Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Nerd Power

Over the weekend, I didn’t do the greatest job of updating Five Best because I was working on a special section to the student newspaper I work on, the New School Free Press. During class, while watching a movie called The Paper (I don’t recommend it), my friend Joe and I started scribbling down ideas for an insert to the paper. Ever other issue or so, two or three pages are dedicated to one topic; in the past, we’ve had the Activism Issue, the Outdoors Issue and, more recently, the Sex Issue.

On the list we were writing down ideas, I wrote The Simpsons Issue, due to our shared love of The Simpsons, and Joe revised that to The Nerd Issue. Perfect!

Over the past two weeks, Joe and I assigned stories, edited them, helped with design of our pages, and we’re quite proud of the results. There were stories about the New York Times Crossword Puzzle Tournament being in Brooklyn; a student (nerdy) group at The New School called A.D.V.E.N.T.U.R.E Force; a how-to guide about protecting yourself; a story about how to talk baseball without actually knowing anything about baseball; a profile of a professor at The New School, Ed Halter, who writes about video games, war, gaming and film criticism; and I wrote a brief profile on Nerd Rock.

Here’s the editorial Joe and I wrote:

According to the Princeton Review, Eugene Lang College is the school with the most dodgeball targets. This was mostly due to our school's lack of intramural sports and fraternities, but it made a few NSFP reporters wonder: are we all just a bunch of nerds?

While pondering this, a small amount of pride boiled effervescently within us. We wondered if there was anything wrong with being identified as nerds. We realized, after considering a certain Huey Lewis song about geometry, that the title is much broader than one might think. It doesn't matter if you're male or female, gay or straight, black or white, Klingon or Vulcan: everyone is implicated.

Looking beyond clichés—the large glasses, pocket protectors and socially awkward mannerisms—nerds take many forms. It could be that you argue the merits of post-modernism in a discussion class; you have a quote from Nietzsche pasted lovingly above your computer; was once president of the chess club in middle school; lost a retainer during elementary school lunch; spent hours organizing an iTunes collection; religiously followed a sports season; turned on an Xbox 360 rather than play outside; pre-ordered the seventh book of Harry Potter; and argued that the use of the semicolon within this paragraph is incorrect. The ways in which one can be a nerd are numerous and exhausting.

Rather than hide these guilty pleasures, it is of our opinion that we should embrace them. You, sir or madam, are a nerd.

Tomorrow, I’ll post my Nerd Rock column. Nerd on!

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