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Nerd Culture 2

Are Nerds Trendsetters? (Freewrite)

Yuki’s Note: This is unorganized and I probably got a few things wrong about nerd culture in the mainstream.  Whoops. 

I love scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing ads from companies such as Sugoi Shirts and Kaomoji.  Seeing their flamboyant Japanese street fashion inspired clothing makes me smile at the expense of my wallet.  But who cares as long as it could make me look good. I just wanna rock a fuckin’ shirt with an anime girl with a censor bar across her eyes in public!  It just makes me feel good about myself and feeds my ever growing ego. But man, who would imagine vendors online selling stylish and fashionable weeaboo shirts on Facebook?

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Nerds have come a long way since the darker days of our passion when we were shamed for simply enjoying our nerd culture.  If I were to wear my weeaboo attire 20 years ago, people would mock me.  Today? People (for the most part) tend to mind their business.  Shit, just the other day,  when I  went to my local head shop the store clerk saw my shirt and we started talking about Fate series for a few minutes (he thought my sunglasses were something based off Fate).  It was a lovely chat until he said that Rin was the worse girl in the Fate series and that Saber was the best.

I ain’t never going back to that headshop.

Anyway, you wanted to catch a superhero movie in full cosplay back in 1996 and you were over the age of 13?  You got roasted!  Now it’s the norm for people to cosplay as their favorite Marvel or DC superhero at opening night. If there was a nerd in a TV show, they were the laughing stock loser who never get the woman.  They never got anywhere.  But shows such as Silicon Valley has ended the stereotype that nerds are losers and that their hobbies won’t get them anywhere.  I gotta say, this is the golden era of the nerd.

Everything that I’ve mentioned above now leads me to this question: Are nerds trendsetters?

The obvious question is yes, of course.  In fact, I even answered the question my self.  So leave my page.  I want to say that, but I do enjoy going deeper with my theories and exploring them. We (well, I) have come up with the conclusion that nerds are trendsetters.  But why?  Why are us nerds trendsetters, and how can we take advantage of this before the inevitable nerd bubble breaks and we’re back to being shoved into lockers and having our lunch money stolen by the jocks (well, you weak nerds are getting shoved into the lockers, I’m knocking anyone out who tries to do that to me).

This is my theory:

People were tired of the old shit and wanted something new.   Everyone and their moms love reality TV, watching sports, drinking at the local bar, what have you.  Meanwhile, the nerds were in the background; creating and working on their passion. We spent our time inside, communicating with our peers, showcasing our talent online.  As time went on and technology advance bringing the advent of social media people were started to take notice of the group they once shunned away: The Nerd.

Social media lead the way for nerds to showcase their creative talent (although we’ve been doing this shit years and years  before that came along through online forums, blogs, etc.) As more people gain access to the internet, the more nerds were given exposure.  Yes, there were TV channels such as the Sci-Fi Channel, Tech TV, and g4, but they were only viewed by their niche target market.

Now?  Well, I mean they’re still being watched by their niche market, but the normies are getting into them as well.   Oh and g4 is dead.  So perhaps that doesn’t count.  Shows that were once for nerds with cahs (meaning they could afford internet and cable packages) are available through streaming services such as Hulu, Crunchyroll, Netflix, etc..   The video game industry makes more than the movie industry.   Anime is…catching up.  It still has a some catching up to do, but with anime (slowly) creeping into the mainstream, I say it won’t be long until anime in the West is treated like film.

It’s funny to think about how nerds are shaping things up.  We’re like rockstars (almost).  Seriously.  Go on YouTube right now and you see that some of the top YouTubers are people talking about video games or streaming themselves playing games.  Two decades ago folks would scream at nerds that playing games isn’t a real career.   Today? Playing video games and screaming at a game for hours on end is considered a real job. Of course, you have those normies who think that isn’t a real career, but they’re just mad that they’re slaving away at some corporate or labor gig they hate while the nerds they used to bully are making hunder of thousands of dollars playing video games.

So, to anwser my own question: Yes. Nerds are trendsetters.

 

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Hating Popular Things Makes You An Intresting Person (Freewrite)

Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” Anyone who does not think Averages: Infinity Wars is a masterpiece superhero film obviously stands opposite to the majority.   Bored at work, I decided to make a shitpost on some Black nerd anime group stating that I do not think Infinity War was a great film (despite the fact I have yet to see it and I wanted to stir up a flame war). The post was merely an excuse to secretly give spoilers of characters dying (as I used a gif of Beerus of Dragon Ball Super erasing Zamasu from existence: a subtle hint to what Thanos did half the universe in the movie).

