Every since Twitter Baron, Herr ironist Kantbot invented the term “Nerdgeoise”, I have been using it frequently because to me it captures the ones who dominate our unique cultural Geist like nothing else.
I have written threads about the term and its relevance (especially in light of the NPC meme that is currently making its rounds), and my verboten critical review of the film “ready player one” seems to strike at the heart of the Gen-X/ Millennial demographic that fits this class of modern world occupant.
What really defines the Nerdgeoisie? Is it class privilege? To a varying extend, since the vast majority of nerds come from the middle to upper-middle classes in North America, and usually work as STEM majors, thus having disposable income (but very few kids) to spend on the eternal capitalist nerd rate-race. Does materialism define the Nerdgeoisie? Most defiantly, in fact materialism in all aspects, from nerd-driven consumer capitalism, to their tepid borderline-nihilistic in vogue ideologies of scientism, cosmopolitan egalitarianism and cosmicism, is based on a foundation of ontological materialism. Nerdism had now become detached from “nerd qua ability”, or the characteristic of being a “nerd” based off of having a hyper-intensive focus and gravitas towards a craft, science, or subject. Now the nerd of old has been toppled by the “geek”, the word itself invokes the most eye-rolling of normie self-descriptors.
The “geek” is a homogeneous blob of pop culture signifiers, who is defined not by ability, but by consumption. This strikes to the heart of the Nerdgeoisie as a deracinated and globalized class of consumer spenders. Unlike the various cultural enemies that right-wingers love throwing barbs at and lamenting, like niche hipster groups, modern artists, etc. In my estimation, the Nerdgeoisie is a bigger cultural threat because of how “mainstream” nerd/geek culture really is. Unlike modern artists, or certain new age hippie-hipsters, or even certain brands of academic “postmodernists”, The Nerdgeoisie posses no inner inclining towards a higher state of being. The pop-culture geek does not lament a loss of meaning, or a past that gave us a sense of existential permanence. The modern nerd merely keeps consuming, and is more sure of their materialist worldview than any far-left activist or hipster. The nerd “has science on their side” after all. They have an extensive library of Bill Nye nostalgia, Neil Degrasse Tyson and super-hero/star wars quotes that make up the bulk their worldview. Modern culture caters to the nerd like nothing else, and with their consumer spending power, They can afford to exist in a cocoon of self-assurance about their place in the world.
To Quote the New York Times:
“Never before has the boundary between geek culture and mainstream culture been so porous. Beyond Mr. Munroe’s popularity and the national obsession with Apple products, other examples abound. Whether it is TV series like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Silicon Valley,” or comic-book movies such as this year’s top-grossing title, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” or the runner-up, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” or fantasy-based fiction like the “Game of Thrones” books (and HBO show), once-fringe, nerd-friendly obsessions like gadgets, comic books and fire-breathing dragons are increasingly everyone’s obsessions”.
The western, global-Americanizing culture industry has absorbed nerdism and turned it into its main output machine of repetitious cultural production. It does not matter how stale and terribly “political” (as if these works were not political before, case in point: Star Trek inter-planetary egalitarian utopianism) these movies and TV shows, comic books and video games become, the Nerdgeoisie never fails to consume.
There are various sub-species of nerd, but now they have all culminated into one mass of cross culture industry referents. Think of the Tumblr nerd girls that wear graphic tees, watch the usual shows like Big Bang Theory, Dr. Who (now complete with a female doctor), grew up on Harry Potter, etc. Now Harry Potter, and other young-adult literature that makes up the amorphous body of nerd culture, becomes an ongoing extended metaphor for any current political topic framed from a modernist-progressive lens. “Woke Capital” seems to flow in tandem with nerd culture and the mostly white upper class that imbibes in it.
This is the insidious nature of the Nerdgeoisie mindset manifest: it had robbed multiple generations of genuine and unique cultural creation, forced on millennials a mass nostalgia-based cultural neurosis, and has narrowed the parameters of political discourse to a handful of cathedral-approved metaphors. In this we also see the failure and downright ignorance of both “GamerGate” and ComicGate”. The E-celebs involved in both totally miss the point, and their foundational premise is flawed from the beginning. It was not the “post-modern Marxists” that “subverted Nerd culture” (anti-culture at this point) and inject politics into everything. It is not the case that “these people won’t leave me alone to read comics, play video game, etc. without problematizing everything” (like boomers that just want to be left alone to grill in peace!). Of course the SJWs did insinuate themselves in positions of power in the nerd culture industries, but they have only done so because nerd culture from the beginning has always been characterized by modernist left wing ideology.
Think of the identity of the nerd, even way back in the days of the stereotypical 70s and 80s nerd. Still materialistic, still labelled an “outcast”, a cultural subaltern, apart of the various “victim classes” if you will. The vast majority of scifi productions had various latent progressive themes, like borderless future societies, and mass “equality”. But beyond any ideological content within nerd culture, modern late capitalism has driven it to the forefront of the mainstream, and because any reactionary politics would grate with the trends in cultural consumption (as it has been designed this way for various reasons too complex to talk about here) nerd culture naturally acclimatizes to the demands of capital. GamerGate/ComicGate is mistaken in thinking their precious nerd culture outlets were theirs to begin with.
The irony of the war over video games and comic books (“Capeshit” as it is referred to critically, the most mainstream of Marvel and D.C. comics), is that the same groups of mostly white middle-to-upper-middle-class nerds engaged in a fruitless conflict over which side of culture “warriors” gets to be dominated by capital harder. The SJW side obviously won out in the long run.
Finally, the nerdgeoisie is a bundle of contradictions and cognitive-dissonance; At one end, it is eternally fickle in cultural consumption, yet consumes roughly the same tropes and motifs, but done slightly differently. It abhors metaphysics, but feels it can fill the void with the most butchered and flattened of existential though, such as the “create your own reality” mindset that seems to be ever-present in a variety of Sci-fi and YA-Lit series. The Bogie nerd thinks of him, her or Xer self as quintessentially individualist and “authentic”, atomized and modern. Like their hipster counterparts, it is even more apparent that they all fall lock step in unison with the exact same brands, series, geek-knowledge retention, and attitudes towards life. The Nerdgeoisie considers their cultural entities to be on-par with the classics and fine art. Yet when pressed on the absurdities of comparing Rembrandt to Stan Lee, J.K. to Emily Dickinson, or Joss Whedon to Jodorowsky, etc. Nerds shriek and gnash their teeth with such an exposure, they hide, as if to say “we have been found out”, “we are the products of capital, our being made of loosely stitched together pop-culture threads”.
These are just some of the (albeit non-exhaustive) observations of the Nerdgeoisie, i hope this has been a helpful primer in understanding, and expanding the term.