September 16, 2016

"My least favorite was the clue on NERDS (46D: Brainy high school clique)."

"'Clique' my ass. This makes it sound like NERDS are some exclusive / exclusionary bunch. I guarantee you that NERDS are more than happy to nerd out with you, no matter what you look like, how much money you have, etc. You don't have to be rich to rule their world. 'Clique'! Boooo! Everything about the word 'clique' is non-nerd."

Writes Rex Parker about today's NYT crossword.

19 comments:

Curious George said...

He has a point. He needs a life.

rehajm said...

Rex, as defined by the clue 'Brainy' was a requirement. 'Brainy' is quite exclusive and exclusionary.

You're thinking of the DWEEBS, Rex.

rehajm said...

...or perhaps the GEEKS.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Brainy is a requirement to be a nerd, but the fact that the requirement excludes people does not make nerds a clique. Nerds are perfectly happy to have non-smart people socialize with them. They are not excluding people socially, which is the essence of a clique.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I remember reading an article a while back, someone commenting on the way nerds dressed, and how they dressed like nerds to fit in with other nerds.

No. You are projecting. Nerds dress like nerds because they pay no attention to how they dress. ( At least not to the social aspects of it. )

Ann Althouse said...

Good idea for a comedy sketch: Exclusionary nerds.

Girl wants to be a nerd. Strives. Copies the dress. But can't gain acceptance. Isn't smart enough. Does that happen?

fivewheels said...

Professor, google "fake geek girl" (or nerd girl) and you'll find a swirling torrent of controversy. Internet feminists are sure that misogyny underlies male nerds policing their, um, identity space, but I think it's a reasonable position.

Basically, it's hard to understand what nerd culture means if you're under 30. Back in the day, being a nerd meant getting beat up for caring about the Avengers. It meant being ostracized for reading Lord of the Rings, but doing it anyway because it's what you cared about.

Nowadays, trendy young girls all want to say, "I'm such a nerd! I love LOTR and Star Wars and Game of Thrones!" Like there's some kind of geek cred they deserve for being fans of literally the most popular movies and most popular TV show of the century. Nerds want to see a little more than that, and they'll test you. And that comes off as obnoxious, but I get it.

YoungHegelian said...

The article reminds me of this classic from The Onion.

It provides a helpful taxonomy of the distinctions on the nerd/geek continuum.

I love the photo of the two guys with Clinton. The Onion always picked the greatest "man on the street" models.

Wilbur said...

Lisa Loopner and Todd DiLaMuca set the gold standard for nerdigans.

buwaya said...

" Back in the day, being a nerd meant ..."

Being an engineering major.

I understand though, through inside information, that engineering majors in certain universities these days (UC system) tend to have pretensions of being "cool", which I admit is a concept I cannot grasp.

buwaya said...

"Nowadays, trendy young girls all want to say, "I'm such a nerd! I love LOTR and Star Wars and Game of Thrones!"

Also, based on inside information, most such nerd-pretender girls (and they are all girls it seems) aren't into actually reading this stuff. They may have seen the movies and maybe even struggled through "The Hobbit", but never LOTR.

Speaking as a father of genuine nerds, male and female.

buwaya said...

Some fairly reliable nerd-filters (1st level), so I am informed, though this does not extend to videogame arcana which is beyond me.

- Warhammer 40K
- Actually reading the Silmarillion
- D&D with miniatures, which seems to be coming back

What is not a nerd-filter is Dr. Who, though a decade ago it may have been. However I gather it has fallen in popularity.

fivewheels said...

Nerds can smell their own, especially at school age. That weird girl with the plain straight hair reading Anne McCaffrey? Probably a nerd. The cheerleader with the Harry Potter book? Maybe not. She'll be on to the next thing when the next thing arrives. Girl 1 will still be showing you her dragon earrings at a con when she's 40.

buwaya said...

"Girl 1 will still be showing you her dragon earrings at a con when she's 40."

My wife would show you HER dragon earrings at a con at, er, somewhat past 40.

RichardJohnson said...

buwaya
"Back in the day, being a nerd meant ..." Being an engineering major.
I understand though, through inside information, that engineering majors in certain universities these days (UC system) tend to have pretensions of being "cool", which I admit is a concept I cannot grasp.


Back in the day, there was a magazine in the engineering student lounge with an article titled something like "Who says engineers are boring?" The article was about an engineer who volunteered as a crossing guard at a local school. We got a laugh out of that.

halojones-fan said...

GamerGate showed us that the new normal is to act like nerds have power, always had the power, and always knew they did.

Balfegor said...

Re: buwaya:

Also, based on inside information, most such nerd-pretender girls (and they are all girls it seems) aren't into actually reading this stuff. They may have seen the movies and maybe even struggled through "The Hobbit", but never LOTR.

The true mark of LOTR nerdiness is whether one can recite A Elbereth Gilthoniel. I've forgotten what all the words mean, but I can still more or less remember the words themselves, like a medieval peasant mouthing a Latin liturgy.

Daniel Richwine said...

This quote is totally untrue in my experience. I was a class A nerd, way to geeky to hang out with the popular people so I hung out with the needs, playing D&D, theater, all that in an attempt to become accepted. One day I saw a few of my fellow nerds give a cold shoulder to a newbie because he didn't have as much experience in whatever they were doing, and the scales fell from my eyes.
Nerds all have their own secret handshakes. Their own technical language. Their own ways of being able to tell if you are truly one of them or not. And if you're not, they exclude you just as heartlessly as a group of jocks.

People are people, after all. After that I changed myself to effortlessly blend in with any clique. It's pretty easy once you know how. Mostly you just stop expecting others to understand you and instead try to understand them. It works just about every time.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Rex Parker probably thinks he is a nerd. But writing a blog about working The New York Times crossword puzzle? Too literary to be nerdy.