1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person. 2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.
1.a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.) 2. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual. 3.a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.
In neither of these definitions do we (geeks or nerds) come off so well. But these are dated, ignorant views of our culture. These terms have evolved so much in recent years and should really continue to do so. Geeks aren’t simply computer enthusiasts. And nerds are certainly not just single-minded savants obsessed with some ridiculous hobby. Both of these terms have been grossly misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
Yet despite these similar stereotypes, somehow geeks and nerds themselves still have a debate over which term is acceptable or superior. Why do we qualify comic book devotees, gamers, sci-fi fans, Whovians, fanboys, Star Wars aficionados (why don’t they have a moniker?), and Trekkies as separate but NOT equal groups? Why should there be subclasses to an already persecuted group? It’s okay to qualify these groups as categories of the culture, but not to express them as less accepted or “losers”.
Snapper Carr: I always felt unaccepted or looked at in a funny way. Not because of my weight, or how I dressed but because of who I was at heart. Thor, Captain American, Iron Man and Batman weren’t cool when I was growing up. Even though I played high school soccer and was on the swim team I still wasn’t accepted because I was “different”. And even as a nerd or geek or whatever I was classified as, even I made fun of people who I thought were beneath me: those that played with Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. I realize more than ever that I was wrong and they should be just as accepted as I wanted to be.
Gabriel Partridge: I always got along with just about everyone. But I realized later that that had less to do with actually being cool or sociable as it did with trying to get along with people that wouldn’t accept me for what I was anyway. I always enjoyed playing sports but I never really enjoyed the people I was playing sports with. They weren’t the people I felt comfortable with. I wanted to be comfortable being a nerd, or a geek, or whatever name you want to give it. I loved science fiction. I loved Star Wars. Magic: The Gathering was fucking fun. Buffy really did it for me. But these things really weren’t that cool. And as a teen, being accepted is such an important thing, which is a shame. I’m not saying I was persecuted or beat up, but it kind of sucked not being able to be exactly who I wanted to be.
We’ve been in several forums where posters have argued to be called a geek or a nerd. Others seem to be reluctant to admit it, but there’s nothing that really makes us different. We’re both not what’s considered “cool” and you know what, that’s not cool with us. But you know what? Nerd/geek culture seems to be pretty damn cool now, although non-nerds/non-geeks would probably hate to admit it. We’re trying to continue what Chris Hardwick is doing with the Nerdist (http://www.nerdist.com/) and Simon Pegg’s book Nerd Do Well (http://www.amazon.com/Nerd-Do-Well-Simon-Pegg/dp/1846058112) are doing because they both promote how cool it is the be like us.
While people may not want to admit it, it is cool to be Nerdi. Look at the box office in recent years. It’s bursting with Nerdi movies: Captain America, Green Lantern, The Dark Knight, Star Trek, Inception, Iron Man, Transformers, Twilight (JK), Avatar, Harry Potter, X-Men, Tron:Legacy, and Thor. And that’s not all that’s doing well for Nerdi culture. The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and Fringe are all thriving. Listen up geeks and nerds, we are all the same. At the end of the day, the only one thing matters to both of us is being accepted for who we really are. The Illumi-nerdi and the Geek-etariat of the world unite!