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The Media Sci-Fi

We Are All Nerds Now 651

Anonymous Slob Nerd. writes "The Guardian has a good review of something close to all of our hearts. We are all nerds now discusses how the popularity of the internet, video gaming, comic-book movies (Spider-Man, Hulk), the sci-fi epics (The Matrix, Star Wars) and the wizard fantasy (Harry Potter), not to mention The Lord of the Rings has made nerds, and nerdish behaviour, cool."
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We Are All Nerds Now

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  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:26AM (#7700884) Homepage Journal

    If the "Nerd" moniker is now the baseline for the general populace then the True Nerds will have to come up with something to differentiate us from Them. Maybe it's time to go back to black glasses with tape, flood pants and pocket protectors. Perhaps a secret handshake too!
  • geek chic? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kris Thalamus ( 555841 ) * <selectivepressure&gmail,com> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:27AM (#7700900)
    What is the default level on the geek hierarchy [brunching.com] that the new trendy nerds enter at?
    • by Washizu ( 220337 )
      "What is the default level on the geek hierarchy [brunching.com] that the new trendy nerds enter at?"

      Even furries made it on to CSI [livejournal.com]...

  • Cool? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThrasherTT ( 87841 ) <thrasher.deathmatch@net> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:29AM (#7700931) Homepage Journal
    No. We just feel better about being nerds.
  • Trekkies (Score:5, Funny)

    by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:29AM (#7700933)
    And the nerds that will be looked down on are the ones who still like Star Trek.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:30AM (#7700941)
    Liking all of those things doesn't make you a geek. Getting in depth on those things makes you a geek. I like cars, but I couldn't flush a radiator. Does that make me a Gearhead? ... Yes I liked Star Wars, but when I turn into my friend who can play 6 vs. 1 at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit and beat us in two turns(all 6 pies and the center).... thats a damn Star Wars geek.
  • actually (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:30AM (#7700942) Homepage
    No, because pop gaming nerds think The Matrix was a good game, while real gaming nerds know that most of the world will miss out on gems like Viewtiful Joe.

    Same goes for any of the other formats available. Trying to convince 'cool nerds' of the hidden treasures in each medium only make them easily identifyable as the uncool nerds again.

    Nerds will always be around. They arn't identifiable by what mediums they like, only the great lengths they will go to discuss or aquire specific works.
  • by noselasd ( 594905 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:30AM (#7700947)
    I somewhat fail to see what's so nerdish about Lord of the Rings. Sure,
    alot of nerds have read the book. The books seems to have a cult status among nerds, though I really cannot find many nerds or why anyone would think of nerds while reading the books or watching the movies.
  • by boy_afraid ( 234774 ) <Antebios1@gmail.com> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:31AM (#7700959) Journal
    Yeah, I'm a nerd, but you still have to grovel at my feet if you want your computer fixed or upgraded.

    You have a problem with your DSL/Cable modem connection? Well, kiss my ass then.

    You need to remove those pop-up adds? Kiss my ass then.

    Yes, I am you overlord, so be happy about it.

  • Popular, you mean (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:31AM (#7700965) Journal

    ... has made nerds, and nerdish behaviour, cool." Uh, you mean it's made it popular.

    Nothing can make nerdish behaviour cool. That's one of the fundumental axioms of social psychology.

    -- MarkusQ

    P.S. If you doubt this distinction, spend a few minutes and I'll bet you can easily think of two other things that have allways been popular but have never been cool, and at least one thing (YMMV) that is cool but has never been popular. Do this when there is no one within earshot so you won't have to explain your laughter.

