Saturday, November 2, 2013
NERD vs. GEEK.
This year, there's been a lot of back and forth about what qualifies as being a card carrying member of either or both group. This has ignited a firestorm of angry back and forth and to be honest, I've neither the time nor patience to go teasing out specifics and if you'll bear with me, I'll tell you why.
So which is better, or at least more accurate?
Nerd is pejorative- Geek, while not perfect, is closer to the mark, since it implies knowledge and uninhibited enthusiasm for any subject- comics, math, football- doesn't matter. Anyone can geek out.
Why all the hate?
I think that's why so many folks are so touchy about the term and those they regard as "faking it". Who would want to be a real nerd? It's seriously overrated. Why would anyone want to play at being a geek? Do they not realize the investment of time and involved in immersing oneself in a given subject? Sure, it can be fun- but only if you're into it, which defeats the whole point of faking geekery in the first place.
For such a "classless" society, the U.S. is obsessed with cliques, pigeon holes and gender roles. Add to this an unhealthy distain for intellectualism of any stripe and really, what else can one expect? All that book-learning and smarts might make you uppity and think you're better then the rest of us. That's why Joe the Plumber had his fifteen minutes of fame as a Fox News savant. But I digress.
I suppose that being long term inmates of the nonclementure breeds territoriality and anger at those perceived as poseurs. Mockery is acceptable, muscling in on one's social turf isn't. Add in gender politics and the whole thing devolves into a hot mess that has no winners.
Of course, the overuse of these definitions has itself rendered them somewhat hollow anyway. Look at the box office, at TV, at console games; we truly have inherited the pop culture planet.
So do what you want, have fun and to hell with the haters.