Confessions of a Fake NerdDecember 19, 2012
Hello. My Name is Chris. I am a Fake Nerd.
For the benefit of newcomers, at some point over the summer, some squeaky wheel in comics started picking on fangirls cosplaying at conventions, saying they didn’t know enough about the fandom, the medium, the characters they dressed up as… or something like that. They were “fake nerds.” (I think there was also something about seducing virgins with their above-average but not exceptional tits, but to be honest, I haven’t bothered to delve into this whole thing.)
Point is, I believed myself to be a real nerd for quite some time because puberty came and went and I still liked comic books. Also Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, because duh, I am alive on the planet, but also Babylon 5 which I thought was far enough out of the mainstream to count. It’s true I still can’t spell Joe Straczynski without running to Internet Movie Database–but I do know that the J in J. Michael Straczynski stands for Joe, and I know that because that’s we called him on GEnie. Let me say that again. That’s what we called him on GEnie, the pre-world wide web online service run by General Electric and the reason B5 was located at Grid Epsilon 470/18/22 because that’s where the science fiction roundtable was located. And I don’t know that from Wikipedia; I know that because I was a lurker on that forum—which had the ugliest goddamn text interface you ever saw, but none of us cared because even if graphics were an option, you wouldn’t want them on a 300 baud modem!
Again, point is, I honestly thought I was a real nerd. I mean Cat-Tales alone: 60+ stories, over a million words, written over more than 10 years. That’s like Russian novel territory for page length and a chunk of a writer’s time… about Batman. That’s without getting into the Wayne Family History I came up with, the virtual Gotham and cgi avatars used to make video—not even for Cat-Tales per se, but for our little Dark Knight Rises ARG-viral-celebration-thingy at the Gotham After Dark collection of websites.
I was even going to make up the Twelve Steps for Fake Nerd Girls.
- We admit we don’t know who invented Harley Quinn, or if we kinda think it might have been Paul Dini, we don’t think that knowledge enhances cosplay.
- Came to believe our right to express ourselves was just as valid as anyone else’s and carelessly did so without regard to the trauma it might inflict on virgin fanboys in the vicinity.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our personal appearance and vowed only to dress in costumes we have the figure for.
- Made a decision to confine our future expressions of enjoyment to those approved of by the franchise owners and corresponding to the personal taste and aesthetic of their paid employees.
And that’s when I realized I am an incredibly FAKE NERD!
Because it occurs to me that one mark of the real nerd is not caring what anybody thinks, and we’ve all been talking about this crap way too much if we honestly don’t give a damn.
Consider: Catwoman. As far as I’m concerned – Purple. High heels. 38DD. If you have a problem with that, I. Don’t. Care. If I had a problem with your having a problem, I would not be doing it right.
Finding it necessary to “So there” what some guy wrote on his Facebook wall, whether he has professional credentials or not, is frankly a little fake-nerdish, isn’t it? I mean, I went to see one of the original posts that started one of these brushfires and it had all of 48 views. Not even 48 likes or comments. Facebook had shown it to 48 people, who may or may not have read it. So 48 max, including me and the outraged blogger who linked it. I went back the next day and it was up to a whopping 60. Was this old crank mouthing off to a couple dozen of his old crank friends really worth getting worked up over?
I mean, I had fun that day, but that’s the communal nature of a fandom. We can find ways to do that, find ways to have fun together, without validating some emo-troll-malcontent’s blatant cry for attention. When a child throws a tantrum in a supermarket, you ignore it. When somebody who clearly has issues that are completely unrelated to you tries to use you as a punching bag to vent his or her frustration, you don’t want to be rewarding that behavior by responding to it. Only reality TV rewards bad behavior with screen time, and those who get their ideas of how to behave from that model need to be shown that that’s not how it works in the real world, or even – if we can get our collective act together – on the internet.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. I’m Chris Dee, and I am a fake nerd no more.