Open letter to Ernest Cline’s awful poetry
I saw a tweet about a poem last night. It was written 17 years ago, but is currently on Ready Play One author Ernest Cline’s website.
It’s called “Nerd Porn Auteur,” and it’s somehow more awful than the title would allude.
If this piece of work is no longer representative of its author, it shouldn’t be up on their website, so we must assume that Ernest Cline believes these words he’s spoken— stands by them.
The opening text of Cline’s spoken word opus.
The “poem” is line after line of insults, phrase after phrase pitting women against each other. It’s not just poorly crafted, it’s fucking toxic.
In it, he laments that there are no “porno movies” for guys like him. Because he, dear reader, he’s one of the good ones. He likes smart women, not those dumb porn performers. They’re “stupid and submissive,” have “gargantuan breasts and a three-word vocabulary.” Sorry, dumb sluts, but Ernest Cline doesn’t want you.
He wants “brainy articulate bookworms” in tweed skirts. And he tells us about it, at length, all while placing women into tiny boxes until I feared I’d run out of air. It’s an exercise in veiled put-downs. It’s a meditation on whorephobia. It’s a gross how-to that removes the concept of agency, and tramples on individuality. Everyone is worth shaming, unless you’re Ernest Cline, or a woman Ernest Cline has stamped his seal of approval on.
It’s anti-sex work, and deeply insulting, asserting repeatedly that women in porn are brainless, “cock-hungry nymphos.” Why, they’re barely people!
It goes on to make clear that if you are the opposite of Ernest Cline, you are a “beer-swilling” “alpha-male,” and not the thoughtful, super smart “electronic engineer”esque good guy that Ernest Cline is.
Because, let’s face it, Ernest Cline is a good guy. Why, by the end of the piece, he’s taking applications for his “nerd porn.” Don’t worry, ladies, even if you’re unhappy with your appearance, Ernest Cline will hire you. You just have to pass a nerd test. Because, he’s a great guy — the best! — he just wants to be sure you’re not some fake geek girl. He needs to check that you’ve been buried in a book and not at the gym. He needs to make sure you’re more Madonna than whore.
It ends just as icky as it started.
This is why we need varied voices. “Nerd culture” doesn’t need to be represented by some pseudo-nice guy that proceeds to explain what women should be. I don’t need some smug asshole thinking the way to a woman’s heart is by tearing down others. “It’s from 2000,” you shout from your high horse. Yeah, I got it. And it’s on his site, located at the top of a list, one click away from the mainpage. Ernest Cline could easily remove it if he was embarrassed by the childish laments of his past.
His views on pornography, gender, and relationships are clearly misinformed, and this endless rant highlights his delusion. Women don’t care what you think, Ernest Cline. You are not so different from the imaginary men you admonish in your tome.