Nerd Is the Word

The purpose of this in-class writing assignment is to take a focused approach to the word 'nerd.'

Question. What does the word 'nerd' mean?

Answer. It depends.

An attempt to address the 'n' word as a discrete unit of language and the etymology of the word in relation to its past and or present context will be made hereto within.

'Nerd.' Say it. Hear it. See it. The mind conjures up an image, a personality and intellect associated with that image, and in some cases, a particular odor is called to mind, and nose for that matter, pungent to some, fragrant to others. 'Nerd.' Say it once more, but this time as a whisper. Attention is drawn to the 'ur,' but the image is still the same. Say 'nerd' one last time, but this time with emphasis on a hard 'n' without raising your voice. The meaning changes. This speaks to a point brought up earlier on what does the word 'nerd' mean? The answer was, 'it depends.' The 'it depends' depends on who is saying it and how it's being said.

Merriam-Webster defines a nerd as an "unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person: especially: one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits." The definition is simple, static, lacking, and misleading. It does not take into account the rich history and meaning behind the word. It has been and still is to this day used to color a stereotype that encompasses a lifestyle associated with the following activities: math/science/chess/audio-visual clubs, gaming, robots, computers, science fiction and fantasy, an appearance marked by glasses and a pocket protector, and even extends to institutions like MIT.

'Nerd,' in its most widely used form, is used as an isolating catalyst, a derogatory term. Nerds are not popular. Nerds are not mainstream, however now they are more present than ever. The stereotype of the smart, socially inept person is still being propagated. However TV nerds are coming back strong as the comedic underdogs that audiences at home can root for. Major TV networks are backing shows for nerds and show featuring nerds.

TV Shows featuring Nerds
Chuck (NBC) Monday 20:00

A comedy about a computer geek who works at a store called Buy More in the tech service center, which is appropriately named Nerd Herd. Chuck gets thrown into an unexpected reality when he becomes a super computer government agent. Pocket protector, shirt and tie, with Converse All-Stars.

Big Bang Theory (CBS) Monday 20:30
Two nerds big on brains and small on lady skills.

Greek (ABC Family) Summer 2007
It's a show about Greek life in college and how a shy freshmen guy majoring in polymer science who takes a risk and rushes a fraternity. He and his fellow nerd roommate are much of the comedy of the show.

The word 'nerd' among nerds ironically is a worn as a badge of pride. Nerds are quite social among like company. Intense passion and pursuit of intellectual and like interests are unifying factors. Nerds also seek company in anonymous configurations in a virtual realm. Handles become online personifications of alter egos. 'Outsiders' have become intrigued with the universe of the nerd. The focus, discipline, and unflinching commitment to seemingly non-sensical, impractical hobbies are interesting much like wildlife specials on public television. Movies following nerds at trekkie conventions or at arcades like the King of Kong have gained commercial momentum.

The challenge issued is to recode the negative in the word 'nerd.' Nerds are intelligent, curious, and individual and there is something very unique and special about that. Nerd style is not trendy. Nerds are forever present and whether or not nerd style is the soup du jour is not important, but that nerd style is recognized as a legitimate form of expression. There is solid style at play. Prepster, hipster, rockstar, goth, skater, and the like represent lifestyle stereotypes, people for that matter. One is not mutually exclusive of the other. You see these people, their clothes, and their brands walking the street. You can be a skater, nerd, and hipster in one serving. What we, Sanchez Circuit would like to do is help call positive attention to the smarts, style, and uniqueness of nerd culture. Underground has never been so mainstream. There is room for everyone to play.

We've assembled a list of relevant examples to help articulate our point. The following video clips have contributed to who we are. They have inspired our imagination and our sense of humor. This is just a modest start of an endless list of influences and is in no particular order.

Real Genius
This movie means a lot to us. Chris Knight makes it all seem so easy and fun. Kent, Dr. Hathaway, Mitch, and last but not least, another all time favorite, Lazlo Hollyfeld.

Empire Strikes Back
It's all about the trilogies. Star Wars is a given. We could talk shop for hours, but it's the Luke-Darth drama at the end of Empire Strikes Back that really was a significant and formative event.

Zero Cool, Acid Burn, The Plague, Lord Nikon Choice handles.

Blade Runner

The spice.

Flash Gordon
Winged hawkmen battle Ming the Merciless in the air.

Star Trek Wrath of Khan

Revenge of the Nerds
Cliche and a classic all in one. The music video is timeless.

Weird Science

Back to the Future

Short Circuit

War Games

Light bikes.

Buckaroo Banzai

Never Ending Story
The song lives forever. The guy singing it is still a little scary.

Dr. Who

Battlestar Galactica
Call it old school loyalty. We still can let go of the past. Tried to give 2.0 a chance, but Starbuck is not the same.

Buck Rogers




What's your favorite movie?