The Big Picture: Brainiacs: The Once & Future Nerds

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How to tell if you are a geek:

Did you watch The Big Picture today? Yes?
When the image of comic book guy showed up did you spend the rest of the episode going: "I WANT THAT SHIRT!!!" ? Yes?

Then you are a geek.

There ya go, problem solved.

I thought it was correctly identifying which Enterprise schematic which was flashed for a fraction of a second without rewinding. (its the Enterprise B based of the Excelsior class if you are wondering).

But yeah the Comicbook Guy shirts are good.

Glad he pointed out the original meaning of 'Geek'

I have always wanted to see a season of 'Beauty and the Geek' where one of them is covered in tattoos and sticks nails through his eyelids, that would be awesome.

Brogrammer? Are you shitting me? It's official. I am downright sick of people slapping the word 'bro' on the front of things to denote it's being done by males that have a certain kind of social life/skillset/physique.

Err... Bob you don't know many young people do you. Peter Parker was bullied in The Amazing Spider-Man yes. But bullying is not about looks. Peter was bullied, not because he was a nerd, but because he was an outsider. A loner. Someone who didn't really interact with anyone. Notice how Peter does not have any friends. We know Uncle Ben doesn't have a high paying job thus Peter comes from a working class background. Peter doesn't have any parents. Surprise surprise. All of these things make him a prime target for bullying. Also we know Flash is a genuinly nice guy in the film. But he's probably bullying Pete because of Peer Pressure. His bullying of Peter is an attempt to look "cool" in front of his friends and Peter is just an easy target. Perhaps you should understand Bob that you don't have to be ugly or a nerd. People just trying to make their way through high school normally also get bullied. Good looking people get bullied. It doesn't matter what you look like, bullying can still happen to you. And you can be bullied for any reason. Source? Me. I was bullied simply over the fact that my parents weren't together. Shocking right?

I am a nerd.

I am a geek.

I have Asperger's Disorder.*

And, Bob, I just want to say, thank you for picking my favorite version of the Enterprise EVER. YES. EXCELSIOR PRIDE REPRESENT.

*Me and half of the other people on the internet, it's nbd gaiz srsly

Love the etymology / history lesson. Very nice!

I don't have the time or inclination to chase down this theory, but given that it definitely came into full bloom in the nineteen sixties I wonder if the jock / nerd schism was in part due to the Vietnam War. It's my understanding that kids who could stay enrolled in college during that period weren't drafted. History seems intent on painting college students in the 60s with the broad brush of counterculture, and I'm thinking that this is where 'nerd' got its outsider connotation.

Not knocking the Asperger's Disorder interpretation, this just crossed my mind.

On the subject of Andrew Garfield's spidey being a handsome, stylish, good-looking normal guy, as opposed to an oppressed nerd, I'd like to at least offer the comparison that the original Peter Parker was by no means an ugly guy. He was always drawn to be a relatively clean-cut, normal looking, if overly bookish, average teen. He was never the pock-marked, fashion-challenged, buck-toothed caricature of a nerd that everyone seems to think he was, and in the past few decades, he hasn't been. In many incarnations, Peter has had his shit together for a long, long time, and the notion of him being a down-trodden geek who still gets stuffed into lockers is just anachronistic.

I think, for the same reason, they made Garfield's Spidey a more modern and average guy, instead of some out of place cliche of a nerd who tapes his thick rimmed glasses together, wears sweater-vests, and stays up all night working on his science project for the state fair, or something. So they made him a socially awkward loner who has trouble talking to girls and likes to do his own thing in private, which is pretty much what any sort of modern nerd could be considered.

I've heard that the word "geek" was originally a slang term in the armed forces for "specialist", i.e. communications geek, weapons geek, mechanics geek. This "specialist" recognition eventually got handed down, like many other terms, from military to civilian use, most relevantly the educational sector, i.e. history geek, math geek, science geek.

For those wishing to establish a pecking order, a "nerd" is one who is a geek in several areas, most notably math and science, and therefore "better" than an average geek.

Great episode Bob. There are too many baseless discussions about what a "nerd" is and too many times people are judged on whether they really "deserve" the "nerd" label, I think we need to face up to the fact that it's not a definition written in stone and that we should really be inclusive of all kinds of people in our communities.

