Getting Around the Nerd Behavior Paradigm

Cracked has a good article (how many blog posts have started with those five words, I wonder?) about how awful nerds/geeks are as human beings. Read the whole thing, obviously, but in brief:

  1. We Feel Like We’re Owed Our Favorite Things … Forever
  2. We Secretly Hope Our Favorite Artists Aren’t Successful
  3. We Think We Have to Protect Our Favorite Stuff from Outsiders
  4. We Think Our Knowledge Makes Us Important

Why are we this way? For the same reason otherwise sane people engage in borderline (or even non-borderline) criminal behavior over sports games: because of a tribal need to exercise dominance. The modern world gives us opportunity to do so over trivial matters.

And while it’s bound to be something of a similar behavior for me to say this, but I work very hard at not doing this. Actually, I don’t work that hard, because I tend to find such things…well, boring. Baseball is interesting, and gets more interesting as I get older. Talking about baseball? Boring as hell. Football is fun to watch. A bunch of dimwits in purple ties talking about football? Not so much.


So that’s why I’ve made a consistent effort to tone down my opinions on inconsequential matters. Take, for example, the Kings of Leon. I liked them when they first came out, and their first three albums are pretty solid. Since then, they’ve gone a more radio-ready style, and I just haven’t been feeling it. My wife, on the other hand, loves the arena-rock boomers of their fourth album, and now I only buy those records for her.

What does this mean? Does it mean that my wife hates good music? That she doesn’t know when a band has sold out? No. It just means that she likes different stuff than I do.

So I find the solution to this kind of petty childishness is a healthy does of indifference. Indifference gets a bad rap these days, with some declaring it the opposite of love and worse than hate. And in one sense, that’s true. But it’s an act of pure fantasy to pretend that you can have a considered, thoughtful opinion about everyone and everything. It’s simply not possible.

When I was in my 20’s, I had lots of opinions, and most of them were emotionally-driven, snarky prejudices dressed up in common rhetoric. Back then I found the whole idea of Harry Potter offensive. Why anyone would feel compelled to rush out and buy a series of stories in which a teenage wizard confronts enemies with teenage wizardry was not just a mystery, but a condemnation of popular culture. I laughed at all these idjits going all Black Friday over the literary equivalent of a Beanie Baby.

Now, I still haven’t read them, because the central premise — teenage wizardry — still doesn’t interest me. But that’s just me. Other people — most people, in fact — love these stories with a deep and abiding passion. I am told they are well-written. So, I assume that I’m one of the outliers here, and say Peace Be Upon the Potterheads, and I hope the next Rowling book wins a Pulitzer.

Saying that costs me nothing and doesn’t entail a commitment to spend my time reading or doing anything I don’t want to. It’s all a free world, and a candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle, and I’m better than yoooooooouuuuu…


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