Nerd is the New Black

I heart nerds. Like, a lot. The condition began in college, when I realized that my obsession with smart people had resulted in a disproportionate number of my friends being Computer Science majors.

One late night in a friend’s room at Triangle, the engineering frat (that feels like an oxymoron), it occurred to me that I spent more time there than at “normal” frat houses. Granted, I was not a sorority girl, but still. I was like, W-T-F? Shortly thereafter, I reluctantly accepted my fate. Clearly, my role in life is the Nerd Hag/Nerd Whore/Nerd Groupie (or whatever your preferred nomenclature might be). Now I wear that hat with pride.

Disclaimer: when I say “nerd” I am using the term loosely and intend for it to include the various subcategories of nerd, as well as other labels like geek, dork etc. Yes, there are some big differences. But I won’t go into that here. Lots of other people cover that territory. Here and here, for example.

Oddly enough, it seems that mainstream society is increasingly embracing nerd culture too. While Revenge of the Nerds was a surprise hit back in the day, these days nerd is everywhere. Consider the recent slew of nerd-friendly and goofy-guy-gets-the-hot-girl themed films and TV shows: SuperBad, Knocked Up, Beauty and the Geek, The Pick Up Artist, Napoleon Dynamite, 40 Year Old Virgin, etc.

Some say this is simply a reflection of society – which is getting more nerdy – and that the entertainment industry is racing to catch up. Like this article. I say Nerd is the new Black. So much so that instead of auctioning off attractive women during fundraisers, some colleges are auctioning off nerds. Because they’re awesome.

Speaking of awesome, let’s not forget the xkcd comics. Here are a few of my favorites:

There’s also the wonderful world of sardonic t-shirts (nerd uniform) found at places like T-Shirt Hell and NerdyShirts.

wiid.jpg youtube.jpg

That’s right, talk nerdy to me.

11 Responses to “Nerd is the New Black”

  1. 1 Johnson October 1, 2007 at 12:54 am

    I hope this doesn’t start to spawn a bunch of nerd posers. I can’t imagine anything more horrifying than a frat boy saying “Yo bro, the new edition of D&D just came out, it’s so fucking tight bro. I’m gonna DM that shit with the bros all night. First dude’s character dies gets the shit kicked out of em! Fuck yeah!”

    Soon we’ll have to think up even geekier things constantly to stay hardcore nerds and be one step ahead of the posers. Oh well, we can always fall back on yelling Monty Python quotes at each other completely out of context. That’ll never catch on.

  2. 2 Derek October 5, 2007 at 3:55 pm


  3. 3 Sandra Possing October 5, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    @Derek – Hot. Hooray indeed.

    For those of you who don’t read binary and need a translation tool like I do, here’s a good one:

  4. 4 Sandra Possing October 5, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    @Johnson – Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

  5. 5 Vincent October 11, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Love it. I’ve been telling my friends that Nerdy is the new Cool…and now my theory has been confirmed in cyberspace.

  6. 6 Pointy March 3, 2008 at 2:08 am

    I dont know man. In England Monty Python is common place enough for non nerdy types.

    Anyway its too late, its somewhat cool to be a nerd. What makes it more sickly is that its not quite widespread. Its hipster cool to be nerdy now.

    Lord knows where I sit on this issue. There should be a nerd-lite category as while I do love to randomly quote literary works and make unsightly WWII references…I also enjoy “mainstream” social activities and can bare people enough to indulge them with talk of things other than my Guild Wars elementalist such as sports and women. What ever am I to do?


  7. 7 Pointy March 3, 2008 at 2:18 am

    Right well I couldn’t really leave this topic alone actually. Its had me thinking. Maybe there should be a new category of Nerd.

    Some sort of neo nerd that mixes traditional nerd like pursuits with other liberties that may be taken as socially acceptable (whatever that really is).

    Take for example on of my passions. Now I love bboying (breakdancing) and in my time doing it, I have noticed how many closet nerds are in the scene. In fact you have to be somewhat of a nerd to be in the scene in the first place. A crew im cool with is comprised of graduates ranging from philosophy to medicine. How does something like this happen?

    Could it be the vestiges of 80’s movies and the indelible mark which they left in those that watched them at a young and responsive age?

    I think those who watched and loved all things geeky are in positions now where they can be viewed as role models.

    Haha im ranting and must return to my essay on Luhmann’s Social Systems theory but dammit this will trouble my mind more than Stanlingrad did to the sixth army.

    Peaceski for now.

  8. 8 Sandra Possing March 11, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    @Pointy – I think nerds can and should come in all shapes and sizes! The more widespread the nerd mentality becomes, the more it will evolve and take on brand new forms. While this may be an unsavory concept to purist nerds who feel that only the original definition of the word should be accepted, I think that in general in our increasingly collaborative, transparent, and open-minded digital world, this type of evolution is natural and positive.

    So, how did your Luhmann’s Social Systems theory turn out?

  9. 9 Pointy March 16, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Haha it was odd. Too odd as I basically caved in and said that while Legal Autopoises makes sense in his context, ultimately anyone who comes up with a theory will not please one section of society. Therefore I summed up that you can either have an uber pluralistic society which is a mess and pleases no one or have basically a dictatorship which pretty much pleases no one. I fell on the side of a dictatorship as while its unsavory, it pushes the will of a country in one way and minimizes red tape.

    Lol it had been a really long day!

  1. 1 Geek Studies » Blog Archive » Early October Link Drop Trackback on October 5, 2007 at 3:50 pm
  2. 2 The SanFran MusicTech Summit: Rockstars, Lawyers, Nerds and Me « .Evolving Music. Trackback on March 5, 2008 at 6:54 pm

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