Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bubble Wrap Is Fun...Except When You're Trapped In It

I'm fairly sure rock4ever95 expected me to be somewhat offended by his most recent post, especially given that I'm mentioned in the first paragraph.
If that was the case, I broke expectations. Granted, I have one or two problems with certain specific things, but he makes a very good point nonetheless
So you should go read that post before coming back here, because I am going to talk about why I think it's important that you read it. I'm not even going to talk about said specific things. This is a positive post (what? A positive reaction to a post the guy with which you had that not-so-infamous Will Grayson debate? WHAT? Yes. I know. Haha.)

People, especially those in or near their teenage years, tend to have a need to fit in, to feel like they belong. They will often fulfill this need by joining groups: school clubs, fandoms, sports teams, Nerdfighteria, etc. These groups are comprised of people with similar interests coming together to share in those interests. This will ideally result in fun, friends, and fulfillment. None of which are bad things.

The thing with Nerdfighteria, as described in his post, is that it's like the corporate conglomerate of fandoms and school clubs. It's the school club for all of the people who are also already in clubs D, F, T, B, and A. This results in creating what he often refers to as the "John Green cult." While the term makes me slightly uncomfortable since I associate with said group, I can't exactly argue with it. Pizza John shirts, anyone? ;)

The vlogbrothers themselves wouldn't want it to be referred to like that, since to them it's about the community and not the self-glorification, but what they want isn't the point. It's how the people involved respond to them, and to each other. And that is the issue.

Some people fall into the, for want of a better word, "cult mentality" of the thing because they love the feeling of belonging. They devote themselves whole-heartedly to the phenomenon, sometimes to slightly-disturbing extremes. It's one thing to do this for a time. It is another to never come back out. This is unhealthy. Which is why it is important that posts like the one about which I am writing (and hopefully this one as well) are not only written, but also read and thought about.

Moderation, people. It's important. Be in the community and love/enjoy the community, but the purpose of finding a place in which to belong isn't to stay there and never leave for the rest of your life. It's to use it as a launch-pad for yourself as a person (as well as to enjoy it for what it is).To build yourself a base of operations, and to become a better/stronger person because of it. To live, to love, to learn, and to move on. (Not saying to abandon it entirely-- just to allow yourself to spread out a bit more.)
Don't be "a nerdfighter." Be "a person who happens to be a nerdfighter."

So I leave you with my favorite part of his post: "I am a firm believer in being a cultural omnivore. When you devote yourself entirely to one thing or one style or one genre you miss out on all this awesome stuff in different styles and genres."
I am definitely not as successful as I'd like to be in that goal, but it's something I'm working on (expect a post on that soon. I find it interesting). And regardless of whether or not I'm good at it, I think it's a good thing to keep in mind when making cultural choices. **raises shields against hypocrisy accusations**


  1. Way to nerd snipe me with the link to Liberal Rocker. Anyway, I really wish I could wear my Pizza John shirt in public without feeling enormously creepy.

  2. Nerd snipe-- that's awesome. Will your insurance cover that? :)

  3. Not if I spend all day reading blogs and lose my job.


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