Not All Nerds Are Created Equal
By: Ray Williams
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Hello there, I'd like to thank BlerdNation for accepting me into its' community and giving me the opportuntiy to contribute. It's cool to have a community of like-minded people who are open to expressing themselves. It's my hope that I can put forth content that at least one person (besides myself) can enjoy.
Now, I was struck by a thought when thinking of something to write for my first blog entry here. It was a simple question that entered my mind: why are "blerds" differentiating themselves from the general "nerd" community? Aren't all nerds the same?
No one person asked me this question personally, but I assume it would be a common thought share by people unfamiliar with the term "blerd". So, I thought I would share my opinion on these questions.
No, all nerds are not the same, just like all people aren't the same. We have different interests, personalities, motivations, and so on. But, what I believe links us nerds together is the passion and zeal we have for interests and hobbies that are considered obscure or not "mainstream". Whether it be computer science, comic books, engineering, or animated series, nerds take pleasure in learning more about their interests than the average person would even consider.
I think us blerds differentiate ourselves because we still like to identify ourselves with our culture. We are accepting of other nerds, but we definitely relate with other blerds because there's a shared commaraderie there. Though we may have different backgrounds, we still share a sense of kinship through our interests. Whether it be sharing a taste in music or a love for '90s black sitcoms, a bond is formed almost instantaneously.
So, I hope that this BlerdNation community can continue growing. It's important for us to have a platform to share ideas and opinions that may have been otherwise hidden and forgotten. Stay strong, Blerds!
A Road to Racism paved with Good Intentions
By: A.D. Wright
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Have you ever noticed that the term "In The Black Community" is always preceded or followed by some crisis or deficit i.e. AIDS, poverty, or some 'ism?
Take a moment and type "in the black community" in Google and see what auto-populates.
The marketers of non-profits are great storytellers. Their job is to use the art and science of storytelling to effectively and efficiently make their client’s customers believe, trust and like them. Just as any good novelist, they use psychology and sociology to engage their audience on an emotional level. They apply gently massaged statistics, over-the-top images and soul-daggering music to compel potential donors not only to agree with their point of view but also to act on it.
I'm sure you've seen a Christian Children’s Fund commercials. You know… for 72 cents a day you can sponsor poor Jamal from miscellaneous Africa with flies in his eyes and a distended belly. Ever considered how your view of the world and the people in it are influenced by the images in these non-profit commercials, billboards, and direct marketing campaigns?
Unfortunately, the passion and dedication of the marketers of ‘good causes’ can border on a zealousness that does more harm than actual good. The repeated one-sided story perpetuated to persuade the haves to give to the have-nots, creates an atmosphere of pity, self-loathing and racist stereotypes.
Can you envision the difficulties for a person in a society where the most desperate members of a group, who he happens to superficially resemble, are his perceived representatives? How many of those awareness ads that masterfully play upon our sense of fear and guilt like the ones used by drug rehab programs, anti-domestic violence groups and STD awareness campaigns feature poor southern white people – an equally vulnerable group?
I don’t know whether or not that 72 cents a day actually reaches Jamal in his tropical slum, but I do believe it could be aiding in taking away $72k from Jamal in Detroit when he applies for a job.
I’m Not Talking about *YOU*
By: TiMar Long
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
This is something that appears to be fairly common in any discussion of social injustice. Whether we are talking about racism in America, sexism in geek culture, misogyny in comics, and so on and so one of the first typical response is “Well I don’t act that way.” This in turn changes the tone of the conversation from actually talking about the problem at hand to having to explain to someone that you’re not out to call them or their friends a whatever (though in some cases it may be justified).
This occurs mostly because when talking about huge communities such as comic book conventions, or gaming cons, or cos players etc etc you are sometimes forced to make generalizations. And because you’ve used a generalization all of a sudden this person thinks you’re calling their behavior bad.
But we’re not. If you aren’t a racist and a bigot then when we talk about the bigoted practices of the GOP then we obviously aren’t talking about you. If we are talking about the sexism that occurs at a comic con then we obviously aren’t talking about you.
Unless of course you are guilty of those actions.
