Why I’m Not A Nerd, And You Probably Aren’t Either

Not long ago I was walking with a friend. Actually, not a friend. Technically, this is a person that I hate passionately but to whom I am nonetheless bound by the codes of mutual friendship, and the fact that we spend 80% of our time on the same university campus. Anyway, as I was walking with this Friend-of-a-Friend, I tried to keep the conversation as neutral as possible. And since pop culture is the only topic in which I’m remotely conversant, we mostly talked about TV. It went thusly:

I’d mention a show-

-And she’d jump in with how much she was obsessed with that show. Because, you know (*sheepish, with the slightest hint of shame) she’s just such a nerd.

Cool. I really dig it, too-

-Yeah, but I mean, not the same way she loves it. She used to watch the original series with her dad. So it’s just more special for her.

Sure.

I’d bring up a movie I recently saw-

-And she (excuse her, she didn’t mean to interrupt) couldn’t contain herself, just had to tell me about all the merch she’d gotten from that franchise. It was a lot of money, but, you know, (*still sheepish, now slightly over-selling the shame) she’s just such a nerd.

Thanks. Got it.

The appropriation of nerd culture into the mainstream has created a perfect niche for people like this girl. It allows her to feel cool and relevant, with the added thrill of feeling special, because what is Nerdom, if not a counter-culture that thrives on it’s own self-imposed exclusivity?

I not saying that I don’t love nerds. I really, really do. I admire anyone that is passionate about something, and who finds genuine joy in that passion. But like anything, there are two sides to Nerd culture. The first side loves something with so much of itself that it wants to share it with feature-kate.jpgeveryone. It wants other people to share and experience the thing that means so much to it. But once that thing is out there, is made accessible to everyone, we see the other side of Nerd mentality. It circles the wagons. It realizes that what was once it’s thing now belongs to many, and it resents this perceived loss.

For a while I thought that the popularization of nerd culture would make things more inclusive, and in some ways it has. It’s safe to say that people now feel more able to express themselves and their allegiance to their fandoms like never before. In other ways, it’s also made things more esoteric. I don’t live and breathe for the original Star Wars Trilogy, so my love for The Force Awakens must not run as deep as a real fan’s, right?

The truth is, however much you may wish it were otherwise, you are probably not a nerd. You’re probably not Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science. You’re probably not David Krumholtz in Ten Things I Hate About You. And that’s totally fine. Do you know why?

Because it’s more likely that what you really are is a well-rounded, multi-denominational person who happens to be passionate about something, or more likely many things. You don’t need to be a nerd. You are allowed to like what you like, without trying to tailor yourself to the specifications of one group or another. Because labels, even the ones we assign to ourselves, are ultimately damaging and self limiting.

Was it Kierkegaard or Dick Van Patten who said “If you label me, you negate me”?

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Whitney Weldon

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TV Raised Me, and I Feel Fine

I saw my brother for the first time in months this last weekend. As insufferable as we are as individual units, we’re exponentially worse when we get together. Every other word is an inside joke (Sleepy Richard, earning your lunch meat, Pretzel Boy, moving about the house), and all the words in between are movie and TV quotes. This earns us little respect from the people around us. But this sibling shorthand we’ve developed comes from a shared childhood experience: we were raised by TV.

To be clear, we had great parents. We were always clean (ish), well-fed, and adequately loved. But when both of your parents work full time, TV is often used to fill the gaps. And when you come from a family of renowned movie buffs, a certain level of cultural literacy is expected. The problem is, when people learn this about you, you get a very specific look. It’s a look that says, “I’m so sorry for your unfulfilled life”. My response usually reflects my impeccable upbringing and unimpeachable manners.

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I appreciate your thinly veiled shade, but it is unnecessary. TV made me who I am, for better or worse. From a early age, I was exposed to movies and shows written by some of the cleverest people in the world.

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I learned social graces.

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I learned how to carefully formulate a snappy comeback.

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I realized that not everyone can be trusted.

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Sometimes these stories reflected my own experience.

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And sometimes they didn’t.

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But without them, I’d never be able to feel another person’s crushing disappointment.

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Or mortal terror.

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I wouldn’t know how it feels to watch someone you love die.

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I’d never understand how it feels to lose everything you have.

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Good TV, like a good book, gives us a window into another person’s experience,

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and explore realities that otherwise wouldn’t exist.

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TV made me empathetic, and forced me to experience emotions other than my own.

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So don’t be worried that your kids watch TV. Worry about what they watch on TV. Make sure that what they watch reflects the kind of person you want them to be. If it doesn’t…

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Make sure their shows are funny and smart.

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Make sure that they are gaining experiences beyond their own.

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And remind yourself to thank me later. I’ll wait.

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Whitney Weldon

Welcome to Fangirly!

The day has finally come, the moment that only we have been waiting for, the launch of our new website, fangirly.com! We really have been excited to start and judging from some of the stuff that we have planned the fun is just beginning.

Like our tagline suggests, we consider ourselves to be fairly intelligent, discerning human beings, but you stick us in front of TV screen, movie screen, iPod/Pad screen, really any screen, and something strange happens. We lose all sense of how rational people behave. We squeal, laugh hysterically, sob, and do this weird thing that only select members of our family do, rub our hands together out of excitement.

We wanted to give you a little taste of the fun that is to come, so here are some of the features we will be doing here at Fangirly:

Sweet Streams: Do you ever sit down in front of your Netflix account and wonder what you should watch next? “Sweet Streams” will be our recommendations for what you should be streaming to your myriad of devices.

Grade A, Choice Picks: We’re going to give you our top picks for a variety of categories. Curious as to our top food fight scenes?  Top movies based on SNL skits? Top TV bromances? We are going to rank whatever our little hearts desire, because it gives us a false sense of superiority.  Join us, won’t you?

Fangirly Exposed!: Look we all have things that we are embarrassed to like, guilty pleasures, if you will. We are going to do the smart thing and announce ours on the internet!

Fanmanly: While we here at Fangirly enjoy our fair share of romance and polka dots and… other girly stuff, we still like to get down and dirty with the boys. (Insert innuendo of choice here). “Fanmanly” is our look at shows, movies, etc. that leave us feeling just a little more hardcore.

Anglohphiles Anonymous: Whether it be the accents, the dry wit, or the general regal air, we love the Brits and their entertainment (at least everything that makes it across the pond).  Check out picks for the finest that the UK has to offer.

Agree to Disagree: Let it be said that we agree on a lot, but there are also some things on which we will never see eye to eye.  Enjoy as Ellen wins every argument (No, Ellen didn’t write this).

In with the Old: Remember the day when movies and TV shows weren’t all spinoffs, sequels, remakes, and re-imaginings? Us, too! With this feature we hope to remind the future generations that we  were once able to come up with novel concepts.  Because we believe the children are our future.

Marry, Boff, Kill:  We once spent an entire camping trip playing this game, arguing over our choices, and disowning each other for killing certain people.  Now we are bringing the game to you guys so you can relish in watching us argue over (never going to happen) hypothetical situations.

Fangirly Crush of the Week: Pretty self-explanatory, but our spotlight on who is rocking our world.  At least for that week.

We have a lot planned and we are really excited to start.  Hopefully you will find the time to stop by and see what we are up to!  – by Ellen and Whitney