Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Pokemon Go Home (Part One)

I will say this for nerds: they're consistent. 

Every so often, something new will come along that will cause a real sensation. In the 90s, it was Magic cards and vampire LARPs. As soon as that New Thing finds its audience and they're enjoying it, the assholes crawl out of their caves and go to work. This New Thing sucks, is stupid, is lame, and anyone who enjoys it (god forbid someone enjoy something that is not approved by the overcouncil of the Nerd Orthodoxy) is sucky, stupid, and lame too. 

Oh, those damned Magic players, ruining everything.

Those weird vampire kids! Those lame-o Pokemon players! 

Nerds are some of the most small-minded, judgemental, and let's face it, mean people you can imagine. For people who claim to be open, inclusive, and accepting, they are the very first to jump aboard the Asshole Express and fling shit out the windows as they ride the rails to Fuck You City. Without irony, these players of games (roleplaying, board, and video) and collectors of toys and obsessive watchers of media sneer and call someone else childish because they don't like the same things. Nerds moan about being the ones who were outcast and abused in high school, but they learned to play that game too, baby. 

This happens over and over and bloody over again. Pokemon Go and its players are just the latest target that the shithead brigade have taken aim at.

And it gets really ugly when the New Thing is something that is deliberately trying to address social inequities in the community, such as a new roleplaying game that makes a deliberate effort to be more inclusive of marginalized people, or present an image of women that doesn't drive a whole gender out of the hobby. Nerds really don't like being called out on their obvious bigotry and parochialism. 

Fuck you, inclusive New Thing! Fuck you, basic human decency - get the hell outta my hobby!

Even people in the hobby who like to fly the banner of acceptance and social justice seem to go out of their way to shit on other nerds. They're not human beings, after all, just "neckbeards" in fedoras. Because fuck those guys who aren't friends of mine playing the same games and wearing the same clothes I think are awesome. They're lame. 

That's the sentiment that is at the bottom of all of this hate, this shit spewing all over nerd culture, this disease that is rotting our collective nerd brains: "I'm the cool one, and Those Other Guys suck." 

It's a bullshit, self-destructive, self-hating idea, and it needs to stop.

I am a nerd, and I wear that label with pride, without apology. I like all manner of things that have been called lame and childish and stupid, and I have no intention of changing that any time soon. I love my uncool obsessions, and I was lucky enough to marry someone who shares most of them with me. I'm 45 this year, and I just keep getting less cool with age, if that's even possible. 

If you're reading this, you need to make peace with the fact that you are Not Cool. Unless you accidentally stumbled across my blog on roleplaying, thinking it was about theatre or something, you came here because you're a nerd. You do stuff that people at your workplace (or in your neighbourhood, or even in your home) wouldn't understand, or accept, or ever make the mistake of calling "cool". Even if you wear your nerdy affections on your sleeve, or on a collection of t-shirts that baffle most people, you probably pick and choose the times you start a conversation with "Want to hear about my character?" 

You're Not Cool, and you know you're Not Cool. And if you're a healthy person mentally, you've made peace with that fact. 

The nerd world is big, and it's getting bigger every day. Have a look at the movies that are dominating the box office, the cash pumping into the video game industry, the number of television shows about superheroes and monsters and starships and clones. The roleplaying industry is a tiny outpost in a vast ocean of Awesomely Uncool Stuff, and it has never been bigger or more diverse. There is room for both D&D players and weird vampire kids and people who play games that include writing sad things on index cards. 

And yes, it is big enough to include women, and people who have more complicated gender identities, and people of colour, and people with disabilities, and gay people, and overweight people, and people who wear fedoras, and people of all ages who play Pokemon. 

Stop shitting on other people's fun. I've done it, you've done it, and it needs to stop. Everybody has an equal right to be Uncool. People are allowed to like things that aren't for you. You can safely continue liking the Uncool things you spend too much money and time on, because you've never been about being fashionable and current. You're a nerd. You like what you like. 

Let other people like what they like. 

Next, I'll talk about what the gaming community should be taking away from Pokemon Go. 

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