The truth is, in order to have a discussion about these issues we have to make generalizations. I know generalizations are bad (well really they aren’t all that bad) but it’s a necessary evil we do if we are going to see positive change in nerd culture. To be frank, I don’t have time to always list the exceptions. And it becomes counter productive to have to constantly remind the reader that I’m not trying to say they’re the problem. Unless you truly are the problem.
That’s the trick. If you are reading a piece by someone on the ills of your fandom or your community you need to be aware of your own actions enough to know whether or not you’re being part of the problem. And if you’re not part of the problem then there is no need to declare to everyone that you aren’t. If one were to be truthful it’s a little inconsiderate of you to expect me to voice my complaint about inequality in terms that don’t hurt your feelings, mostly because It’s not my job to worry about your feelings!
In the end, if you aren’t one of the people I’m talking about then don’t worry. My generalizations aren’t about you. If you think they might be then do some self-reflections as to why you feel that it is aimed at you.
By: Denzel Lamar
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Hey Blerdnation this is your friendly neighborhood Black Chivalrous Nerd Denzel Lamar dropping through once again and do I have something for you guys. Now for the past few weeks I've been working on a little project on my own and I wanted to let you guys be the first ones to be a part of this project. Before I start let me just say that this project is very near and dear to me for personal reasons but also it's what my life would be if I was a Super Hero. So without any more hesitation, I give you guys the backstory to my Super Hero project entitled "Dragon Sage"
Dragon Sage Backstory
Isaiah Miller AKA Dragon Sage was just a normal 24 year old black man from Media, Pa until that day in August that changed his life and everything around him just as well, so let's get to the beginning of how he became the Quantum Super Hero known as Dragon Sage. Born November 18th in 1988, Isaiah Miller is the youngest of eight children courtesy of Barry and Denise Miller, who have brought four girls and three boys into the world prior to Isaiah being born. Growing up, Isaiah was always into comic books, pro wrestling, martial arts, anime, manga and video games. He was considered the odd one out of the guys in his family because unlike his older brothers and father, he wasn't a hardcore fan of football and basketball so he couldn't relate to them whenever they would talk about those two sports which was when he would turn to comics and read up on the adventures of Batman, Nightwing, Robin, Black Panther and many other comics.
When He was 7 years old, he became interested into martial arts so his parents enrolled him in the local Ryu-Kyu Kempo School in their town but Isaiah wanted to learn more so they also enrolled him in Tai Kwan Do, Ninjitsu and Capoeira. Isaiah was so focused and dedicated to all four of the arts that when he turned 12 years old, he was a 3rd degree black belt in all of them and was still craving more of a challenge. So with his parents’ permission, they let him begin training with weapons such as the Bo Staff (Long Staff), Escrimas (Dual Sticks), Single Katana (One handed Sword), Double Katana (Dual Swords), Daggers/Knives (Hand to hand combat and throwing them). By the time he turned 16 Years Old, he became a master in all of those weapons and he also became a 6th degree black belt in all four of his Martial Arts Techniques. Despite his Martial Arts Studies, Isaiah didn't let his academics fall behind either and in 12th grade he had graduated with a 3.0 GPA with A-'s and B+'s along with an occasional A here and there.
As stated earlier, Isaiah was the odd one in his family and the only person that he could actually relate to and talk to and feel like himself was his Paternal Grandfather. Growing up, everytime Isaiah’s grandfather came to town it was always a great time between the two. Little did Isaiah know, his grandfather was hiding a long time secret from him and the rest of Isaiah's siblings. Little did they know, their grandfather was born with superpowers and he went to fight crime as Shadow Hawk. Evil Doers would tremble if they heard that Shadow Hawk was after them. Whether it was his powers of flight and telekinesis or his intimidating physique, 85% of the criminals would give up without question while the other 15% would try their luck against him and end up in a jail cell licking their wounds.
The only people that knew of this secret was Isaiah's dad and his dad's two siblings and their mother. No one else knew of this secret because they believed that if no one knew of it, then there could finally be a sense of peace within the family. Well they thought there would be peace until that fateful day when the secret decided to expose itself but on it's own terms.