    • worse than that (Score:3, Insightful)

      by *weasel ( 174362 )

      nerdish behavior is not even becoming -popular-. what's becoming popular is merely -part- of the content that used to be exclusively in the domain of the nerdish. it's being coopted and de-geeked. as acceptance of parts of our domain grow, some of those parts are merely breaking out of our social stigma.

      watching a scifi or fantasy movie may not be nerdy anymore, but reading a scifi/fantasy book, or discussing the technology/philosophy still is.

      having a collection of comic-based movies may be cool, but
  • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:33AM (#7700993) Journal

    Just because you can use a idiot proof cell phone and computer to look at espn.com does not make you a geek. Furthermore, the fact that you saw the matrix, Spidyman, and LOTR does not make you a geek, since they do have violence that any guy would like at least.

    When you start trying to do things with technology that arn't mainstream, like using linux or even just making a webserver on your mom's computer, then I'd say you are getting there.

    As far as movies go... Cube, Pi, ExiZtenZ, and sneakers are a few movie I can think of that I've seen, but I doubt any non-geek has (unless made so by their SO)...
    • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pavon ( 30274 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:28PM (#7701719)
      Just because us nerds made technology easy enough for the general population to use does not mean that the general population is nerds. Technology has always progressed and there have always been people who push technological development and those who simply use the results. When the general population can design these technologies then you can talk.

      Video Games:
      This has never been limited to nerds. When the nintendo came out, all the kids wanted one not just the nerds. I have a friend that works at a game store and he says the worst part about it is that half the people that come in are the stupid jocks with the "this game is cool cause you kill people" mentality. The only video gaming that have been specific to nerds are MUDs, and for that matter, pen-and-paper roll playing as well. So the popularity of MMRPG's is a step in that direction, although the potential for creativity is much less than MUDs and other role-playing games. Fantasy goes along the same lines. Everyone likes a good adventure, only geeks build entire worlds in their imagination.

      Comic Books:
      Again, in my dad's time, all the boys liked comic books. What makes you a comic book geek is knowing every single aspect of every single comic, to the point where you are more in touch with the comic book universe and more capable of spotting plot inconsistencies than the creator himself. Diddo for star wars, star trek. Plenty of non-geeks watch those shows. Only the geeks worshiped them :)

      The whole bit about how nerds are succesfull after high school has also always been true. And nerds are still treated the same way in high school as they have always been. The only change in that dynamic, which he barely mentioned, is the new goth, freak, punk groups that have grown staring around the late 70's. They tend to be more nerd-friendly than the popular people.

      But yeah nothing he said indicated any sort of signicicant change.
    • Re:There's more (Score:4, Insightful)

      by symbolic ( 11752 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:46PM (#7702747)
      When you start trying to do things with technology that arn't mainstream, like using linux or even just making a webserver on your mom's computer, then I'd say you are getting there.

      I'd say that this isn't even enough. "Geek" or "Nerd" isn't about achieving a milestone...it's a process - a way of life that is focused on technology, technical skill, and forward thinking. It is a passion, not an event. People who are geeks EARN that distinction....not by installing the latest uber-cool Linux distro, for example, but by knowing why one distro might be better than another within a given set of circumstances. HUGE difference.
  • Golly!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by GnrlFajita ( 732246 ) <[brad] [at] [thewillards.us]> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:33AM (#7701000) Homepage
    I always wanted to be a demographic! Yay!!
  • no... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phUnBalanced ( 128965 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:34AM (#7701003) Homepage
    I think it was the .com bubble, the millions of dollars and the fancy cars that did that.
  • All this means is that there is more evident stratification in geekdom. Once upon a time, you were either a geek or you weren't. Now, there are levels of geeks. There are wannabe geeks, plain-old geeks, gamer geeks, alpha geeks, BOFHs, etc. Think of it as a multi-level geeking scheme. Geekdom with middle-management. A pecking order. In other words, associating yourself as a geek has become akin to associating yourself with any other group: gotta work your way up.
    • I've got it! I'll fool them all!

      Okay, first I need to craft some codefiles of power. Some will be simple PHP scripts, others will be optimized assembler... I'll give 3 files to the wannabe geeks, browsing comics or rushing to see the latest LOTR film, pretending to see past the special effects and cool artwork to the underlying story. 5 for the plain-old geeks struggling to comprehend init levels. 6 script-bots for the gamer geeks in their basements of stone. 7 files for the alpha geeks with their x10 wired households. And 9... 9 files for the BOFH's, who above all else desire power over others.

