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mygif

There are so many minor things in life that people worry about so much, they make themselves miserable. Most nerd interests, for example.

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mygif

That was actually a typo rather than an ID mistake, but thanks in any case.

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mygif

Only thing is that shared interests can speak to something deeper in the emotional connection department. They can be a kind of marker of emotional compatibility (obviously not a substitute), not to mention that they’re often how the connection forms in the first place.

But above and beyond that: liking the same things means that it’s a lot easier to have fun together. If she can’t stand opera and he is averse to hip-hop and dance music, then they’re not going to be able to spend their fridays together.

Yes, you can grow to love what the other loves, and you can *endure* it, and especially if the other stuff is in place, this is much further down the list. But to call it negligible is to overlook how people connect.

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MEconis.

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ARGH

fixed

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mygif

As someone who has read all of PvP, from its beginnings in 1998 to the present, I very much enjoy your critiques of Kurtz’s work.

For the most part because yes, the quality of PvP has diminished very quickly, which is a shame when the man is collaborating with people like Gabe and Tycho and runs one of the internet’s oldest webcomics.

Also because he is a man with opinions that are, every now and then, very wrong, and I love that there’s someone out there to call him out when it happens.

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Will "scifantasy" Frank said on February 1st, 2013 at 11:37 am

Agreed with Ilan; I don’t think you’re wrong about geek culture overprioritizing its shibboleths, but at the same time, I think you’re undervaluing the importance of feeling able to tell the other person what you’re thinking, especially about what you care about, and get more than “uh-huh, that’s nice, dear.” Which is how I think one can take your “negligible” argument.

(On the other hand, you do hit the balance a moment later, by pointing out that caring about someone will mean you genuinely are interested in what they’re interested in, not necessarily as your primary interest, but enough to talk about it and learn about it.)

Relating this back to the story, if Marcy truly felt like she had to suppress her geekiness when with Khan, that would be bad. But it doesn’t read like that–he codes as clueless but willing to learn, not dismissive or apathetic.

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mygif

While I intellectually recognize how compatible personalities are more important to a relationship than shared interests, I couldn’t help feeling rather dejected when my ex wasn’t into in the same stuff as I, and INCREDIBLY overjoyed when she was. I can’t help it. I just love, love, love geeking out with people, and getting to do so with someone I was involved with romantically presented a particular thrill.

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mygif

Relating this back to the story, if Marcy truly felt like she had to suppress her geekiness when with Khan, that would be bad. But it doesn’t read like that–he codes as clueless but willing to learn, not dismissive or apathetic.

+1. There is a huge difference between not being into something that your partner likes, and wanting them to not be into it, because you find it boring/geeky/etc.

On a slightly OT note, I haven’t read PVP in years…and I’m really surprised by the change in the art style. I used to like the fact that Marcie wasn’t really what society considers “good looking”, yet she was still a smart and interesting character. Her transformation into relatively hot geek girl is a bit of a disappointment to me.

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Will "scifantasy" Frank said on February 1st, 2013 at 11:47 am

Minor correction:

“…not necessarily as your primary interest, but enough to talk about it, and learn about it by osmosis at least.”

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mygif

I really want to comment on Francis’ sullen, angry-looking “will you just look at the shit I do for you” expression here, because it is fucking creepy.

I actually had to read that strip three times to figure out what was going on, because his expression made NO sense with the dialog. I’m very familiar with that exact expression, but usually it’s about to say “Stimpy, you eediot!”

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MeconIS.

This is one of the reasons Ben on Parks & Recreation is such a great character–he’s a normal, realistic, casual geek who has a certain level of taste and discrimination rather than walking around all day spouting about Game of Thrones, and indeed, his nerdy side only comes out because the other characters relentlessly heckle him about it. And of course, he’s usually dead-on in his commentary, like when Tom is making Star Wars cracks and Ben goes, “Star Wars is not that nerdy! Everyone’s seen it!” The one time they sorta crossed a line was when they had him writing TNG fanfiction, which seemed like it was slipping into ultra-obvious Big Bang Theory territory. But otherwise he’s written brilliantly as an actual human being that a) might actually exist, and b) you would want to hang out with instead of fleeing.

And yeah, this idea that you’re going to find your soulmate via a shared love of Skyrim is so ludicrous and limiting. My GF is not a nerd. She enjoys some nerdy things (Doctor Who) and tolerates most others. I can’t get her to like David Bowie, but who fucking cares?

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mygif

Meconis is usually quite clueful — which made me scratch my head about this storyline of PvP. This didn’t seem to be the direction she would write in. Then I remembered this is Dylan Meconis, who has something of a (wonderfully) subversive sense of humor. (I’m a bit biased, mind you.) I get the strong impression that she knew exactly what she was doing. I’m not going to say that Meconis subtly trolled Kurtz, since she could have turned down the offer to do the guest strips. But this really reads like she was handed a script to work from and did the art in her own interpretation. Even if she wasn’t, from my perspective, based on viewing Dylan’s work on PvP until the ‘All the cheese wheels’ strip, I get the strong impression that she doesn’t see it being a healthy, lasting relationship, either.

Is it possible that Kurtz also realizes that Francis is so very much not husband/SO materiel as he is now, and purposely asked to make him another Scary Creeper Guy?

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mygif

Only thing is that shared interests can speak to something deeper in the emotional connection department. They can be a kind of marker of emotional compatibility (obviously not a substitute), not to mention that they’re often how the connection forms in the first place.

Granted, but my point is more that nerd interests, in many nerdminds, are given a level of primacy. You and I have both gone out with girls who weren’t nerds and those relationships didn’t end because they liked the wrong Star Trek teevee show (the answer is of course ALWAYS FUCKING VOYAGER), because we were able to meet with them on other mental planes because we didn’t sum ourselves up as the total of our nerd-likes. Because that is just not healthy.

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mygif

But this really reads like she was handed a script to work from and did the art in her own interpretation.

Kurtz writes: “I don’t know what to say other than thank you, Dylan, and to let you know how touched I was to receive these scripts. Reading them, it became evident just how well you know my characters and how much you care about my stupid comic strip.” It sounds like Meconis was entirely self-directed, here. Totally consistent with the main theme of your comment, of course.

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mygif

Certainly none of them liked all of the stuff I liked, which is fine, because that is called “being an adult” and recognizing that while shared interests can certainly strengthen a relationship, they are arguably the least important part of one.

Can I just hold you up right here? Because I’ve been in a few relationships myself, and I can say one recurring theme to a break-up was the feeling that it’s always “Today we do something you like, tomorrow we do something I like” rather than “Let’s do something we both like”.

At the beginning of a relationship, you tend to get caught up with the physical aspect. There’s lots of hot sex, and romance – which when done properly is merely the precursor to hot sex – and discovering more about someone you’ve just met which is a novelty and an adventure in itself.

However, once you’ve been dating for a year or so, the novelty of the relationship wears off and without some other shared passion you’re not going to hold a happy relationship together based on the mutual desire to get laid. Having mutual passions turns a relationship into a powerful friendship, rather than just a fling or a chore between sexings. I’d say its absolutely critical to a strong and healthy relationship.

If, as the comic suggests in panel 2:
http://www.pvponline.com/newlywed-game
it’s basically Marcy rocking out on the X-Box while Adjun just stares at her confused, then that relationship does not have a bright future. Of course, Marcy and Adjun also expressed a mutual interest in art and travel and a host of other past times. So this does raise the question “Is sharing a nerd interest really that critical to a relationship?” And I’d say “No, that’s retarded”.

