I’d like to call attention to what appears to be a rather strange global phenomenon. I call it the War on Nerds. I know what you’re thinking: You’re crazy! There’s no war on nerds! Are you sure? Take this trip with me.
Doctor Who premiered in England on BBC 1 on November 23, 1963. The series wasn’t sold by the BBC to American networks until 1972 and the episodes aired were only select episodes from Jon Pertwee’s era and were aired out of order so the series didn’t take off. It wasn’t until 1978 when PBS began broadcasting Tom Baker’s first four seasons in the proper order that Doctor Who started to gain traction in the U.S. Stateside Whovians are then left to wonder WHAT TOOK SO LONG?!?!
Still don’t believe me? Okay, all three Star Wars prequels. Anyone who doesn’t believe in the War on Nerds will change their tune once they subject themselves to those three pieces of crap. Thank God Disney snatched up the franchise to rescue it from George Lucas. Don’t even get me started on the evil that is Jar Jar Binks.
If you’ve subjected yourself to the trainwreck that was the Star Wars prequels and still don’t believe there’s a War on Nerds, you can detox with some seasons of Joss Whedon’s brilliant space western (yes, I said space western), Firefly…oh wait. I said seasons, but there’s only one. It got canceled after one season despite its huge cult following and a second season is looking like a distant, wildly unrealistic fantasy despite a successful movie based on the series in the form of Serenity. Still uncertain? Okay where the hell is our next season of Sherlock? For that matter, um The Winds of Winter? Hello? Anyone? We’re running out of stuff to watch and/or read over here!
If there really is a war on nerds, then surely we’re smart enough to win it right? In theory yes, if we all came together and united for one cause, we nerds absolutely are smart and badass enough to take on all comers. However, there’s a slight complication. The nerd culture is made up of many different fandoms and factions and for reasons that I have yet to fully understand we just can’t seem to get along. Star Trek fans don’t get along with Star Wars fans, players of World of Darkness RPGs are often at odds with players of D&D, the classic Doctor Who fans argue with the post-2005 reboot fans, etc. It’s a product of a lot of passion and a lot of pride in the things that we love. I’m not saying that passion and pride are bad things. I’m just saying can’t we all just agree to disagree and get along?
Now we that we’re aware that there is a war on nerds we can put together a strategy for peace. Item #1 on the list was just touched upon. We need to stop fighting amongst ourselves. Star Trek and Star Wars both have their merits and pitfalls. World of Darkness RPGs are just as enjoyable as D&D. The classic Doctors deserve as much respect as the post-2005 reboot Doctors since they’re the ones who paved the way for the younger fans to get into the series. Learn to share, people! If we put our differences aside, I think we’ll figure out that we have a lot more in common than we think. Walls will come down, friendships will form, and it will be glorious!
Once we stop fighting amongst ourselves we can move on to the bigger issue of redefining the terms “nerd” or “geek” since let’s face it we use them pretty much interchangeably. Simon Pegg put it best when he said that “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”
I believe we can safely say that the same is true about being a nerd. By this logic then, even professional athletes can be geeks about the sports they love. Just ask World Cup winning USWNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn who refers to herself as a part of the geek squad. Goalkeeper Hope Solo likes Game of Thrones and Star Wars. When you chat with them about soccer, their faces light up the same way mine does when someone brings up Doctor Who…or Star Wars which OMG that will have to be a whole separate entry on its own. Actually, point of fact my face lights up when you chat with me about soccer, too and don’t bring up baseball or the Philadelphia Phillies unless you have a couple hours to kill.
There’s my point, friends: I’m a geek and I like sports and you can absolutely be a geek about the sports you like or anything your heart desires. You don’t ever have to play it cool. So screw the stereotypes and the labels. Labels are for canned goods, not people. We are totally free to rebrand ourselves on a cultural level and I think we owe it to ourselves and the next generation of geeks/nerds to do it. So from now on, whenever someone calls me a geek or a nerd with the usual snide, derisive, snotty tone I’m going to smile and say “Thank you,” and I encourage everyone else to do the same. We can end the war on nerds if we just follow Bill and Ted’s advice and start being excellent to each other. I know I’ve said that on this blog before and I’m going to keep saying it until I actually start to see it happen, so let’s do this together. Join the resistance! We have cookies.