On Fandoms and Nerds Nerding Out for the Nerd of It


Some of you know that I’ve got a gaming column over at another site called The Idler. Actually it would be more correct to say I had a gaming column, since The Idler will be shutting down for good on June 1st, a mere two months after I joined up. Hopefully I’m not the Summer Glau of blogs (steady on, Unreality). After I posted my column last Friday, something horrible happened. Bear with me while I turn my weekly slot into a bit of a “It Happened to Me” and you shall be greatly rewarded.

I decided to do a piece combining my real world sensibilities as a player with a video game situation, and I chose Kaidan Alenko’s lunch date with Shepard in Mass Effect 3. Basically, I revealed how I would have reacted to something he said, presenting it as Shepard’s inner monologue, and tried to make the whole thing fairly humorous (read: I had a bit of fun at Kaidan’s expense). You can read the piece here along with my other articles if you’d like. Then I moseyed on over to tumblr (that’s what I use to run saraclemens.com because I am cheap), posted it, and tagged it “Kaidan Alenko.”


Tagging on tumblr is a little different than elsewhere, it seems. Since tumblr users use tags almost solely to connect to other members of their various fandoms, tagging something that portrays the subject in anything but a positive light is frowned upon. It’s called “tagging your hate,” and I totally did it. And boy did I pay for it.

I ended up getting about twenty emails detailing what a worthless human being I was for disparaging Kaidan. Let it be known that I am definitely, definitely not painting the Kaidan Alenko fandom with any sort of broad brush here, but I am saying there are at least twenty-ish assholes in it. Now, I’ve written for the internet for awhile now, and though I am certainly spoiled by Unreality’s nearly troll-free comment sections, I can handle butthurt. But this wasn’t typical butthurt, which I assume people would have just left directly in the comment section of the piece. This was a bunch of one-line emails that said stuff like “You’re a <blank>.” Or, “Kaidan doesn’t want your dirty <blank> anyway.” Or, “If I ever see you, you’re getting a <blank> punt.” Hint: all the <blanks> are the same word. Those were the tamer examples.

Needless to say, I needed a pick-me-up, stat. So I searched the internet for nerds nerding around just for the fun of it. Let me share with you the fruits of my labors, while I ruminate over ever writing about video games again.*

Jennifer Hale Ships FemShep and Garrus

Not definitively, but start at around 1:40 to jump directly to the evidence. Also, just watch the whole thing because she is as delightful as you would imagine.

Nathan Fillion Sweeps Anne Wheaton Off Her Feet, Wil is Sad


I believe this happened at Ottawa Comiccon. Oh Canada, you are the Nathan Fillion of North America. Wait, no. You’re the John Barrowman of North America.

Mega64 Journeys in Real Life

Full disclosure: I didn’t find this until yesterday. These might be the same guys who did Assassin’s Creed in real life, and it’s just as hilarious. You won’t get it if you haven’t played the game, but for the love of everything, WHY HAVEN’T YOU PLAYED THE GAME?

Baby Chun-Li is Cuter Than You

baby chun li

Yes, you.

Ithaca Audio Creates a Ridiculous Game/Pop Music Mashup


Ridiculous as in ridiculously awesome. I must admit, I feel better all over again.

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that sometimes the bullied become the bullies, or the oppressed the oppressors, but I was quite downtrodden when I woke up to those emails Saturday morning. I was out with some friends Friday night (take that, nerds!), so thankfully I didn’t have to be all sad and bothered in public, but what a crappy start to the weekend. Futhermore, I’ve already done my bullied time, thankyouverymuch. This aggression would not stand! I needed to feel better, at the very least, so I wrote a tumblr post apologizing to the fandom for tagging my hate, because I honestly didn’t mean to—I only tagged Kaidan because he was the subject. I also called out the bullies. Not by name (I permanently deleted those emails as fast as I could try not to read them), but I made it known they existed within the Kaidan fandom’s ranks.