But you do need some shared interests. Otherwise, you’re not really in a relationship. You’re in adult daycare.

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@Zifnab25

I don’t know that I agree with that. When we first started dating, my wife had a dislike of Star Wars (and actually did the MST3K thing through the first theatrical re-release). In general, she didn’t like geek stuff and didn’t know anything about most of what we’d call geek cannon (sci-fi, fantasy, comics, gaming). However, she is sweet, and nice, and was genuinely interested in learning about what I thought was cool. Sure, I overreacted to her dismissal of Star Wars, but then again, I was a stupid kid at the time.

In the years since, a source of never ending delight for me has been showing her more and more geeky stuff that she’s enjoyed. She’s a huge Dr. Who fan now (at least, of Tennent and Smith, but she can’t get into any of the older Who). She likes a variety of sci-fi and fantasy, some of which I do (Terry Pratchett) and some of which she’s discovered and loves that I hate (Twilight). At the same time, she’s managed to get me interested in things she likes as well (in some cases, although as a pale dude who shrivels up in the sun like a worm on a sidewalk, gardening is never going to be a lot of fun for me).

The point is that our relationship was strengthened by learning about each other’s hobbies and interests. So, if Adjun watching Marcy on the X-Box looks on in initial confusion, to me, that’s an opportunity to write a great story about the two of them growing together as she shows him X-Box games that illustrate how she sees him. He can grow as a character as he learns about how these choices show about how she sees him and their relationship. And he can find out things about himself as he discovers a passion for (for example) JRPGs. At the same time, he could show her interests outside the somewhat narrow focus of geekness. That’s what a healthy relationship can look like, rather than two geeks reciting Monty Python quotes at each other. That shows both characters growing, rather than being stagnant caricatures and examples of the worst stereotyping of geeks as people that just need to hang out with their own, and that sometimes some “normal” person might go among them, like Jane Goodall among the apes, to learn about their culture, but will never truly join their community.

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mygif

I agree completely with Zifnab. For a relationship to last, your partner has to be someone that you actively like hanging out with (and vice versa). It’s not necessary to like every last thing the other person likes (and that’s certainly not the case in my marriage, I can tell you that – although my wife does also like pro wrestling, so I’ve got MGK beat there), but you need to have some things in common, so that your shared time is genuinely “shared time.” I’ve known people who’ve tried to make relationships work when they didn’t have any real common interests, and they basically spent all their time apart from each other except when they were being romantic. Those relationships didn’t last – and in fact they often didn’t last because one or both of the people in those relationships discovered that there were other people in their lives that they’d rather be spending their time with. Common interests are absolutely vital to a relationship.

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mygif

I disagree. If someone who shares her interests is what Marcie wants there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. She is allowed to look for different things in a relationship that you look for. The only thing she may have been wrong about is not letting Khan know her interests and give him a chance to try them.

My husband, who I have been in a relationship with for almost 20 years, likes almost all the same things I like and vice versa. It makes our time together meaningful as we both usually enjoy whatever activity we are doing together. Did he like all my interests when we met? No. Had he at least tried the things he hadn’t tried by the time we made a commitment to each other? Yes, as did I. Did we end up liking most of the things we hadn’t tried? Well, he joined the SCA and I developed an interest in Magic the Gathering. He’s still a member and we’ve both moved on to Munchkin.

And considering we’ll celebrate out 18th anniversary next month, there’s nothing wrong with that.

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Also, OMG! VOYAGER?!?! Everyone knows DS9 is the best Star Trek (an opinion my husband and I share! LOL!)

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Also, OMG! VOYAGER?!?! Everyone knows DS9 is the best Star Trek (an opinion my husband and I share! LOL!)

My point was that Voyager is always “the wrong Trek.”

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I was hoping that!

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Chris K: Back off, man. I was speculating, and I was wrong. I apologize. Unlike a lot of people, I have no problem with being shown I was wrong, so cut the defensiveness.

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mygif

Only thing is that shared interests can speak to something deeper in the emotional connection department. They can be a kind of marker of emotional compatibility (obviously not a substitute), not to mention that they’re often how the connection forms in the first place.

Agreed, kind of. Shared interests are unnecessary. My fiancée isn’t interested in games I play like Magic: the Gathering, and she watches a lot of TV and reads a lot of books I don’t care about, and yet we seem to be doing fine.

I do think shared kinds of interests might be good, though. She’s interested in some geeky games, just ones that don’t require as much investment as M:tG. We do watch some TV together and share books and both like general fantasy/sci-fi stuff, we just haven’t got into all the same ones. So we can compare notes about the latest version of some stock “lost princess with magical powers” plot we’ve read, and she understands when I’m gushing about some thrilling play in a card game, and so on. We’d have less to talk about if not for stuff like that, and talking about stuff matters.

I actually had to read that strip three times to figure out what was going on, because his expression made NO sense with the dialog.

Agreed. I assume there’s some Skyrim in-joke there I didn’t get just because I’ve never played Skyrim (well, for like 10 minutes at a friend’s house, but not enough to know about what the game is like)(and that Skyrim-playing friend – insert shocked chipmunk link here – is a girl!). Cheese is currency there? There’s an achievement for collecting them all? Because if there’s no such in-joke, it could only be nearly Dada-esque randomness. The fact that joke relies on such an insular understanding of its readership might be a problem all by itself. (Of course, it’s hardly fair to blame Kurtz for what a guest strip wrote, except to the extent that this is entirely in character for Francis.)

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And now having taken a breath, I do wish to sincerely apologize to Chris Kurtz and to Dylan Meconis for my getting it completely wrong. My only defense is that the storyline seemed so… at odds with what I know of Meconis’s writing, that I leaped to an incorrect assumption. I also extend an apology to both Kurtz and our host here for snapping like that.

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Discount Lad said on February 1st, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I had a similar problem with the movie Fanboys. They show us these nerds that are grotesque, irresponsible, crass, moronic, and generally horrible people, and were supposed to relate, sympathize, and root for them?

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mygif

Jack, please re-write my comment for me without the defensiveness. I am being completely serious and honestly quite surprised when I say I have no idea what you find so defensive about it. I was actually very concerned that you would take what I said as an attack, so I added the final sentence to indicate that I was just providing information you might find helpful, but not challenging the main point of your comment, with which I largely agreed.

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mygif

That is to say: I have no idea how I can back FURTHER off, and I would really, genuinely appreciate your advice on how I can better communicate that I was not being at all defensive. I really don’t see what I wrote that set you off so badly.

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mygif

somehow this flamewar turned into an apology-war

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Mitchell Hundred said on February 1st, 2013 at 1:42 pm

SMOTHER THE FLAMES WITH LOVE.

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mygif

I have re-read it, and must and do further apologize to you. I’m genuinely ashamed that I read your comment wrong; the fault lies entirely with me for completely misreading and misinterpreting and mis… well, pretty much any adverb you can attach a ‘mis-’ in front of. I seem to have set my brain to ‘Bizarro’ when I woke up today. I also want to thank you for your courteous reply in the face of my unwarranted snapping.

I think this would be an excellent time for me to put down the keyboard and back away slowly from the Internet.

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mygif

somehow this flamewar turned into an apology-war

Canadians on the internet.

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Cookie McCool said on February 1st, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Wait, Voyager is always the wrong Trek and not the Scott-Bakula-dyes-away-his-grey-streak Trek? That’s the worst Trek ever! What’s the point of a Scott Bacula vehicle without his grey streak?

