What We Feel, But Do Not Say
The Mission of Nerd It Here First
Let’s begin with a though experiment. Let’s say that I am a masochist,1 and I want to just get absolutely annihilated on Twitter. Just draw out all the worst people and have them direct all their energy at taking me down. How would I do that? Should I tweet something about politics? Religion maybe? Or could I skirt around all that entirely and just say something bad about George Lucas or Zack Snyder?
Maybe it isn’t an exact one-to-one but I suspect you take my point. The internet is awash with unsavory people who want to shout down anyone who disagree with them. And they’re motivated to do this because they like2 a movie or comic or video game. But it wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time record stores, comic shops, and video rental places were conversational hot spots for different opinions, and the spot to get recommendations for things you had never heard of before. You could walk into a second hand shop and a friend of yours would say “Dude, we just got a copy of Bubba Ho-Tep in. You’ve gotta check it out.” And whether or not you liked it, you’d come back the next week and talk about it with your friends.
Online Enthusiast Culture seems to have shifted from being about sharing the things you love, towards tearing down anyone to doesn’t agree with you. As comic book heroes and high-concept fantasy novels have become common in the zeitgeist, it’s become harder to find a joyful space for conversation, and much easier to accidentally stumble into the path of an argument you weren’t trying to have.
Enthusiast Culture is due for a reckoning. And we’re gonna give it to ‘em.
I have been a Big Old Nerd™ my entire life. From Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers to the Multiverse of Madness, I’ve been 100% dedicated to the lifestyle. And that’s because I love things. And I love to love things. It’s fun!
Unfortunately, whether because of capitalism, the rise of social media, the amount of content there is, or our ever dwindling lack of personal interaction3, Fandom is becoming less fun. Trying to have a conversation with anyone online about a thing you love, even if you agree with them, is more likely to devolve into a fight than anything else.
The very notion of fandom is partly to blame. The word “fan” first came into use in the late 1800s in reference to baseball “fanatics”. It also may have been influenced by the idea of the fancy, a sort of fever that would overtake devotees during a baseball game or boxing match. Over the course of the 1900s people, and then information, began to travel more easily than ever. And that brought specificity. Very quickly, followers of sports went from being baseball fans, to being Yankees fans, to being Babe Ruth fans.
And people became fans of all sorts of things. “Fan mail” was being sent to Hollywood as early as the 1920s, and “fan clubs” were popping up as early as the 1930s. As the feeling of fandom became became more personal, it became a more and more essential part of a persons identity. By the 1970s, Hollywood was getting ready to experiment with some incredibly interesting art, at the exact same time human culture was ready to over-internalize the importance of that art. Human beings were primed think that who we were as individuals was, in no small part, due to what we enjoy. Mix in a little bit of societal division and the ability to talk to anyone, anywhere in the world with the push of a button and, shazam, you’ve got yourself a pretty hostile situation.
At Nerd It Here First, our goal is to be an oasis away from that kind of aggression4.
Members of Nerd It Here First are expected to be our Ambassadors of Quan, both on our site and elsewhere.
We will not tolerate any form of intolerance.
If you are found to be using bigoted language, hate speech, or personal insults of any kind, you will be banned from our community without question.
If you are found to have treated a person or group in a disrespectful way, you may be given the opportunity to apologize. If you fail to do so in a meaningful and substantive way, you will be banned from our community.
If you’re ever in a situation where you don’t know if the thing you are going to say is appropriate, remember this: We do not push ourselves up by putting other people down.
If you’re interested in helping us build this kind of community, we’d be thrilled to have you. It really makes it feel a lot less like screaming into the void when fun and interesting people are listening and sending their thoughts back over the fence. We want to hear about the things you love, and we want to talk about them with you. You can contact us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And, of course, you can subscribe to our Substack, which will get you access to our weekly podcast, Nerd It Here Weekly, as well as a weekly digest email with all the newest content from the site.
If you’re still reading, just a reminder that we also have a paid subscription tier. Becoming a paid subscriber helps us improve the site and helps us justify the, frankly, unjustifiable amount of time we spend working on it. So if you’ve got the spare cash, think about becoming a paid subscriber. You get an extra podcast episode every week. Plus, you can post in our comment threads and get your name called out once per quarter on Nerd It Here First. But since you read all the way to the bottom of this very long article, here’s a special free trial, just for you. I’m serious. That button is the only way to get this. I really appreciate you reading this far.
Or don’t like
Spoiler Alert: It’s Capitalism. All those things are Capitalsim.
Once could say that this aggression will not stand… man.