Thursday, May 29, 2014

Arthur Chu, just who the hell are your friends because you need new ones.

Via Slashdot I found a link to Arthur Chu's "devestating" takedown of nerd culture - not impressed.

Chu starts by lamenting the "lovable geek gets the unattainable girl" meme found in many comedies -

We (male) nerds grow up force-fed this script. Lusting after women “out of our league” was what we did. And those unattainable hot girls would always inevitably reject us because they didn’t understand our intellectual interest in science fiction and comic books and would instead date asshole jocks. This was inevitable, and our only hope was to be unyieldingly persistent until we “earned” a chance with these women by “being there” for them until they saw the error of their ways. (The thought of just looking for women who shared our interests was a foreign one, since it took a while for the media to decide female geeks existed. The Big Bang Theory didn’t add Amy and Bernadette to its main cast until Season 4, in 2010.)

and tying that in to a "rape culture"

One of the major plot points of Revenge of the Nerds is Lewis putting on a Darth Vader mask, pretending to be his jock nemesis Stan, and then having sex with Stan’s girlfriend. Initially shocked when she finds out his true identity, she’s so taken by his sexual prowess—“All jocks think about is sports. All nerds think about is sex.”—that the two of them become an item.
Classic nerd fantasy, right? Immensely attractive to the young male audience who saw it. And a stock trope, the “bed trick,” that many of the nerds watching probably knew dates back to the legend of King Arthur.
It’s also, you know, rape.

and he is right.  It is rape, it is also a fantasy in a movie from 30 years ago.  A fantasy that I would dare to say would not make it into the film today particularly because of the rape concerns.  It is also a trope that dates far back into time, and one that is also used by women writing for women (romance novels).

From there he makes the leap to real life and the UCSB shootings.  This is where my real problems begin with his article:

I’ve heard Elliot Rodger’s voice before. I was expecting his manifesto to be incomprehensible madness—hoping for it to be—but it wasn’t. It’s a standard frustrated angry geeky guy manifesto, except for the part about mass murder.

Really?  I think I am the pretty standard geeky guy and while I may have bemoaned the fact that a particular girl wouldn't go out with me; I and as far as I know none of my friends have ever felt the need to write a manifesto declaring our hate-on for the world.  In fact most of us just accepted the fact that "hey she isn't in to me and moved the hell on".  Apparently in Chu's world that isn't how things are done:

I’ve heard it from acquaintances, I’ve heard it from friends. I’ve heard it come out of my own mouth, in moments of anger and weakness.

Who are you, and who are your friends?  You need help.  Seriously.  You bemoan the fact that we live iin a rape culture but don't understand that it's not the culture that's the problem.  It's you and your inability to control yourself.

This article ties back to one of my pet peeves.  The Women in Tech discussion, which always seems to center around how poorly women are treated in the work space - In fact Chu references it here:

I’ve heard and seen the stories that those of you who followed the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter have seen—women getting groped at cons, women getting vicious insults flung at them online, women getting stalked by creeps in college and told they should be “flattered.”
And I have said before that this seems to be a Silicon Valley specific phenomenon, at least mostly, nowhere I have worked would put up with that BS and I am proud to say that I am certain the people I have worked with wouldn't tolerate it on an individual level.  It may happen on an isolated basis but it would get stomped on hard.  Anyway tying the two points together - I am beginning to think that the issue isn't "rape culture".  It's a problem with youth culture.  Apparently based on Chu's description of himself and his friends we have raised a generation of perpetual children who have never learned to control their urges.  That doesn't argue well for the future.

I know I drifted from my original premise, but the point I am trying to make here is that the cultural problems that Chu is bemoaning aren't really cultural problems.  They are personal problems that have been allowed to spread throughout the culture.  Hopefully that made some sort of sense.



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