Guess what? I started getting more emails, only they were wholly positive. Kaidan fans came out of the woodwork to apologize on behalf of their less civilized cohorts. Others sent long missives defending Kaidan and his actions, which were fun to read, though I must admit I’m just not that into him anymore. Sorry, all. We’re still buds. One person even said that while she was also majorly annoyed by my piece, it was the fact that she couldn’t stop snickering throughout that annoyed her the most. That right there is a damn fine compliment. Thanks Kaidan fans, for choosing “Friendship” in this Mortal Kombat II round.

Faith in nerd humanity restored.

*Bitch, please. It would take way more than that to shut me up. I like to use hyperbole for dramatic effect, though.


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  1. Man, tumblr is such a weird place sometimes. I love it, but really, it’s strange. People get so incredibly up in arms about specific things. I once had a 5k+ word response to me saying that I didn’t understand all the debate about Sheik’s gender in Ocarina of Time, that basically accused me of being a misogynist and nothing but a “neckbearded Brawl fanboy.” (Note: I am female, a feminist, and have never played Super Smash Bros in my life.)

    Tagging hate is always a bad idea, but in no way would I have considered that a hate post. You didn’t just randomly say “omg Kaidan sucks I want him to die” and tag it for the whole fandom to have to scroll past or anything. It was hilarious, and I’m pretty sure most of even the Kaidan fangirls I know thought something similar during that scene. I’m sorry you had to put up with some crazies over it. The Mass Effect fandom seems kind of full of them, unfortunately.

    Thank you for posting that Jennifer Hale interview, though, that was about the coolest thing I’ve watched all week.

  2. I once had the audacity to defend the casting of Michael Clark Duncan as Kingpin in Daredevil the movie, on a comic fan forum. I mentioned as a Black person it was nice seeing a little diversity injected into the project.

    Well lets just say, the level of racist things I read were quite unpleasant. So much so, that I canceled my membership to forum.

    The unfortunate thing about the internet is how quick people go full asshole.

  3. Tumblr? Yikes. You might actually be better off pimping feminism on 4chan. At least you know those guys are trolling. Your talent for finding ways to restore faith in humanity is formidable, but if you ever need back-up, I’m a classically trained troll hunter from the mean streets of Amazon and I do love to tear bullies a new one (or five).

    Now I feel kind of sad now, though.
    1) I will never be as cute as Baby Chun-Li
    2) NOTHING will ever be as cute as Baby Chun-Li. Ever.
    3) I have no PS3, and therefore no Journey.
    4) Jennifer Hale will never be my wife
    5) Nathan Fillion will never be my dad.

    Maybe I should post on Tumblr about how gleefully I sent that loser Kaiden to his death after he had the audacity to hit on me because the racist chick was hotter. I could use the laughs.

  4. Kaidan Alenko was the weakest link in all of the companions from ME.

    The first two times I played the entire series straight through I didn’t even think about it, Kaidan died – Ashley lived.

    So I got around to finally buying all the DLC for all three games (thanks Simcity Screw Up for the great sale!) and decided “Oh WTH, I’ll take Kaidan with me this time…”

    And I was appalled at how whiny and full of self doubt he was written in ME3.

    This was my first time through as a Female Shepard and the lunch date and the steak dinner were both pretty painful. The lunch date, considering I turned down his advances in ME1, was particularly bad.

    At least I didn’t have to deal with his “you cheated” comment like you did.

    And for anyone reading this who haven’t played the ME series…

    Bar fight with Ashley > Steak Dinner with Kaidan

  5. I really hate when the “fill their inbox with hate” plan works. Instead of apologizing, you should have responded with more hate. Wait, I mean respond with more HATE! Oh, well. Lesson learned. Only Internet HATE can beat tongue-in-cheek-hate.

  6. There should also be a special button combination for the sole-survivor-colonist Shepard that interrupts any crew member insensitive enough to not STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR FAMILY! MY FAMILY IS DEAD! DIE BATARIAN DIE, DIE, DIE!!! I’m looking at your Ashley, Kaidan, Miranda, Thane, Samara, Tali, Garrus and Jacob. Jack and I will be down in the bottom of the ship where it’s dark and quiet.

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