On Nerdery 8

Two questions:

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.

2. Is it just me, or does the cat have a Hitler mustache?

Forever 21 Nerds Have More Fun Tee – $10.90

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.

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8 thoughts on “On Nerdery

  1. Reply Izalika Dec 21, 2010 8:36 pm

    The Grammar Nazi (which I am) thing was so on the nose, I FBstatused it and tagged the fan page. Look for it!

  2. Reply Amanda Dec 22, 2010 3:19 am

    Awesome, thanks!

    I can throw stones given how completely I butcher grammar in the name of making sentences that sound right in my head. It’s a constant struggle between my boyfriend (who is a grammar expert) and me, consisting mostly of:
    BF: You need a comma here.
    ME: No, because then it doesn’t sound funny.
    BF: But it’s wrong.
    ME: But it’s funny. In my head. With the voices.

    And then the dog does something funny like fall off the bed, and I get distracted by the canine equivalent of a shiny object.

  3. Reply Izalika Dec 22, 2010 8:37 am

    It’s ok…being right most of the time affords you some hypocrisy. For example, I know that when I use the term nauseous, I’m actually using it incorrectly, as most people do…but I continue, because it sounds much better that way! If anyone tries to argue with me, I just throw it in their face that they can’t get the right there/their/they’re in a pinch!

    And so I win.

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