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mygif

I have a different perspective on this.
None of my friends shares my geeky interests. I mean, I never met anyone offline who has heard of Pratchett, watched a single Dr. Who episode or knows how many Robins have worked with Batman. And I don’t really care.
It has never been an issue.
My friends tease me, but I tease them back (something like “you can’t criticize my comics when you have all of Nickleback’s albums” or whatever).
And my geek interests are actually one of the things I bring to the group. When we went to see Avengers at the end they had no idea who “the purple guy” was, so I explained Thanos a bit (their answer was “huh. cool.”). When they’re looking for a good book, or movie, they call me up for recommendations. When Game of Thrones started airing a bunch of them got hooked and borrowed my ASOIAF books. When they come to my place we play videogames (usually PES or FIFA) and I have introduced them to Assassins creed, so we have fun stabbing each other on the face.
None of them will ever be really into that stuff, but I don’t care. I can sometimes share with them what I love and it’s great when I can’t? We still go for beers, watch Messi break football forever, fight about politics, go dancing or just hang out.
The Venn diagram between “things I love” and “nerd culture” is not a circle.

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FifthSurprise said on February 1st, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Isn’t this about identification? Makes me think about that West Wing episode where the gay Republican representative points out that just because he is gay doesn’t mean that it completely defines him and everything he does (for those playing at home, this is The Portland Trip).

Nerds identify with the nerd culture so much because before it led to being ostracized but now they have made it their own “owned” thing. Kind of like how if you’re a black person listening to heavy metal, you’re betraying your race some how. It’s bullshit but it’s predictable bullshit if you treat nerd culture as a racial thing as opposed to just a cultural one (ex. being a sports fan).

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mygif

I don’t think it’s fair to characterize this issue (either the relationship side or the gatekeeper side) as a “nerd” thing. To take a single example (largely because it’s the easiest one to make my case with): “and, in another aside, when nerd parents do their best to get their kids into the nerd stuff they like, that’s part of it too)”

This is NOT something in any way limited to nerd parents. I grew up in a small rural town where every male capable of standing in skates was given a hockey stick and told to chase after a puck. And in general, I think the parent forcing kids into sports that they were/are into isn’t uncommon–or entirely unreasonable, in small measures.

But that’s just part of a larger issue that often bugs me when it comes to these “nerd prime” sort of conversations online. They’re usually speaking about issues that have deep-rooted origins in society at large (no group exists in a bubble), but it’s framed as being a nerd thing. Granted, that’s an issue of demographics, given who’s likely to read the sites where these debates are posted. But there’s this weird dissonance between people saying “nerddom isn’t really a thing anymore because pop culture is diffuse and the stereotypes are wrong” in one breath and then saying “you bad nerds make nerds look bad” in the other.

And none of that maps exactly to what’s going on here, as MGK is discussing a very specific example and inductively building to “sociopathy is not okay,” which is a sentiment that is very hard to disagree with. But it’s… vaguely relevant, I guess?

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mygif

It’s nice to have shared tastes in entertainment. All else being equal, having shared tastes is better than not having shared tastes. But it is a really weak foundation to build a relationship on.

I’ve been seeing a girl whose taste in movies, TV, books, and other media I know next to nothing about. Whenever we’re together, we have much better things to do than talk about that stuff. It just hasn’t come up. Somehow, I doubt that she plays GURPS, or reads any Star Wars Expanded Universe novels or comic books, or can quote along with Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But I wouldn’t trade what we have for any amount of mutual geeking-out.

With that said, in defense of this latest PVP storyline, Marcy and Francis do have shared history and connection, and that can matter. I know I’m giving an awful lot of the benefit of the doubt here, but I choose to read it as Arjun’s non-geekiness reminding Marcy that she doesn’t have that same history and connection with him. She certainly didn’t articulate it that way, but I’m much more inclined to give a guest writer on an online comic strip (even one with the reach and history of PVP) the benefit of the doubt.

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mygif

Wait, Voyager is always the wrong Trek and not the Scott-Bakula-dyes-away-his-grey-streak Trek? That’s the worst Trek ever! What’s the point of a Scott Bacula vehicle without his grey streak?

BakulaTrek (aka Enterprise) has the advantage of only lasting 4 years and having a continuity-heavy and genuinely very fun fourth season (first and last episodes not withstanding). Oh, and Uncle Phil played the Klingon who got rid of the forehead ridges for TOS.

Voyager ran 7 seasons, and had a number of problems Enterprise never had to deal with – such as Garrett Wang’s general lack of acting ability and Robert Beltran’s utter disdain for his job and the episode “Threshold”.

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mygif

Err, that is to say that the problems included “Threshold” and Beltran hating his job, not that Beltran hated his job and “Threshold”.

Although he probably did, that episode was just atrociously bad.

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mygif

I had a similar problem with the movie Fanboys. They show us these nerds that are grotesque, irresponsible, crass, moronic, and generally horrible people, and were supposed to relate, sympathize, and root for them?

The problem with media targeted at nerds is that if you point out that so many “typical nerd characteristics” that nerds hold in high regard as a part of their identity are actually offputting and dumb that they will take incredible offense at you for all time because man, nobody holds a grudge like a nerd. See: every nerd still bitter about stuff that happened in high school, anybody who refers to The Big Bang Theory as “nerd blackface.”

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mygif

“there is no logical reason that people who like comic books should also like video games”

Only if you mean this in the sense that there could be an alternate universe in which comics weren’t predominantly about superheroes. Because superheroes and video games have tons of obvious reasons that someone who likes one would like the other.

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Captain Great said on February 1st, 2013 at 7:51 pm

I say this from a place of love MGK (first time caller long time listener etc.) but this is probably the nerdiest thing I have ever read.

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highlyverbal said on February 1st, 2013 at 10:44 pm

@MGK: “… the statement being made is that the nerd stuff is more important somehow.”

THIS! Yes, you’ve put your finger on the inconsistency exactly.

Look, if being a nerd is some amazing, life-defining attribute …these lazy fucking authors need to show nerds making their romantic decisions in a qualitatively different way. Instead of helplessly accepting the mainstream cliche of needing shared interests, nerds should have spreadsheets and bar graphs or simulations or a pilot household in SimCity, etc.

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mygif

but a lot of stories about relationships are about how very different people can be involved. So nerds deciding “no we can’t” would be differnt.

I think something everyone is overlooking in all these complaints about nerd behavior lately is they are fundamentally people who have a lot of reason to be fragile. Maybe not all the reasons, or the best reasons, but there’s still some and they’re still they’re. And they are not looking to let that fragile ness be attacked by people they consider close to them or in places where they don’t expect the problem

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Candlejack said on February 1st, 2013 at 11:47 pm

…not being interested in what you’re interested in is an attack now?

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mygif

I think something everyone is overlooking in all these complaints about nerd behavior lately is they are fundamentally people who have a lot of reason to be fragile. Maybe not all the reasons, or the best reasons, but there’s still some and they’re still they’re.

OH BOY, it’s time for this again. I bet that nerds are all really Nice Guys at heart too, am I right?

You want to know what one of the most annoying things about people who really promote Nerd Culture like it’s an actual thing worthy of respect or admiration is? It’s the yearning desire to be persecuted. But wait, nerds don’t want to be persecuted, you might say. Nerds spend their young adult lives being stuffed into lockers by handsome, muscular jocks and mercilessly teased by catty, attractive cheerleaders, because everybody knows that American high school is one big John Hughes movie. Why would nerds want to be persecuted?

