Monday, December 10, 2012

On Being A Nerd...

I am a nerd, and I was a nerd long before it was cool.  I'd read all 14 of the Oz books by third grade.  High school was more of the same.  While I was most decidedly an underachiever, I was still a nerd.  I didn't go to parties or dances.  My happiest high school memories revolve around all night study sessions, either with my two closest friends or with my Academic Decathlon team.  Hell, even when we ditched class, we did it to  watch the Star Wars movies at a friend's house.

I love being a nerd.  I like learning things, and it takes only a little curiosity to send me down the rabbit hole of obsession for hours and days and months and years.  That's how I became so familiar with Tudor history. I've read everything I can get my grubby little hands on, spent hours poring over museum websites and planning the trip to England (to tour all the historical Tudor sites) I will never be able to afford.  It is what being a nerd is all about....indulging your love of something even if it's impractical and basically useless.

I love that being a nerd is becoming cool.  It's nice to know that it will be easier for the next generation of nerds to be who they are.  While it's true that social ostracism doesn't really deter nerds from being nerdy, it does make it more painful.  And while some great things have come out of that pain, it's also made for some very unhappy nerds.  And, frankly, being nerdy is much more fun when you can share it with people you like, when you can have a family that gets you.

I worry, though, what this trend towards nerd becoming mainstream means.  As anyone who's ever been a fan of an obscure band can tell you, mainstream success often comes at a price.  A watering down to make it more enjoyable for more people.  And while it's fun to share your nerdy interests with someone, it's so not worth it if it ruins your interest.  

Luckily for me, nothing is going to change Tudor history, (though Hollywood has made some abysmal choices in re-imagining it) but as with most nerds, I have more than one area of interest.  The Star Wars franchise was ruined by the prequels, for instance.  So many people waited decades for those movies and were sorely disappointed, and now you can't even find the original trilogy without the remastering.  The latest Star Trek movie (which I just saw, because I'm always a couple years late to the party) was awesome, but I know there are new movies in the works, and it always makes me nervous when when a modern version is coming.  I understand that making a movie or television show hast to be profitable, but it's very upsetting when that profit comes at the cost of quality.  

I'm excited to see what the nest few years mean in terms of new movies, new shows.  But there's going to be hell to pay if they ruin something I love.  And by hell, I mean a strongly worded letter and lots of pouting and whining.  Because I will always be a nerd, and that's what we nerds do.