Chris Hardwick & the Disconnect Between Nerds and Feminists

By:  H.T., Website:  Rogue Black Nerd

Let me start this off by saying the obvious:  do I think the way Chris Hardwick treated his ex was wrong?  Absolutely.  But when we go down the road of saying that what he did is sexual assault, I think we begin to walk down a road that I feel will do us more harm than good.  Harm in that when we begin to call using a guilt trip to get sex rape, we inch ever closer to the days where even without speculation one can already see the effects as studies have shown that millennials are having less children and even marrying less.  So you ask:  what does this all have to do with Chris Hardwick?

By no means do I believe that Hardwick is an innocent man, but I do believe on a macro level that what is happening here is what has been happening with nerd men en mass since the whole GamerGate situation.  To give those not in the know, the entire situation spawned from the accusation that Zoe Quinn, creator of the game “Depression Quest” had allegedly slept with certain video game reviewers to get good reviews of said game.  On one side were men who believed that video game journalism had become corrupt in that many major outlets were giving overly glowing or overly critical reviews of games to maintain on good terms with sponsors.  Some were, yes, misogynistic in how they spoke about women.  On the other side were people that felt as though gamers were a culture of sexless sexist men who hated all women who dared enter their culture and the culture needed to dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age.  However it must be noted that while harassment is wrong of ANYBODY, one must acknowledge that yes, sometimes women DID come into the nerd community who sought a constant, rabid and generous fanbase that are nerds, namely nerd men.

The reason I bring up GamerGate in relation to this is because there was some degree of shock about this that before, during and after it, there was always a contingent of male nerds that built their platforms off being the “woke male feminist” nerd.  Wil Wheaton, Harris O’Malley, Jonathan Macintosh, and up till this point Hardwick were among the few nerd men that were considered commercially viable spokespersons for nerd themed properties.  But each in their own ways posed a problem.  The common one being that they really didn’t speak to the ACTUAL lives of the average nerds they claimed to speak for.  Kevin Smith, despite being mainstream media’s go to nerd expert isn’t by many considered the most in touch guy.  Almost every film he makes talking about nerd culture does so from an shallow, obtuse and pedantic stance that at best feels like the ramblings of edgelord nerds that love to argue why the empire was needed and that the Rebellion was little more than terrorists.  With O’Malley, I feel as though his dating advice comes off more like “just dress better, treat women more like people and lose certain mentalities” without taking into account that dating for nerd men often sucks because for as much as people joke about Waifus and men being in love with fictional characters, no one likes to seriously talk about how nerd women make potential suitors compete for their affection while comparing him to fictional characters, and what’s more, most nerd men look NOTHING like said characters.  And Wil?  Lets be honest, Wesley Crusher was simply a result of Roddenberry being told he needed to have a kid on the show to build ratings.

With Chris, I think the appeal he was thought to have had amongst nerds was that hard work, dedication and discipline could result in one being a better person.  And potentially this would be true if we didn’t live in a very biased media consuming society.  Biased in that post 80s, society got gradually more and more progressive in terms of both what was expected to be on TV and what wasn’t.  When it comes to these men, I think they were on the way out as frankly to have shows with a straight cisgendered heterosexual white lead is considered a liability.  And while I’m all for progress, the problem with this as it ties to Hardwick is that just looking around you can tell that even if he wasn’t accused, his time was limited.  Limited because as time goes on, the goal for being “woke enough” is to move to evermore esoteric lands.  Even now we exist during a time where people are considered transphobic for not being attracted to trans people.  We live in a time where #MeToo can call you a rapist for being too grabby decades ago and be put in the same social class as Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein.

People start losing jobs and getting blacklisted because a movement has decided that Hollywood should oust any and all men accused of being inappropriate with women.  While I can see the need to fight back against such things, we cannot deny that there is always a possibility of said movement to become corrupt, let alone cause a bit of regression in Hollywood.  The Hays Code caused Hollywood artistically to be stunted in growth and many directors and writers took their work overseas to much more progressive film industries.  Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was accused and tried of rape and manslaughter 3 times before being acquitted.  What’s sad is even though he was acquitted, in today’s climate the courts would be accused of not caring about the suffering of women.  But it’s not even a matter of being fair to the accused, it’s a matter of not causing false accusations to become weaponized, being used to send men to possibly die, used for civil suits against the courts to sue for huge amounts of money, or worse, used by actually guilty people to get out of prison.  The problem isn’t simply “innocent men’s reputation could be ruined” it’s literally people could be sued out of existence and even disassemble said movement when people realize that in part of said movement, one of the parts might literally cause an entire industry to implode.  It’s one thing if they cripple the movie industry, but what happens when it’s the writers, or the news industry itself?  What happens when the very corporations that report the very world we live in can’t function on a basic level?

As I said about Emily Lindin about her views on #MeToo in regards to false accusations, when we allow unvetted accusations to potentially ruin peoples lives, you open the door for people to let their emotional anger towards said person ruin them.  Honestly, if this woman was sexually assaulted by Chris Hardwick, I’d much rather this have gone to a court of law than the court of public opinion.  Because in the end, this affects people’s lives and their ability to make a living, if not take care of their families.  Seriously it’s not that people don’t want to smash the patriarchy, it’s that it’s hard to sell people on destroying it when part of doing so is burning one’s paychecks in the process.

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