

    I see this nerd outrage come down the most on girls; specifically, pretty girls at cons. Yes, there are pretty girls who wear costumes just to get attention; that is and has always been true. But there are also plenty of pretty girls (wearing glasses) who know exactly what they're talking about and what they're doing-- and the process by which one figures out if someone is a "fake" nerd or a "real" nerd is often more damaging to the real nerds than to the fake ones.

    None of us should be ashamed to be nerds, and none of us should have to defend our nerd cred either. I'm tired of being told that I'm not a nerd because of X, Y and Z. Yes, I know that I've jokingly told people before that they aren't gamers for whatever reason (I believe I started a thread once called "you can't call yourself a gamer if...." alleging that you weren't a gamer if you hadn't played the HL2 series) but I honestly did it more to start discussion that to really claim that people aren't gamers. I am told quite seriously all the time that I can't really be a nerd. (But if I did bother any of you with that post I do apologize. But go play HL2. Srs).

    I'M A NERD BITCHES, DEAL WITH IT.
  40. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster Growing up in the 80's being a nerd meant a bunch of kid's built a backpack wall at the lunch table to keep your cooties off of them. We have come a long way baby!
  41. GnomeQueen
    GnomeQueen
    Growing up in the 80's being a nerd meant a bunch of kid's built a backpack wall at the lunch table to keep your cooties off of them. We have come a long way baby!
    Or you ate alone. :/

    Although to be fair, back then I was really more of a dork than a nerd.
  42. Teramona
    Teramona I ate lunch with my best friend, and a basketball hoop that we lovingly referred to as "Pole." I often attribute human feelings to inanimate objects. The scene in castaway when Wilson gets lost rips me apart inside.
  43. Thrax
    Thrax
    I ate lunch with my best friend, and a basketball hoop that we lovingly referred to as "Pole." I often attribute human feelings to inanimate objects. The scene in castaway when Wilson gets lost rips me apart inside.




    ...because people can connect with anything. We can sympathize with a pencil, we can forgive a shark, and we can give Ben Affleck an Academy Award for Screenwriting. People can find the good in just about anything except themselves.

    #sixseasonsandamovie
  44. Canti
    Canti Sympathize with a pencil you say? What about....this one?

    [spoiler]image[spoiler]Dohohohahaoho you thought it was going to be Terin's scary ass pencilface thing didn't you?[spoiler]Nooooooope not doing that[spoiler]image[spoiler]unless she insists on posting it recently and making it easy to find.[/spoiler][/spoiler][/spoiler][/spoiler][/spoiler]
  45. djmeph
    djmeph Let's face it, there's never been a better time to be a nerd in the history of the world.
  46. _k_
    _k_ The French Renaissance
  47. shwaip
    shwaip Wait should I be ashamed of being ashamed of being a nerd?
  48. Signal
    Signal
    Wait should I be ashamed of being ashamed of being a nerd?
    Yes, that was the point of the article.
  49. djmeph
    djmeph I've heard of shame shaming, but this is ridiculous.
  50. Thrax
    Thrax Allow me to be the first to submit that I no longer have any grasp of what is occurring in this thread.
  51. djmeph
    djmeph
    Allow me to be the first to submit that I no longer have any grasp of what is occurring in this thread.
    image
  52. Tushon
    Tushon
    Allow me to be the first to submit that I no longer have any grasp of what is occurring in this thread.
    image
    image
  53. Teramona
    Teramona I've been waiting for this to happen. Do we all get naked now?
  54. djmeph
    djmeph
    I've been waiting for this to happen. Do we all get naked now?
    image
  55. GnomeQueen
  56. GnomeQueen
  57. Canti
    Canti image

    [spoiler]You now realize that DOG is naked.[/spoiler]
  58. Thrax
    Thrax
    Allow me to be the first to submit that I no longer have any grasp of what is occurring in this thread.
    image
    image
  59. Teramona
    Teramona But seriously... don't be ashamed to be a naked nerd.
  60. GnomeQueen
    GnomeQueen That's my new webshow you guys, the Naked Nerd. I'm going to do game and tech reviews nekkid.
  61. djmeph
    djmeph
    That's my new webshow you guys, the Naked Nerd. I'm going to do game and tech reviews nekkid.
    image
  62. Teramona
    Teramona @Thrax, Sidenote: I love Chris O'Dowd.
  63. Church4252
  64. MAGIC
    MAGIC
    But seriously... don't be ashamed to be a naked nerd.
    image
  65. RyanMM
    RyanMM This is the ultimate retort to anyone who seriously believes in the 'problem' of fake geek girls:

  66. Teramona
    Teramona *Deep breath*

    Okay. My personal opinion is that even people who are "faking" it have a place. What that place is, I have no clue, but if it makes someone feel special... I mean, why get so angry? Maybe I can say this because I don't particularly identify as a nerd (... Or as anything), but it just seems like another way to be judgmental. No reason to take it as a personal affront. Some people enjoy being nerds, some people enjoy identifying as a nerd, and some people just want to eat icecream and love everything.

    If you're going to hate someone, hate the guy that rolls his eyes and feels sorry for your girlfriend when you're playing League, because that guy's the real douche.
  67. AlexDeGruven
    AlexDeGruven There are people who like to identify with a culture whether they 'belong' or not. It's a part of human nature. Some of it has to do with hidden desire "I wish I could actually be nerdy so I'll at least try and look the part", or possibly interest in another person within that subgroup.

    I'm on the fence about it, myself. I can see both sides of the arguments.

    See also: White rappers, girl gamers, male programmers (chew on that one for a moment), stay-at-home dads, male nurses, and so on.
  68. Teramona
    Teramona Dan thinks that it's not exactly fair that being a "nerd" is "cool" now, because people like him had to suffer through high school, whereas now... Well, I guess since being a nerd is something of a fad, people won't get teased as much. I kind of disagree with that, though. I think being nerdy is popular, but being a nerd is still undesirable. No one wants to be the skinny unathletic kid who sits in the library during lunch period. Those kids are still suffering through high school...

    Oooooh. Okay, I get it.

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