Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Culture Vultures

Because of its unfortunate secondary placement in this blog's mantra of "nerd music and culture," I feel I sometimes neglect the all-important non-musical elements of nerd life. I spend lots of time talking about the significance of nerdy music and where you can find it, and I often allude to nerd culture as this grand, nebulous concept, but I rarely pin it down. I seldom define its dimensions. I almost never make it concrete.

Today I hope to break this trend.

You see, just as the music that I feature springs forth from hundreds of talented and undeniably geeky individuals, my love of nerd culture is similarly nourished by others. Blogs are, by their very nature, cannibalistic; so, in the same way that MC Frontalot and Uncle Monsterface help feed my need for musical geekery, a cavalcade of other bloggers slake my thirst for true nerd culture.

You likely already have a stable of the standard geeky cultural destinations in your aggregator of choice – your io9s and your Topless Robots – but there are other, subtler options.

So where do I go when I want to read nerdy things written by nerdy people? Let me tell you:


The mainstream does not, as a rule, understand the nerd culture phenomenon. They can wax poetic about how Big Bang Theory represents a cultural paradigm shift where nerds can be legitimate protagonists, and they can drone on and on about the dreaded "geek chic," but they just can't seem to grok what we're really about. To them we are at best an unfathomable mystery and at worst another momentary oddity. The caveat to this statement is TIME magazine. More specifically, it's TIME's Lev Grossman. He's sort of our inside (outside?) guy, the one cat on the more conventional journalistic tip that speaks with our voice.

I originally began following Lev through his work at TIME's NerdWorld blog, a project that recently transformed into the newly unveiled TechLand. This new blog shares all the principle earmarks of NerdWorld, focusing on things like gaming, gadgets, comics and TV – all of which are core elements of nerd culture.

Lev manages to avoid the principle pratfall of professional blogging by walking that narrow line between analytical exploration and personal narrative, and along the way manages to craft posts that are both insightful and genuinely entertaining. Plus he and I share joint blog comment custody of a certain Church H. Tucker. So there's an additional bond.

The Life and Times of Jarvis Slacks

I have long held the opinion that a proper nerd can geek out about practically anything, and Jarvis Slacks is proof positive of this postulation. Whether he's sharing his impressions of Borderlands, trying to unravel the complex web of teen angst and poor decision-making that led to the popularity of Jncos or putting those snooty-ass cavemen in their place, he always comes across like a nerd's nerd: intelligent, sardonic and literate as fuck.

Jarvis is an educator by trade, and some of his best stuff comes from that well-worn but still totally serviceable "exasperated teacher "pastiche. (Holler at his Twitter for more info.) Still, for my money there's no one I'd rather see go on a political tear than Jarvis. His takes on subjects like Fox News and why you shouldn't trust the police are like perfectly polished nuggets of geeky genius.

If you're a fan of Halo, Battlestar Galactica or leftist politics, Jarvis is your man.

Wolf Gnards

Wolf Gnards is a blog for people who take their ridiculous pop culture minutiae seriously.

Wait; skip that. Wolf Gnards is the blog for people who take their ridiculous pop culture minutiae seriously.

For the uninitiated, I would describe this blog as a solid bitch slap to modern entertainment media. While most rags (both dead tree and digital) linger over John and Kate or can't seem to get enough of golf pros and their traffic accidents, Wolf Gnards is calculating how long Bill Murray spent in Groundhog Day's temporal loop and the proper bangs-to-face ratio for aspiring indie girls.

To break it down Wolf Gnards style, the blog is essentially snarky pop culture + math. And that shit always = nerd.

Plus, can you really go wrong with a blog that's name is a Monster Squad reference?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nerd News in Brief

Once again I find myself apologizing for my blogging negligence. I won't bore you with details, but suffice it to say that, at the very time I believed things would become easier on the writing front, shit went the other way.

I'm doing my best to at least keep the podcasts coming out on a regular schedule, but I've fallen desperately behind on album reviews, news posts and the (long forgotten) features.

Bear with me folks, and hopefully I'll make it over this hump. And in the meantime, y'all wish me luck. I could certainly use it.
  • Parlez Vous?: Otaku rapper Ultraklystron has just favored eagerly awaiting fans with a direct sequel to his 2007 concept album Romance Language. Dubbed, interestingly enough, Romance Language 2, it's currently available digitally for a mere $ 5, with hardcopies up for general sale mid-month for $14.
  • Once Got Busy in a Death Star Bathroom: Speaking of follow-ups, earlier this month Bent TV released a sequel the original Star Wars Gangsta Rap. The flows are still a little weak, but this time the beat is definitely hot!
  • Channel Changus!: Church hipped me to this Daily Mail piece about two inventors who crafted a Harry Potter-style "magic wand" remote control. He also gave me the snarky tagline. That guy is too nice to me.
  • It's Gotta be the Shoes: Also from Church comes news of a new line of Star Trek-themed Airwalk sneakers. Of course, for those of you who prefer Padawans to redshirts, Adidas has similarly launched a Star Wars line.
  • One of Us!: The Chicago Tribune reports that Bears' linebacker Lance Briggs is a comic book fan. Less newsworthy is his $154 habit. I see guys working construction dropping that much on books at my local shop!
  • Rock of Ages: Spinner has compiled a list if the Biggest Geeks in Rock. Making the cut are such big names such as punk icon Henry Rollins and birth-control specs pioneer Buddy Holly. Oh, and our pal MC Frontalot also makes an appearance on said list!
  • Equal Time: Thanks to the Mass Effect controversy, we are pretty much assured at least one weird coupling per BioWare title. Dragon Age Origins, for example, features the potential for some gay elf love, and I say its about damn time. Homosexual elves are notoriously underrepresented in popular media.
  • Nerds Get Real: Last week Penny Arcade launched the two-part pilot of their reality web show PA TV. I'd love to be all clever and shit, but the bottom line is that the series is nothing short of heartwarming. Watch the PAX Q&A scene during part 2 to find out why.
  • Don't Be Tripping: Nerdcore fans rejoice, for YTCracker has been dropping new tracks like crazy. From space jams to the "Hogg Theme Song" and beyond, the DG has been in full effect.
  • Coming Back Around: After his spat with the scene earlier this year, our old friend MC Lars has returned to the nerdcore fold. At least in as much as he recently preached the nerdy gospel over at Hit up the video to hear Lars drop knowledge re: Front, mc, YT, Beefy, STD and Wheelie.
  • Know Your Roots: Last week Antisocial approached me with a revelation; he believes Roman poet Catullus 16 to be the originator of gangsta rap. Peep his sexcore jam Carmina for more info.
  • We Are Family: Though I've already mentioned this in passing, Scrub Club has recently expanded yet again. In addition to signing my boys Southside, the winners of the Versus Mode competition, the Club also welcomed runners-up Diabeats, King Pheenix, and StarF. Immediately thereafter, ZeaLouS1 also came on board, further strengthening an already impressive roster.
  • Audio Absolution: Taking us out of this much-delayed NNIB is a new video from the White Shinobi himself, T.Y.T. It's his track "Forgive Me (feat. Togo)," and it's from his new album Unusual. Enjoy the hotness.