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May 28, 2013
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Nerds all share a unified experience of being socially ostracized from the rest of other so-called "normal" societal groups. The reasons may vary (not being good at sports, liking a certain sci-fi/fantasy TV show, etc), but the fact that we all were picked upon and marginalized during our most formable years is a major part of the nerd/geek identity. But in recent years nerd culture stopped being it's own niche thing, and has started to seep into mainstream culture. Making nerd culture more accessible has naturally brought with it a new group of people and fans into our sphere... and not everyone is happy about this development.

Personally I think it's great that nerd culture has become so widely accepted lately. I can freely have a discussion about my favorite DC or Marvel superheros in public without getting looks of disgust or incredulity because EVERYONE loves Batman and The Avengers. And if I make an obscure joke about Doctor Who, there's a LOT of people who will get it now. But like I said, with any sort of widening of the demographic there's usually a backlash that comes from the already existing demographic that doesn't want to change or accept new people into their groups.

I noticed this a lot after reading the polarizing reviews for Star Trek: Into Darkness. Now, the latest Star Trek film is very much an action oriented adventure rather than a thought provoking sci-fi odyssey. To many in the fandom this is sacrilegious because "Star Trek has always had a more philosophical side to it." I started to see people accusing those who liked the new Star Trek movie as not being fans of Star Trek and demanding anyone who liked it to "prove" they liked Star Trek by forcing them to list off how many movies or TV show episodes they've seen. Like that sort of quantifying list would somehow give or take the credibility of people who legitimately enjoyed a movie (You've seen at least 29 episodes? I'm sorry but you need to have seen 30 episodes or more to qualify as being a fan!)

This is backwards and depressing to me. I don't personally care if you liked the new Star Trek or not. If someone is introduced to this franchise and series through the new movie and REMAINS a fan, then that's a win-win in my books. EVERYONE who is a fan of something now, started out with no experience or understanding of what they were getting into. Don't marginalize them for not being "up to snuff" with your obviously larger experiences and knowledge of the franchise simply because they're "new."

And it's not just Star Trek, this is an issue that permeates ALL of geek culture. This obsessive need to test new fans and criticize them for not being "as into" the series as you and your friends are is everywhere! Remember a while back the whole Geek-Girl issue? It's the same thing. Nerds seeing women who liked nerdy things, calling them out and demanding these women answer tests and quizzes to "prove" their geek creed. Fucking sick.

Even if they aren't "as into" the series as you are I still don't understand how that negatively affects your life. Someone being a fan but not as big of as fan as you shouldn't keep you awake at night or anger you into fits of rage. The world is varied and full of diversity, stop trying to limit it by decrying that only a certain set of people with enough XP are allowed to enjoy ____ fandom.

The important thing shouldn't be HOW a fan gets into a fandom, but rather the simple fact that they ARE into a fandom. It should be a welcoming thing to bring more people into your niches and let them explore and understand the wonderful things you enjoy on a daily basis. If you can't handle the idea of someone you don't have to deal with personally enjoying your fandom... then there's something seriously wrong with you and you need to grow up.

Stop testing new fans to prove they're "worthy" enough to join your fandom. Open the doors and embrace them with welcoming arms. Because the alternative is stagnating isolation and a growing sense of depression and irrelevancy.
  • Reading: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
  • Watching: Doctor Who
  • Playing: Minecraft: Nerdcrafteria
  • Eating: Yes
  • Drinking: No
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:icondtjb:
DTJB Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I remember people having this sort of mentality when I was younger and I've seen it phase out as people got older. These sound like opinions only kids would have.
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:iconjau682:
Who do you talk to all the time? I've never felt as though I had to PROVE my fanhood to anything, even when just starting out. Are douches just attracted to you? Or the reverse of that?
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:iconaesra:
Aesra Jun 7, 2013  Student General Artist
I completely agree. Personally I'm not even sure how people can even act like this... though I was never really bullied in school so maybe I'm lacking perspective. Guess I was one of the lucky ones.
I'd heard that something along the lines of this had been happening to new and free players on Star Wars: The Old Republic so I make a point to visit the capital world and help the players there every now and then.
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:iconmizzizzi:
Mizzizzi Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wish more people were interested in the fandoms I'm interested in just so I could talk to them about it. It can be fun when they're new to the fandom because they have the "new excitement" that make discussing it more fun~
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:iconpharold:
PHarold Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well said!

I can almost see Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory doing that.

I mean, what happens if you weren't born during the time of the original "geek-ified" movie or TV series?

I'm willing to bet half of the people who saw the new Star Trek movies weren't alive for the original movies or even Next Generation. So that is a terrible thing to do to people who are new fans.

If it weren't for the New Doctors, that would be devastating to the fandom of Dr Who since no new blood would be introduced. It would stagnate like the Star Trek franchise was endanger of doing.

Old fans should embrace new blood. Treat them like protegees,padawan, acolytes, or whatever, because that way the fandom will live on after you're gone or the show dies. Whichever comes first!
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:iconcaptainquirk:
Exactly! Just... this exactly. I just did a podcast about this very topic. [link]
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:iconbudcharles:
Fortunately for me I've been openly accepted as a Doctor Who fan, even though I've only seen the latest 3 series. I guess the Whovians in my area must be nice :)
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:iconitscursorbby:
ItsCursorBby Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I ask people how much they know about _______ to see, and if there's something they don't know that I do (often the case, as I'm the obsessive type), I'll teach them. Other than that, I do it for fun (like playing the "Which one is Hikaru?" game with around 30 people who have never heard of Ouran High School Host Club).
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:iconkimyona123:
kimyona123 Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have to admit...I was once a bit like that too, but with sthg from the Manga subculture (and only with one specific thing).
As they started showing Naruto on TV I was just irritated by all those little Kids pronouncing names wrong etc (as explanation: Naruto was shown in my mother tongue, all Japanese names just sounded wrong, so really strange synchronisation, and to top it all, the series was made accessible for small children because they actually edited the series so that nearly no blood and sometimes no weapons could be seen).
Now the thing is: When you're 9-11 years old, you don't go and watch original series online with English subtitles (if English is not your mother tongue) if the series is actually now on TV and you don't care if a name is simple produced in the wrong way, because you don't know it better.
At the beginning, it really bugged me, but after some time, maybe also because my love for the series cooled a bit off, I could see everything clearer, hence the thought above.
Beginners cannot know what's right and wrong, if the fans don't tell them explicitely, without giving them the 'she/he doesn't know anything' look.
I say, it's the emotion behind it. :)
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:iconcarnie-vorex:
I'm a generally geeky person who is obsessed at times by different things and by nothing big in particular, it's just my way of life. But I hate pop culture, and the fact that Hollywood takes some good thing and makes some bestselling brain fast-food out of it, to get money and to please these dumb 80% of population. That makes the original books or comics popular, too, but the general capitalistic idea of taking a good brain product and frying all the vitamins out of it for the sake of a nice crust and wrapping it in a silly rainbow-colored package is appalling. Again, it's capitalism and fools I hate, and bad movies too, not fans. Although stupid fans who only like the movies for action and heroines' boobs are not welcome in any fandoms. Imagine a brute who bullied you at school for reading comics who suddenly comes to your club because he liked the movie. It's a metaphor of geeks' reaction to common people breaching their cultural territory, coming to the imaginary worlds where the geeks were hiding from these very people! Everything comes down to psychology, and particularly xenophobia. In the end everything will merge together, geeks will become more sociable and common people less stupid, it's all for the good.
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