On August 27, 2013, Isaiah's entire world came crashing down because his grandfather, the man who was once known as Shadow Hawk, had lost the ultimate fight with life as he passed away due to cancer. Heartbroken and distraught, Isaiah left the house to get some fresh air and while he was just walking the streets of Media, he was crossing the street when he heard a car speeding towards him. Isaiah puts his hands up and yells at the driver to stop, when suddenly the car starts moving in slow motion while everything else surrounding Isaiah and the car is still moving around in normal time.
Shocked and in awe, Isaiah dropped his left hand and pushed his right hand towards the car and then the car snapped back to normal but this time, it was still running but it was frozen in one spot. The driver of the car along with Isaiah was in shock of what had just happened so the driver stopped the car ironically and took the key out of the ignition and got out of the car. Speechless and scared, Isaiah quickly ran from the scene and headed home. While he was running, he saw some trash lying around in his way so he jumped over them and as he jumped, he proceeded to levitate off of the ground uncontrollably and he kept on going higher and higher into the air.
Suddenly he landed onto the ground abruptly and he stops and looks back and examines himself wondering how in the world did he do that. Seconds later he proceeded to run home and while he is running home he runs into a couple of pedestrians and accidentally knocks one of them over. After the pedestrian fell over, he tried to get up but he couldn't because when Isaiah ran into him, his gravity was changed so that the stranger couldn't get up. Seeing this, Isaiah raised his left hand up into the air just to see what would happen and the pedestrian's gravity was changed back to normal. Isaiah apologized to the couple and continued to run home and it is when he gets home and tells his parents about what had happened is when his dad tells him about the family Secret.
"To Be Continued.........."
Sorry guys but I'm going to end this post with a cliffhanger. If you would like to read more then you have to stay tuned. Until next time, this is the Black Chivalrous Nerd saying Love, Peace and Bacon Grease Smoke Bombs Out
The Struggle: I was a nerd when nerds weren't cool
By: Courtney Brandy-McCreary
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
It's trendy to be a nerd. Some would even call it sexy. A girl whose into comics, batman and cosplay nowadays is considered cool. These are now more socially accepted interests and pastimes. More and more people are "adopting" the nerd culture. Even celebrities like Kanye West and Chris Brown are sporting the non-prescription nerd glasses and preppy sweaters.... people wearing X-men shirts but can't name the characters on it. Sorry I had to say it. But for some us.... we were nerds way before it was cool. It was never a fashion statement or a fad but always a lifestyle....and still is.
At 13 years old I remember going to the mall with my cousin, who was a fashionista, shopping and had to try the latest styles. I would patiently wait for her to try on clothes but I just wasn't into to the whole "shopping for clothes" thing. So I told her when she was done to meet me across the hall ...which was the Waldenbooks.
The bookstore was like a sanctuary to me and even now it is. I was fascinated by section of Nobel Peace Prize novels for young adults, The Baby Sitters Club series, The American Girl series and the variety of bookmarks from Disney characters to abstract art!
I knew I was different from my beautiful cousin based on my interests. To be honest I felt like something was wrong with me. A teenager who would rather read than shop for clothes? It was unheard of. So I would keep my fascination of my brother's action figures and my obsession and knowledge of Jim Henson to myself. I was the type of girl who would rather stay home and write, paint, or play Mortal Combat. Hey I loved studying for Language Arts and spelling tests.
I began my obsession with Audrey Hepburn at age 13.I did a book report on her for my English class. I knew everything about her, her movies, where they were filmed and what year they were made. I had all this joy and love for particular things but kept it all to myself. It was like torture to me. No one knew who Audrey was at my age I couldn't share ...well I was afraid to share. Was I not black or cool enough solely based on my interests? They would think I'm weird. Would boys like me....would my peers accept me...would anyone for that matter?
I knew then I didn't fit the status quo, so for the sake of not being ostracized from others, in particular black girls, I kept my love for "odd" things under wraps. They would talk about boys at the lunch table while I would sit there and pretend to be interested but in actuality I was daydreaming about my scholastic book order coming in the mail. True story. I wanted to be accepted but I knew couldn't just "change" who I was. My family always told me there was nothing wrong with me and that I was unique but I wanted to relate to all of my peers.
