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Chapter 1: Why nerds are unpopular

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jonathansimon
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This chapter makes a great case saying that nerds are unpopular because they don't care about being popular -- or at least not enough to sacrifice their nerd desires to accomplish popularity.

Generally I agree, but I am having a hard time reconciling this theory with my experiences. I went to a very small arts high school in Miami with about 300 students -- all nerds. You have to figure, we were between the ages of 14 and 18, all very bright and extremely motivated for high school students. But yet we had the same social structures. There were the cool nerds, and the druggie nerds, and loser nerds -- but still all nerds.

I was especially confused when I got to Oberlin for college. Again, a small liberal arts nerd-heavy institution. The one situation I heard used a lot to describe the student body was "given 50 students, and 50 tables, you will eventually have 1 student per table." So, basically, another bunch of closet freaks.

On one level, you could just say that this popularity thing is human nature. And given a number of people, they will always make these social structures. My experience was social structures among a bunch of nerds. But I guess if you isolated all of the cool people, there would be the popular cool people and nerd cool people. Interesting.

The main difference I noticed at these places were what was considered cool. The standard things that make you popular among non-nerds were replaced by nerd activities.

-jonathan

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c_armstrong
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I don't think smart or not smart is appropriate. Different
peoples brains have different bits in different
proportions. Statistically the 'social' parts of women's
brains are larger and the 'things orientated' parts of
men's are. Women talk about people far more than men do.

rythos
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Ouch. This comment stings, as I consider nerd-dom the highest level of praise. :)

Honestly though, one of my friends a few months ago commented that "I made nerdy a fashion statement". Which I thought was a pretty nice thing of him to say ;).

And if I'm not a nerd, how on earth do you explain that it's a Friday night and I'm sitting in front of my computer half-naked posting comments to an internet forum instead of out living the wild life? ;)

And I fully was/am a nerd. Best student in my computer studies class. Up at 6am for band 3 times a week. Played M:TG in the hallway during my spares. On the other hand..this probably shouldn't turn into a "Oh yeah, well I was a bigger nerd because of X, Y and Z". ;)

jimcliffe
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I think nerds in highschool frankly don't care. Afterall, they're going to be the successful ones! :-)

adobni
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Joined: 2003-11-11
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Nerds are unpopular? Why nobody told me! oh...

rythos
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Joined: 2004-08-31
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Sorry man, you didn't get the email? ;)

johnm
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Joined: 2003-06-06
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Check out "A Girl's Guide to Geek Guys": http://www.completeevil.com/geek.html

mike_ishigaki
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hahaha! That's great!

yuriha
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Because the people who's not, think about the nerd's as presumptuous about its knowledge and to ignore the people for not having his grade of knowledge.

Besides, nerds has likes not so cotidian as the details of the life of insects, who married Zeus, why it's better some kind of wood instead of another to make classical guitars, how many moons Jupiter and Saturn has, how is called the separation between the rings of Saturn (separation of Cassini :p ) , how is called the earth in the Foundation of Aasimov and why was thought earth wasn't the origin of the humans...things like that , instead of which music band is the fashion, the newest video of Mtv, if he likes the fashion cloth, who is the new boyfriend of who...things like that

In that way, they are appart of the social life of the surrounding people because they like different things.

rythos
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"Who is the new boyfriend of who" caught my eye. I can't remember the exact quote, but I read something that fits in nicely here a few weeks ago. Something along the lines of:

People discuss other People.
Smart People discuss Things.
Really Smart People discuss Ideas.

I have been thinking about this particular set of sentences for a few weeks now, as I have started to hang out with a group of people who have a tendency to discuss other People. Makes me think. And now that I'm thinking about it, maybe this has some more explanation for the nerd/not dichotomy. Nerds like to discuss Ideas (or at worst, Things). People discuss other People, so how on _earth_ can we have any sort of meaningful conversation?

Not: "So...so and so broke up with you know who."
Nerd: "Interesting. But really I wonder if it says anything about the psychological make-up of you know who. Can we infer anything about his life from this encounter?"
Not: "Yeah. Uhh...he's gay."

;)

yuriha
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It resambles me about " the layering of the life ";

in your words :

"People"
"Things"
Ideas

but beneath all these layers, is seeing that every layer interconnects and affects the other.

Many people which focus on one of these layers tend to lose their atention to the other layers, sometimes they even don't know about the others.So, when we see someone who lives "in its world" it's because he is focused on one of the layers, one of the dangers of conceptualization of the conscience is to see every happening thing as an integrant of some pattern, it could be, but you can't be all the time with that level of conscience , it can appart you from the common life.

So, forgive me if I lost the point :p

rythos
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My experience with nerd-dom in high school was, I think, rather interesting. We knew we were nerds, and as Paul points out, we didn't care enough to change that. But what we did was I think redefine what nerd meant to us. Grade 9 we had 2 hot, crazy girls hanging out with us. Grade 10 we started doing a reasonable amount of drugs and alcohol. Grade 11 we didn't care about the cool people because we _knew_ we were having way more fun than they were. Party Friday night, play Warhammer (table-top wargame) Saturday, go hiking Sunday. Maybe next week do some drug that screws your head up for the _entire_ weekend. Maybe next week we have a LAN party and play Starcraft all weekend. We had a large group of nerds who all realized that their opinions were important all at once. A powerful force.

Paul points out that the bullies never picked on your one at a time. It was always in a group, and this I experienced. But what happens when you have a similarly strong group behind you? When the "cool" people walk by, hassle you and get a response back instead of us cowering like the socially-inept people we were supposed to be?

My other recollection of high school nerd-dom was in grade 10 gym class. I had been rock climbing for a few years at this point. When I could out benchpress the head-asshole, do more chin-ups than anyone else in the class and had more hand strength (we had a little hand strength tester) than the biggest football jock, they started giving me a little more room and a little less hassle in the hallways.

Fun times. :)

jessewilson
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Dude I got bad news . . . you're not a nerd. Perhaps 'technically inclined' cool-person is a more fitting title.

jonathansimon
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I wasnt "technically inclined" till the end of college. Just your average music dork.

But thanks! Flattery will get you everywhere!

-j