For the same reason that every teenager on Tumblr wants to claim persecution when people tell them that no, the Homestuck trolls don’t actually live in their heads or the fact that they believe that they’re a faerie cat-dragon isn’t at all the same thing as being transgendered; because nothing fuels than tingly sense of self-righteousness like the feeling of being persecuted. People fucking love the ability to point to somebody saying something mean about them and going “See? See? I’m totally being persecuted! I face persecution all the time! Look at the slings and arrows of misfortune that I have to endure, but lo, I am a noble soul who will continue on no matter how many wedgies I am given or how many unflattering reblogs I must face.”

Nerds have no more reason to be fragile than anybody else who had to put up with shit in high school, and no, nerds aren’t special in that regard either, plenty of people have to put up with shit in high school, not just people who like Star Trek or D&D. No, I’m not suggesting that it’s good or right for anyone to have to deal with shit in high school, but what I am saying is that a lot of people who dealt with shit in high school got over it. Having to deal with it sucks, but for most people it isn’t some kind of lifelong crippling emotional trauma (this is, of course, overlooking things like teenagers who’ve faced sexual assault which is absolutely cause for lingering emotional trauma, you won’t hear me arguing against that point).

But Nerd Cultural Identity champions the idea that high school was some bitter, harrowing experience that should never be forgotten or forgiven, and that it’s perfectly acceptable to continue to hold onto those festering grudges forever and ever because you’re a nerd damnit, you don’t know what it was like.

Just like on Tumblr, this behavior is both immature and unhealthy. There is a point where you really do have to acknowledge that if you’re still “fragile” about dumb shit that happened in high school or because your dad rolls his eyes at how much time you put into World of Warcraft when you’re into your post-college years that the problem may actually lie with you.

Another fallacy that nerds who cling to Nerd Culture, as well as other people who cling to similar sorts of cultures, engage in is a refusal to acknowledge that their own behaviors and attitudes can be changed, instead opting to say “Well I may be socially maladjusted or brittle about being picked on in high school but oh well, that’s just part of the burden of being a nerd I guess.” Yes, it may take some time and effort, but just like exercising your body the results are often worth the work it takes.

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Admiral Snackbar said on February 2nd, 2013 at 1:05 am

THANK YOU, Kai. I’m so sick of the assumption of persecution and emotional trauma that goes along with this artificial nerd culture. It’s even worse than the personality-defining instinct that leads nerds to infect perfectly good things like music, because God forbid you enjoy some hip-hop without a nasal voice awkwardly rapping about Mario.

I’m always curious about these mythical high schools where people got shoved into lockers. I had some of the nerdiest interests in my high school, but was generally popular, whatever standard you use. I dated, played in bands, played numerous sports, etc.: you know, the kind of stuff that most high school students just DO. I don’t think I took any more shit than anybody else, and probably less, honestly.

So nerds, shut up. Considering the rate of sexual assault in the U.S., and the numerous economic and educational difficulties facing our non-white citizens, you have no problems but your own inability to adjust to social situations. Learn about something outside your room and then you’ll have something to contribute to a conversation beyond martyrdom and Doctor Who.

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mygif

To be fair I largely don’t care about nerd-dom “infesting” things like music. Hey man, if you want to listen to nerd-core and nerd-hop all the time and wear a Nerd Pride t-shirt and emboss “Professional Nerd” on your business cards, knock yourself out. I’m actually fine with people who decide they want to immerse themselves in a label like that…I mean, I personally don’t really want to but if it brings you joy then who am I to judge?…but, and this is the major sticking point here, only so long as you don’t use that identity as an excuse for shitty and/or clueless behavior. That’s it in a nutshell…if you want to drown yourself in nerdy things and never come up for air again you go right ahead and get on with your bad self, but don’t try to use the fact that you’re a Nerd to excuse yourself out of developing decent social skills or as some sort of all-purpose justification for why the opposite sex doesn’t like you but there’s nothing you can do about it because, hey, I’m a Nerd, my hands are tied here.

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Heksefatter said on February 2nd, 2013 at 2:52 am

Man, this nerd-purism is wierd. Man the misogynism often seen in it, is wierd.

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I got a lady
She don’t care ’bout Spider-Man
And that’s okay, man.

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MGK:…there is no logical reason that people who like comic books should also like video games…

Urthman: Only if you mean this in the sense that there could be an alternate universe in which comics weren’t predominantly about superheroes. Because superheroes and video games have tons of obvious reasons that someone who likes one would like the other.

I’m curious what this natural connection is. I adore superheroes and followed comics when I was in college and could do so by reading without buying. So, I like comic books a lot (even if I wouldn’t count myself a Fan, since I’ve never spent money on ‘em – well, apart from Marvel 1602, because what superhero-loving Elizabethan-geek could resist?).

On the other hand, I really can’t stand playing video games. It starts out with impatience to beat the learning curve. It continues with frustration with the limitations on choices, distraction with the plot pacing, and an increasingly frustrating mental whine as my adrenaline hits peak combat/solving levels while my body remains inert. (Playing MagiQuest at Myrtle Beach was SO MUCH BETTER in this respect. Intensity could be burned with more intense physical movement.)

But even when I get to where I understand what’s going on, I get the story, and even when I tried Wii games for movement as well – it has inevitably ended in a sense of addiction rather than pleasure. I need to play through to the end, but I’m unhappy and, when not playing, depressed and distracted.

Ultimately, the only video games I’ve thoroughly enjoyed are the ones where I’m coached through by someone else to the point where I could about as easily be a passive viewer. You know, like reading.

So I’m curious how reading superhero comic books is such a natural overlap with enjoying gaming in general.

*Note to all gamers: I kind of mourn my ability to enjoy gaming the way a diabetic might mourn his/her inability to consume a box of Thin Mints. Mmm, Thin Mints. I mean no insult or disrespect to those who derive great joy from them.

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“However, once you’ve been dating for a year or so, the novelty of the relationship wears off and without some other shared passion you’re not going to hold a happy relationship together based on the mutual desire to get laid. Having mutual passions turns a relationship into a powerful friendship, rather than just a fling or a chore between sexings. I’d say its absolutely critical to a strong and healthy relationship.”

I don’t agree at all, unless you generalize passion to “reading stuff.” Much of our time together (our meaning my wife and I) is spent in just daily stuff–chatting about our day, talking about politics, hanging out with people, going shopping. None of which counts as shared interest in the sense we’re using it here. Most of our evenings (when she’s not working) we spend reading together. Not reading the same sort of thing though.
We do have some overlap in interests, but it’s definitely not what binds us together (and it isn’t as important as say, both being vegetarians–not that we’d mind being with a meat-eater but it’s so much easier this way).
I think a shared interest for something like sports would actually be more important than for nerd stuff. Because sports fans like to sit and watch games and go to games and as a sports-impaired person I’d find that much harder to deal with.

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Read the story. Yes, the Star Wars/Star Trek thing was ludicrous.

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As someone who has seen the first season of Babylon 5 but nothing from DS9, they both sound really similar in concept. Can anyone tell me what the differences are besides “one’s Star Trek and the other isn’t”?

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It’s completely ludicrous. You could maybe do something amusing with the idea of a guy so “nerd-deaf” that he really doesn’t remember the difference between things like Star Trek and Star Wars but you would practically have to lampshade the absolute absurdity of that because seriously, both of those things are such 1st World cultural juggernauts that a mid-20-something college-going guy (which is what I assume Khan is, age is hard to guess based solely on the artwork) is going to absorb this shit through cultural osmosis even if he doesn’t actually like either one.

