1748 Damned Orcs.

When I was young movies all had a very us versus them attitude when it came to nerds and jocks. There was some of that in school but not in the cartoonish way that the movies of the time depicted it. Over time though, as the films continued to portray this narrative things did become more and more cartoonishly nerd versus jock. Generally though the groups just didn’t interact and didn’t really care what the other group did as long as it didn’t draw funds away from whatever each group wanted. For the most part the schools spent all the money on sports and sports related things and other groups had to raise money for themselves. That said, nerds really didn’t want money for much anyway. They just wanted to be left alone to debate why Wolverine was better than Batman. (he’s not by the way.)

For my part I only had an us versus them attitude when people tried to stop me from doing what I wanted. That only really happened a few times. I was built like someone who could sports, so I got approached a lot when I was younger. My extended family liked sports, but my mom and dad never pushed me to do anything I didn’t want to and I was shy and didn’t want to do anything. I also didn’t want to slam in to people over the matter of ball movement. What you do with your balls is your business and I still try to live that way.

I went to a very small school in grade and most of middle school, which made being me a lot harder than it was after we moved to a bigger town. Anonymity made my life much more bearable. Being nobody is much better than being the odd, arty, kid. After many many years I got over being a versus kind of person when I realized than nerds were just a bad, or worse, than any other group I understood that humans are still little tribal assholes and it’s very hard for us not to be.


Ani-Mayhem! I had a crap-ton of those, from series one and series two printings. Each with card art from four different titles. Series three decided to just be entirely nothing but Dragon Ball Z, so I kinda stopped at that point.
The designers knew that they were going to be a niche market, though. The rules included an option where you could play it solitaire, you against the hazard cards of your own deck. “You’re into anime AND card games? In the nineties? Good luck finding someone to play with!”

In a lot of ways, nerds were (and are) actually MORE exclusive as a group, as a lot of us simply don’t have the social ability to adapt to people different from us. This is why so many of them deride “fake gamer girls” and dismiss female comic fans. Outside of politics, I can easily say the most toxic communities I’ve ever seen have always, without fail, been fan communities of nerdy things. The only reason we weren’t as infamous as say, non-US football rioters was because few of us were physically inclined and we didn’t have the internet to hide behind like we do now.

I swore off fandoms very early in life because they become quite tribal, like you described. Have an opinion that deviates from excepted norm? Expect that stigma to follow you into every other discussion you ever have amongst your peers. Realize that the holy grail of the franchise really doesn’t stand up any more? Death threats and outing of personal information! It’s the worst kind of echo chamber.

Not to say that there aren’t groups just as bad out there, but the ratio of good groups to bad groups is significantly weighted toward the bad in nerd culture because we take everything so damn personally. Feel free to like something or even love it, but don’t become a fan. A fan is one thin line away from a fanboy.

That and the “orcs” concept is still valid. More than a few nerds remember their high school days with less than rose-colored fondness, and attempted infiltration by outside agitators who would make their lives hell in the places they once thought safest.

Certainly not arguing that. The trouble is that a lot nerds, unfortunately, don’t grow out of that mentality once they leave school. The internet made things arguably worse, since now they can form cabals where they don’t HAVE to change, whereas before that life kind of forced them to branch out once real life asserted itself.

I grew up in Mexico. School sports just aren’t a thing here until you reach uni, and by then everyone is so wrapped up in just trying to survive until graduation that nobody has much intersection with people outside their social group.

That aside I was that one nerdy guy who did have jock friends, since I used to drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol and had anger issues. The great thing about having jock friends as a nerd later in life is that when they need some tutoring or academic help, you got their back, and when you needed someone else to get a little percussive maintenance, they got your back.

I must admit I was weird. I played two sports, yet loved nerding. Friday and or Saturday was for sporting but Friday night, hanging at my local comic shop for a game of Warhammer. It was a very weird experience walking between these two worlds

Wow, I thought ten thousand cards was a lot, too. Guess I never knew any real obsessives…

One of my college friends got himself into $10k debt buying Yugioh cards. Not sure what that translates into, but he had thousands and thousands.

About collecting things-

A friend of mine said this about collecting [collectibles], and I agree with her:

“If your collection is greater than your body mass, [or your body’s weight], then it is NOT a casual collection.” ;D

Um, is this happening to anyone else?
This may be a technology thing I don’t understand, but:

The site just put my comment down at an odd time.
The site says that I put down a comment at 4:47am, but- in the area of the US that I’m
commenting from, I should be about 2 hours from Jackie’s state, and not EIGHT hours off.
Is anyone else experiencing this?

