One of the founders of well known convention Dragon*Con, which has in the past featured tables from great people/organizations like Skepchick and Jenny McCarthy Body Count, has been caught at a motel with a young boy. This isn’t the first time this has happened either. I posted this story in disgust, because it felt awful to have someone even remotely associated with nerd culture I’m proud to be a part of be so repugnant. I was also disgusted that his defence attorney took a cheap crack with that line about “midgets”, but left it at that, there wasn’t much else to the story.
Then someone commented on what I had posted, saying:
Not surprising behavior from someone who lives in his own fantasy world.
You know, I was expecting there to be lousy comments on this story. I was expecting that maybe some cheap cracks about his disability would get thrown in, at most. But implying that having an active imagination and being part of nerd culture makes any instance of pedophilia from that person “not surprising”?
I’ve been overly irritated tonight over various things, and this was a sort of last straw for me, especially because the guy saying it is an irritating person who has taken to saying stupid things before (Ronald Reagan was the greatest president ever, colleges should be strictly about making money and producing people who can make money in their jobs, and other gems) which push my buttons. So I responded curtly:
There are literally hundreds of millions of fans of fantasy and science fiction who aren’t dangerous monsters and child abusers. The problem is that he’s sick and decided to act on his urges rather than anything to do with him being a fan of nerd culture, and I’m seriously offended at the connotation that pedophilia can be related to having an active imagination.
And I am, in fact, offended. I am always offended when people try to malign nerds/people who love fantasy. We are a frequently misunderstood group, and it seems to be popular to scapegoat us for just about anything.
The obnoxious person responded, continuing to buy into nerd exceptionalism:
There is a difference between being a fan of a genre and being a fanatic. People who are hard core into fantasy and science fiction often lose touch with reality.
Now I really lost my patience. I move in for the kill:
People who become hardcore involved in *anything*, whether it is politics, drugs, sex, school, religion, sports, or food, lose touch with reality. There is nothing unique about nerd culture in promoting such behaviour, and it’s downright intellectually dishonest to imply otherwise.
And you know what, I stand by that 100%. Why is it that nerd culture in particular (Video games, comic books, fantasy novels, you name it) gets so much scrutiny and criticism for promoting fanaticism and socially unacceptable behaviour? It does no more to those areas than any of the other things that I named. Would anybody ever say, if a football or hockey coach was caught in a similar situation, that it was “not surprising” that he did such a horrid thing, because he lived in his own fantasy world of ice and blood? I think not.
What the founder did was horrible, but it had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with him being a nerd, a founder of Dragon*Con, or any part of his personality other than the fact that he had some very sick urges that he decided to act upon. Why must people continue to assign their own prejudices to every situation? Why must everything fit into neat little boxes of “acceptable interests/hobbies” and “ones which lead to committing horrible crimes”?
On a final note, I will add with a bitter touch of irony and hypocritical humour that the guy saying all of this is a Republican. Now, *there’s* a group of people that are infamous for being delusional, living in their own fantasy world, and out of touch with reality, am I right?