July 28, 2012

A Manifesto Of Sorts

(Note: this post has actually been sitting in my "drafts" folder for awhile; it was written mostly to get some of my thoughts "on paper", working through how I felt. With some of the commentary about what is "geek culture" , the role of women in geek culture,  and "who gets to speak for it" - thought it might be a good opportunity to make these thoughts available, and to see if they somehow fit. Thoughts and comments welcome, but please keep them civil)

To be honest, I've been feeling a little out of place - I'm not liking what I'm seeing in the geek/nerd/comic/whatever you want to call it circles. Yes, I am talking somewhat about my own experiences, especially this past year. No, I'm not going to name names, and quite honestly, I've engaged in some of this behavior as well. I'm not pointing fingers at anyone other than myself. Read into this what you will.

You know the behavior I'm taking about:

The overamped enthusiasm for things simply because they reflect what we like without any consideration of merit or validity.

The "they're not part of our group" attitude - and sometimes outright ostracism -simply because of simple differences of opinion or belief.

The dismissal and slight bullying that comes when you dare speak out or express an opinion that doesn't reflect the status quo.

The micromanaging and excessive expectations that come with events and gatherings, as if somehow organizers must cater to every whim of every person rather than focus on the greater good.

The patronizing tone some people take because you dare question how "cool" things are.

Finally, the idea that there's some kind of "nerd code" of behavior - that being enthusiastic for something isn't enough, but that unless you fit some "check list" of likes and behaviors, you don't belong in the group.

Now, far be it from me to ask a dumb question, but for anyone who identifies him/herself as a nerd, I simply posit this: aren't these attitudes pretty much what we had to deal with growing up? And shouldn't we be better than this?

As a Hugo-Award winning author once wrote, there's no "right" way to be a fan. We have the right to our opinions, and if we don't share certain opinions....that should be accepted. Not dismissed, not insulted, not harassed....but accepted and embraced. If one of the lessons of our popular culture is that we are better because of our diversity, we need to embrace that diversity - of demographics, of ideology, and of tastes. People who want to claim that "if you don't like it, you don't get it" shouldn't be tolerated - they should be called to task and held accountable. There's enough of that obnoxiousness in the world already - we shouldn't allow it to permeate our social circles.

In that spirit, I'm going to try to set a better example...and to do so by not only being polite in disagreeing, but also speaking out when this happens. To be tolerant of those who might not agree with me, and to actually accept that we have different tastes and opinions. For those to whom I've behaved in a snobbish manner - let's talk offline. I'm more than willing to make amends where needed, because to quote one of my favorite albums, revolution begins at home, preferably in the bathroom mirror.

But let's put this on the table, folks - we're starting to become the very thing we beheld. It's getting to the point where Revenge of the Nerds could be remade into Revenge of the Jocks....only the "bad guys" are the nerds.

Just something to consider. Not trolling or trying to start a flame war - just want to take the temperature of the Internet.

Which I may regret.....

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