I need to voice some frustrations about a particular aspect of our society. Luckily, none of the people I have encountered on this site fit into the type that I'm raging against (many, I would wager, are actually on the opposite end of the spectrum, and I am all for that) so just know that none of this is directed towards any of you. Unless you are that kind of person I am talking to and just haven't shown your colors here yet. Then you should feel shame.
Anyways, what is with the persistent belittling and derision (I can't even think of the right word) of "nerd" or "geek" culture? I know the culture is becoming more and more popular and accepted, but there are still those who act like it is inherently inferior to their interests for some reason. Oh someone plays an MMO? "Loser, because watching sports is an inherently superior way to spend your time." I must ask, why?? Now, I have no problem if people simply don't enjoy something. If you like sports, that's great, I like them too. Why can't it go the other way?
A specific example: there has been a trend in recent years of professionally broadcasting major gaming tournaments in an ESPN-esque fashion, with commentary and the whole deal. Now I never really got into that, although sometimes I'll hop on YouTube to check something out just for the heck of it (I find it more exciting to watch than sports, actually). However, my friends, housemates, and pretty much everyone I know mock it like it's the stupidest thing in the world. I ask again, why?? What is so stupid about it? Why are your interests better than theirs? Why is it so ridiculous that people would want to go pro in something they are good at and enjoy, and that like minded people would want to watch it?
I often get the answer, "well they aren't actually doing anything." Really? So physical activity is the measure of an activity's worth? So an office worker's work is useless? IT workers? Useless. Writers? *gasp* don't you say it, don't you dare even--yep, useless. *faints*
Obviously sports is just a single example, one that I find the most useful because it is usually sporty people who take to mocking gamers and the like (though I'm not at all saying all of them do). I think you get my point, hopefully.
For some reason we seem to hold these groundless value judgments. No one asks why anymore. We see someone doing something different, and we judge them as inferior. I've found few people actually stop to think "what reason do I actually have to assume that what I do is better than what they do?" It's based on socially cultivated feelings, not logic.
This isn't to say that gaming addiction isn't a problem and that there aren't people who are irresponsible with it all, but that's a case of misuse and abuse. I could easily say that someone who spends all day keeping up on the latest sports updates is wasting their life away.
DISCLAIMER: I have no issue with sports.
Now for the guilt part:
I am ashamed of who I was back in high school. It's not that I picked on anyone or mocked them for their nerd interests, but that I was too much of a coward to be who I was. I freaking loved MMO's and RPG's and fantasy and all that wonderful stuff, but I never told anybody. Nobody ever knew. I pretended to be someone else. It may sound silly, but it is probably my greatest regret in life. Why? Because of those who were put through hell--a literal, living hell--because of their interests, and yet they never broke. They put up with it all (I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about, if you haven't experienced it firsthand): the mockery, the social outcasting, the tormenting, all of it. Me? I couldn't do it. They were SO much stronger than I was.
And so I am shamed. I have no right to call myself a nerd or a geek or any of that good stuff. They earned the badge. I'm just a coward. Even now I find it difficult to share my true interests with those around me. I will now vigorously defend the culture against anyone who attacks it, I have no tolerance for that ignorant bullcrap anymore. But I still end up keeping my own participation on the down-low. I just can't do it, I don't know why. It is quite guilt-inducing.
Wow that got deeper than I expected. Whoops! My apologies to anyone who suffered through reading this, though you do have my thanks.
Perhaps a joke to lighten the mood?
What kind of shoes do ninjas wear? Sneakers. The answer is sneakers.