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Stuff to keep nerds up at night
December 14, 2011 7:53 AM   Subscribe

The Nine Greatest Nerd Fears Today
posted by ShawnString (80 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
SOPA? Vague software patents? Global warming?

Oh.
posted by demiurge at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2011 [27 favorites]


I can say that none of these are my greatest nerd fears.
posted by caphector at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't Robert Jordan pass away half way through the Encyclopaedia Wheelus Fortuna as well?
posted by infini at 8:01 AM on December 14, 2011


I'm a nerd, and I guess my biggest fear is of nuclear war.

Until I read articles like this, and then I can see some upside.
posted by COBRA! at 8:04 AM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Remember when geeks and nerds were defined by what they did instead of that they consumed?
Yeah, good times.
posted by charred husk at 8:06 AM on December 14, 2011 [47 favorites]


Not to be a wet blanket, but I clicked this expecting "catastrophic anthropogenic climate change" and got.. this. Maybe they're buying into the definition of nerds as people who live in basements and have no knowledge of the outside world? Sigh.
posted by Alterscape at 8:07 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


A more accurate list:

9. People.
8. The opposite sex.
7. People of the opposite sex.
6. Death
5. Smalltalk with people of undetermined interests.
4. People of the opposite sex with undetermined interests.
3. People of the opposite sex who are dead.
2. Dead people of the opposite sex they have to make smalltalk with.
1. Clowns.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2011 [51 favorites]


4. Half-Life: Episode 3 Never Happens

Obviously this guy is not a nerd. A nerd would know it is Half-Life 2: Episode 3.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


"HIV-Positive Santa Claus"?
posted by item at 8:09 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think this entire list can be summed up as "running out of pop culture effluvia to simultaneously enjoy and complain about."
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


"HIV-Positive Santa Claus"?
posted by item


Yeah, I think he's shooting for some sort of Worst Line in Human History award.
posted by COBRA! at 8:11 AM on December 14, 2011


Remember when geeks and nerds were defined by what they did instead of that they consumed?

Pepperidge Farm does.
posted by griphus at 8:11 AM on December 14, 2011 [23 favorites]


I'm just guessing to test myself:

9. Collapse of the Eurozone.

8. Bachmann presidency.

7. One of the four remaining liberal SCOTUS Justices replaced by conservative: probably Breyer or Stevens.

6. Intelligent Design in public schools.

5. Loss of NSF funding.

4. Global Warming

3. Honey bee extinction.

2. Peak Oil

1. Peak Microchip

I'm dithering on a tenth and eleventh: Asteroid Impact & Zombie Apocalypse. Preventing these two is also one of the greatest nerd fantasies.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:11 AM on December 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


And... 0/9. But yeah, I guess American Dr. Who would suck too.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:12 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joss Whedon Getting Another Sci-Fi Show on FOX
posted by DU at 8:13 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love that putting a show like Dollhouse on the air in the first place, and then giving it two seasons before cancelling it due to lack of ratings is "not giving it a fair shake."

And anyone who's afraid of an "American" Doctor Who didn't watch seasons 5 and 6.
posted by Legomancer at 8:14 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Slap*Happy: " 5. Smalltalk with people of undetermined interests.
2. Dead people of the opposite sex they have to make smalltalk with.
"

Yeah, I'm a nerd, and I'm not a huge fan of Smalltalk. More of a Python guy, myself.
posted by Plutor at 8:14 AM on December 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


And yes, in the grand scheme, this all fits the current (and obnoxious) nerd paradigm of "someone who is way into being way into something".
posted by Legomancer at 8:16 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eh, sort of lame. I'm more concerned about someone fucking up with grey goo, a gamma ray burst in our galactic neighbourhood, the solar system wandering into a think interstellar dust cloud, or even the old screwup with bioweapons a la The Stand. You can't tell me those aren't nerdy enough!
posted by Iosephus at 8:16 AM on December 14, 2011


As a nerd, my biggest fear is that I will be defined by a culture of media consumption.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:17 AM on December 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


"Linkbait blogs and their pageview-begging list format becoming a significant mode of communication."
posted by R. Schlock at 8:17 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Legomancer, do you mean Season 5 and 6 (Tomb of the Cybermen to The War Games) or Series 5 and 6 (The Eleventh Hour to The Wedding of River Song). If America wants to remake the Troughton episdodes, then count me in for a big budget Michael Bay version of The Enemy of the World.
posted by ewan at 8:18 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, people sure do get really worked up about a stupid list of nerdy pop culture fluff. Were y'all really expecting political and global disasters? Really?
posted by kmz at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2011


You know exactly what I mean.

