Nerd Culture is broken

Your Princess Is In Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement and Nerds: A great article by Arthur Chu.

I think for me, this is a disheartening reminder that nerd culture is broken. It’s been broken for a long time, but it is broken. Its ascendency in the culture has perhaps made things worse, not better.

I remember being the guy who had the entitlement. Who wondered why the girls ignored me, the nice guy. I remember the books and stories that told me that I could get the girl if only she'd notice me.

I still see the culture soaked in this.

Read Chu's post. His final quote resonates strongly with me:

We are not the lovable nerdy protagonist who’s lovable because he’s the protagonist. We’re not guaranteed to get laid by the hot chick of our dreams as long as we work hard enough at it. There isn’t a team of writers or a studio audience pulling for us to triumph by “getting the girl” in the end. And when our clever ruses and schemes to “get girls” fail, it’s not because the girls are too stupid or too bitchy or too shallow to play by those unwritten rules we’ve absorbed.

It’s because other people’s bodies and other people’s love are not something that can be taken nor even something that can be earned—they can be given freely, by choice, or not.

We need to get that. Really, really grok that, if our half of the species is ever going to be worth a damn. Not getting that means that there will always be some percent of us who will be rapists, and abusers, and killers. And it means that the rest of us will always, on some fundamental level, be stupid and wrong when it comes to trying to understand the women we claim to love.

What did Elliot Rodger need? He didn’t need to get laid. None of us nerdy frustrated guys need to get laid. When I was an asshole with rants full of self-pity and entitlement, getting laid would not have helped me.

He needed to grow up.

We all do.

The culture needs to grow up too.

We need to take a look at our news media, and really consider what it is and what it does. The fact that we all know Elliot Rodger's name, but not the names of his victims says something about our culture. Mass killers should go down a memory hole, not discussed ad-infinitum. We expect the media to tell us everything about a killer; Maybe we don't need that. Maybe as a culture it's time we grow up and realize that this isn't helpful: it's purient.

We need to call out sexism: Every article that avoided talking about the misogyny behind Rodger's motives should be lambasted as revisionist-sexist bullshit.

Thinking about Chu's article, maybe we need to have some critical discourse about power fantasies and the normalization of rape, as part of our school curricula.

Nerds: We have to start looking seriousy at our media, our culture, and we need to start changing it. If nerd culture is ascendent, then this is our chance to do good in the world.

Let's not miss this chance.