      But all of them will be deceived, for I will craft a master program that can exploit backdoors and security holes in all others, and into it I will pour my malice, my terribly-obfuscated C, my hatred for all geek posers.

      insert fancy-yet-cheesy special effect here

      Like an overused cliche my processes will spread across the internet, kill-9'ing those who would pretend to be a true geek. Th... ooo! New Ultimate Spiderman comic! *read* *read* *read*

      What was I talking about?...
  • by LordYUK ( 552359 ) <(jeffwright821) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:34AM (#7701010)
    Where the hell is my hot cheerleader girlfriend?? And where are the disgruntled upended jocks?!

    Sheesh... you all can be "nerds"... I'm happy being "geek".

    I-P (Its geordi laforge... as a smiley!) ;-)
    • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:43AM (#7701134)
      It's more than the Guardian caught. Lok at the "classic" B-movies from the late 70s/early 80s, that featured the nerds, and the jocks/cheerleaders... In the post computer (and NASA, modern pharmacuticals, chemical advances, and the general explosion in engineering and technology) and wall street (80s greed is good, smart people making millions on wallstreet, etc.) and the cheesy comedies that were still appealing to the (now older) baby boomers feature 30 and 40 somethings.

      Al Bundy is the classic stereotype... High school athlete and popular kid, now sells shoes. How many movies can you remember from the 90s that had people going to their high school reunion, terrified of seeing their tormentors, and their tormentor jock/cheerleader classmates worked in dead end jobs and their cheerleader wives got fat and miserable. And our hero, the high school nerd, impresses everyone with their accomplishments in business, engineering, etc.

      The post-WW2 economy was about manufacturing jobs and the middle-class careers came from there.

      The Information age jobs stemmed from math, science, or general intellectual pursuits. Sure Jobs/Gates made billions with computers, but Wall Street traders made millions in the 80s, and those weren't the football washouts.

      There was a cultural change that followed the baby boomers aging. Manufacturing was replaced with the service sector, and the service sector is divided into minimum wage temps and high paid managers, with less and less middle management every year.

      The good looking and popular football player that excelled in the factory because he was worshipped is gone, and the stereotype is now that he works as an automechanic or car salesman. The geek is seen as a high paid engineer or a successful executive.

      That's been the see of change.

      • by schon ( 31600 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:00PM (#7701385)
        How many movies can you remember from the 90s that had people going to their high school reunion, terrified of seeing their tormentors, and their tormentor jock/cheerleader classmates worked in dead end jobs and their cheerleader wives got fat and miserable.

        Well duh! Think about it - what was the sterotypical nerd? A member of the Audio-Visual Club. Who makes movies? people who were in the Audio-Visual Club.

        You think these people would make movies where the jocks win out? No, they're using movies to express their dreams and fantasies. Of course the nerds in these movies will be the hero - because the nerds are representative of the people who are making the films.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Just for the record, some nerds/geeks may make lots of money (one of them makes more money than anyone else, even if his company's software is a little on the unstable side ;) , making him despised by geeks) but by and large the guys on top are jocks.
        They've made studies (a recent book on college athletics, I forget the name) that a sports background is highly advantageous in managerial areas (in particular financial services ie Wall Street).
        Managers are former frat boys everywhere. In new industries like I
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The good looking and popular football player that excelled in the factory because he was worshipped is gone, and the stereotype is now that he works as an automechanic or car salesman. The geek is seen as a high paid engineer or a successful executive.

        No the "good looking and popular football player" goes on to becomes a salesman or marketing exec making a nice 6 figure salary (probably getting a nice Christmas bonus as well). While the geek/nerd works a dead end system admin job or script writer for a m
  • by xphase ( 56482 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:35AM (#7701031)
    Many people who were not nerds read Lord of the Rings in the 70's and even now. Even Led Zeppelin [geocities.com] were big fans.


