Before I can describe the story that led me to write this post, I need to explain one of my friends (who is my inspiration today). When I say she is the farthest thing from nerd one has ever seen, I am not joking. She wants to go into marketing to sell fragrances and is a “fashionista” of sorts. She is very much like Rarity from My Little Pony, and I’m being quite serious. So when I say she is not a nerd, she is not a nerd.
So here is our Lady Bacula story:
The other day, she sends me a text: “have you seen the Avengers yet?” I laugh, saying “Yes, but I’ll see it again with you.” So a couple days later, we meet up to go see MIB3 and we start talking about The Avengers movie. She explains that she wants to see it because she is a huge Joss Whedon fan (aren’t we all). And my other friend suggests she should watch Firefly. She gets excited, saying it was on her list of things to watch. Later in the conversation, we get into a heated debate about who is hotter: Sam or Dean from Supernatural. And then it hits me: The Avengers, Firefly, and Supernatural are all nerd things, yet my farthest-thing-from-nerd friend is a fan of/interested in all three. So have these nerd things become main stream or can a person be fan of all three and not be a nerd?
Let’s be realistic, The Avengers and Harry Potter movies are some of the largest grossing movies of all time at this point. The Lord of the Rings too; and even my parents watch Game of Thrones (although they refer to it as LoTR with porn). Nerds love these things, but so did/does everyone else. But is that because everyone is secretly a nerd or the things we consider nerdy aren’t actually nerdy. So I don’t know.
Maybe the thing that makes nerds into nerds and other people just other people who occasionally like nerd things is that we nerds have our own unique culture. We spend insane amounts of time on the Internet watching, reading, and learning about things we the nerds classify as nerdy. We interact with one another, but through computers, Facebook, and other blogs like this one. We aren’t sitting down together on national holidays for a nice dinner. We don’t all get together and celebrate nerd holidays (or maybe you do. In that case, you should invite me so this point can be proven moot). There is no national holiday for nerds. I guess the point I’m trying to make (and I took the long way, sorry) is that I don’t know if nerd-dom is a culture. Wikipedia defines culture as the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively. My point is that we are still all on different paths. So how many paths can one be on at once?
I think my main point of this article is what makes a nerd a nerd? There are different kinds of nerds, you got your video game nerds, your scifi nerds, your superwholockians, your Harry Potter fans, your MLP fans, and I’m probably missing a lot. But where do we cross the line? Are fashonistas just fashion nerds with a fancy name? Probably. A wonk is just a different fancy name for political nerds. But fashion and politics aren’t nerdy, yet they have their nerds. So what makes something nerdy? Clearly, nerd interests are just for nerds anymore either. So to conclude, I’m more confused now.