4 Awful Things We're Now Considering Nerd Behavior

#2. We Think We Have to Protect Our Favorite Stuff from Outsiders

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We'd like to think we're above it, but the reality is that a lot of our anxiety boils down to us being worried about other people taking our stuff. Even on a biological level, we define value by scarcity: Our bodies love sugar because it used to be really hard to find, and we love sex so much because it's really hard to find someone who doesn't have icky cooties.

Therefore, when we like something, our strongest impulse is to hate-stab the ever-loving fuck out of anyone who starts eyeing our prized goods because we're pretty sure that they might take it, and then where will we get ours? Logic dictates that this doesn't apply to art, which in the digital age is an infinite resource -- but nobody told our brains that.

Actually, there's a lot of stuff I don't tell my brain.

"You mean that was your hand the whole time? You sick freak."

This explains a lot of nerd in-fighting, but there are way more examples -- like fake geek girls, or just "fake nerds" in general. If we see a Zelda sticker on a girl's car ("Girls don't play video games! She's just doing that for attention because nerds are 'in' right now!") or see a skinny kid wearing a sweet metal shirt ("No way he listens to Bad Brains! He's just wearing that to look tough!"), we get pissed. We have to protect our stash. It's even worse when they get a detail wrong, because that proves our assumption and reveals them as "posers." How many of you are just itching to tell me that Bad Brains is punk, not metal?

Grzegorz Oleksa/iStock/Getty Images
"I've gotta fix this before H.R. sees it and starts to cry."

What an unimaginably sad thing for our brains to be doing, because art and music and video games and comics and movies are wonderful, and everyone should get to enjoy them. Even right now, I'm conflicted on the inside: I want some of you to listen to "21:13" (the Coheed song I linked to), but I also want you to keep away from my favorite band or I will collect your fucking hearts!

Why? We want everyone to enjoy this stuff, right? Well, we actually might not, because ...

#1. We Think Our Knowledge Makes Us Important


You know your friend who's read the books George R. R. Martin wrote before he started Game of Thrones, or the one who watches nothing but authentic, untranslated Japanese anime, or the guy who has at some point in his life been a member of Sonic Youth? They're the ubernerds. They're super-pretentious, and they (fine -- we) are insufferable. Not because of our taste for obscurity, but because of our arrogance. We act like knowing more about the artist makes us better, even though all it really means is that we spend our free time differently from "normal" people.

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How normal people spend their free time.

You can blame evolution for that. We're pack animals, and pack animals need leaders. As life has gotten easier over the centuries, the people who've occupied the alpha slot have started to achieve that status less by killing tigers with their bare hands and more by being really pretty -- but to us, it's all the same. So whether we're styling our hair like Justin Bieber or wearing a Decemberists shirt in public, we're doing it for the same reason a scrawny gorilla will model his ooks off the ooks of the big ape who gets the most food and has the freakiest ape sex. We want to be as important as they are, and until we achieve that, we'll do whatever we can to curry favor with them.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Seconds before a fan was arrested for trying to chimp-groom his beard.

The most uncomfortable part (to me) is how this superiority complex makes nerdiness so similar to sports stuff. One of the most annoying parts of sports culture (to me) is the ridiculous degree people identify with the teams. They take every loss and win personally, and they'll even get mad at other football fans when their favorite team plays well. I always felt like that was silly, and I assumed that we nerds were better than that because ... oh, goddammit, I'm doing it again.

JF Sargent is writing a sci-fi adventure serial like the pretentious asshole that he is. He's also a Cracked Workshop moderator and has a Twitter and a blog where he calls himself "Doc Sarge" like a total prick. God, this fucking guy.

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