11. No one making any statements you can't pedantically and smugly pick apart anymore.
posted by Legomancer at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Doctor Who being made in the states is very scary.

Made in Canada? Might just work :) (CBC funded some of it, I heard - but then stopped?)
posted by jb at 8:20 AM on December 14, 2011


Nerds are to the entertainment industry what girls are to the fashion industry. Here, let us help you form an identity based completely on consumerism. Don't worry, it will feel like it's based on something else.
posted by hermitosis at 8:20 AM on December 14, 2011 [21 favorites]





Legomancer: "I love that putting a show like Dollhouse on the air in the first place, and then giving it two seasons before cancelling it due to lack of ratings is "not giving it a fair shake."

[...]
"

To be fair, no one said that Dollhouse wasn't given a "fair shake". In fact the article stated Fox was very generous in its treatment of dollhouse
posted by 2manyusernames at 8:21 AM on December 14, 2011


Christ, I just can't take any more of these . . . these nerds!
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:22 AM on December 14, 2011


My list.

9. More flooding in Thailand wipes out the SSD production plants too.

8. Economic crisis means power becomes rationed every evening; Can't run anything more powerful than a toaster.

7. Apple buys Google and Microsoft; Steve Ballmer to be the CEO.

6. Moved to sales team. Need to use phrases like 'empowerment', 'going forward', 'proactive', 'paradigm shift' and 'outside the box'.

5. Putting Jedi on census forms punishable by death.

4. Intelligent design re-education made mandatory. Pastafarianism banned.

3. SOPA judged not harsh enough; all ISPs worldwide required to only provide http access via proxy run by the MAFIAA and required to meet 'small town community standards'.

2. Newt Gingrich becomes president.

1. Methane Clathrate gun hypothesis proven real. We end up with a world where only Jocks can survive.
posted by ArkhanJG at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


NERDS FOR NEWT IN 2012
posted by hermitosis at 8:34 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Technically these are geek fears, not nerd fears.
posted by empath at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Re: #8 and #7

Doing my best to help the next generation.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:42 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


My biggest nerd fear is that all of my Perl skills will be useless because everyone else has moved to Python.

No, wait, that's already happened.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:43 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Nerds don't need this list, and they certainly don't need explanations in parenthesis like this one: 'But since the series has expanded from a trilogy to a heptalogy (seven book series) ...'
posted by tawny at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


#1: US Adaptation of Doctor Who
Ctrl-Alt-Delete covered this fear last summer (and very well, I might add)
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


3. People Make More Philip K. Dick / Isaac Asimov Movies

Can you think of a shitty sci-fi film (not directed by George Lucas) that you’ve seen in the past 20 years? There’s an extremely good chance that it was based on a book by Philip K. Dick or Isaac Asimov, two of the greatest sci-fi writers of all-time (right up there with Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and whoever writes the Halo novelizations). Let’s go through a quick list: I, Robot; Paycheck; Next; The Adjustment Bureau; Minority Report; Bicentennial Man; Impostor; Screamers; A Scanner Darkly; Total Recall (which is now being remade!), etc. Even if some of these movies were decent by their own standards (and Total Recall was), they pretty much had to universally sacrifice all of the interesting themes and issues brought up in the original stories in favor of explosions and Will Smith wearing Converse shoes.

Did he actually watch "A Scanner Darkly"?
posted by mysterpigg at 8:46 AM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


If I were an American production company, I'd produce the worst possible pilot for fans of the British Doctor Who. Michael Bay explosions, typical damsel in distress companion, Doctor who we are told is smart, but absolutely is not in the slightest, and everyone looks like an underwear model (not that it didn't work for the X-Files). Make it a Christmas special, and tell everyone to look forward to more of "The New Doctor Who" in 6 months.

Then, the producers scour the forums of people complaining, and mine it for ideas of what an American Doctor Who should be. In the next episode, we see the current British Doctor watch the first episode, get offended, and go back in time to the production company and tell them what they got wrong. Then the series starts in earnest, as a show within a show in the British Doctor Who universe.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:47 AM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


My biggest fear as a nerd is that cultural participation might be mistaken for how much branded shit you can buy so that you feel a tribal connection which gives you fake intellectual superiority over the imagined proles while also forgiving your multiple glaring flaws of personality.