My lame post at the top was soon after midnight EDT, so the server seems to be about nine hours ahead … of accurate that would put it in Western Europe, I think …

To check this I’m posting this comment on Thursday Sept 21 @ 21:19 EDT.

“They just wanted to be left alone to debate why Wolverine was better than Batman. (he’s not by the way.) ”

That last part sounds like fighting words there sonny jim. Kidding, kidding, i’m honestly so far out of continuity with the two to debate anyways. That said, i honestly never saw the nerd vs jock thing in any form. Then again i got along with every group and had friends in all the cliques so maybe that’s why.

To set the record straight, neither Bruce Wayne (Batman) or James Howlett (Wolverine) are the superior hero. If you want a superior hero or antihero from their respective domains, look at New 52’s Red Hood (Jason Todd, the second Robin) or Marvel’s Laura Kinney (X-23, Wolverine’s cloned daughter). Those two excel in what their forebears lack.

All I can say is, my experience is much more like Ed’s than Nina’s… Though more so. MUCH more so. And I didn’t find it very “Cartoonish”.

The whole “jock vs nerd” thing is pretty alien to me. But then, I never really was part of a large nerd group or anything. Sure there were nerds around, but, well, they didn’t group worth anything. And jocks, well, there were probably guys around who were good at sports, which was completely uninteresting to me. Then again, we do have our highschools split into levels; ours had the upper two (out of three or four), and even the kids in each level mostly kept to themselves. Better yet, the really physically inclined bunch conveniently visited campuses that were far away from ours.

One might surmise that highschool bullying is, to some extent, built right into the system.

I had a friend I’ve known since… forever, who was a part of just about every school click one could be in. He just fit in with everyone. Very charismatic guy. It’s rare, but possible, I guess, to have never really known the sting of a school hierarchy.

The point was rather that this country doesn’t have much of a highschool hierarchy that stings, not group-based like in the US, not generally. I only know about its existence because the telly shows a lot of US-based crud, and of course I speak English and I’m on the ‘net so then it’s pretty hard not to run into it eventually. But still.

We just didn’t, and probably still don’t, have any such group-based antagony going on, not on any of the schools I’ve been to, and it’s not a thing in our own media or anything. Individual kids might get bullied by individual bullies and their inevitable hangers-on, but the group vs. group thing is neither well-known structural nor at all generally expected to occur. So not having to deal with such a thing is not rare in this country.

You are lucky. Here in ‘Murica, if you aren’t a part of a specific social group, you are ignored by that social group. Granted high school was a few years back for me.

Huh. Honestly, I never came across much nerd exclusivity in my life. Then again, my school didn’t really have any cliques, and even then I was more a loner than a nerd anyway. And even on the internet, most nerdy communities I’ve been part of have been pretty accepting. Granted I have heard of the concept of a “fake geek girl,” but mostly within the context of Twitch-whores, and most comments I’ve seen are more likely to drool over geek girls than decry them as fake.

Being almost 3 generations away from all this it is still a mystery to me. Not sure we had anything like this in the 50’s and 60’s. Get a paper route, play sports, go to dances and parties and make out with girls, join the military or get drafted. I didn’t even do “sports cards”. I guess I don’t understand the fascination. I have great nephews and nieces that do this but it is a foreign concept to me. By the time is was 22 I was out of the Navy and on my own working for a living.

When I became a freshman in high school, the nerds vs jocks divide was already there (late-80’s). There were other cliques (band kids, choir kids, drama kids, newspaper/yearbook kids, cheerleaders, student government) that shared a lot of overlap, so they didn’t always have issues with each other. JOCKS, however, always had an issue with anyone who didn’t play a sport. NERDS mostly tried to just be invisible and not interact with any of the other groups (or blend in another group without revealing their nerdy hobbies). There was an obvious, visible wall between the two.

I played football as a wide-receiver and was great in track/cross-country. I brought home medals/trophies/wins. However, I also played board games, video games and D&D. And I didn’t care who knew. When I reached high school, there was this “idea” by the coaches and my dad that I would be cast in this JOCK light, that all my nerdy hobbies would take backseat to my sports. I managed to strike a balance – I was in pep band during the winter months (band kid), I contributed articles to the paper (media kid), I had top grades (smart kid), I was in sports (jock) and I hung out with the nerds on weekends. So no one picked on me or treated me like a member of one particular clique. I had peace my freshman year because of it. I wasn’t going to be a popular kid, but I wasn’t picked on or whatever.