Of course with age comes accepting yourself and simply having the "don't care what people think or say" mentality. But it took me a while to get there....to be free....to share and be open about my quirky likes and interests.
Wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt, freaking out over Star Trek or playing video games doesn't necessarily constitute being a nerd. There are so many dynamics of being one. It is someone who doesn't conform to the trends, who thoughts and activities are not mainstream, who is comfortable being their self, who is extremely knowledgeable and for lack of better words "obsessed" with any particular activity or subject matter. Who may be socially awkward or who may not be. Who doesn't quite fit the mold. They could even be fashionable or may be a beauty guru. They maybe be extremely intellectual or creative. There is no limit as to what a nerd is in my opinion.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against trends.But with that being said some us nerds had to struggle for years. We didn't adopt the "nerd" persona....it is something that is instilled in us practically since birth.
Even an introverted personality is finally being viewed as a positive attribute. It's uplifted and celebrated....plenty of books are written on just that.
While in a way it's awesome to see more people interested in the things I always loved become a part of mainstream culture, whether playing the nerd is here to stay or go....a true nerd will always be a nerd till the end.
E=MC2 & Why I’m Still Not Married
By: A.D. Wright
Friday, January 10, 2014
Ever since I passed that age 30+ mark, my friends and family have incessantly asked, “So… why aren’t you married yet?” I keep replying, “Because I don’t want to be;” but for some reason, my answer doesn’t provide the social conformation that they seem to be seeking from me. Here’s my real answer. E=MC2
The Theory of Relativity states: time is dependent on the relative motion of an observer measuring the time. In short, it’s my time when I (and only I) think it is. My bachelor lifestyle doesn’t have a built-in expiration date and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something while casually dating a variety of amazing, interesting and most of all exciting women. Moreover, the term settle down perfectly describes the reasoning behind most age 30+ marriages. People are getting married because it is “weird” not to be.
I have observed some of my 30+ female friends either overanalyze the “marriageability” of a man after the first date or end an otherwise fulfilling relationship because the guy wasn’t moving towards marriage fast enough. When I asked them why they wanted to get married, their answers were elaborate and eloquent, but simplified down to social status and security.
As we get older, the word “single” becomes increasingly disturbing, causing our insecurities to rise and desperation to set in. This plight reminds me of a quote from Milton’s Paradise Lost, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
Hey, maybe I’ll find “the one” and feel differently… or maybe some of us are meant for the two, three or four. Your thoughts?
Liquid Spirit: The Soul of Gregory Porter
By: Dante Johnson
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Jazz has always held a sweet spot with me. The explosions of instrumentals that reach deep down and touch the soul, the smooth voices, the feelings and emotions that it drudges up, Jazz is powerful. My favorite jazz artists seem to mostly be in the crossover section. With beautiful jazzy melodies that any jazz fan can get behind and then a soulful smooth voice that any R&B or soul listener can get behind. That’s my kind of jazz. So you can imagine that a presence like Gregory Porter is sure to be in the collection.
In September of 2013 Gregory Porter put out his latest masterpiece, Liquid Spirit. The music and feel of the album is so on point with the name that it’s perfect. The spirit just flows out of this music and into the heads and hearts of the listeners like water. It’s a perfect name for a fantastic album.
Strangely enough, it’s taken Gregory Porter around 20 years of performing and making music to finally get seen but through perseverance and talent he has arrived and is considered to be one of the top rising stars in the jazz scene. He deserves every second of it.
His voice, comparable to the classics like Marvin Gaye and Lou Rawls, keeps you entertained in elegantly placed jazz arrangements with meaningful, sometimes personal and, most certainly, heartfelt lyrics.
The opening track No Love Dying sounds off with “The bird that flew in through my window/Simply lost his way./He broke his wing I helped him heal and then he flew away/Well the death of love is everywhere/But I wont let it be/There will be no love dying here for me.” If that wasn’t beautifully put enough, the album continues to bring fantastic lyrics to match the wonderful music.