So I guess you could say that this list is right on the money.
posted by codacorolla at 8:48 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:48 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Technically these are geek fears, not nerd fears.

Nothing is nerdier than arguing about the semantics of 'nerd' vs 'geek'.

(But I agree, there are differences!)
posted by kmz at 8:48 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked A Scanner Darkly. It didn't always make sense, but neither did the book. It was almost more about mood and confusion than a coherent story.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:48 AM on December 14, 2011


Looks like NPR's list forgot the Outside The Boxer: The person who thinks the entire premise of your list is wrongheaded.
posted by straight at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2011


My second biggest fear is that I'm one generation too early to be part of the Singularity. (Missed it by that much.) My biggest fear is that climate change / peak oil / the rapid growth of willful ignorance as a political force means we never get around to having one.

HL2:E3 never happening would kinda suck, too, though; I'll give them that one.
posted by ook at 9:07 AM on December 14, 2011


Looks like NPR's list forgot the Outside The Boxer: The person who thinks the entire premise of your list is wrongheaded.
posted by straight


Wow, man. Zinged. You're right, this is great. HIV-Positive Santa Claus for all.
posted by COBRA! at 9:08 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


A Scanner Darkly was good, though I've always thought they messed up the most crucial scene from the book, where everybody has a disagreement over the number of gears on a bike. But you have to admit that the track record for other PKD adaptations has been pretty dismal.

I didn't realize anybody thought there was a chance that the Avengers movie would be anything except for shitty.
posted by whir at 9:10 AM on December 14, 2011


TIME TO BRING THE CLEANSING FIRE

10) Jetpacks go on the market, but the twist is they require exceptional physical strength to control, and you have to pass a government-mandated fitness test to pilot one. Above your heads, all the jocks are flying around

9) Socially isolated youth now embrace mysticism, reject material goods

8) New movie, tv adaptations of shopworn classic sci-fi & fantasy are actually adaptations, showing no particular regard for the original text except as a starting point; everyone except nerds are thrilled that shit finally changes

7) People go "hey, all these comics are the same boring thing," comics "industry" finally tanks for real

6) Singularity achieved; nerds achieve immortality; the price is that you have to live in a internet forum forever. Choose wisely

5) People go "hey, all these games are the same boring thing," video game industry actually tanks for real

4) Neo-future-metal of some sort takes over as a cultural force, neo-metalheads start beating people up in the parking lot as they leave from their superhero movies

3) Doctor Who bought out, permanently incorporated in Sábado Gigante

2) George Lucas becomes dictator-for-life, has scores to settle

1) FIRE
posted by furiousthought at 9:11 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


1-9) Machines becoming self-aware

Nothing is nerdier than arguing about the semantics of 'nerd' vs 'geek'.

No kidding, it's like watching people rant about how they're not hipsters, only worse
posted by Copronymus at 9:11 AM on December 14, 2011



1) FIRE
posted by furiousthought at 9:11 AM on December 14 [+] [!]

"FIRE! exclamation mark. FIRE! exclamation mark."
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:17 AM on December 14, 2011


3) Doctor Who bought out, permanently incorporated in Sábado Gigante

Does anyone else think this could be the Best Thing Ever??
posted by orrnyereg at 9:21 AM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Suprisingly enough, there are no Google results for "Merchants of Nerdom"
posted by mrgrimm at 9:26 AM on December 14, 2011


Discovering There Is No Scientific Basis For The New Pop Psychology Definition Of "Introversion", Leading To Realization That It's Just Another Way (Like Self-Diagnosed Asperger's Before It) To Justify And Forgive One's Lazy Anti-Social Choices.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:31 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought A Scanner Darkly was pretty good. I thought the monologue that the title comes from was delivered just right.