  • Ho-hum... (Score:5, Funny)

    by tds67 ( 670584 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:36AM (#7701039)
    We Are All Nerds Now

    Great...now no one will get laid.

  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06NO@SPAMemail.com> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:36AM (#7701043)
    I joined the New Enterprise Regarding Destroying Sociability (NERDS) specifically to avoid the masses. Nerd stuff was sure to keep 99% of the population away. Now what? I don't want to join the cannibal cult, I'm not interested in trepanation. What do I do?
  • by lanswitch ( 705539 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:37AM (#7701051)
    geeks are. Nerds are just geek wannabees. One is born into nerdness, but it takes an effort to become a geek.
  • by Gizzmonic ( 412910 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:39AM (#7701074) Homepage Journal
    While we might be consuming the same media, there are still some things that distinguish a true nerd:

    1)Superiority complex

    Don't worry, you're still smarter than everyone. You knew about Spider-Man back when it was a crappy 80's cartoon!

    2)Poor hygiene

    "I don't want to waste my time primping and preening," says the nerd. "It's societal bullshit!" You're like Rosa Parks, except the bus is the underwear you've been wearing for the last 3 days. Keep it up, faithful nerd...you shall overcome!

    3)Passive aggressiveness

    You'd rather take crap from your boss and call him a "PHB" on some internet message board than to straighten him out once and for all! Instead of suggesting your own methods of getting work done, you sulk and try to invent ways to sabotage his ideas.

    4)Fanatical Collecting!

    You can't relate to most people, but things...things are easy. Whether it's Battlefield Earth action figures or indie rock 12 inches, don't kid yourself-you're still a fucking nerd.

    And the rest of us will be waiting patiently for you outside the boy's bathroom, ready to deal out the wedgies, score with the ladies, or become transparently evil characters in your 800-page self published web fanfic about Dracula meeting the Ninja Turtles. Rest easy, nerds. Your position in history is safe.
    • by Dr. Bent ( 533421 ) <benNO@SPAMint.com> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:53AM (#7701276) Homepage
      You forgot one:

      5) You have a platonic female friend [wizard.net]

      You're desprately in love with your "friend" of 10 years, only she doesn't know it. It tears you up inside but you can rest assured that you will never, ever work up the balls to say anything. You will just continue to listen to her complaints about how her boyfriend is a jerk and how she can't seem to find "a nice guy like you".
      • by BenEnglishAtHome ( 449670 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @04:01PM (#7704450)
        It tears you up inside but you can rest assured that you will never, ever work up the balls to say anything.

        Nope. It's not that we lack the gumption to speak up. It's that we understand, deep down, that doing so would be a disaster.

        I spoke up. I'll save you the liquor-soaked, mall-parking-lot-at-3am speech she gave me about all men being untrustworthy with her feelings and how she couldn't just talk to any of them. I'll spare you the running commentary in my mind comparing my self-worth and the current cost of chopped liver. I'll just say this: I spoke up. I let her know that what she was looking for was sitting right next to her. And how did the hottest babe you've ever seen up close react?

        Blank stare.

        More blank stare. Jaw drops open. Some part of her emerges from the fog of intoxication just long enough to remember that this guy is a nerd, for God's sake! How dare he even entertain a fantasy of being anything other than the muscle who hauls boxes when I move out of my apartment! And then, she speaks:

        "Get out! Get the fsck out! How dare you hit on me when I'm in pain!"

        We never spoke again.

        So guys, you think all you need is courage? Forget it. The fact that you think only your reticence is standing in the way of hooking up with that special platonic friend is the ultimate proof that your relationship insights are nonexistent.

      • by schon ( 31600 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @05:39PM (#7705784)
        OK, there seems to be a lot of heartache going on here, so I gotta chime in..

        First, I've been in pretty much every type of "platonic male/female" relationship there is (mutual interest, mutual disinterest, and one-sided interest - from both sides) and it's not as bad as you guys are saying..

