Nerd was an insult when I was a child. But I’m not entirely sure I knew that. Probably because my mother kept me modestly sequestered from the wider world by sending me to an esoteric school and not letting me watch much television. I didn’t have my passions sanded off by social pressures or popular culture.
I didn’t realize how lucky I was. My teenage rebellion was trying to be become more normal. And like every middle aged person I came to appreciate the benefits of my upbringing only in time. But I have learned that it was only feeling safe to be a weirdo that saved me.
I don’t mean it in any conspiratorial fashion but the wider masses of humanity aren’t particularly enamored of anyone who isn’t normal. It’s simple and not all that sinister. We need norms.
I’m sure you’ve noticed how much more terrifying the world feels as we share fewer and fewer norms in common.
We’ve always used norms as a way to keep control of the weirdos and the freaks. Not all of us were bad in any meaningful sense. Just weird. Most of us were probably weird about specific passions like trains or makeup or punk rock.
But eventually everyone who is right about their particular weirdness gets absorbed back into society. Weirdos are rejected until they became so clearly right that we all adopt them. I promise you that lots of shit you think is fucked up weirdo shit will be hailed as transformative.
We just generally want the fruits of the nerds to be harnessed for the wider benefit of all of us. And it’s scary to see something you love and understand the nuances of become absorbed into a less pure thing. Even if you really want your specific nerd niche to be enjoyed by more people. I mean look at how insufferable Star Wars fans are.