1. What is with all the Forever 21 t-shirts extolling the virtues of nerdery? Don’t get me wrong – I am a massive nerd, and being a nerd is awesome. But I say I’m a nerd because literally half the counters in my kitchen are covered in rock samples (also, I’m a massive nerd because I make a concerted effort to use the word “literally” as it was meant to be used). So, I don’t have an issue with being a nerd.
What I don’t get is why there are all these graphic ts that try to make being a nerd cool. That’s kind of the key detail about being a nerd – you’re not cool. Nerds get way too excited about things like differential erosion. Nerds get into epic debates over if Pacman is the best-selling video game franchise of all time. Nerds aren’t cool because the things that make a nerd nerdy are not cool.
I know there’s been a recent uptick in people who self-describe as nerds, but I just don’t get it. Is it because “nerd” is shorthand for smart and people want to telegraph that they’re intelligent? I thought that reality TV and Sarah Palin had made being smart uncool. Or is it just that hipster guys have started to wear sweatervests and thick glasses, so looking like a nerd is cool now? Please, someone, explain this to me.
And don’t even try to argue that the hipsters are nerds because they’re into obscure music. There are a limited number of true music nerds out there. Being into obscure music doesn’t make you a nerd – being obsessively into music, into its evolution, into its history – that makes you a nerd. No one would call a wine connoisseur a “wine nerd.” If you’re obsessively into music, odds are you are either a) a music fascist or b) reading Pitchfork religiously.
Likewise, no, most self-proclaimed “Grammar Nazis” are not, in fact, grammar nerds. As the saying goes: in the land of the text-messaging lol-speaking illiterate, the man who knows the difference between their, they’re, and there is king. It’s not that Grammar Nazis are big into grammar, they just happen to have had a halfway decent 7th grade English teacher.
So again, I ask: why is being a nerd deserving of the myriad graphic t’s devoted to the subject that Forever 21 has printed? Is there some untapped market, some huge demand of which I am not aware? I find it befuddling.
Also: Congratulations to @Ellabelladani, winner of the 1,500 fan giveaway!
Thanks to all of you who entered. Better luck next time! I’ll probably do another giveaway in mid-January, when going to the Post Office doesn’t involve beating back rabid grandmothers carrying tins of Christmas cookies.