        First - 'unrequited love': if you don't tell her, of course it will stay 'unrequited'. Women (for the most part) expect the guy to make the first move. If you don't, she'll think you're not interested.

        Pick a good time, and tell her. Don't wait until she's vulnerable, don't do it while you're vulnerable, don't make it seem like you're coming on to her, just be honest.

        Tell her how you feel - and more importantly, tell her why you're being honest (because she should know, if she doesn't already), and even more importantly, explain that it's not a big deal if she doesn't reciprocate (which it shouldn't be - your feelings are already there, and they haven't affected your friendship - it's no different now that she knows about it.)

        Doing otherwise is just dooming yourself to pain.

        Platonic female friends aren't evil. If you have (or develop) feelings, share them, but not in a "I'm so desperately in love with you I want to cut off my arm and send it to you for Valentine's day" way.
  • by glenrm ( 640773 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:47AM (#7701187) Homepage Journal
    you name one of your D&D characters after a character in the movie, or as a Dungeon Master you make a rule that nobody can name their characters after a LOTR character.
    • I remember MERP. I remember only being able to boil water...

      Nerds, at the very least, have to have long discussions regarding arcs, themes, and characters that are missing while waiting on line to be let in for the opening midnight show.

      Now, you've evolved into a geek if you appreciate deviation from the fanboy view without falling into fits.
  • Nerds (Score:5, Funny)

    by iomud ( 241310 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:49AM (#7701215) Homepage Journal
    My favorite nerds were the pink and purple ones. Mmm nerds.
  • Action movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xpilot ( 117961 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:54AM (#7701295) Homepage

    The casual moviegoer sees LOTR and The Matrix as just action movies. A lot of my friends just say "I saw the Matrix, cool kung-fu but I didn't get it".

    LOTR is also another movie simply loved by the masses because it's so hyped up. I flipped through one of those popular culture mags and found all sort of Return of the King promotional stuff for sale or contests you can enter, with posters etc. Do you think they'd have John Howe paintings as posters in those magazines if LOTR was simply a dusty old book instead of never being made into a movie franchise?

  • Goths and Geeks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iopha ( 626985 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:54AM (#7701303) Homepage
    We've now got lots more products that cater to the female market. There's the Goth section, with the Living Dead Dolls...

    Something I've noticed is that about 80-90% of the goth-type people I meet can be described as geeky-- most are into sci-fi, graphic novels, have web pages, are proficient with computers, etc. My theory is that they were nerds first and then migrated to a subculture baroque enough to accomodate the intensity of their interests (which was channeled into the whole 'black' aesthetic). Alot of geek girls have goth tendencies, which is another attraction for the social outcast male.

    I get beat up a lot less now that I wear 16 hole doc martins, anyway. Though I'm still a 130 pound weakling.

  • by theghost ( 156240 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:55AM (#7701321)
    I am a nerd. I am also a dork and a geek. I think of these as three separate but related identities and have spent way too much of my free time developing discrete definitions of the three.

    Nerds are defined by what they know. We tend to stick to societally acceptable topics, but dive in much deeper or cover a wider variety of subjects than most. We are the grad students of the world, the academics, researchers and general know-it-alls.

    Dorks are defined by what they like. Similar to the nerd, we dive in much deeper than the average person, but the topics we pursue tend to be much more nontraditional. We learn to speak Klingon or Elvish or know the plot lines, writers, and artists of all the major comic books and most of the minor ones.

    Geeks are defined by what they can do. We may not know as much as the nerd on any given topic, but we can do more with what we know. We can hook up a home theater, fix a computer, or super-charge a lawnmower. We are the tinkerers, programmers, and garage inventors.

    Some broad examples of my taxonomy: Nerds get A's in AP classes. Dorks play D&D. Geeks set up LANs.

    All of our incarnations have spent more time learning about stuff than we have interacting with other people, hence our reputation for social awkwardness. We are handy, interesting, and often downright annoying to have around when our specialty areas come up, but are otherwise generally avoided.

