Monday, August 31, 2015

Nerd World

Youtube has brought about a fascinating portal into a world that previously you either understood intuitively because you were a prt of it, or you didn't understand at all.

But now the observer can observe without fundamentally changing the environment. That world is nerd world. You can gaze on it via youtube clips called 'let's play'.

I didn't really stumble on nerd world by accident. Rather resentfully. What I as an artist was looking for was the mind numbing hours of entertainment videogames provide without needing my hands that were occupied with drawing.

The annoying thing was that these lengthy youtube playlists arent just screen capture recordings of people silently playing video games, but often come with the commentary of the nerds playing these games.

At first I felt like offering the advice I heard was often offered to non-comedian talk show guests, 'don't try to be funny'. I've written before that for me the defining character trait of nerds is a lack of imagination. Hence the draw to high fantasy epics and computer games and movies with lots of explosions and plot twists, because to the unimaginative a little entertainment goes a long way.

But I strongly suspect that an being easily surprised makes for a geat comedy crowd and really shitty comedians. (Scarily alt-comedy rooms may subsequently be able to feed off theselves)

So at first I was in pain but at a loss for reliably long sources of quality entertainment.

Eventually though, I began to appreciate being able to see the world through the prism of a nerd.

I'm sure many nerds have for example heard about Donald Trump's run for the gop ticket or the mike brown ferguson riots and other topical news stories. They may even have strong opinions about matters of social justice. But in nerd world, the decisions of blizzard game designers are actually important to their lives. The inclusion of characters in the street fighter 5 roster are worthy of debate.

Which isn't to say matters like these are important. They are in fact quite sad, and sadly unlikely to be improved by actual fans, just like fan fiction's greatest contribution to the world is 50 shades of grey.

But we are most judgemental of others when they remind us of ourselves, and it is what nerds can teach us about ourselves that makes the study of this human extreme worthwhile.

The ability to get emotionally invested in the completely trivial at the expense of a real and fascinating world around us is common to us all but exemplified by nerds.

I'm afraid though if you are having belly laughs to the commentary in-jokes of a lets play video there's probably no helping you.

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