There may be no two groups of people in this world who are more different than self-identified nerds and members of prison gangs. But I found myself writing a scene today between a nerdy white female character and her older, Hispanic captor who had spent the majority of his career working as a prison guard. My character used the term "LARP" only to have her captor stare at her blankly. I came up with a brilliant way to compare the different types of nerds (and the perception of hierarchy therein) to prison gangs. But then I remembered that these characters exist in an alternate future where California is still a part of Mexico. Well, dang it. So while I can't include this wonderful bit of analogy in my book, I can share it here. Bear in mind that there is a great deal of cross-pollination in nerd land. The Babylon 5 enthusiast may also be a writer of Anime fan fiction. The Physicist may also get super excited about Star Wars. With prison gangs, there is no cross-pollination, so these are generalizations based on the overarching and popular perceptions of these groups.
Math/Science nerds are like the Aryan Nation
|Cuz we're better than you! And we know it!|
|Sheldon Cooper does not respect your filthy humanities degree|
|Do I look like I mess around?|
|Blood in, blood out, Bitch.|
Anime Fans are like MS-13
|Truly terrifying human beings|
Comic Book fans are like La Eme, AKA the Mexican Mafia
|This was my adolescence. And my 20s.|
|La Eme—Like the Walt Disney Company... only horrible.|
Gamers are like Nazi Lowriders
|D and D Guys. They take this shit seriously.|
In all seriousness, role-play gamers have a level of dedication that is to be admired. They kept on playing even when the news media was stirring up that whole "Role-playing games are like Satan worship and Satanists are everywhere" trend. It got so bad that three goth kids who played D and D got thrown in jail for 20 years for murder with pretty much no evidence, other than the fact they played D and D. There are other games of course, all equally dubbed as nerdy, but more recent so they missed out on the Satanist allegations. Magic: The Gathering, World of Warcraft, and a litany of others. These are the Gamers we are talking about. These are our nerd brethren. And they are very prominent in our community, trend setters if you will, and have a great deal of legitimacy. They are coming for you Physics nerds. Run while you can.
|This happens several times a year, every year, all over the world.|
That's right, Trekkies and LOTR fans. You are too numerous and ubiquitous to be a prison gang. Rather you (or should I say we) are relegated to the "disruptive groups" category, which includes Bloods/Crips/all those other asshole street groups that are too large and fractured to effectively rule San Quentin. Like the scattered red- or blue-clad heavily armed teenagers running amok through Compton, we strike fear into the hearts of the every day occupants of a city's professional district when we swarm for one of our conventions. We are a rowdy mish-mash of other groups. We wear costumes, but only on special occasions, and the only times are we are "in-character" is to torment the aging yuppies who look at us sideways while in line at Starbucks. We have no leader, unless you count George Takei. He is our Neutral Zone. But mostly we have varying alliances, motivations, walks of life, only coming together to celebrate our mutual oddity. I, for one, have a deep and abiding love for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine above all other permutations. My husband (who is a closet trekkie) is ardently pro-TNG. And he gets genuinely annoyed that I own the complete director's cut of all the LOTR movies. But purchasing all of those wretched awful Star Wars prequels (that's right I said it)... oh yes, that's a good investment, says he. That's just one marriage. With only two people in it. So we can never really be considered one cohesive group. We're just a mass of individuals bound under one banner. A really awesome banner.
I have every confidence I got something wrong or left someone out, and if there's anything that's fun to read, it's a comment section full of nerds. So go ahead, you pack of geeks. Let me have it.