I think the weak point of the film is the actors who chose to act "cartoon-like". Woody talks about it in the commentary as a deliberate choice, and it strikes me as precisely wrong. It's goofy and distracting in a movie that doesn't need that kind of tone - humour emerges naturally from their trips, but that should be properly mitigated by the awareness of the damage they're doing to themselves, not underscored by clown-like behavior. The other guy does it too, whashisname, the guy with the bugs crawling over him. It's a strong enough (frequent enough) presence in the film that it really annoys me. But Keanu is good (!) and the animation has the right feel and the script is decent.

i also thought this list was kinda funny (minus the santa line) and this thread is making me kinda sad
posted by neuromodulator at 9:32 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


(oh, I was going to add something about the Woody mistake striking me as what's wrong with a lot of anime dubbing, too. Western actors are often hired whose experience with animation stops at American cartoons, and so they deliver their dialogue with similar nuances, whereas a lot of anime should be played straight, and is in Japanese.)
posted by neuromodulator at 9:35 AM on December 14, 2011


Did he actually watch "A Scanner Darkly"?

Or Minority Report? That's a good movie. Certainly not in the same crap league as The Adjustment Bureau.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 9:45 AM on December 14, 2011


Fukushima.

The systematic degradation of societal support for people with disabilities.

The collapse of oceanic life/giant jellyfish due to climate change.

Debt and foreclosure crisis.

The decimation of the public school system and dumbing down of American society.

The antiquated electrical grid.

The continuing commercialization of Google and erosion of privacy rights.
posted by Soliloquy at 10:21 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I thought Minority Report was an awful movie. He gets a car assembled around him in a factory and drives out of the factory in it! Everything that happens in it makes zero sense but looks cool.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2011


Or Minority Report? That's a good movie. Certainly not in the same crap league as The Adjustment Bureau.

Oh, there are other movies on that list that I genuinely enjoy, but his premise that "they pretty much had to universally sacrifice all of the interesting themes and issues brought up in the original stories in favor of explosions and Will Smith wearing Converse shoes" absolutely does not apply to A Scanner Darkly.
posted by mysterpigg at 10:34 AM on December 14, 2011


Asimov's Foundation by Roland Emmerich makes baby jesus cry, not just nerds.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 10:37 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was sneering my way quite happily through this list of sad-boy obsessions and things I hadn't even heard of, and then I got to the one about Half Life 3 and I started crying, beating the table with my fist and screaming, "Yes! Fuck you, Newell. Just... fuck you!"

And then I felt deeply sad. In both senses of the word.
posted by Decani at 10:42 AM on December 14, 2011


7. Apple buys Google and Microsoft; Steve Ballmer to be the CEO.

Good one.
posted by Zed at 10:46 AM on December 14, 2011


and then I got to the one about Half Life 3 and I started crying, beating the table with my fist and screaming, "Yes! Fuck you, Newell. Just... fuck you!

Valve employee wears Half-Life 3 shirt, trolls internet
posted by the_artificer at 10:50 AM on December 14, 2011


0. entropy
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:18 AM on December 14, 2011


4) Neo-future-metal of some sort takes over as a cultural force, neo-metalheads start beating people up in the parking lot as they leave from their superhero movies

really? really now
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:23 AM on December 14, 2011


3. People Make More Philip K. Dick / Isaac Asimov Movies

I still don't get why nobody has filmed Caves of Steel. It's a robot murder mystery with laser guns and chase scenes set in a dystopian underground city -- what more does Hollywood need?
posted by vorfeed at 11:47 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


George R.R. Martin Dying Before Completing the Song of Ice and Fire Series

He'd probably just come back to life. Then go blind and lose the use of his limbs, then get better. He might exile himself to the Yukon but they do have paper there and of course he'll come back eventually. The real danger is that he might die and come back as zombie Martin, which might make the last few books a bit incoherent.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


1. Dying after a life of atheism, meeting Jesus and discovering that He Is Pissed.
posted by double block and bleed at 12:47 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see a larger number of movies that aren't SF/fantasy/nerdgenre book/comic adaptations that I wanted when I was 13 . . . right after Neuromancer comes out.
posted by mobunited at 12:50 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


#FirstWorldNerdProblems
posted by dhartung at 1:22 PM on December 14, 2011


Uh, anotherpanacea? Were you referring to John Paul Stevens? Familiar with the Justices Sotomayor and Kagan?
posted by lackutrol at 1:39 PM on December 14, 2011


Ha! Duh. I've been grading papers on Citizens United all week; he wrote the dissent.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:25 PM on December 14, 2011


My biggest fear is stomach cancer.
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:34 PM on December 14, 2011


George R.R. Martin Dying Before Completing the Song of Ice and Fire Series

Look, I don't want the guy to die or anything, but after books 4 and 5, and how Brandon Sanderson has written some WoT books in which some things actually happen, would it really be so bad if GRRM palmed it off to someone else at this point?
posted by markr at 4:43 PM on December 14, 2011


Marvel had to launch 4 individual characters in 4 films (5 if you count the Eric Bana Hulk, which no one ever would for any reason),

I cannot believe anyone likes the shitty Incredible Two Hulks But One Of Them Is British And Orange over the Incredible Nuanced Psychodrama Hulk With Cinematography And A Plot And Also Ang Lee And Also Jennifer Connelly I Mean Really How The Fuck Is This Even A Contest.