But okay, let’s take the story being told here at face value. What Marcie wants out of a relationship is someone who enjoys “nerd” stuff as much as she does. That, in and of itself, is fine. For some people, shared common interest in a THING is more important than others and Marcie has been characterized as someone who possesses some degree of “nerd pride” before.

The problem, though, is that “I want a relationship with someone who can share my enjoyment of nerdy things” (which again, we’re having to buy into a pretty huge strawman here in Mr. Can’t Distinguish Between Spock and Darth Vader. Seriously, he’s never played a single video game? He never went and saw the Avengers, the billion-dollar superhero movie?) should not wind up defaulting therefore to “therefore I want to continue my relationship with Francis, a character cut from the same cloth as Ethan from Ctrl+Alt+Del.”

Okay, that was a bit of a low blow. In fairness to Scott Kurtz, CAD is a level of awfulness all to its own. But I don’t think it’s exaggerating too much to claim that Francis and Ethan are sort of the same in a number of ways…they’re both obnoxious manchildren prone to laziness and lack of ambition unless it’s towards some “wacky” end who someone inexplicably end up with hot geek girlfriends who tolerate all their crap for some reason.

That’s what really kills the story. It’s not so much “Marcie gives up a chance to be with Khan in favor of another guy who shares interests that are more important to her,” strawman notwithstanding, it’s that Marcie gives up a chance to be with Khan in favor of another guy who shares those interests with her but in all other respects is kind of a huge annoying asshole, and the strip barely touches upon that with a dumb “romantic gesture” and barely-there apology.

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As someone who has seen the first season of Babylon 5 but nothing from DS9, they both sound really similar in concept. Can anyone tell me what the differences are besides “one’s Star Trek and the other isn’t”?

How long have you got? There are certainly some superficial similarities – both are set on a space station, the similarities in certain things between Sinclair and Sisko (trying to avoid spoilers here), both involve a long war, both cover a lot of political issues etc – but they are also very different. The two main thrusts of DS9 are about Bajor recovering from decades of occupation and the Federation fighting off the Dominion invasion. B5 is about the different species getting caught between the two “God-level” races and **SPOILER**

rejecting both of them to forge their own path and then dealing with the internal political corruption of Earth.

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quirkygeekgirl said on February 2nd, 2013 at 8:47 pm

DS9 and B5 both have similar concept and as above have some differences. However it’s more to do with the departure of DS9 from the rest of the other Treks. It takes place on a station so it’s forced into character development and a very large arcing story that the 7th season does tie a few loose ends set up in the first season along with all the other loose ends from the other seasons.
DS9 has amazing character arcs/development and story lines, as does B5, not to mention that both have really great female characters that have brains, strength and femininity.
I think instead of emphasizing their differences we should be emphasizing their similarities and their strengths as both are well worth watching.

small note as with all modern Trek the first two seasons are very weak but I promise it gets better with every season – B5 only had one season of growing pains.

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FeepingCreature said on February 2nd, 2013 at 9:31 pm

My parents do not know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek.

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Kate the Short said on February 2nd, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Having just read the strips, I think her explanation isn’t that he isn’t a nerd, but something more:

“I didn’t really feel like myself.”

You can date or marry or be friends with people who like things other that what you like. But if they make you feel “not like yourself” that’s kind of a problem.

She could be a Ravens fan and football goddess, and he could be into cooking. But if she doesn’t feel like herself, that can be a warning sign.

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Having just read the strips, I think her explanation isn’t that he isn’t a nerd, but something more:

“I didn’t really feel like myself.”

You can date or marry or be friends with people who like things other that what you like. But if they make you feel “not like yourself” that’s kind of a problem.

She could be a Ravens fan and football goddess, and he could be into cooking. But if she doesn’t feel like herself, that can be a warning sign.

No, I agree with this. Marcy’s reason for not wanting to enter a relationship with Khan isn’t really a bad one. It’s presented ham-handedly with Khan the Stawman Dude Who’s Dreamy Except He Can’t Tell the Difference Between Lightsabers and Phasers, but ultimately a relationship where you don’t feel like yourself probably isn’t a relationship that’s destined to flourish for you. I mean it MAYBE could, but it’s still a pretty good warning sign.

The problem, though, is that she then goes back to Francis whose only real redeeming feature is that he’s a nerd. Otherwise Francis is a toolbox. It comes across like “Yeah Francis, you’re a self-centered lazy manchild with poor impulse control and a bunch of entitlement issues but you like Black Ops 2 and get Doctor Who jokes so I CHOOSE YOU.”

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Yeah, only that Francis has been shown to have grown up a lot in the last years of the comic. Sure, he still has tendencies to be a tool, but those have heavily receded. So maybe people want to take those changes to the character into account.

Unless they haven’t been reading the comic in the last years, in which case they should shut up, because talking out of your ass is embarrassing for everyone involved.

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Oh snap, kitten’s got claws! Careful you don’t cut yourself on that razor wit, magnuskn.

No, Francis is still a douchey tool. He “grew up” with a Scott Pilgrim-style level up and signs of his “maturity” have involved baking Marcie a cake and stealing virtual cheese-wheels for her before offering a scowling apology. He may not be as bad as Ethan but shit man, that’s a pretty low bar to hurdle.

You want me to give Kurtz’s ego a reach-around? The best thing he’s done with Francis is have Lucille Delacorte take him under her wing, but that’s because Lucille is a more interesting and compelling character. That her interactions with Francis make him somewhat more interesting by association doesn’t make Francis a better character.

Otherwise it’s still pretty ludicrous that Marcie, a character who’s supposedly on the mature and ambitious end of things and who, for crying out loud, even in Kurtz’s own scripts has several times now been demonstrably shown to be out of Francis’ league, decides to keep going back to him because oh hey, he speaks fluent nerd.

Hope I didn’t embarrass you too much there magnuskn, I know how much that upsets you.

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Yeah, okay, Kai, you manly man, you sure showed the world how big your e-peen is. :)

Not that you have refuted what I said in any discernable form, but, hey, whatever makes you big in the pants, eh?

Um. Okay, I’ve hit a bit of a snag. I was going to browse quickly through the last two years of PvP and try to list the times Francis actually has shown to get better as a person, but the strip archive seems to have… disappeared? I guess that was due to that hacker attack?

Oh, well. Consider my comments regarding Francis rescinded for the moment, since I hate to work without source materials. Maybe I *am* wrong, difficult to say without actually being able to back it up with proper citations.

However, you are still a serlf-righteous douchemonger, Kai. :)

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I like how the guy resorting to ad hominem attacks is the one telling me that I’m failing to meaningfully refute his points. That’s one of those little joys that you can only get on the internet.

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What can I say, when someone commits the juvenile faux pas of posting something akin to “Oh, man, I totally showed you up, hurdurdur. On the INTERNET!”, the easiest image which comes to my mind is the one of someone with a giant flaccid penis sticking out of his neck instead of a proper head.

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Hey magnuskn? Does this look familiar?

“Unless they haven’t been reading the comic in the last years, in which case they should shut up, because talking out of your ass is embarrassing for everyone involved.”

Just gonna point out that you’re the one who decided “Hey, you know what would be a great idea? To roll in here and tell people I disagree with to shut up because they’re talking out of their ass.” That one’s on you, buddy. Splinters, beams, etc.

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Ah, so a basic advice like “Talking about things which you actually don’t know the facts about” is now bad? You must love the mainstream political talkshows.