As expected, Marvel fanboys (who can’t handle the fact people won’t dickride their favorite movies/comics) attacked me. They called me a troll, a hater, insane, whatever insults they could use against during their blind fanboy rage.  I simply laughed: as they didn’t know I never watched the movie (and I was going off spoilers I read online). Manipulative? Yes.  Yes, it was.  Do I care? Nope. Anyways, scrolling through yet another masterpiece troll post of mines I came across a post with the Kirby meme “Hating on popular things doesn’t make you interesting.”

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I love this meme.  Love to make fun of it given how silly it is to think that way.  See, I think people who don’t like things others enjoy are interesting.  They bring something different to the table. A unique taste or flavor so to speak. It gets boring talking to people who share similar interests.  I rather have somebody who’s a bit of an outlier around.  You can’t debate and/or argue with people that share your views – you don’t learn at all from them.

Somebody who has opposite viewpoints, you can learn from them.

By interacting with those who may not share your views, you learn what makes them tick. Somebody may not Pokemon, but they love Digimon.  They might be willing to share their love of Digimon with you to give you an insight of thin passion.  You get invited to go over to their house to watch a few episodes of it and you may even enjoy it.  Dealing with people who are opposite of you is great. Furthermore, you’ll learn skills to handle situations where somebody might have a disagreement with you.

Do you really think you’re an interesting person because you like what’s popular – just like everyone else?  You’re not.  You’re not different.  You’re boring. Bland.  Uninspiring.  Whenever I see a post like “hating on popular things doesn’t make you cool” or whatever, that just tells me this: “I am secretly insecure about the things I enjoy and I can’t’ handle criticism on it because I don’t have confidence towards it.” Confident people don’t let the “hate” get to their head. They just move on with their lives, heads held up high knowing what they enjoy is hot shit.  Nobody can tell them otherwise. So what if people hate things you enjoy?  Stop reacting to the hate and do you.

I believe this world needs that balance of people loving and hating on popular things.

Nerd Culture 2

Spoilers Don’t Mean S**t!

(Warning: Major spoilers for Fire Emblem 4: Genealogy of the Holy War and Doki Doki Literature Club. I’m not dealin’ with ya weebaboos and ya hurt feelings.)

I can fondly remember when my homeboy (at the time) “spoiled” the fact that Hotaru was Sailor Saturn (Sailor Moon S) in grade school.  I had just finished watching my first episode of Sailor Moon (episode 117: Higher, Stronger! Cheers by Usagi) the previous day and was hooked.  I expressed my love for the Hotaru character and her awesomeness. Unlike Usagi and Chibi-Usa (who had to transform in order to gain their powers), Hotaru didn’t need to transform for her powers.  My dude smiled and said “You know Hotaru is actually a Sailor Scout, right?  She’s Sailor Saturn.  That’s why she has powers. In fact, not only is she a Sailor Saturn, she’s being controlled by somebody else.”

“Ahh!” I replied.  “No wonder she could do those things like blasting a monster across a track field.”  The spoilers about Hotaru’s truth identify didn’t ruin her character for me.  In fact, it made me more excited to watch more Sailor Moon S. I wanted to see Hotaru’s journey as a sickly, lonely girl to the Soldier of Destruction (who ironically, would save the world from destruction).

 

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Same.

 
Spoilers don’t mean shit.  Being spoiled about an event in the media we consume never ruin the emotional experience. In fact, it makes it better.  Some may say “But spoiling something will make you disappointed or change your mind about a character.” Okay, so what? Your views of a character are going to change regardless of you got spoiled on their actions or not. Why try to avoid the inevitable when it’s going to hit you sooner or later?

Let me change your mind about spoilers. I know I can.

 

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Spoilers: Don’t click the first search result for “Aeris Dies” at your job.

 

Spoilers neither ruins nor replace the emotional experience that you’d otherwise witness.  Spoilers are just words. They don’t provide the gut hitting visuals of seeing your favorite character die.  Spoilers don’t give you the sense of anger of seeing a “trustworthy” ally betraying his best friend on screen. “But Ben!  What about twists and surprises!?”  Oh well.  Once you consumed media for nearly 25 years you tend to get bored with surprises and twists.