But they do. You all do. Animals. May there be 10 more Brett Ratner X-Men movies, each one written by Diablo Cody and starring Ben Affleck. It's all this fallen world deserves.
posted by Errant at 5:23 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


One movie had the Hulk fight one of his classic villains, The Abomination... there are a zillion awesome badguys the Hulk could take on, Zzaxx, The U-Foes, the Leader, Crusher Creel the Absorbing Man, the Blob, Wolverine, the Thing... but the Abomination was a great start.

The other movie had the Hulk fight a giant poodle.

There is such a thing as too much nuance.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:15 PM on December 14, 2011


You're putting Wolverine and the Thing into the bad guy column? Yeah, I'll take Oedipal/Elektral drama over a story where everyone decides they're buddies at the end.
posted by Errant at 11:03 PM on December 14, 2011


Decani: "then I got to the one about Half Life 3 and I started crying, beating the table with my fist and screaming, "Yes! Fuck you, Newell. Just... fuck you!""

Pfft. There's going to be a week-long ARG leading off the end of the Steam Christmas sale, culminating in Episode 3 just quietly adding itself to everyone's account, for free. It'll begin with a message that thanks the player for being so patient, be three hours long, wrap up some of the story threads from Episode 2, and end with a black screen and the words, "Half-Life 3: August 2012."

I saw it in a dream, so it's going to happen.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:16 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're putting Wolverine and the Thing into the bad guy column?

No. The Hulk. Pitting him against superheroes showcases the fundamental fact that as much as we sympathize with him, the Hulk is a monster with very little self control or awareness. The Thing vs. Hulk battles especially - as the Thing is a monster with a great deal of self-control and awareness. You sometimes need a hero to illustrate what it means to be an anti-hero.

...a story where everyone decides they're buddies at the end.

Doesn't usually pan out that way... the Wolverine/Hulk battles often need serious deus-ex-machina intervention to keep one or the other from being killed off completely. Dudes seriously don't like each other.

Either one of those storylines would have made for a beyond-epic follow-up film.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:37 AM on December 15, 2011


ArmyOfKittens: "and end with a black screen and the words, "Half-Life 3: August 2012.""

I'm going to go put "Half-Life 3" on September 2013 on my calendar.
posted by Plutor at 10:31 AM on December 15, 2011


"Unnecessary pagination"
posted by Eideteker at 10:58 AM on December 16, 2011


I used to have a co-worker with Tourette's Syndrome. Good guy. Me and him would have shoot-the-shits often. I'm generally very patient in conversations, I'm totally comfortable with not talking at all, which made it easy for him to talk with me. Depending on how excited he is, he'd have to struggle to get the right words out. The more excited, the harder it was. You could practically see the battle in his eyes, as he would fight with himself, struggling to keep control. One day, were discussing movies, and the Ang Lee Hulk recently came out and bombed. Despite what everyone else was saying about it, I liked it. He asked my opinion on it, and I was telling that I had liked it, and the reasons why. He adds to the discussion "it's the greatest movie ever made, ever". I'm shocked, because even with how much I liked it I wouldn't go that far. I respond with "the greatest movie ever? really?". He responds with something about yes, it's the greatest movie ever made. before he can say much else, he loses his shit completely, and takes off out of the break room, I assume to the bathroom.

I then realized that in his entire life, Bruce Banner is probable the first movie lead that he could identify with. The main character is a nice guy, but whenever his emotions get too strong, he loses himself and a big ugly monster comes out and destroys everything.

I have forgotten all the original reasons why I liked Ang Lee's Hulk. Now I like it because it helped me understand my friend a little bit better, and because it provided my friend with something special that I'll probably never be able to fully understand.
posted by BurnChao at 1:36 PM on December 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


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