Links: Nerdcore, Fake Boys’ Schools, Online Dating for Online Gamers, and More

I find that I accrue interesting links much faster than I can blog about them.

Nerdcore Stuff: Articles on nerdcore hip-hop recently popped up in Boston’s Weekly Dig, ProHipHop (“Hip Hop Marketing and Business News”), and XLR8R (and while I didn’t keep track of where I found them, something tells me they all came from Hipster, Please!). It’s interesting glancing at them all together, as they offer something of a range of takes on nerdcore. I’m not entirely clear on whether the Dig is just being snarky in a friendly way, but between these articles, you get an insulting tone, a fascinated tone (with a focus on the whiteness of the nerdcore scene), and a “Wow! Geeks are the new cool!” kind of tone you’d expect in a mainstream music magazine (with an interview with one nerdcore documentarian).

Geekery, Just for the Ladies: You may have heard of Japanese maid cafés, where male otaku get to get a taste of their fantasy worlds by interacting with women playing the part of a certain anime archetype of sorts. It sounds weird to some, but to others, it sounds like a business opportunity—so now we read of boys’ school cafés for female otaku. An article in The Age, “Boys’ school cafe offers geek girls tea and fantasy,” describes a new sort of business addressing another fetishized archetype represented in anime targeting Japanese girls: the prep school boy
(link via The Comics Reporter.

Part of what I find fascinating about this is how much more actively marketed to Japanese geek culture seems to be than American geek culture. TV networks are starting to catch on to such possibilities, but for the most part, I feel like efforts to market to geeks are still predominantly at the grassroots level around here, with phenomena like nerdcore hip-hop and various little web-based t-shirt stores that started from a few nerdy friends and worked their way up to profitable businesses. Anyway, just thinking aloud…

The Nerd Psychology Explained: Or, at least, a nerd psychology explained. Rands in Repose offers The Nerd Handbook for those who seem confused by their nerdy mate’s behavior. Nerds, he says, focus all their energy on a major Project that may change rapidly, require a Cave to retreat from the world, and rudely ignore you because of a filter for irrelevant information. Rather than hope that nerds change, the writer says, you can game the system and just try to appeal to their organizing and puzzle-solving impulses. Personally, I found parts of this slightly familiar, but it seemed so specific that I felt it had more to do with the author than with the larger population he maps it onto. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong, though.

The Language of the Language of Comics: In a roundtable at Newsarama, comics critics and bloggers discuss the vocabulary at our disposal for discussing the formal elements of comic art. As expected, Scott McCloud’s name comes up a few times, but I was interested to see some European theorists mentioned in there as well.

Social Gaming Without the Game: The World of Datecraft, a social networking/dating site for World of Warcraft players, is now in beta (link via Kotaku). I’m not clear on why this is necessary—isn’t WoW itself mediated enough to allow for interpersonal interaction that is less threatening to shy nerds? Why the extra step of going to a web site to network with people whom you might already encounter in a more personal setting? I suppose, though, this site probably remedies the potential problem of your dream date being on a server you never frequent. I’ll be curious to see how successful this is compared to more general geek dating sites like Geek2Geek and Sweet on Geeks.

8 thoughts on “Links: Nerdcore, Fake Boys’ Schools, Online Dating for Online Gamers, and More

  1. I know what you mean about that Rands in Repose post. It’s borderline confessional at times. Still, good observations.

    One thing he left out is the tendency for wild topic changes because you’ve made six leaps of association before the other person finished speaking.

  2. One thing he left out is the tendency for wild topic changes because you’ve made six leaps of association before the other person finished speaking.

    Yes! This I can relate to for sure.

  3. I agree with you that the Nerd Handbook is a little to specialized.

    As I define it, nerd is a subset of geek. Geeks are people who are passionate about something and are capable to allowing their passion to consume them on occasion. I can easily recognize this tendency in the piece, but, again as I define it, the degrees to which one is consumed by their passions and their ability to disengage from those passions and “pass for normal” are variable.

    For instance, a friend of mine, who’s credentials speak for themselves, lives one of the most chaotic existences I’ve ever seen. Personally, I think the monochrome existence that he talks about would probably kill her.

    I recognize that there is likely a difference between nerd and geek, but I would hesitate to define it so narrowly.

  4. Personally, I see no difference between the terms “nerd” and “geek” as I apply them in my musings. For that matter “dork” or “poindexter” are nigh synonymous as well. But, y’know, that’s just my two cents.

    I actually came across the Nerd Handbook a few days ago when YTCracker referenced it in a blog post, but, while I enjoyed the piece and found parts of it genuinely relevant, I was a little disappointed that the author had gone to such lengths to paint all nerds with one broad stroke. Trying to quantify the geek is like trying to quantify the sports fan: sure, the bulk of us share many similar characteristics – the earmarks of geekery, if you will – but there’s also a great depth to our kind.

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