Why Nerds Need To Get Over Themselves

In this column I was planning to discuss irksome shit you might hear not only online, but also in the world outside. Like for instance, last time I talked about opinionated ignorance about football leading millions to hate the sport for no reason. In this second article, I’m going to focus a bit more on something that’s limited to the internet: no-name internet critics who keep their farts in jars.

If you spend time on media-specific forums, you’ll notice how everyone there is a critic of all things videogames, music, movies, etc. And not just a critic—the ultimate fucking critic. This is why debates online are so heated; not because everyone is the mighty Thor when online anonimity is involved, but because everyone is completely convinced that their opinion is Truth and it shouldn't be challenged.

It isn’t that hard to figure out how this mentality is created. It isn’t because these guys are born assholes—they are sculpted into becoming assholes. People who tend to gravitate towards online discussion forums are generally kids who are, naturally, interested in movies/games. Nowadays, because of the awesomeness that is the Internet, any interest can be fed thanks to the massive amount of information so readily available.

Let me tell you the story of FilmGuy1987.

So FilmGuy1987 likes movies. When he discovers his awesome new passion, he will begin reading about movies, absorbing data and becoming more informed to cater to his new obsession. He learns actor’s names, memorizes directors’ filmographies, finds ways to watch obscure movies and slowly begins figuring out what are the opinions of people with similar interests. FilmGuy1987 might find an interent community in which he can be comfortable, and if FilmGuy1987 isn’t much for critical thinking as not many are in their teens, he’ll begin accommodating his own thoughts to fit with the “hive mentality”.

So, if at all like FilmGuy1987, a gamer might decide that PC games are the only thing worth it and console players are peasants. A metal fan won’t listen to anything that’s sold more than 300 copies and fuck Cannibal Corpse’s mainstream ascent. Likewise, FilmGuy1987 will blindly hate Hollywood, refuse to see anything in 3D, and worship indie cinema just because it’s indie cinema. Why? Because this allows FilmGuy1987 to be part of a community, and finding a sense of belonging is something we’re naturally drawn to, especially when we’re younger and we’re struggling with our identities and insecurities.

Now it’d easy to condemn FilmGuy1987 as a douchebag because his self-worth and the way he perceives his own intelligence—because FilmGuy1987, like many others, might be intellectually insecure—becomes completely dependant on his close-mindedness. FilmGuy1987 is annoying, sure, but he’s definitely not a douchebag yet. Every nerd goes through this. Fenrir knows I did.

No, the problem is entitlement, and it really begins when FilmGuy1987 truly finds an identity in being “that guy”. This happens thanks to his family and friends. Spending too much time discussing movies online with others like him, FilmGuy1987 forgets that most people outside online forums aren’t into videogames and music and movies in any capacity beyond simple distractions. So when FilmGuy1987 is identified as “the movie guy” by his family and friends, his ego—which had never seen much action—begins inflating. Cousin needs a movie recommendation? Ask FilmGuy1987. His brother's friend needs to remember what other movie this director made? Call FilmGuy1987! Most people don’t google this shit—they don’t care that much, so it’s just easier to ask your walking movie guide buddy because he’ll be more than happy to do it. His ego depends on it.

This is when FilmGuy1987, who at some point might have had the identity crisis and crippling insecurities, discovers he’s comfortable being “that guy” and his ego fucking explodes. Because of all the IRL people who support this idea he has of himself, he truly becomes convinced that his opinion is Truth, and not to be challenged.

But then, he logs into a movie forum, chest puffin’, ready to preach the teachings of FilmGuy1987, only to find that he is surrounded with people who have just the exact same sense of entitlement and most likely for the exact same reasons. There, he might find a bunch of people who, like him, think “The Dark Knight” is the most profound exploration of the human mind. This will sustain his ideas and fortify them. He might also find someone who thinks Michael Bay is awesome (and he might call himself TheDamnBeast), whom he’ll believe is just a complete fucking moron. Agreeing with others fortifies his ego, and disagreeing with others does the same; either way this train is headed towards Shitheadville.

In extreme cases, FilmGuy1987 will become so convinced that what he thinks is Truth, that he will begin expecting everyone else—geeks or not—to agree with him and be as passionate as he is about the things he is passionate about. SethFuckinPutnam86 will shamelessly scorn his parents for thinking Suffocation is just noise. SonyFan will thraten to scissor kick TendoFan in the jaw for thinking the PS3 is a failure. FilmGuy1987 will call a random girl at the video store a dumb cunt for not wanting to watch a Korean movie, and might stop talking to his friend who thought Freddy Cougar was the killer of Friday the 13th.

Oh and all this shitty behavior will be enabled online, too.

So FilmGuy1987’ego has become so big, and his self-worth so dependant upon his close-mindedness and ideas, that he has officially become an insufferable asshole to everyone except WesAndersonFan00 and 6InglouriousBasterd9, both of whom live 1,200 miles away and probably wouldn't want to meet IRL anyway.

Having an opinion and critical thinking are great things. It becomes a problem when FilmGuy1987 decides that his opinions are worth more than a welcome mat made with a Vegas hooker’s pubic hair, because here’s the thing: his opinion, yours, or mine, isn’t really that important. It shouldn’t be that important to FilmGuy1987 because it certainly isn’t that important to anyone else, despite what he might think. There are a million billion others who share FilmGuy1987’s ridiculous sense of entitlement and will probably have differing opinions on even the most pointless shit. This shouldn’t be an issue, and it’s only one when FilmGuy1987’s opinions are equated with his self worth, and this self worth is challenged by some idiot online.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with being confident in your opinions, and standing by them—I genuinely think passion is (almost) always a commendable thing. Obviously, I think it’s awesome to use the internet as a platform to expose your opinions and put your reviews, previews, articles and thoughts out for the entire world to read. Blogs are a great tool, and people have launched entire careers from doing just that. Say what you will about Harry Knowles (Ain’t It Cool News)’ creepy facial hair or John Fallon’s (Arrow In The Head) childish style, but they’re proof that if you’re likable, accessible and a good writer, people will begin following you. Seriously, have you read Arrow’s reviews lately? As someone who’s been following that site since the early 2000’s, I’m genuinely happy to see how grounded and level-headed that man still is, even if I don’t always agree with him. A lesser nerd would've become a giant twat years ago. He's comfortable with himself, has a life outside his site and his forums, and this leads to him understanding that his opinion is just that.

So really, you don’t need to stick the Preachings of FilmGuy1987 up anyone’s ass and you certainly shouldn’t be afraid to be wrong. If a more mature FilmGuy1987 hated a movie, but then someone explains why it’s amazing, FilmGuy1987 won’t be afraid to eat his own words, agree, and change his mind. FilmGuy1987 won’t be dumber because of it, but smarter. FilmGuy1987 knows that people grow, become more informed, more intelligent, and opinions naturally change.

TL;DR: Don’t be an asshole, and always remember the popular case of Different Strokes vs. Different Folks.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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  1. Cabin in the Woods is ghey.


  2. Great Note! Most nerds should read

  3. Loved the post and everything you said is pretty much spot on (especially when it comes to movie related chat in imdb). It cross-spans to pretty much every other fandom or area of interest, as you mentioned, and . that South Park nod sums up every troll and internet 'critic' around, too.

    Really digging your blog btw (including that kick ass drawing of a wolf in a gorilla suit). Getting a definite follow from me!