The Worst Nerds

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Memo to "The Talifan": BE BETTER... WAIT, YOU'RE HOPELESS.

This is a special, post-hoc, emergency edition of Be A Better Nerd, because at no point in the previous instances of the series did one important question get answered - at what point is a nerd unsalvageable? At what point are they so insane, so caught up, so trapped in a web of their own minutiae that they aren't just stalking their hobby, they've kidnapped their hobby, tied it up in their basement, and force it to watch while they masturbate to the Star Wars Holiday Special?

At what point are nerds simply incapable of being better nerds? At what point are exile, euthanasia, or chemical castration the only alternatives to a lifetime of sad nerditry? Here's a hint - when they decide they need to dispute the number of clones in the Clone Army. In Star Wars.

The official number, which for the record is a factoid I now bitterly resent knowing at all, is "about three million". Which, to the very tiny extent that I can force myself for the purposes of this column to give a shit, seems like a lot. I mean, that's three times the number of people who showed up at the Million Man March, and that was pretty damn big.

This number was revealed in an article in Star Wars Insider, a fact which I hope prompted the same reaction in all of you that it did in me, that being "Holy shit, they're still publishing Star Wars Insider?" I mean, I know it's heavily subsidized by the sale of plastic Wookiees, but still. It was revealed by author Karen Traviss*, who writes Star Wars books. Hey, we all gotta make rent somehow. I'm told she also writes real books. I can't tell you whether they're any good or not, because to be perfectly honest, the last time I looked over the SF section at Barnes and Noble, the visual assault of three thousand uniformly awful covers** gave me a mild seizure, and as a protective measure, my doctors have warned me to stay at least 500 feet from midlist paperback scifi at all times.

There is a subset of Star Wars fandom that thinks that all those movies and books about the banking space-plane flown by a light-sword-wielding magician whose dad was friends with a floppy-eared racial stereotype should be treated as "hard SF". Hard SF meaning grounded firmly in science and extrapolated technology and military reality. This is, on the face of it, patently insane. Because at the end of the day, making a movie is a collaborative effort. The product of thousands of tired, time-crunched people with a wide variety of motives. And while some of those motives may be the art of meticulous world-building, others of those motives are getting this fucking shot rendered because they haven't eaten in two days, slept in three, or kissed their wives in seven.

Under such circumstances, the center cannot hold. The numbers cannot, will not, ever add up. And every bit of creative mathsturbation nerds use to fill in the gaps is one more step down the road to Irrevocable Madness, and the aforementioned euthanasia.

These nerds felt that three million was a ridiculous low-ball number for the amount of clone troopers required to perform the tasks hinted at by the Star Wars prequels. They may be correct. I don't know. I'm not the one stillframing DVDs and counting white suits. Which is bad, but not irredeemably bad. How several of them dealt with the results of their rectal Fort Knox of anal-retentiveness is what makes them the worst nerds ever. And I do not pass this judgment lightly. I've seen a lot of nerds in my life. Been a lot, too. But the level these feebs have achieved...

But that is a story for another day. And that other day is tomorrow.

*In the interests of full disclosure: Karen Traviss has read this column before. The last time I talked about Star Wars. She's even posted to the forum. The numbers thing never came up, and this is not intended as a defense of her. I'd have written the same column if I'd never heard of her, only it wouldn't have this tedious fucking footnote on it.

**Which, upon closer inspection, appeared to represent exactly 14 different series.