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Considering you’re the one who keeps shifting those goalposts man, I dunno if I’d be the one throwing around “oh you must love political talkshows” like it’s some telling blow.

Here’s the thing magnuskn: “Disagrees with your interpretation of something” does not equal “Doesn’t know what they’re talking about” the same way that what you apparently consider offering basic advice differs from “Why don’t you all shut up because you’re talking out your ass and embarrassing me.”

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Really? Which goalposts am I shifting around?

Unless they haven’t been reading the comic in the last years, in which case they should shut up, because talking out of your ass is embarrassing for everyone involved. is pretty clear. Don’t talk about stuff which you actually don’t know much about.

And, hey, I said a few posts ago that I retract my comments regarding Francis, since I can’t back them up at the moment, due to the PVP archive being down. Also, I could as well be conflating a few more years than two into my interpretation of his character development, but since I can’t verify at the moment, I can’t say for sure.

In any case, I don’t think we’ll get anything productive out of this conversation anymore, so good day, sir.

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I’m not defending Francis but I will jump on the “shared interest” bandwagon.

If you’re the kind of person who posts here then odds are you like a lot of things that most of the rest of the world dismisses as childish. Someone with similar (but not necessarily the same) interests understands that part of you and doesn’t dismiss it as a flaw*. A couple where one doesn’t enjoy the other’s more time consuming hobbies isn’t going to spend as much time together as one that does. Obviously there needs to be more going on than a shared love of video games or recreational reading or whatever but shared interests are still important.

*I’m aware that Arjun isn’t one of these people. He doesn’t really “get” Marcie’s geekery but he’s obviously willing to try.

Also you completely glossed over the part where Marcie implied she loves Francis for his rock hard abs. Who’s the terrible person now? ;-)

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I do wonder if the strip isn’t simply recycling a time-honored rom-com trope. The Perfect Boyfriend (and occasionally girlfriend) almost never wins out over the guy who is poorer/surlier/dumber/less successful etc. The bit where Khan’s talking about martial arts and working out is a variation of things I’ve seen a lot of Perfect Boyfriends say.
That doesn’t mean it works, but I can see what they may have been trying for.

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It’s fascinating to watch nerd culture evolve into nerd religion as far as tribalism goes.

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I’m not defending Francis but I will jump on the “shared interest” bandwagon.

If you’re the kind of person who posts here then odds are you like a lot of things that most of the rest of the world dismisses as childish. Someone with similar (but not necessarily the same) interests understands that part of you and doesn’t dismiss it as a flaw*. A couple where one doesn’t enjoy the other’s more time consuming hobbies isn’t going to spend as much time together as one that does. Obviously there needs to be more going on than a shared love of video games or recreational reading or whatever but shared interests are still important.

Well, the thing about this story is that there’s a actual good point somewhere at the very core of it which is “No matter how many good qualities someone may possess, if being in a relationship with them means no longer feeling like yourself then it’s probably a sign that you should reconsider whether you really want to be in a relationship with that person.” That’s good advice no matter the reason…nobody should ever feel obligated to remain in a relationship just because the other party is a “good catch.”

It’s just that the point is bookended by a strawman on one end and a jerk on the other, and that’s what makes that good point come across in a skewed fashion.

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I’m always curious about these mythical high schools where people got shoved into lockers. I had some of the nerdiest interests in my high school, but was generally popular, whatever standard you use. I dated, played in bands, played numerous sports, etc.: you know, the kind of stuff that most high school students just DO. I don’t think I took any more shit than anybody else, and probably less, honestly.

You pretty obviously took a lot, lot less than all the ~mythical~ nerds who had to deal with all that ~imaginary~ harassment and bullying.

So maybe you should consider shutting up and not imagining you have something meaningful to share about those topics.

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For the same reason that every teenager on Tumblr wants to claim persecution when people tell them that no, the Homestuck trolls don’t actually live in their heads or the fact that they believe that they’re a faerie cat-dragon isn’t at all the same thing as being transgendered

Because it offers them an avenue of escape from a world filled with sleazy, sneering shitheads like you?

Lol at the pretense of giving a shit about transgendered people, thanks for letting us know you only hate vulnerable and hurt young people who aren’t socially unacceptable to hate.

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Wow, a double dose of “You should shut up because you don’t know what it was like in high school man!” and “You’re a shithead because you don’t give Otherkin and Multiples the same respect and legitimacy as transgendered people, people who are actually discriminated against and denied rights by the government.” MGK, your posts always bring the best commentators out to play, I really do mean that.

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highlyverbal said on February 3rd, 2013 at 7:23 pm

@magnuskn: “…talking out of your ass is embarrassing for everyone involved.”

&

“Ah, so a basic advice like “Talking about things which you actually don’t know the facts about” is now bad?” (sic)

Pretending that the former is equivalent to the latter is obviously trolling. You can’t give it away so early, or people won’t bite. C+

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highlyverbal said on February 3rd, 2013 at 7:36 pm

@Kate the Short: “But if they make you feel “not like yourself” that’s kind of a problem.”

Of course, this is a problem in real relationships! But in terms of whether this is good or lazy fiction writing, it seems like the distinction you are drawing simply pushes the laziness a layer deeper. It is still there. Marcy’s pronouncements notwithstanding, there is not much believability about her romantic decisions.

And resorting to this shortcut drives home the related point about how nerds are barely more fleshed out in their nerdiness… can’t Marcy analyze her feelings more clearly than that? What % does she feel less like herself? Any metrics on whether those parts of herself are important? Maybe she could cosplay the new parts of herself! Or write a computer program to handle those duties. Et frigging cetera. I can imagine a half dozen more interesting, nerdy processes in about 20 seconds, and I’m pretty much an idiot.

Lazy, all the way down.

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I’m very happily married to someone who denies being a nerd, and I’ve never heard anyone say she is. She is generally into popular things, and finds it odd that others feel differently. After all, if many people like something, it’s probably better than something many people dislike.
I’m much geekier, being into sci-fi, fantasy, comics, role-playing,etc. I’m also a music snob, who can’t see the appeal of LMFAO or the Black Eyed Peas (because they have no appeal).
It works fine for a few reasons. Nerd culture is a huge part of mainstream culture, as has been noted before. Big book stores sell Dungeons and Dragons, computer games are everywhere, and movies like The Hobbit and Avengers appeal to many. So while she doesn’t read comics, she knows who the characters are and the conventions of the genre, so it’s not a really foreign idea.
She’s also open to new things. She’ll try things I like, sometimes finding she likes them (Star Wars, Buffy) and sometimes deciding she doesn’t (D&D, BSG). Similarly, I’ll try things she likes, and we try new things together.
It works because we both sincerely try these things with an open mind, and we enjoy doing things together. I think we’d struggle if I approached life thinking “I’ll go to your stupid salsa dancing class, but then we’re going home and you’re going to play GURPS and like it!” It would be one sided and unfair. Further, she might grow and develop new interests, but I’ve decided I don’t need to. That seems like poison to a relationship.
To us, other things are more important. We are happy being together, and make each other laugh. I can’t imagine ever thinking “she’s my best friend, biggest supporter, and soul mate, but she doesn’t like the Clash or Wheel of Time, so I better look for someone else.” Priorities…

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Anticorium said on February 4th, 2013 at 12:11 am

Admit it, Kai, you paid these people to post such ridiculous counterarguments that they moved the Overton window two full points toward you.

