#688 – Negative Nerds



When it first debuted in 1989 I was banned from watching The Simpsons. Compared to what’s on television now The Simpsons seems rather tame. But as soon as Bart said, “I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?” I knew that Springfield and all of its citizens would never light up our family’s television screen.

I never really watched The Simpsons, even after my mother stopped controlling my television watching habits, but I still know a lot about the characters.

I know who Moe is.

I know that Ned Flanders’s wife died at some point.

And I know all about Comic Book Guy.

Comic Book Guy is Springfield’s resident nerd. He owns the comic book store and every time I see him he is complaining about some part of nerdom. I know that Comic Book Guy is a caricature of nerds everywhere and his negativity is representative of a large majority of nerds.

I am very negative about negative nerds.

Sometimes it seems that nerds can only be happy if they’re complaining about the things they supposedly love so much.

People loved the original trilogy so much that they felt entitled to rake the prequels across the coals.

People loved Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek so much that they feel entitled to destroy J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek.

People loved the Avengers comic books so much that they feel entitled to nitpick everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

If we love our favorite nerdclinations we should look for reasons to appreciate them, not excuses to tear them down. I generally try to be a positive person and I carry that over to my nerdclinations.

Were the prequels perfect? No but I was happy to see the Star Wars saga continue.

Was Star Trek Into Darkness the best Star Trek movie? No but there hasn’t been a Star Trek television series on air since 2005 so I was happy for it.

Did The Avengers cover the depth of 50 years of comic books? No but I was so excited to see the Avengers assembled onscreen for the first time that it didn’t matter.

If we love something then we should look for reasons to love it. It’s much easier to be critical of something than it is to appreciate it. I want to get joy out of my nerdclinations, not just anger and bitterness. I don’t understand the concept of hate watching anything, much less something that I support and love.

We can expand this idea of looking for reasons to love something beyond our nerdclinations. We can often have the same mindset with the Church that we have with our nerdclinations. We say that we love the Church but look for reasons to criticize her instead of reasons to love her. The Church is imperfect but she’s also the bride of Christ. And if we love her we should go out of our way to show it.

What helps you look for reasons to love your favorite nerdclinations?


7 comments on “#688 – Negative Nerds”

  1. Worst. Post. Ever. You know, this blog is everything that is WRONG with fans today…


    You know I’m just kidding! This is actually a great post, one of your best, once again hitting that “sweet spot” of a great balance of nerdy stuff and faithful reflection.

    The only nuance I would add – and I’m sure it’s ocurred to you already – is that constructive criticism has its place, in both geek and church culture. But you’re absolutely right: it is far too easy to descend into flat-out negativity. I’ve probably done it more than once this year, ahem, ahem (Flibbedy Floo, quoth Grumpy Old Fan). I’m trying more often to remember the words of that great philosopher, Thumper’s mama: If I can’t say anything nice…

    As always, your dedication to the blog and your economic, incisive use of language is a model. Thanks!

    1. You make me laugh, Mike.

      Constructive criticism is great. We all need constructive criticism and, in an appropriate context, we also need to give it.

      Unfortunately most nerd criticism is incapable of being constructive. Ranting about why I hate a nerdclination I love doesn’t do any good. I’m not friends with George Lucas or J.J. Abrams so my criticism isn’t constructive and only puts myself and others in a bad mood.

      As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your encouraging words.

      1. That is a helpful distinction. That said, perhaps there is still place for reasoned criticism of, say, “Man of Steel,” as opposed to, “That’s not MY Superman!”

        And, interestingly, the creators of ST Into Darkness seem to have taken fan “critcism” (and/or complaining) into account when having Kirk busted down in the ranks as the new movie starts (to answer the charge of, he became cap’n too fast). Maybe, in our wired day and age, fan criticism also sometimes has a constructive role to play.

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