As long as you don't make the mistake of associating The Big Bang Theory with nerd culture. TBBT is to nerds as blackface is to African Americans.

I really don't get all the hatred for The Big Bang Theory; frankly some people just need to lighten up. Sitcoms are based off of caricature and exaggeration, it's how they work; no one is expected to take it seriously.

I am a self-identified nerd (credentials include: I competed in Science Olympiad grades 8-12, was a founding member of my high school's science club, took AP courses in math and science, wore a starfleet insignia on my graduation robe and letterman jacket (letter for the aforementioned Science Olympiad), need I go on?), and I find the show hilarious. Yes it pokes fun at geeks and nerds, yes it doesn't always get things right, but if you choose not to take things personally and laugh along with it instead, it's really quite enjoyable. It's all in good fun, there's nothing malicious about it, so what's the problem?

Here's the thing, in addition to being a nerd, I am also a conservative, religious, middle-class, married white male. If I chose to take offense at everything on TV that poked fun at me or my way of life, I'd have to throw my television out for a lack of anything to watch. If The Big Bang Theory's depiction of nerddomreally annoys you that much, all I can say is that you need to develop a better sense of humor or you're going to be going through life upset about a lot of trivial stuff, and that's not going to affect anyone but you.

(At least the responses here have been more well-reasoned than in the facebook comments; I'd have made my case there, if I actually bothered with facebook)

Hi, I guess I do self-identify with geeks/nerds (see my username), but I have to admit I don't have Aspergers. I like videogames, anime, computer & tech hardware, alien movies, Star Trek, sci-fi, comics etc... But I do wish I was a bigger geek, like the type that is good at programming and speaking Klingon. I used to play D&D, though, and I did have a Commodore 64, so my geek pedigree is pretty good. I'm married to a beautiful woman, though, but when I talk geek her eyes kind of glaze over.
The point I want to make is, however, that when I found the Escapist, I did feel like I belonged here. That's a good way to tell if you're a geek/nerd.

I don't think it matters if you do or do not have a condition. What I think Bob is getting at is that the stereo-types and images associated with the term Nerd could even go back to a miss-understanding/no-understanding of what those conditions are. Humans attach slangs terms and names to images, behaviours, and conditions they don't understand all the time.

Medically we have made huge advancements since the stereo-typical, uncomfortable around others image was made of the Nerd or Geek. With Spiderman, I feel he's kind of showing an example how we're steering away from that assumption/ignorance. These terms are now more for whatever you want them to mean for yourself then they've ever been before regardless of what you have.

Really Bob? It's been more than a year now. The horse is dead. How about you stop taking every dig you can at The Amazing Spider-Man already? Do you honestly have nothing better to do than to carry out some strange vendetta against a movie you didn't like?

Thank god someone finally noticed... It's REALLY fucking annoying. I can understand that he doesn't like it, but he tries to make it seem like it was a movie considered bad by all when actually it was generally well recieved. 73% on rotten tomatoes, respectable score.

However if you watched Bob's videos you would think that the general concensious was that it was bad.

Geek and Nerd are DIFFERENT THINGS. most people dont know what "nerd" is. Most people think of geeks when they say nerds.

And looks like BOB did learn a bit more about Nerds since his last video. im very glad about that. And yes indeed i also noticed the corelation between high functioning autists (myself included) and nerds, though no causation. at least not yet.

Then again you used steve jobs as a nerd example, when if we were to use stereotypes, jobs would be the jock way before nerd, so maybe you still dont understand what a nerd is.
For those who really want to know what Nerd is, this guy explains it better than i do:

Com'on people! say it with me! NERD AND PROUD!

You should never be proud to be a nerd. Thats like saying you should be proud to be a rape victim.

I am going to take a tiny sliver of information from the video out of context and make a (small) deal out of it... only because my brain cannot seem to let it go and I am anal-retentive:

As a parent of a child with autism I cringe when people refer to "autism" and "over-diagnosis and soft boundaries" in the same sentence. Autism is very real, scarily real, it is not a made up label that is thrown around to kids that are funny, that act funny or just sit in the back of the class. Autism is not over-diagnosed; in fact, you should be scared that 1 in 88 kids is autistic because chances are you know one. Chances are huge that YOUR child will be autistic. Don't knock it off as a medical gimmick.

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