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The nerd yacht swamps other boats on the rising tide [Apr. 22nd, 2008|03:01 pm]
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One thing this recent controversy brings up for me is what I see as a blind spot in straight white male nerd thought.

Having experienced mild forms of systemized social ostracism during adolescence, you'd think nerds would be equipped to recognize true inequality. Sadly, they usually don't. When nerds do recognize such things, they often assume their social discomfort allows one to discount racism, misogyny, class conflict, etc. Which it doesn't, no matter how intense. (Example: Perhaps you've suffered as a woman, but what about those years I thought I'd never touch a boob?)

Overall, however, white nerdboys rarely recognize how improvements in their social status results from activism by others. For example, the ways in which gay rights legitimized the dubious "lack" of masculinity* and camp behavior of the nerd archetype. Gains by many groups has made things much easier for the straight white male geek, so when they act entitled, they are fucking with the people who wrote the checks their asses are cashing.

In relation to above, it is even more striking how the Open Source Boob Project is essentially an awkward heteronormative attempt to duplicate the hanky code.

I'm going to be offline for the many hours, so if these ideas offend I won't be able to discuss until much later.

Edited to add: What muckefuck and liveavatar said.

*Edited to Add: I revised this wording because the idea masculine means inherently straight is exactly was debunked by gay rights.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2008-04-22 08:13 pm (UTC)

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I like your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
From: vee_ecks
2008-04-22 08:22 pm (UTC)

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"Having experienced mild forms of systemized social ostracism during adolescence, you'd think nerds would be equipped to recognize true inequality."

Why? In general, oppression doesn't naturally lead to some kind of social/political awakening, it leads to more quotidian urges like revenge. Which is why the poor of the US are probably the most gung-ho capitalists possible, outside of the minority of legitimized captitalist success stories, here. You want somebody to argue at length about how evil inheritance tax is? Ask an American who's never going to be in danger of receiving one.

I think I'll just keep on my thus-successful track of pretty much knowing which women want me to touch their boobs without the use of badges, and making boob-touchie calls on an individual basis.

[User Picture]From: pope_guilty
2008-04-22 09:07 pm (UTC)

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You want somebody to argue at length about how evil inheritance tax is? Ask an American who's never going to be in danger of receiving one.

I am stealing the hell out of this line. :D
From: vee_ecks
2008-04-22 09:33 pm (UTC)

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Have at it.
[User Picture]From: fengi
2008-04-22 10:43 pm (UTC)

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'Tis true, tis true. But if there's one group I wish could make the connection, it's the nerds who supposedly overthink everything.
[User Picture]From: maxomai
2008-04-22 08:25 pm (UTC)

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In relation to above, it is even more striking how the Open Source Boob Project is essentially an awkward heteronormative attempt to duplicate the hanky code.

Fucking brilliant!

Speaking as a white male nerd myself (who got more than his share, IMO, of social ostracization pretty much until grad school): what kind of women are going to stick with this idea? Even if the self-esteem of such a woman isn't in the gutter, the novelty is going to get really old as the system is abused to hell and back.

Instead of trying to create a movement to "open source" women's bodies, they would do far better to start listening to Leykis and apply his ideas. Seriously. He's a sexist pig, yes, but he also teaches people to raise their standards and clean up their acts, two things these poor geeks desperately need to figure out.

That, plus join some sort of performance group where brains and pain help. Improv, drama club, community theater, real theater, movies, whatever. It's fun, it's memories for a lifetime, and added bonus, the women are nuclear hot.
[User Picture]From: marieoroumania
2008-04-23 01:06 am (UTC)

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I know Leykis and he's actually extremely respectful, highly intelligent, and well-spoken (and I'm a woman who apparently bears a frightening resemblance to one of his ex-wives.) If you listen to his show carefully -- it took me years to figure this out -- it's mostly well-engineered goading of his goons, who are the truly offensive ones.
[User Picture]From: ortho_bob
2008-04-22 08:34 pm (UTC)

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The intense cloistered communality of nerd groups encourages people who are scared of displaying any kind of sexuality to the outside to open up to what they assume will be a non-judgmental and supportive enclave of likeminded folk. However this can sometimes seem like license for guys with more mainstream urges, who, encountering this kind of thing for the first time, want to know what's in it for them. (And I was that guy for a while, although in my case it just manifested itself as grumpy disdain.)
[User Picture]From: liveavatar
2008-04-22 08:35 pm (UTC)

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Not disagreeing with any of the above. However, I'd widen the circle you draw here to read, "Overall, however, few people recognize how improvements in their social status result from activism by others." At least not without some serious external prompting.
[User Picture]From: fengi
2008-04-22 10:45 pm (UTC)

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Well yes, but if there's one group you might expect to make the connection it's the nerd class who overthinks everything. Except given the uncritical acceptence of libertarianism/Ayn Rand/Ron Paul/etc. among some nerds, I guess not.
[User Picture]From: liveavatar
2008-04-23 01:04 am (UTC)

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Yeah, that second sentence says it all. For they are puissant* warriors who stand at the edge of the quarry and shape the world with their mighty brains! Feer themz! That's the best I can figure.