    I'm a nerd/dork/geek, but that's not the entirety of my identity. I like myself and my life, and against all odds, I've managed to find a life partner who feels the same. Of course, she's a bit nerdy/dorky/geeky herself, but aren't we all?
    • oh crap! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Savatte ( 111615 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:25PM (#7701681) Homepage Journal
      Some broad examples of my taxonomy: Nerds get A's in AP classes. Dorks play D&D. Geeks set up LANs

      all these year's I've been calling myself a geek, when now I finally realize I'm a dork. That's both scary and depressing. We'll at least all the money I spent on Magic cards wasn't in vain.
    • Good stuff. (Score:3, Insightful)

      Excellent breakdown there. I wonder, though, if all these tendencies flow from the same source; is it really possible to have one or two, but not the other? Have you ever seen a geek who never had any really, really wacky personality quirks, aka dorkiness? Maybe there's a reason so many geeks are in SCA, fencing, LARPs, etc.

      --grendel drago
  • Average Joe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <.teamhasnoi. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:02PM (#7701405) Journal
    Let me preface this with the statement: Reality TV is dumb, and I don't watch it. Thanks.

    On to the point. I happened to be doing some computer/photo work over at my inlaws, where the reality show 'Average Joe' was on. It was the 'big, final, show', where the chick is picking between a rich nerd, and the sterotypical 'handsome guy'.

    As I was in the same room as this, I witnessed the ending where the chick picks the 'handsome guy' (who actually lives in his parent's basement) over the rich nerd (who was not unattractive, but slightly goofy)

    I had predicted that 'whoever was the biggest assole will be chosen' - the nerd seemed sensitive and not an asshole at all - but the money was throwing off the equation. 'Handsome guy' was actually more average from what I saw; by the definite lack of personality.

    Somewhere I lost the point, but I haven't had enough coffee. Needless to say, the show left me with a sour feeeling.

    The moral of the story: Rich nerds still don't get the girl, if they're competing against generic 'handsome guys'.

    I'm married, but I'm stunningly handsome;) , and rich some of the time, and a nerd. I met my wife at a rock show I was playing, so go figure.

  • if only... (Score:5, Funny)

    by silicongodcom ( 241132 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:09PM (#7701482)
    now if only they'd make being fat and addicted to caffeine cool i'd be james dean!
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:14PM (#7701529)
    Spiderman, Hulk, and Harry Potter...these are targeted at *kids*. Sure, the Harry Potter books are good (I've read the first four), but we're really talking about fantasy books that sell the most among preteens. And who buys Spideman and Hulk *toys*? Kids! Duh! Sure, adults have fond memories of superheroes, but we don't obssess about them. The movies are more feel-good nostalgia than anything else. But none of this has anything to go with the general populace being nerds.

    Now the rise of the PC, that's unsettling. You hear middle aged women talking about firewalls and WiFi, and it takes some getting used to. But realize that PCs are completely mainstream now, so this shouldn't be a big shock. The catch is that such people use their computers to do their work, or to browse the web, or whatever, and don't just obssess about computers for computers' sake.
  • by GPLDAN ( 732269 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:16PM (#7701559)
    Here in Colorado, after Columbine - an interesting thing happened. Instead of reaching out to the geeky kids, and vilifying the jocks who oppressed them - the opposite happened. Adults went out of their way to demonstrate why jocks beating up geeks was the ACCEPTED reality, and it actually reinforced itself. The Columbine football team went on to win the local high School league, and all the major news outlets covered it like the Super Bowl. The jocks got endorsements, they were worshiped for their ability to "overcome" the tragedy, although it was quite clear they were the driving force behind Klebold and Harris behavior.

