Pimpcron explains why 40k, comic, and gaming geeks do it right.
Everybody’s favorite fanboy, Pimpcron, is back this week with comments on our nerd culture. So set your phasers to “Disco” and turn off your Servitors, put down your Rules For Acquisition and get out of your TARDIS, tell those Reavers that you don’t feel like playing Holo-Chess so you can read my article. I could go on forever, but I have to get to the point some time. The Pimpcron really enjoys attending 40k events, fan conventions, and tournaments whenever I can. I enjoy attending a Star Trek Convention (Nerd!) with my wife each winter called Farpoint and we noticed something magical about our geek culture. There are some things that everyone in the world could learn from.
Nerd Culture Accepts Everyone
We were walking through the convention and literally saw every type of person you can imagine. There was every race, age, physically and mentally handicapped people, guys dressed like Princes Leia, women dressed like Boba Fett, very obese people, and very thin people. We saw people who looked like this was the one time of year that they leave their house, and we saw people that were down right social butterflies. I love going to these types of things because of all of the types of people you see.
You can literally just sit in a hallway and watch people as they walk by. There is a guy with facial piercings and a Batman gauge, there’s a woman in a handicapped scooter covered in Dr. Who stickers, there’s a white guy in a Flash shirt discussing the Tau Empire with a black guy in a Flash Gordon shirt. We even saw a stack of children disguised as a wobbly adult in a trench coat. Well, maybe one of those examples I made up. But what makes us accept each other in our strange culture?
We Are All Misfits
No matter where you come from, who you are, or what your age is, if you gravitate towards nerd culture you usually have something about you that makes you different. Some are physical differences, some are mental differences, but our brothers and sisters in the nerd community welcome us in open arms: and gladly argue about Who Shot First or which Captain was best. There are parts of us that wouldn’t be accepted in “regular” culture where they value things that are more superficial. I’m sure you can think of a number of groups that wouldn’t accept the average nerd. But that is where Geek culture shines: nearly all of us come from backgrounds where we have not been accepted or ostracized for “not fitting in” so we all take our strangeness as a given.
It’s like we all get together in our conventions and just say, “Okay, yeah, you’re weird and I’m weird, let’s get past that. So what are your interests?”
Being different is a foregone conclusion in our communities and that is pretty awesome if you compare that to the rest of society where so much of it revolves around fitting in. If we don’t judge people by their outward appearance, then what do we judge them on?
We Judge Character Differently
Instead of all of the external things we are judged on in the outside world, I’ve found that geeks judge each other based off of actions and ideas instead. Think about that for a second, isn’t that exactly what Dr. King wanted years ago? I’m not trying to be too mushy here, but if you have a large community of people all around the world who gladly accepts everyone’s physical differences and judges people off of their actions; that’s almost magical.
Nerds earn each other’s respect by being knowledgeable about a geek topic, or being good at playing one of our games. If you meet someone who is awesome with their tactics in 40k, that earns your respect. If someone starts spouting out fluff with accuracy or can do the math-hammer on the fly: that earns your respect. Something else about geek culture is pretty cool. . .
It Brings Us Together
A common interest in Nerd Culture gives us all common ground. Have you ever worked with someone and became friends with them even outside of work, but lost contact with them when one of you changed jobs or moved away? That’s because friendships need common ground to work. What about all of your school friends? Once you weren’t forced to sit next to each other each day, you didn’t have enough in common to stay in touch. Having common interests bridges all gaps. And it helps socially awkward people get a foothold in a socially-anxious setting, allowing them to participate and be more comfortable.
Think about all of the age gaps from the past? Many of us had parents or grandparents who simply did not understand what we were into. But as time goes by, all of us gamers are getting older and we will eventually be geek parents and geek grandparents. It’s kind of funny to think about how different the old people of the future will be. Covered in tattoos, arguing over Star Wars, and hopefully more accepting of what the younger generations are interested in. Unless our kids or grandkids want to play Eldar. That’s where I draw the line.
“Dad, I have to confess that I’ve been building an Eldar army in secret.”
“I have no son.”
So when I say that we accept each other, I mean strictly by physical appearance. Because then you turn down the dark road of people fighting over different opinions of fictional settings. But hey, it’s a start right?
~Think we’re on to something, or do we just get it all wrong in a different way?