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Look at it this way. What if you heard someone say, “I can’t be in a relationship with that person because she isn’t Catholic,” or “I can’t be in a relationship with that person because he isn’t a conservative.” Insert religion of your choice.

For a lot of people, nerdism (for lack of a better term) isn’t just a body of interests. It is a religion, with an enormous body of Holy Writ that you’re expected to know if you want to be considered a member of the Elect.

Silly, I know. These are the sort of people who pretty much drove me away from a number of my hobbies — things that I enjoyed — because they were so damn difficult to associate with.

My 2 cents, anyway.

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Admit it, Kai, you paid these people to post such ridiculous counterarguments that they moved the Overton window two full points toward you.

Man, I’d like to think I could afford a better quality of detractor than that, recession or no.

Look at it this way. What if you heard someone say, “I can’t be in a relationship with that person because she isn’t Catholic,” or “I can’t be in a relationship with that person because he isn’t a conservative.” Insert religion of your choice.

For a lot of people, nerdism (for lack of a better term) isn’t just a body of interests. It is a religion, with an enormous body of Holy Writ that you’re expected to know if you want to be considered a member of the Elect.

Silly, I know. These are the sort of people who pretty much drove me away from a number of my hobbies — things that I enjoyed — because they were so damn difficult to associate with.

My 2 cents, anyway.

Nerdism As Lifestyle Choice is definitely a Thing that exists, but I don’t think it’s the thing that’s really the issue with the comic per se…it could definitely be read as that, but like I said, if you strip away the strawman of Khan and the sullen manchild of Francis what you have is a person realizing that while the guy they may have some feelings for seems like he should be a perfect catch, there’s something there that’s keeping her from feeling that relationship click.

That’s not a sign that you need to break things off then and there, but it’s definitely not a feeling that should be ignored either. It’s a tricky thing that, in the really real world outside of comic strips, people handle in all sorts of ways, some successful and some less so, but it shouldn’t be just ignored out of hand because it’s the sort of thing that can fester into resentment if left unexamined. I am, at least, willing to cut the story a break on not showing us a detailed and intricate recounting of Marcie’s six month attempt at a relationship with Khan while we get to analyze her inner thought processes in exacting detail.

I don’t think having particular standards as to what you want out of a relationship partner is an inherently bad thing…I mean, it could be if what you want is something like “someone I can emotionally manipulate” but if what you want is “someone who shares interest X with me,” well, that’s perfectly fine, that’s a thing you should be entitled to do.

But MGK, in his addendum to his post, gets to the heart of why this particular example is kind of dumb, which is that the two choices Marcie is presented with are “all around decent guy with other shared interests and ambitions, who happens to not be a nerd” and “douchey jerk with occasional non-jerk moments who happens to be a huge nerd,” and she chooses “huge nerd” over “decent person,” and so it does wind up smacking of Nerdism Uber Alles. It didn’t have to, and with a defter hand and some deeper characters it might not have.

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If anyone offered me all the cheese wheels in Skyrim as any kind of signal of their affection, I’d take it as a signal of their OCD and how there will be future problems in the relationship.

It’s terrible as a grand romantic gesture.

I have seen women go for the ‘safe’ nerd guy and shrug off advances of better, more attractive men. I’ve also seen those relationships / marriages end in divorce as obsessed video game playing guy doesn’t leave the couch to do things, like, help with the laundry or look after the kids.

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Candlejack said on February 4th, 2013 at 3:45 am

Heh, not just OCD but problems with boundaries–he’d have to play her game to gather all that cheese for her! (Unless Skyrim has a multiplayer option I’ve never seen, which is possible, if only as a mod.)

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For persons not knowing Skyrim: cheese wheels are an extremely common food item in the game. The cheese wheel is bulky, has a low monetary value and eating it restores the health some 10 points. (Your character starts with 100 HP.) At early stages of the game, it may feel useful. At later stages, with a developed character, cheese wheels are useless for any but role-playing purposes. You definitely do not get any trophies for collecting them.

However, these cheese wheels are found everywhere in the game. There must be hundreds of them. Skyrim is big on mindless “fetch x rare ingredients for a person” -questes, and this kind of task is conceivable in Skyrim, so the comic is subtly critizing the game. As a “grand gesture”, cheese wheel collecting would be both onerous and completely without purpose.

And to be deadpan serious, the task is simply impossible. Many of the cheese wheels in the game are in locations which regularly respawn. Grinding through all these locations takes so much game-time that the first cheese wheel has respawned before you have collected them all.

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About high school and nerdism: I knoe both sides of it. When in junior high, I was the definite omega male of my class, mostly on the account of my nerdism. I did not get showed into lockers (they were too small for anyone to fit in), but I met a lot of physical and verbal bullying.

On the 9th grade, my class was disbanded as a disciplinary measure, and I was reassigned to a class which was mostly populated by nerds. Even the girls were pretty nerdy, concentrating on leftist politics. For the majority of guys, computer programming, BBS use, fantasy and sci-fi literature were the content of life. I belonged.

Me being a Finn, and Finland having a tracked school system from age 16 upwards, the senior high was the nerd heaven come true. It was we nerds who were “big men around the school”. Those guys who studied advanced maths and physics also dominated the student union and other student life. Having a high GPA was the way to social success.

Thus, I’d say that being a nerd is main stream, if you happen to be lucky. If you happen to be in a wrong environment, it is like a nightmare. Even today, decades later, every time I pray “- – as we forgive to them that tresspass against us”, I also pray that I could forgive certain bullies.

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Bullying is a shitty thing full-stop. I dealt with my share of it, more in middle school than high school actually, and it is completely not a thing that should happen to anybody. There are varying degrees of bullying, of course…none of the shit I ever got in school was of the “get groped and sexually harassed by the football team” or “be subject to targeted bullying so severe that you wind up trying to kill yourself” stripe…but bullying, again, is a shitty thing period (if anybody tries to tell you that bullying in school is “necessary” or “builds character” that person is an asshole and I believe you’re legally entitled to kick them in the happysack and steal their wallet). The answer to bullying when you are in school should never be “aw, just suck it up.”

When you are in your 30s, however, I do believe that unless the shit you faced in school was especially heinous (which hey, can absolutely happen, but I don’t believe is found to be the majority of cases) that continuing to cling to those grudges and bad memories is not healthy. And I really do feel that Nerd Culture promotes clinging to this stuff, as well as pitching an exaggerated narrative of Nerd Persecution, for reasons I mentioned earlier. Nothing helps with self-righteousness or building up inter-group solidarity like the feeling that the world is against you.

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highlyverbal said on February 4th, 2013 at 10:07 am

@Kai’s strawperson: “I am, at least, willing to cut the story a break on not showing us a detailed and intricate recounting of Marcie’s six month attempt …”

But soooooooomething beyond the most lazy, slapdash, overused, cliche shortcuts might be an improvement though, right? Something where the reader can understand a little of Marcie’s attitude beyond swallowing uncritically her naked pronouncements? (And really, do you trust everything YOUR friends announce about their romantic situations?!)

I would love it if being a nerd was shown to matter the tiniest bit in the process, but that is a little too much to hope for.

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It’s the yearning desire to be persecuted.

Judging by the number of non-nerds I have occasional interactions with who are literally arming themselves for a war with the Federal government, I suspect that desire is just a natural part of the human condition.

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The real-world response to someone making a grand gesture of collecting all the cheese in Skyrim is to laugh at them, open the console, and do this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCrhDamN82k

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Candlejack said on February 4th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I pretty much assumed that’s what he gathered them for, Eli. The rolling them down the mountain part, I mean. He seems to be playing Xbox, so there’s no console.