    It was very strange. Colorado high schools have the very worst case of hating the smart kids, promoting mediocrity, and pumping jock culture. That is one reason I intend to leave before my kids become school age and move to a state that actually understand what a magnet school is, and what it is for.
    • I'm sorry, I don't care how much Klebold and Harris were 'picked on' etc. They probably could have had better parenting, and maybe they were picked on a lot, but there is simply no way to justify what they did, or apologize for it. And calling 'Jock culture' in Colorado a 'driving force' behind their actions ignores the fact that they were the crazy fucks with guns, not the jocks, or the adults that embraced the jocks after the a incident, or the local news or whatever. There is no excuse for what they did,
    • by EvilTwinSkippy ( 112490 ) <[yoda] [at] [etoyoc.com]> on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:12PM (#7702328) Homepage Journal
      School has nothing to do with education. It is all about social conformity, brown nosing authority, and learning your place in the pecking order.

      Everything I learned was by working a few chapters ahead of where the course stops and making up my own problems to solve between getting my ass kicked, harrased, and stuffed into lockers. (Didn't help that I was 4'8" and 90 lbs until my Junior Year.)

      Let me tell you, there were times that I wanted to go postal. Truth be told the Jocks were very civil to me. My rage was directed at the insecure morons trying to climb to social ladder at my expense.

  • Thank Dr. Seuss (Score:3, Informative)

    by confusednoise ( 596236 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:19PM (#7701588)
    Dr. Seuss first coined the word nerd is his 1950 book "If I Ran the Zoo".

    From the book: "And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo And Bring Back an It- Kutch a Preep and a Proo a Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!"

    Yet more mastery from one of my favorite 20th century authors....(go read the Lorax now, dammit)

  • Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

    by ThePretender ( 180143 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:33PM (#7701778) Homepage
    It was always said that the geeks shall inherit the earth!!! Or did I hear it wrong?
  • by erikdotla ( 609033 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:43PM (#7701923)
    I hate to be the one to say this, but this is such a load. I see a story like this every few months. It's the product of nerds trying to validate their existence.

    I am a nerd myself. I'm a programmer, computer enthusiast, video gamer, star trek fan, and lanky white guy whose social skills are always in question.

    However, I have no illusions about what I am.

    Nerds are relative to non-nerds. You can call them Jocks, but that's not the whole of it - Nerds are compared against anyone who is not a nerd. Yes, Geeks count. You are not special just because you change the word.

    I'm sure everyone is wondering what a non-nerd is. It's easy to say someone who is jock-ish, works out and is well built, good with the ladies, has some fashion and hygiene sense, works a blue-collar job that makes them dirty every day, and doesn't flinch at loud noises. Add a general lack of intelligence, and you've got yourself a non-nerd, right?

    That is an insufficient description of a non-nerd, however. Some nerds work out (usually in a martial arts class) and have good fashion sense. It's simpler to define it as someone who exhibits fewer nerd-like properties than the nerd they are comparing themselves against.

    Take two seemingly identical nerds. When they argue, whoever wins by pounding the other with logic and refusing to stop arguing is the bigger nerd. Whichever one has less muscle, and/or is less tan than the other guy is the bigger nerd. Whichever one likes Star Trek more is the bigger nerd. See how simple it is?

    And the funny thing is, whichever one considers himself "less" nerdy than the other guy, no matter how nerdy he is, is still a big nerd - however, he does get bragging rights to call the other guy a nerd and proclaim that he is not one himself.

    So let's just stop already. We're all nerds, if you want to get technical about it (and if you do, you're a big nerd) but some of us are far less nerdy than others. Those people have every right to call the nerds nerds, beat them up, laugh at them, and assault their self-esteem.

    It's your job as a nerd to either accept your place in the pecking order as a nerd and forget about it, dealing with the occasional wedgie or insult now and then, or try to make as many other people as possible look more nerdy than you.
  • by Razzious ( 313108 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:58PM (#7702132)
    Just because a little fantasy and sci-fi is popular, don't think for a minute nerds are accepted into society.

    25 years ago we had STAR WARS, WILLOW, etc. THey were hits for Nerds and non-nerds alike.

    And today you have the same crap going on.

