Quickies

Quickies: Living in space, nerd entitlement, and the inaccuracies of Exodus

  • 5200 days in space – “An exploration of life aboard the International Space Station, and the surprising reasons the mission is still worthwhile.”
  • On nerd entitlement – “Hi there, shy, nerdy boys. Your suffering was and is real. I really fucking hope that it got better, or at least is getting better, At the same time, I want you to understand that that very real suffering does not cancel out male privilege, or make it somehow alright. Privilege doesn’t mean you don’t suffer, which, I know, totally blows.”
  • Egypt bans “inaccurate” Exodus film – “The head of the censorship board said these included the film’s depiction of Jews as having built the Pyramids, and that an earthquake, not a miracle by Moses, caused the Red Sea to part.”
  • Hot chocolate consumption across the animal kingdom – I know it’s not Cute Animal Friday but I had to share this comic.

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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10 Comments

  1. Re: nerds
    Scott: I’m a nerd. I was oppressed. I had no privilege!
    Me: Name a female nerd from your high school
    Scott: … there weren’t any.
    Me: Really? Or were they just under your radar? Let’s meditate on that a moment.

    The weird thing about being a childhood nerd and bully victim, which I was (which is to say, I’ve been beaten unconscious at school), is that it has made me more sympathetic toward other types of victims.
    I really don’t understand how being abused can make a person want to put down other victims, as if There Can Be Only One.
    Yeah, dude. Imagine all that shit you went through, PLUS people tell you you’re genetically bad at math and computing from basically the day you’re born.

    1. Did Scott really “want to put down other victims”? He might have been unaware of them, but I really don’t see how a fair reading of his words can suggest that he wanted to put down other victims.

      1. “putting them down” isn’t quite accurate. More like “refusing to acknowledge that others had it worse.”
        But really, I meant the “shy nerd culture” people in general. It seems like there’s this weird belief in nerd culture, and in atheist culture too, that we’re the big victims and other people couldn’t possibly have it as bad.
        That’s what he’s saying when he rejects the notion of himself having privilege.
        Having read all of Scott’s original post, I entirely sympathize with his position. His childhood, and his paranoia regarding women, are very similar to my own.

        1. Regarding Scott in particular, and not “shy nerd culture” in general —

          What I take him to be saying is that his subjective experience was not one of privilege. He felt miserable and anxious and suicidal, and did not feel privileged at all. I’m sure if you were to have asked teenage Scott whether he felt that he lived a very privileged life relative to women in Taliban Afghanistan, he would agree that he did. I’m sure he does not and did not dispute that others had it much worse than he had it in some objective sense (although, in a subjective sense, once a person is seriously considering suicide, there’s not that much lower to go).

          I think there’s a reasonable question as to whether the language of “privilege” is the most effective way to talk to and reach miserable people who are considering suicide (for instance). A conversation among college-educated and college-bound Americans about the word “privilege” sometimes turns into a bunch of people who are among the most privileged human beings on Earth (top 1%, easily) discussing which of them have to acknowledge privilege. I’m just not sure that this is the best way to get to a more equitable, gentle world. It might be, I’m just not convinced.

          Simply put, I don’t think Scott was rejecting anyone else’s victimhood. He just felt like within the world of his high school social sphere, he didn’t have the privilege of having a great deal of social capital. I don’t think he was claiming to be at the bottom of the ladder, either — he’d surely acknowledge, for instance, that a disabled kid who’s (say) a male nerd had it worse in an objective sense than he did.

          1. Perhaps but one of the things he says is that he feels he was part of the “least privileged class in society.” To me, that doesn’t seem at all to acknowledge that others might have it worse, despite his own suffering.

  2. Jews had nothing to do with building the pyramids. Nor were they slaves in Egypt. Not that this should result in the movie being banned, but it’s kind of a shame that so many people think the Exodus myth has any significant basis in reality.

      1. It’s based on myth in the way that Romulus & Remus or Paul Bunyan or is based in myth — it just is myth.

        The basis of the story — that Jews were once slaves in Egypt and now no longer are — is only half true. Jews are not slaves in Egypt. And really the untrue half is the crucial half. Indeed, the people now referred to as “slaves” in Old Kingdom Egypt bore little resemblance to modern slaves … they were paid laborers more akin to sharecroppers than to slavery in the American South. In short, not only weren’t Jews slaves in Egypt — there basically weren’t slaves in ancient Egypt. So yeah, the whole thing is a myth.

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