Monday, November 24

Am I a nerd, or a geek, or whatever the appropriately shaded term is these days?

Well, duh, I suppose. I mess with computers for a living. I spent most of my time before the age of 21 or so soaking up genre fiction, failing socially, and arguing about movies with swords in them. Today I am a 27 year old single white male who still has arguments about text editors. On the face of it, I was a hopeless nerd before it went mainstream, and I will probably be a hopeless nerd until I die.

I'm kind of tired of all this stuff in the air about what that means, or how important it is/isn't. There are all these free-floating schemas for being a geek, a fan, a hippie, a fundie, a stoner, a hick, a radical, an indie rock kid, a hacker, whatever. Shallow classificatory manias and desperate longing for community + status. Criminy. It's especially noticeable now that we have the great machinery of the internet for inducing the belief that x random trivial interest, fetish, or aesthetic preference includes you in a meaningfully distinct and organic subculture. Or maybe I just think it's especially noticeable because I'm noticing it now.

Anyway, I write this as a tangent to noting that I've been enjoying Ta-Nehisi Coates' ruminations on being a black nerd and similar things. Partially just 'cause I like Coates' writing, but also because I'm finding reflective ambiguity about notions of identity a lot more interesting (or maybe credible) nowadays.

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