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I can’t help but wonder at how many who defend “nerdism as lifestyle” and then get offended by The Big Bang Theory‘s portrayal of nerds.

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“But soooooooomething beyond the most lazy, slapdash, overused, cliche shortcuts might be an improvement though, right? Something where the reader can understand a little of Marcie’s attitude beyond swallowing uncritically her naked pronouncements?

Oh sure, I just mean I’m not going to tsk and shake my finger at the writer not providing a completely realistic portrayal of how that process usually works because this is PvP we’re talking about here and you can reasonably only expect so much from an ostensibly gag-a-day sitcom-esque comic. But yes, anything would have been an improvement over what we got which was “Khan was a great all around guy but he was nerd-deaf, and YOU’RE a huge nerd even if you’re a huge tool, so I guess you win.”

“Judging by the number of non-nerds I have occasional interactions with who are literally arming themselves for a war with the Federal government, I suspect that desire is just a natural part of the human condition.”

It absolutely is! People love being persecuted. I mean, not really persecuted, when people are subject to actual persecution it generally tends to suck all the balls (see: GBLT people, pretty much any ethnic or religious minority ever, etc.), but they love being able to claim persecution. Nerds are not alone in this at all, but when talking about nerds and nerd culture I feel it’s worthwhile to point out that nerd culture does really love to continue to try and cast nerds as a victimized and misunderstood bunch, which is one of the reasons “nerd culture” is as toxic as it is.

“I can’t help but wonder at how many who defend “nerdism as lifestyle” and then get offended by The Big Bang Theory‘s portrayal of nerds.”

No no, see, the nerds on the Big Bang Theory are being laughed at, not laughed with, so that’s EXACTLY THE SAME THING as blackface comedy.

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mygif

Am I the only one who found Khan’s plan to get Marcy back as creepy as Francis’ scowling pile of cheese wheels apology?

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Candlejack said on February 5th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

No, I’m with you, Prodigal.

In fact, it made me wonder if Khan was really open to her interests when they were together, or if he blew them off as silly and unimportant until she made it clear she didn’t want to be with him because he didn’t care about that stuff. So now he’s only willing to learn her interests because he’s angry that he’s been dumped in favor of Francis, and his ego can’t take it.

I mean, you could read it both ways. But if Khan was open to trying new things when they were actually together, and didn’t dismiss her interests? Then it would be on her that she didn’t feel like herself in their relationship. And “I never even tried to get him involved in my geeky side because he’s super cool and nobody cool could ever be interested in that stuff” is probably not how we’re supposed to read Marcie’s attitude.

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mygif

Khan describing himself as “the world’s greatest lover” has me inclined to believe he fell more on the “dismissing her interests” than the “open to trying new things” side of the scale.

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mygif

“Khan describing himself as “the world’s greatest lover” has me inclined to believe he fell more on the “dismissing her interests” than the “open to trying new things” side of the scale.”

If that WAS the author’s intent, and hey, it might have been, it would have been nice if we’d been shown that a little earlier on in the story.

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highlyverbal said on February 5th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

@Kai: “…it would have been nice if we’d been shown that a little earlier on in the story.”

Oh, look who wants a complete narrative now. How convenient!

(kidding!)

I read the Khan post-break-up stuff as a deliberate break from his previous character as he transforms into a supervillian.

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mygif

If that WAS the author’s intent, and hey, it might have been, it would have been nice if we’d been shown that a little earlier on in the story.

Like how we were shown that in the comic on 31 January where Marcy said that Khan didn’t share any of her interests in nerd stuff, you mean?

No “might” coming into play there, Kai.

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mygif

I disagree; the ability (and willingness!) to perform accurate Gir impressions is a precious trait that I look for whenever I want to date a woman.

Note: I am extremely single.

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[...] wanted to say something about this, and luckily I found an excuse to in our lord’s post about PVP, wherein MGK observed that liking comics doesn’t mean you like video games, which led to some [...]

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“Like how we were shown that in the comic on 31 January where Marcy said that Khan didn’t share any of her interests in nerd stuff, you mean?

No “might” coming into play there, Kai.”

You mean the strip where Khan is shown looking at Marcy playing a video game with a question mark over his head? Khan isn’t dismissing Marcy’s hobbies, Khan doesn’t get Marcy’s hobbies. That’s a pretty important distinction. We don’t see Marcy trying to introduce Khan to her pastimes and Khan going “ew, what, nerd stuff? This is dumb?” All we see is a guy that just doesn’t “get” nerdery.

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[...] your personal likes, passions obsessions etc. are in finding a significant other. Over on his blog Mightygodking discussed this in reaction to a story arc of popular webcomic PvP, and while I may not agree with him 100% his [...]

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Yes, Kai, I mean the comic where Khan is staring in befuddlement at Marcy, wondering why she wants to waste her time playing videogames. If that had been meant to show that he as open to trying new things, it would have shown him, y’know, trying something rather than standing there with a question mark over his head.

The only time we see him planning to try any of Marcy’s hobbies is after she rejected him, in order to creep his way back into having her as his girlfriend.

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mygif

Because as we all know “standing there in puzzlement” is the universal shorthand for “being dismissive of someone’s hobbies.”

The artist had to tell us instead of showing us because what they were showing wasn’t some guy putting Marcy down, it was some guy being like “Huh? I don’t get it.” That’s not some mortal sin, but it’s not good storytelling either. Khan doesn’t have his “oooh I’m a creepy supervillain wannabe” moment until after all that is said and done.

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mygif

Having Marcy talk about how Khan had no interst in the things she is interested in, in the same panel where he’s staring in puzzlement at her playing a game, is a long accepted storytelling method.

As for the timing of his supervillain moment, thank you for agreeing with me that he only showed interest in nerd stuff after she rejected him.

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mygif

Seriously, “has no interest in/puzzled by” is not the same thing as “putting someone down for liking a thing” which is what was being asserted earlier in this discussion. I mean, am I taking crazy pills here? That seems like a pretty clear-cut distinction to me, that “doesn’t get something” =/= “dismissing something.” If the artist was intending to convey the latter then they did a shitty job of it. Khan comes off as a guy who just doesn’t really seem to get nerd-stuff the same way some people don’t get sports or crochet or whatever, and then there’s a last minute asspull where it turns out whoops, he was a creepy supervillain [i]all along[/i], thus completely justifying Marcy’s decision to go back to Francis after all.

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mygif

Putting someone down for not liking a thing is neither the same as having no interest in it, nor is it what I have said Khan was doing. You’re the one trying to conflate “dismissing the interest” with “putting down those interested in it” here in order to avoid admitting that you were mistaken about anything in any of your posts.

Which might be less annoying if you hadn’t been constantly moving the goalposts throughout the discussion. But I do find it amusing that you’ve gone from saying that you’re “not going to tsk and shake my finger at the writer not providing a completely realistic portrayal of how that process usually works” to now complaining that “The artist had to tell us instead of showing”. Could you please pick one line of argument and stick with it rather than make arguments that contradict each other?

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[…] Newhart’s totally, utterly baffled: Yoda? Light sabers? WTF? As Mighty God King points out here (though not in response to BBS), the idea that people in the mainstream have never seen Star Wars, […]

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[…] Newhart’s totally, utterly baffled: Yoda? Light sabers? WTF? As Mighty God King points out here (though not in response to BBS), the idea that people in the mainstream have never seen Star Wars, […]

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