In my previous post, I discussed the first part of Noah Brand’s series on nerds. As I noted, Brand’s argument can be summed up as gamers are losers who were born losers, will die losers, and not even other losers will mourn them.
He attempts to show sympathy towards male geeks, yet instead falls into the ever common feminist mistake of bashing the people he claims to want to help. In his second part, Brand goes full McIntosh.
First, Brand graces us with an excellent Freudian slip:
In part one of this article, we talked about the cluster of people who are, or believe themselves to me, permanently awkward and socially nonfunctional, people who need simple and consistent rules for interactions.
I believe the proper English would be “or believe themselves to be,” however, the mistake is quite revealing. Geeks do not think themselves permanently awkward and socially dysfunctional. They usually think themselves misunderstood.
They’ve tried to make spaces for themselves within geek/nerd culture, where they don’t have to be acceptable to other people, and they respond with rage when they feel those spaces have been violated by “outsiders”.
Geeks did not create a space where they could be unacceptable; they created a space where they would be accepted. They usually have little problem with “outsiders” coming into that space, as long as the “outsiders” respect it. However, many of the “outsiders” do not respect the space. These people only want to control it. They often demonstrate this by harassing and mocking the community, which is ironically the reason the community exists.
Their experience of outsiders, and especially of women, is that they cause pain, therefore causing them pain is justifiable.
That is a very poor strawman. Most geeks do not attack “outsiders” or women, despite the pain they suffer. If they did, few people would target them for abuse. After all, it is unwise to abuse someone who will fight back. Better to abuse those one knows will do nothing, hence Brand’s two condescending articles. Continue reading