Faux Nerds, And Why We Should Befriend Them.
(or, Why I stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Hipsters)
By: Gene Hoyle
Last month I turned 41. An age where a man is supposed to begin a mid life crisis.
I find myself instead enjoying where I am in life and shaking my head wondering how my people can possibly be so important to society that we have wannabees.
By my people, I mean Nerds. Comic fans, Sci-Fi geeks. Whatever you call us, we have become the coveted demographic to the point of folks pretending to be one of us.
Advertisers court us with a furious passion. We dictate multi-million dollar ad campaigns. The biggest grossing films of all time are almost all geek projects. We are in a golden age for our interests and passions. Growing up, this was not the case.
The early 80’s was a great time for geek properties, but not a great time to be a nerd child. While I was spending much of my time reading Amazing Spider-Man and watching original Star Trek, my contemporaries were making jokes at my expense. Even my parents did not understand why I always had my nose in a book.
“Revenge of the Nerds” was societies not so subtle statement of how we were viewed by the world at large, and many of us hid what we were for fear of being hounded by others.
I never had my lunch money stolen, but I did end up on the receiving end of some bullying. Not as bad as some of my peers, as I had my sense of humor to act as a shield and a buffer against much of the hounding. There were days that I went home with bruised arms and even had my knee dislocated by a particularly humorless school mate. All because I was a geek who spent lunch reading Cracked magazine instead of playing Dodge-ball.
Flash forward to today. I am reading articles online about hipsters and fake geeks. Members of the Nerd Nation (hey, cool name, someone should do a podcast) complain about these folk who pander to us, who pretend to be one of us.
As much as I would like to defend my fellow geeks, I find myself being a bit annoyed. If someone is so enamored of what we are, I say let them in!
We can jump on people who claim to be nerds, or we can acknowledge that maybe this is a chance to pull in another fan. Make this an opportunity to bring this person into the fold.
If you meet a person who proclaims “I love comics, I saw X-men twice on opening weekend”, do not growl, give them a copy of the first astonishing X-men trade.
If a girl or guy is ironically wearing a Captain America shirt, let them read Brubaker’s run on the book.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that nerd kind would be trying to push away folks who profess a love for the things that we enjoy. I would have killed a Tribble for a chance to talk comics with a member of the opposite sex as a kid. Now I have dozens of female friends who can even school me in certain geek interests. That kicks a kind of ass that I never could have imagined.
Be aware of how good we have it right now. Use the popularity of what we love to bring in and educate others about why they should take a minute to read Kingdom Come. Let them know that, sure, Game Of Thrones is a cool TV show, but the books are amazing. You like Twilight? Try The Hunger Games. It goes on and on.
Isolate or create fans, the choice is yours.