Isn't there some other philosophy, perhaps with a good novel attached**, that allows people to revel in their individual power and creativity without encouraging them to look down on the riff-raff? (E.g., I always liked Island by Aldous Huxley, though I'm not sure I could call it good.) Something that lets people feel happy about succeeding AND realize that paying taxes isn't automatically evil?

I might be feeling a little grumpy today.


______
*Minus the U.
**Sorry, LRH.
[User Picture]From: muckefuck
2008-04-22 09:19 pm (UTC)

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I'm infamous among my friends for my attendance of "bear runs"--essentially, consensual gropefests. (Since by last year at the latest we reached the point where middle-aged suburban moms could come to us and say "Oh, I know all about you!", I don't think I actually need to go into an explanation of the gay male bear subculture.) Years ago now, one of my oldest straight nerdboy friends asked me, "How come I don't have a weekend where I can go to a convention centre filled with young blond women who want to fuck skeevy middle-aged men?" "You all run the culture," I told him, "you tell me."

I'm not surprised that his day is finally here; I'm surprised it took so freakin' long to arrive.
[User Picture]From: fengi
2008-04-22 10:46 pm (UTC)

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BWAH! This is so awesome.
From: vito_excalibur
2008-04-23 01:14 am (UTC)

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I understood that was known as Comdex?
[User Picture]From: liveavatar
2008-04-23 05:15 am (UTC)

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Thinking about Comdex that way cheers me right up. :)
[User Picture]From: sabrarosa
2008-04-22 10:15 pm (UTC)

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Points to you for figuring out something most never do. I give you a cupcake. :)
[User Picture]From: se_parsons
2008-04-22 11:08 pm (UTC)

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This is so completely true.
[User Picture]From: marieoroumania
2008-04-23 01:03 am (UTC)

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This isn't even a nerd thing you're talking about. It's something I like to call Nice Guy Syndrome. As in, "Why don't girls ever like me? I'm such a nice guy. I can't believe that girls always choose those guys over me. I'm so nice. Look how I act. I'm so nice!"

That translates to, Look what I do for you; now give me what I want. Which isn't nice at all. In fact, it's pretty clear that you're an asshole, Mr. Nice Guy. And that is why women don't like you. But they never get it.

The particular blindness that is Nice Guy Syndrome seems to go along with the nerdiness you mention, and may be an offshoot of it, but it's unfair to nerds to lump them all in with those particular tools. (Yes, I have been the attempted prey of a lot of Nice Guys, before I actually settled down with a man who actually is very very nice. And who knows that if he squeezed a bunch of girls' boobs, in all but a very few social contexts, I would probably be shocked, horrified, and ultimately extremely upset.)
[User Picture]From: fengi
2008-04-23 04:28 am (UTC)

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Well, at least The Ferret is smart enough to grovel and feel shame after one day. Most of us who act like nice guys get stuck in defensive mode for years.

Edited at 2008-04-23 04:29 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: marieoroumania
2008-04-23 04:35 am (UTC)

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I don't know whether I think he's a Nice Guy, either -- just that this behavior is characteristic of the nerd subset of Nice Guys. And you don't seem like a Nice Guy Syndrome guy, you seem like a nice person. I've never heard you go on and on about how nice you are, which is a red flag. Also, is he acting shamed? I didn't really take issue with too much of what he wrote in retrospect. Just the part that it seemed they were going up to people at random and asking them for a squeeze. That to me is a horrible violation of boundaries. But I've been told, and not by him, that I mis-read or that his writing at that time wasn't clear.
[User Picture]From: mr_quackenbush
2008-04-23 03:24 am (UTC)

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i think you're right on about this:
"...mild forms of systemized social ostracism during adolescence, you'd think nerds would be equipped to recognize true inequality"

My own experience, which I'd actually characterize as something worse than mild given that my social awkwardness was exacerbated by psychological problems, was that being able to grow up and find myself an adult in a world where I had literally been able to outgrow my awkwardness and shed the oppression of childhood made me more sympathetic to people who didn't have that option open to them.