Monday, September 11, 2006

The Nerd, part II

Another aspect of the concept of the nerd as a class stereotype is that some of the most perceptive anti-nerd writing seems to come from successful tech writers. For example, this writer for Wired News observes that:
"Blog" itself is short for "weblog," which is short for "we blog because we weren't very popular in high school and we're trying to gain respect and admiration without actually having to be around people."
The very clever implication is that being around people is a unmistakable sign of one's worth to contemporary American society. The absolutely indispensible people in American society are so coveted as companions that they are never not around people and even expect you to pay for the privilege of spending time with them.

Another example is the correlation of "geeks", mental derangement, and excessive masturbation:
The mental imbalance I refer to is most readily seen in the geek's masturbatory obsessions. Having no sense of perspective and lacking a personality, the geek attempts to kill two birds with one stone and form a personality around fanatical involvement in an arbitrary pastime. This pastime could involve watching Japanese cartoons, reading fantasy novels, playing video games, or literally just masturbating a lot. The pastime itself is not so significant and has only two universal attributes: that it not require physical prowess of any kind, and that it be impossible to distinguish between enjoying the pastime and not enjoying it.
Another perceptive observation that the only thing that contemporary American society values more than being around lots of people is having sex with lots of people (thus, America's greatest president). This has reached the point where foreign political movements hoping to attract American media attention have to start showing off protest babes to get themselves noticed. Anyone who isn't spending their formative years training themselves to have sex with as many people as possible is therefore mentally damaged and a bad person.

A misconception is that only nerds can understand things like physics or differential equations (author's italics):
At some point, Tom Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, is in Shanghai with some of the rest of his Impossible Mission Force buddies, and they are trying to figure out how to get into some super-secure building (part of the skyline to the right) in about 30 minutes. Cruise is hell-bent on doing it (for reasons I won’t go into in case you want to see the film) and starts planning a daring approach. He starts drawing the various buildings, noting the distances between them and their heights, and then he starts writing equations! He’s trying to figure out something or other to do with swinging from one building to another, and he’s -I repeat- writing equations. And mumbling to himself a bit as he calculates, if I recall correctly!
I suspect that this scene was added to disarm criticisms that multiple uses of deus ex machina were employed in previous installments of the "Mission Impossible" movie franchise. Unless one is Batman or Spiderman, obviously one has to plan out all of those death-defying jumps ahead of time. Another reason that this is at least moderately non-nerdy is that technological one-upmanship is an American sign of social status as well. Even jocks know that they are going to have to learn enough technical knowledge to buy and operate a top-of-the-line high-performance television for their future family room and/or babe lair.

Of course, the Middle Ages had a solution to the social problem of the nerd which was the monestary. Apparently, it was so much fun to learn how to read and write that people would spend the rest of their lives totally cut-off from society, doing nothing but reading and writing instead of having sex.

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