It’s not all whimsical smooth jazz and soul though, the title track Liquid Spirit hits with a gospel influenced, feel-good banger, laid over some soul claps with funky piano riffs and brilliant bass the song is nothing short of a toe tapper.
If you missed this album I recommend it. Not a Jazz fan? I still recommend it. This album speaks to much more than just fans one of America’s most brilliant genres that has been, in some ways, pushed into the corner. Albums like this threaten, or more hopefully promise, to bring it back and remind us that Jazz and soul are very much alive.
Check out some of his older work too, like this video for the fantastic track from his previous album. This song is deeply personal, tells a fantastic story and really sets the mood for what Gregory Porter is all about.
Sea Shanties, Negro spirituals and Assassin's
By: Dante Johnson
Friday, December 20, 2013
It has been about a week since I cracked open the box of my new, hard to come by, Playstation 4 and started up Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. It has been an incredible, long and detailed adventure since the first day I started it and I am truly loving the game from the gameplay to the story, to the concept.
What I’d like to talk about today is one of the most fascinating and wonderful details the game has added in my opinion. The music. While sailing the glorious Jackdaw pirate ship around the Bahama’s as pirate Edward Kenway you can often hear and even request your crew singing old time fisherman shanty’s. These shanty’s are largely thought to have been very important on a ship in keeping morale and passing the time. When you consider that sailing from one island to another could take a week or more the men had a lot of time on their hands when not taking care of their duties as crew members.
These songs are fantastic. They add a depth to the game that I think is somewhat overlooked but certainly important. The songs range from happy drunken shanties like All for my Grog belting out “and it’s all for my grog my jolly jolly grog! All my for my beer and tobacca” to the sadder tunes of shanties like Leave Her Johnny where the crew would sing of leaving the ship behind and the grievances, hardships and emotions of sailing a ship. The songs bring something to the game that is irreplaceable as most good music will.
A DLC pack was released on December 18th for Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag entitled Freedoms Cry. In Freedoms Cry you play as Captain Kenway’s quarter-mate, Adéwalé. Born a slave in Trinidad, breaking away and gaining his freedom he found himself on the crew Captain Kenway's Jackdaw, a free man in the country of the Jackdaw as he states. The game, from what I believe, dives into Adéwalé’s past with slavery and the salve trade as a whole and when his life is once again faced with slavery, injustice and brutality.
During the “golden age of piracy” in the 1600 and 1700’s It’s no surprise that freed slaves made up the crew on more than a few pirate ships and in a time when Sugar was the biggest cash cow, the plantations were run by slaves.
Freedom cry let's us hear the music that the slaves were singing at that time. Assassin’s Creed goes to great lengths to add as much historical reference as they can and I feel that with this new DLC focusing mainly on slavery, it does not disappoint in historical information on slaves in the 1700’s.
In doing a little research on slavery and music in the 1700’s I found a passage that especially stood out to me.
“The blacks who stepped in chains from the slave ships were a musical people, used to expressing religious ideas in song. Sold into hard work, poverty and oppression in America, they turned to songs for solace, singing on every possible occasion in rhythms that had been long familiar to their race. They sang while picking cotton or shucking corn, sang on the chain gang, sang in prison, sang in church-when allowed to attend.” Found on christianity.com
It’s not surprising this music is hard to find, but I did find a little bit. Here are some of the songs I found relating to 16 and 1700’s in the Bahamas. These songs are powerful and interesting and would create an interesting added depth to the upcoming DLC.
I Told You People Judgement Coming
Out On The Rolling Sea
Numberless As the Sands on the Seashores
My Lord Help Me to Pray
You can hear more on Nonesuch records.com.
As I have yet to play the DLC, still making my way through the main story, I have not heard the exact music in the game but I certainly look forward to it as I feel it will only enhance the experience.
The trailer for DLC has some fantastic music, beautiful imagery and really changes the feel of the game as it is now but doesn't at the same time. I am very much looking forward to adventuring the Bahamas with Adéwalé and I hope to hear the same level of depth through music throughout the entire DLC. You can view the trailer here and if you haven’t played the new Assassin’s Creed I highly recommend it.