    I felt embarrassed for about 25 people at the Matrix Revolution that wore their black leather and sunglasses and walked around like some freak-show. How about the Star Wars fans that dress up and go about the foolishness. LOTR has theirs too.

    NERDS ARE STILL OUT THERE AND STILL MOCKED. The problem so many of you have to learn to deal with is YOU ARE NOT THE NERD YOU THINK YOU ARE!

    The days of a computer person = NERD is over, however the Nerd gene pool still exists and will still be mocked.

  • Comic Book Geek (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fiver- ( 169605 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:08PM (#7702276)
    I've got a Green Lantern cover [comics.org] as my desktop wallpaper at work, and one of our architects came by and saw it, and she said "Ooooh, Green Lantern! Bruce Lee was so cool in that."

    "That was Green Hornet, not Green Lantern," I said with mock disdain.

    Then she asked me what Green Lantern's origin was. Before I knew it, I had launched into a detailed explanation of Hal Jordan's beginnings. It was surreal. I've never said the words "Abin Sur", "power ring", or "Guardians of Oa" out loud before.

    When the story was over we switched back to talking about our firm's marketing materials, but then I paused in mid-sentence and said "I can't believe I just told you Green Lantern's origin". It was so weird, because usually the geekness is kept pretty private. I don't have any like-minded people to talk about comics with. But now when I'm stoned with my girlfriend, I tell her to ask me about the origins of superheroes so I can go off on a long, rambling, tanget-laden story about the Flash(es), or Cyclops & Havok, or how Aquaman lost his hand, etc. It's a lot of fun, and it feels good to share. And my girlfriend is very amused.
    • I tell her to ask me about the origins of superheroes so I can go off on a long, rambling, tanget-laden story about the Flash(es), or Cyclops & Havok, or how Aquaman lost his hand, etc. It's a lot of fun, and it feels good to share. And my girlfriend is very amused.

      She was amused because... she's thinking "Who the hell cares about Aquaman? He is the lamest superhero ever."

  • LOTR? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BTWR ( 540147 ) <americangibor3&yahoo,com> on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:13PM (#7702353) Homepage Journal
    The Lord of the Rings has made nerds, and nerdish behaviour, cool."

    Watching the LOTR movies is definatley cool, but if you ever say "I've read those books at least 5 times, and the Battle at (whereever) was better in the book" then that is definately NOT "cool."
  • official definitions (Score:3, Informative)

    by rizzy ( 24400 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:28PM (#7702539)
  • Ah.. labels... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:42PM (#7702711) Journal
    They're so much easier than thinking or considering individuals.
  • by Cruel Angel ( 676514 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @03:13PM (#7703876)
    A nerd is more than an enjoyment of a couple of movies, or games, or anything of the sort.

    Absolutely some 'nerd' things age becoming more mainstream. But most of those thing's weren't nerd exclusive. And most of the things the article refers to are entertainment, and a casual interest in it.

    I'm guessing there are two things that make a nerd. It's not the object of interest, but the intensity of interest. Star Trek is fun. Lots of people like Star Trek. Not everyone that likes it knows the design specs of all of the Enterprises, or has seen every episode over 20 times, or any of a number of things that say "obsessive".

    The Japanese have a great word. Otaku [urbandictionary.com]. It's not a good word. Otaku are the people that everyone lokos down on as having no life. And they don't. Not all people labled Nerds are Otaku though. A lot of people with that label are simply interested in the same things as Otaku. Now someone is saying that interest in something that a Nerd is interested in, makes them a Nerd.

    I'm thnking that the other thing that makes a nerd a nerd, is a certain type of intelligence. It seems to be a combination of classical thought, with a scoop of imagination. You might say that Nerds are smarter than the average person, but that isn't always true. They just think a little differently. And seem to be alot more prone to sarcasm.

    Being a Nerd will always be who you are, not what you like. And chances are, I'll always be a Nerd. And that's a social group I don't mind being a part of.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.