Saturday, October 20, 2012

I am not Sheldon Cooper

I'm a bit of a nerd... sort of like a human in general is a bit of an ape. I also hold that nerds are superior beings. They are not to be put up as objects of inept ridicule by the mundanes. I have acquired this philosophy during a lifetime of dodging taunts, slaps and pranks in the jails commonly termed the school system, then a solid dose of rarefied alienation in the workplace. This is why I refused to watch The Big Bang Theory for years. I was certain it would be no more than constant scapegoating of mad scientists, dark wizards, witches and brainiacs in general, the luddite outcry against misunderstood science, painting intellectuals at once as pathetically weak and fiendishly dangerous alien beings just waiting to enslave humanity.

There's a hefty dose of the tyranny of the majority on the show, enough chatter about geeks never gettin' any to allow it to appear on television. Still, it has managed to hit on so many of the various stereotypically nerdy fixations and its humor is 'snappy' enough that its entertainment value trumps its insultingly misplaced condescension. More troubling is the Sheldon Cooper character as the idiot savant straw man, maintaining the popular fable that 'too much smarts ain't good fer ya', constantly reassuring the audience that their unanalized life ruled by social convention and sheer dumb instinct represents the only way to live.
Every other character on the show plays the part of the crypto-geek, bowing to social pressure, aspiring to the normalcy which is so far beneath them. The only other character who refused to conform was Amy, who later was focus-grouped to death. The cast apparently only had room for one Spock to ridicule.

I am not Sheldon Cooper. He does however embody an uncomfortably large amalgam of my tendencies. Aside from the Aspergerish need to reconstruct social protocol through conscious observation rather than simply absorb it animalistically, a great many of the scenes featuring the character have been awkwardly 'on the nose' for me, right down to Sheldon criticizing the blatant stupidity of astrology and horoscopes and being slammed down with the nonsensical retort "blah blah blah, typical taurus" - you guessed it, yours truly was born in late spring. Crusading for logic over sentiment and instinct, living inside my own head much of the time, a knack for blurting out non-sequitur trivia, an apparently annoying tendency to never let anything go and bring up age-old arguments, faults and debts, what can I say, I'm a few quirks away from drawing up a roommate agreement.

But come on, I'm not disjointed from reality and neither are the many other nerds who demand an objective analysis of everything others take for granted. No matter how entertaining the show is, Sheldon is still socially damaging for encouraging the view that anyone who questions the thoughtlessly accepted standards of society must be a morally incapable, weak but sinisterly underhanded villain who popped out of the womb bent on destroying the world a la Stewie Griffin. Worse, the other nerds' desperation to achieve normalcy leaves Sheldon, the constant object of ridicule, as the most sympathetic character on the show for anyone willing to aspire to transcend the human condition. It's a sick sort of pigeonholing.

So what if I am exactly the type to say things like "they were having fun wrong" - damnit, I am not Sheldon Cooper!

edit 2015/06/23 : capItalIzed my I's because I've been crIngIng every tIme thIs post gets a hIt.

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