When Nerds Collide
Meredith L. Patterson
1957

Even though I recommended this on Medium — recommendation definitely does not signal total agreement in this case — I found this excruciating to read, and was surprised to find at the end that it was written by a woman. It treats weirdness and hackerness as a binary on/off thing rather than a spectrum (which is a classic conservative pattern of thought), it blithely asserts that weird people don’t like feminism and then just leaves that hanging - you can’t just leave that hanging! Why don’t they like feminism? And is that really true? As a somewhat weird person myself, I would say no.

Also, as with other hacker participant-anthropologists like ESR, Michael O’Church and Venkatesh Rao, I fear that all such writers are doing is overgeneralising from their own inevitably limited experiences and those of others that they have heard, to form grandiose theories that probably end up saying more about their own personal beliefs, experiences and social milieu than the diverse hacker demographic that they claim to both represent and theorise about. I realise the irony however that the same can be said about many activists, both pro- and anti-feminist, and I would agree that my critique can be applied much more broadly, but nevertheless I do think the effect is particularly acute in pieces of amateur anthropology like this.

Finally, the whole piece is too much at the meta level and doesn’t offer any evidence of prospect for reconciliation at the object level of values and behaviours — indeed, quite the opposite, it tries to insinuate that staring at hot girls is OK.