What do you think about the term "nerd"

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Avatar image for nasher27
#51 Posted by nasher27 (356 posts) -

I think, at some point, your reaction to someone using words in that manner is really a great window into how you view yourself (I.E. self-esteem)

I was bullied as a kid for wearing Nintendo themed shirts, or handing out hand-written guides for Starcraft missions at lunch time. Been called a nerd and many other "hateful things." However, I'm now 29. That sort of verbal intolerance is sort of lost on me. I don't identify as a nerd - I identify as a person who happens to really like games. I have a family, a well paying job, and I like to tell myself that I have a good life behind and in front of me.

I may have rambled there at some point, but I think the reaction to these sort of things tends to be a symptom of an even great self identity problem. It's an opinion, so take what I with a grain of salt obviously, but at some point in our lives we have to come to terms that a good percentage of the world is hateful, and (hopefully) revel in the fact that we are not part of that percentile.

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#52 Posted by IBMer (55 posts) -

@bladeofcreation: Well his take is that putting 'fucking' in front of things makes it sound negative, I don't see what they really has to do with the shooting except for his example that is not the overall message

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#53 Posted by Hamst3r (5480 posts) -

It comes down to the intent, which you can glean from who's saying it and the context in which it's said. It doesn't bother me when Abby says it because she's a fucking nerd on a video game website.

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#54 Posted by Sweep (10600 posts) -

@hamst3r said:

It comes down to the intent, which you can glean from who's saying it and the context in which it's said. It doesn't bother me when Abby says it because she's a fucking nerd on a video game website.

Takes one to know one ;)

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#55 Posted by StriderNo9 (1351 posts) -

Badge of honor

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#56 Posted by whitegreyblack (1968 posts) -

When I was a youth, the word "nerd" was a weaponized pejorative used against me and my best friends on a regular basis. I have zero problems with the segment of the population who were once tormented with that word to take it back... but yes when you think about how it's used now I kinda wish the word would just be retired from usage altogether.

But yeah, to echo some other sentiments here: "nerd culture" being largely used as a pandering marketing tactic nowadays feels pretty stupid and disingenuous.

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#57 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7613 posts) -

I think nerd is in the group of words that coined and used as both a pejoritve and a positive description at the same time. The concept of a social concept but smart person is old. However, the word nerd , nurd, or gnurd is actually only a few decades old. I believe, the terms drip, square, poindexter or dweeb were in use around in the 30s and 50s; but again as I said above the idea of putting character heavy glasses with a 'Mortar board' hat was universally understood in Western culture as code for overly educated and socially inept. I know in teh early 1970s the terms drip and square were still in use while nerd was more of a term of the 1980s.

So my supposition is that Wikipedia that wrong, nerd was only used as a pejorative to very few. However among American nerds/nerds the term nerd was considered the same a "wonk" would have been used in Great Britain; i.e. a studious person who has scientific knowledge or engineering knowledge. Th words gnurd/nurd had it births at BOTH Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Massachusetts Institute` of Technology (MIT). I think Drip, Square, and Poindexter were without a doubt pejoratives, but by the time nerd was coined for the idea of being studious, introverted and a bit obsessive about facts was seen as a positive already.

Keep in mind when term nurd/nerd was coined the space race going in earnest. The US curriculum for science, math, and engineering totally changed in 1957 into early 60s. Science, computers, rocketry, chemistry, biology were huge new fields of study students were being pushed into. The sheer amount of change in public schools because Sputnik and President Kennedy speech about reaching the moon was making being a nerd a lot less bad that we pursheaps think occured back then. If it perhaps ironic that the title "Revenge of the Nerds" was a misnomer....the nerds had already had their revenge a decade before. Silicon Valley was a place where MONEY was already flowing. The Graduate pointed out "plastics were hot" in the 1960s, so when computer was the term of the 70s and software & industrial robots were the term of the 1980s we can see nerds were already more admired than anything else.

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#58 Posted by AdamALC (291 posts) -

When I was young, the word Nerd meant people like the guys in the movies Revenge of the Nerds. People with above average intelligence and no social skills, social outcasts, things like that. As for nerd culture, like any similar culture, it is a bullshit label people use to fit in.