Nerd rage gets a bum rap. People think that angry nerds are just freaking out about minor continuity mistakes, or taking stuff too seriously. But sometimes, geeks get mad for good reason, and when people assume nerd rage is trivial, it's part of an overall process of belittling geeks.
And when enough geeks get pissed off, it can be a mighty force. If nerd rage could be harnessed as an energy source, it would keep the lights on in Shanghai for a year - and it often helps improve the worlds of geek culture and technology. Here are seven ways that nerd rage can make the world a better place.
Killing bad ideas.
This is a huge, important service that pissed-off geeks provide to the world. When word leaks out that the next Terminator movie will give John Connor a face transplant, or that there's a Justice League movie in the pipeline where the JLA are all teenagers, the pushback from fans can help force the studios and creators to rethink. When the script for Star Trek: Generations leaked early, and people saw the ignominious death of Captain Kirk, I've always wondered if that didn't help force the studio to do reshoots. (Certainly the angry response to early test screenings didn't help.)
Evangelizing for good projects
And then there's the flipside... no matter how incensed fans get about crappy ideas and weak projects, they usually find time to plug the stuff that deserves more love as well. In between hating on the latest weak police procedural-wannabe, people also point out that Fringe is still on the air. Or while pouring hatred on the latest dumb vampire movie, they also champion other films that do deserve support. The flipside of nerd rage is the equally passionate support of underdog projects and beloved series.
Keeping people honest
We all benefit, one way or another, from the propensity of smart geeks to hold everybody to account. Knowing that a vocal group of fans and skeptics will be watching makes everybody that much more careful, in all parts of the geek media world. And woe betide anybody who tries to mislead the fans, by making promises for a movie or TV show that can't or don't pan out.
Keeping interesting ideas alive
Sometimes, it takes a lot of righteous anger to keep a really cool argument going, and to keep a set of ideas in people's minds. Sometimes, a really pissed-off set of geek commentators can keep a discussion alive and keep raising ideas long after other people would have given up. There are ideas that we're still aware of, and talking about, because a few people wouldn't let go. Image via The-ISB
Creating cool art
Fan art doesn't have to be about love and kisses. Sometimes, the best fan art comes from being pissed off that a show got canceled, or that a saga ended in a disappointing way. Sometimes, the awesomest fan art comes from people who are mad as hell. Sometimes, really cool fan-made films or fanvids come from a place of anger.
And finally, there's nerd rage that actually calls people on their shit — when stories get messed up, and creators thoughtlessly include stuff that offends a lot of people, it's good to get angry. Projects like Racebending.com come out of the purest, hottest core of nerd rage, when Hollywood decides to cast all white actors in The Last Airbender instead of being true to the animated source material. Nerd rage can help to challenge people whose privilege is blinding them to the way their storytelling affects a lot of people.