April 27th, 2011
Dave Lartigue is sick to death of “nerd culture”:
I am tired of zombies. I am tired of Joss Whedon. I am tired of steampunk. I am tired of Monty Python. I am tired of zombies. I am tired of ninjas. I am tired of Batman. I am tired of bacon. I am tired of Star Wars. I am tired of Nintendo. I am tired of zombies. I am tired of Halo. I am tired of elves. I am tired of Cthulhu. I am tired of Boba Fett. I am tired of zombies. I am tired of pirates. I am tired of Battlestar Galactica. I am tired of mecha. I am tired of superheroes. I am tired of Star Trek. I am tired of “funny” bands. Have I mentioned that I am tired of zombies?
Dave himself is of course as guilty as any other nerd of the excesses of nerd culture — Write More Good e.g. — and his post is part of a larger wave of nerd anxiety that regularly courses through various fan communities that is as old as the concept of geekdom as a coherent community itself. As such I think it would be enlightening to look at three concepts from science fiction fandom, one of the oldest clusters within this community: fiawol, fijagh and gafia.
Science fiction fandom quite early on realised that there is an inherent tension between people for whom fandom is a way of life and behaved accordingly, the be and end all of their lives and for whom fandom is just a goddamn hobby, no more or less so than e.g. going out bowling with your workmates, with most fen hovering between these two extremes. This tension is unresolvable, is different for everybody, but will lead a lot of people to gafiate: get away from it all. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Indulge yourself too much in almost anything and you get sick of it; spend some time doing something else, recharge your batteries and you can come back refreshed or you realise that you don’t actually need it anymore. Either way you win.
Trying to change the wider nerd culture because you don’t like certain aspects of it (mashups, bacon, obsessive quoting, bacon, undsoweiter) is a mug’s game. It’s only worthwhile when you’re trying to change genuinely toxic aspects of it, as with the whole racefail “debate” of a few years ago. The rest is only a matter of personal taste where you always have to remember that no matter how played out, tired and boring something is to you, it’s always somebody’s first exposure to a particular idea/meme…