As a sophomore, however, I witnessed two seniors go into full bully mode and pick on the nerds over and over again. Until one day, when they pushed a kid into his locker right next to me. I snapped. I swung a locker door open (smashing one senior in his face so hard I broke his nose) and then punched the other senior in the throat. I remember everyone gathering around, whispering as a teacher hauled me off for fighting in the hallway. Two things happened:

1) The teacher who hauled me off for fighting was a part time national guard NCO. He told me that while violence wasn’t the answer, me standing up against bullies and for people who were picked on was honorable. And to never stop fighting the good fight.

2) The jocks immediately disowned me and cast me out. I quit football later, because I was never going to be allowed to play (I punched the star quarterback in the throat) starter again.

Honestly? They were the only one who hated me after that. I heard nothing from the other cliques much through my junior year (that I immediately noticed). I did have more fun as I didn’t have to waste my time in practices with assholes. It wasn’t until my senior year that I realized something had happened. I was voted in for more awards, I was given more attention, other groups were asking me to help with things (and I did). It wasn’t until Homecoming that I realized somehow I had become some sort of folk hero for the nerds. Their combined votes with the band kids and the media kids made me Homecoming Prince (the King was actually THE KID WHO THE BULLIES HAD PUSHED INTO THE LOCKERS who was now very attractive and joined wrestling as a junior to win two State championships). There were no jocks as royalty (Prom or Homecoming), and very few of them were invited to anything fun.

When I graduated, I gave a speech as valedictorian about how intelligence should never be seen as weakness and how being different doesn’t mean jack shit after high school. Everyone came to my graduation party that I had with the kid who had been pushed into the lockers (his name – ironically – is Tomas). I went to everyone’s graduation party, even the jocks. I seriously didn’t hate the other cliques, since they had basically proven all the stereotypes about them were false.

When I went back a few years ago for my 20th reunion (I graduated in the 90s), it was like a totally different place. There was no big divide anymore – there were a few football players in the chess club, and a few basketball players in drama and media clubs. And one self-proclaimed Dungeon Master (on her T-shirt) who was the team captain of the girl’s volleyball team.

There may be toxicity on the intertoobs when it comes to cliques or fan folks, but I think in high school it’s becoming a non-thing. Being a jock means almost nothing, as well as being a nerd, since everyone and anyone can be either with today’s broad use of computers and adoption of pop culture.

Wow, this sounds like the plot of a John Hughes movie.

My life has been a strange, on-going movie plot of weird and crazy coincidences on top of that. I was in ROTC and active duty Air Force after college. That led to a lot of “if I had been there five minutes earlier or later, I would have never (insert crazy thing that happened here).”

My life has been anything but boring, and I kinda wish it would slow down now that I’m older and married and raising a kid.

I guess this is the source of my problem back in High School? I didn’t jive well with the geeks of the Geek Hallway. I didn’t play Yu-Gi-Oh or Magical Gatheringness or any of those card games. I played video games on my handhelds, and read some manga. But the geeks were always saying I needed to play with them, and I kept telling them I had no cards or interest in the games. I also noticed that I dressed very differently than they did, wearing video game shirts and other brightly colored attire, while all of them wore black everything and those flowing matrix coats, which I thought was rather dull.
One time, in mid-to-late sophomore year, a girl in the hallway was rolling around her boyfriend’s lap and acting like a cat, like all girls did back then for some irritating reason. The boyfriend was doofing around over it, you know “Oh hey, w-whatcha doin’ there, eheh eheh” and she replied “I’m in heeeaaaat.” To which I finally snapped and dryly retorted (probably louder than I should have) “better get that shit fixed, man”. He was not happy. Next day I came over to the hallway, I had a line of bigger beefier geeks blocking passage, and was told that I wasn’t allowed to sit in the hallway because I didn’t fit in (I had found that strange, considering I’d always assumed we geeks were the bottom of the school hierarchy, and what could possibly be lower than that).
So I wandered the school for a while until I found where my brother and his friend hung out. Told em what happened and they said I could hang out with them. My brother’s friend, whom demanded to be called “Monkey” (for reasons of physical appearance) became one of my closest friends I’ve ever had, so I guess good came out of it.

Apologies for long post. :P

That sounds a lot like you hit that period where “geeks” were diverging into sub-genre geeks.

“all of them wore black everything and those flowing matrix coats” explains a lot. When I was doing my stint of training high school ROTC kids, I ran into that. In fact, I’d add that a lot of them also listened to Linkin Park and more tormented rock music. Somewhere in there, some geeks became hella emo. THANKS HOT TOPIC.

My school spent all of the money on sports to the point where the building itself was falling apart and they still kept buying brand new uniforms every year.

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