With all due respect to Ryan and his nerd-entity crisis, he is most certainly a nerd.
I read the same article as the great questioner of the previous post and came to a different conclusion. A conclusion that I’ve already ruined for you in the headline. Let me say that I am usually a pretty big fan of Patton Oswald, the article’s author. I’ve always thought he was funny and have even enjoyed some of his writing, but this piece crosses a line of Dark Side proportions.
When I read Oswald’s article, I don’t hear the voice of a devoted fan or an obsessed reader. What I hear are the tired words of a cranky old man telling me that I can’t enjoy my comic books unless I have to walk to the corner store in the snow, uphill both ways. What I hear is another person telling me all about how the Internet is ruining everything — and I’m calling bullshit.
Yes, it is possible for me to just pull up and play any Battlestar Galactica episode ever aired on Netflix instant view — the object of my obsession is easier to find (this is my current vice, I only have three episodes left). But that doesn’t make it any easier to obsess. If anything, it makes it harder. Because I have to actually sit down and focus on something and ignore the rest of the internet in order to take it in. And ignoring the rest of the Internet is no simple task.
Oswald also says the Internet is making it so everybody can be a nerd about something, but let’s be honest: everybody already was.
People may have shirked off the term or claimed not to be, but anybody who follows sports religiously and argues about who the best 3rd basemen in 1983 or people who can recite today’s market predictions and cite the last six months of statistics that indicate why is nerding out. People always found SOMETHING to obsess over, even if it’s just the aspect of their job that they enjoy most. It’s the nature of our modern society to hone in on something, or a few somethings, and to make it our own.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t a whole lot of people who are now pretty knowledgable about something they aren’t an expert in, though, and that’s OK. The Internet and the way our modern society works for us kids has allowed us more opportunity to shop around for our obsessions, which will make them more rewarding and more intense obsessions than if we just had to pick something up off the shelf or catch an episode in the one time slot it airs each week..
The kind of nerd-pocolypse that Oswald suggests is a terrible idea. He wants to take the natural development of our society into more cohesive, less geographic groups and destroy it just because he doesn’t like how the Internet works.
Can somebody check to see if he’s still on AOL?