Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

In this ongoing discussion about Geek representation on TV that has been bouncing about, Rictus asked:

By internal nerdiness, I mean the thought processes of nerds. How do nerds process the world? What does it mean to one to be a nerd? Why is this nerdy? In other words, what internal filters are brought to bear on the world that are unique to nerds, as opposed to jocks, fashionistas, bros, etc. If there is a "bro code," is there a corresponding nerd code? I am trying to contrast the outer trappings of what it looks like to be a nerd to what it feels like to be a nerd.


I tried to come up with some books that spoke to the issues Rictus raised, which I think take a really interesting angle ab0ut geekishness as being a constellation of ways of thinking and behaving, rather than an immutable, collective identity. (Be that liking SF or being socially awkward or being very enthusiastic about anything or a great many other things, and motivated by any combination of personality, background, social setting, interests, etc.)

This strikes me as a much more intriguing and original way to approach the question of geek representation, not to mention less offensive and marginalizing.

Because Kinja is a mess of a system and because my Goodreads tags are incomprehensible even to myself, I'm dragging it out here to see if anyone has more suggestions, (including other mediums, like games or comics that i'm not familiar with) because I know i'm missing obvious stuff.



To quote myself and add pictures, (because i'm lazy about rewriting and I like pictures):


As to showing the inner world...well, you kind of need literature for that. Have you tried The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao? Or maybe some of Michael Chabon's stuff? Or Iain Banks (note the lack of an "M") - I haven't read them, but I think The Wasp Factory and The Quarry both have these geeky characters dealing with the world.


Or, come to think of it, The Remains of the Day - it's a psychological portrait of, admittedly, a middle aged butler in 50's England, but it deals very intensely with social awkwardness and isolation, and people wrapping themselves up in labels and social divisions and working hard at pouring meaning into them because they're afraid of the intimacy of dealing with others bereft of those protections and so on. It's a fantastic book.

Oh, or Jo Walton's Among Others. (I didn't love it that much, but it has it's good parts, about relating to the world through books, SF and fannishness, finding or losing friends that way, etc.)


In short, TV (mostly) just aint the medium, though, well, I do like TBBT because I do think it gets under the skin of geekishness as a practice, and asks - well, why? Why would this person live like this? What are the consequences? Some of the answers are positive, some aren't.


You could also try Ready Player One, actually - I found it alienating and melancholy, while the rest of...everyone ever, as far as I can tell, though it was a incredibly fun, (probably the same complex that leads to my odd reading of TBBT, now that I think of it,) but if you look past the nostalgia and the fun of recognizing the references, I think there's a much more interesting current there about escapism, fannishness, obsession, fitting in/getting out, etc.

Of course, Abed in Community does a bit of that too, but like I said, I think Community is just too nice about geekishness to be really interesting at all. It's all flattery, no criticism. I find it far more compelling on that level in terms of, say, seeing myself in Britta as pretentious liberal activist than I do seeing myself in Abed as an obsessive geek.


Maybe also Leverage, for Hardison and Parker making up the twin sides of geek - Hardison is the enthusiastic, brilliant, fannish, Parker is socially awkward - not to say stunted - and obsessive.

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