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Monday, May 4, 2015

What We're Reading: Pacific Standard's Profile of Arthur Chu

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 11:32 AM

click to enlarge Chu - FRANK J LANZA
  • Chu
"How a game-show champion became the embattled conscience of American male geekdom," claims Pacific Standard atop its newly published profile of Northeast Ohioan/Jeopardy! champion/noted social polemicist Arthur Chu. 

Following Chu's game show ascent, you see, he became something of a magnetic figure in the ongoing #Gamergate discourse and within what he calls "general unpleasantness in the nerd community." The very notion of "the nerd" in the 21st century had found itself under a microscope — one simmering with loathing and fascination. 

A flashpoint for Chu's entrance into the conversation came in his essay on misogyny and entitlement in nerd culture following a shooting in Santa Barbara, Calif. 

"It came from a very emotional and genuine place, and I think that's what people responded to," Chu told Scene after the article was published. "It was really striking to see how many women came to talk in the aftermath through #YesAllWomen. The biggest impact is seeing women who aren't necessarily in the news as feminists or social critics or political people, but who have a story to share or a perspective when it becomes a big conversation: To me, that's the value in hashtag activism."

From Pacific Standard:

Chu found himself with a new sense of purpose. Other people had made similar observations about nerd culture before, but thanks to Jeopardy!, Chu had a shot at taking the issues to a bigger audience. In the months that followed, he wrote more about the dark currents within nerd-dom. One article discussed nerd power-lust. (“The creepy nerd fantasy that remains alive and well in today’s Age of the Nerd Triumphant is not of making peace with the popular kids but taking their throne.”) Another called out blockbusters like Game of Thrones and Avatar for nerd ethnic chauvinism. (“We repeatedly tell stories about a white protagonist who goes on a journey of self-discovery by mingling with exotic brown foreigners and becoming better at said foreigners’ culture than they themselves are.”)

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