Recently, I’ve been playing the popular Western visual novel, Doki Doki Literature Club/DDLC (not to be confused with the obscure PC98 visual novel Doki Doki Vacation).  Through my adventures (of playing the game), people were trying (failing) to convince me not to read spoilers.  They told me that it’s better to experience the game blind so I could “truly appreciate” the game for what it is.

 

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DDLC Girls(left-to-right): Knife-Chan the Pervert, Princess of Daddy Issues, Tears of a Clown, and Machiavelli. 

First off, I had to laugh at those who believed I should play DDLC by their standards. Second, telling me to avoid spoilers won’t work – it’ll just make me read them. Through reading spoilers, I discovered that Monika was the true villain of DDLC. Monika was a manipulative, angry, jealous, and lonely girl who wanted someone to love her and grant her freedom (from her digital prison and self-awareness powers).  Did those spoilers impacted and change my views on Monika? Of course, but in turn, it made more interested in her character (given that I enjoy manipulative/Machiavellian-type characters).

 

Here’s where I still felt the emotional impact of Monika’s cruel deeds despite being “spoiled”.

As Monika brags about killing Natsuki, Yuri, and Sayori, your character is forced to sit across from her in the Literature Club (now the Room of Eternity).  The distorted music, dark orange tint filling the room, and Monika staring at your eye gave me a sense of unease.  I felt anger as Monika casually – yet coldly – discussed how she murdered her friends.  Now, do you see how spoilers don’t replace those emotions?  Again, they don’t give you that visual treat.

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Reading those spoilers didn’t provide me with those emotions – but playing the game did. The spoilers just enhanced my journey, which brings me to my next point.

Around 2005, I started playing Fire Emblem 4: Genealogy of the Holy War.  I “foolishly” spoiled the game’s ultimate plow twist – Arvis murdering the main character, Sigurd. Furthermore, Arvis manipulated the nobles of  Grandbell to wage war against a few nations:  just so he could have the nobles kill each other. Arvis’s schemes prove successful.

 

Rather than being mad at myself (for “ruining” the plot), I became curious about Arvis’s “terrible” deeds and did research.  I discovered the game development notes of Shouzou Kaga (creator of Fire Emblem); gaining information on Arvis (that changed my mind about him). Arvis was angry at the nobles of Grandbell who abused their power – subjecting their citizens to levels of extreme poverty (while the nobles spent their riches on themselves).

Arvis – in his head – thought himself as a liberating hero for the common man.

The spoilers didn’t ruin the plot for me.  In reality, not only did it made me want to play the game, it made me respect Kaga’s complex writing of Arvis’s character.  Kaga’s notes help me understood the tragic (anti) villain archetype of media.  It was the kick that I needed to see the game all the way to the end – to see how the events unfold through Kaga’s craftsmanship.

See how spoilers can work in your favor?

Spoilers do not mean shit. This was a fact that I discovered back in my childhood with Hotaru/Sailor Saturn, one of my favorite characters of all time. Being spoilers on certain characters might change my views on them.  That’s okay: it was going to change either way.  Reading spoilers helped me understand why villains such as Arvis and Monika had to do the things they did – and I still got emotional when I reached their villain reveals in their respected games. The spoilers got me in the head of the creator and made me felt what they felt.  To me, that’s the ultimate sign of respect for a creator: understanding their works.

Spoilers don’t ruin the story.  They enhance it.

 

SOURCES:

Spoiler Alert: Spoilers Make You Enjoy Stories More by Adny Murdock
https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/spoiler-alert-spoilers-make-you-enjoy-stories-more

Spoilers Don’t Spoil Anything by Jonah Lehrer:
https://www.wired.com/2011/08/spoilers-dont-spoil-anything/

Spoiler Alert: Spoilers Don’t Ruin Stories by Melissa Dahl
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/body-odd/spoiler-alert-spoilers-dont-ruin-stories-after-all-flna1C6437232

Shouzou Kaga’s Comments/Designer Notes on Fire Emblem 4
https://serenesforest.net/general/designers-notes/holy-war/shouzou-kagas-comments/
https://serenesforest.net/general/designers-notes/holy-war/fire-emblem-treasure/
https://serenesforest.net/general/designers-notes/holy-war/playing-guide/

(Yuki’s notes: Arvis did nothing wrong as he fought for the greater good of the people.  Monika was wrong because she was a selfish simp.)