It was 1984 when the movie “Revenge of the Nerds” hit the screens and the character Gilbert Lowe famously defends nerdiness. “I just wanted to say that I’m a nerd, and I’m here tonight to stand up for the rights of other nerds. I mean uh, all our lives we’ve been laughed at and made to feel inferior. And tonight, those bastards, they trashed our house. Why? Cause we’re smart? Cause we look different? Well, we’re not. I’m a nerd, and uh, I’m pretty proud of it.” It may or may not have been the turning point where nerds and geeks evolved into a certain coolness of being. But now some are saying Geek and Nerd the word, should be banned from the common lexicon.
While all sorts of non-geeky, non-nerdy folks are trying to claim the definition for themselves, psychologist David Anderegg says while nerds and geeks, the people are fine, upstanding and sought after, nerd and geek the words are equivalent to racial epithets. “A geek suggests a person with special expertise, while nerds suggests social ineptness. And neither are cool,” says he. Send these words to the “linguistic dustbin,” and society will be better off because the science and technology fields won’t be avoided like the plague by those popular kids who associate such careers with the negative stereotype.
Dr. Anderegg wrote a book, “Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them.” He makes the case that “no educated person” would tolerate jokes about race, gender or sexual orientation but we all freely aim disparaging words at nerds. And though it isn’t quite sticks and stones, feelings are hurt over this. This is interesting food for thought for all who are buying their kids gifts at Santa’s Geek Shop at Tigerdirect.com.
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