Re: So Why Don't We See More Skinhead Quiz Bowl Teams?

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Who wears short shorts? Nerds!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 4:29 PM
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So Why Don't We See More Skinhead Quiz Bowl Teams?

Racism.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 4:36 PM
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Huh, that is weird. She seems to take something characteristic of nerds and decide that it's their essential feature. And I don't like the term "hyperwhite." Standard American "whiteness" is influenced in all sorts of ways by "blackness," so I'm not sure that very white means "not at all black." The nerd way of being white seems like a separate mode, rather than the purest way of being white.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 4:48 PM
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It was not clear if the author was familiar with the work of Weird Al.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 4:52 PM
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"nerdcore" rappers, who wear pocket protectors and write paeans to computer routing devices, are in vogue

I don't profess to be "hip" to what the young kids are "down with" these days, but "are in vogue" seems like a stretch. "Exist," maybe, but that, while more accurate, wouldn't advance the peculiar thesis.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 4:52 PM
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To say nothing of whiteness's constructedness, or the existence of black nerds. Why am I even in this conversation?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 4:55 PM
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"[N]erds may even be viewed as 'traitors to whiteness.'" = new mouseover text.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 4:56 PM
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Speaking of the mouseover text, are we meant to overlook the disagreement between "No one is" and "their doctor"?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:00 PM
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Sigh. Cluelessness reigns.

The nerds+music formulation should reference math rock.

The reason you don't see skinheads on Quiz Bowl teams is twofold. 1. Even the smartest skinheads are, in my experience, not that bright. 2. The origins of skinhead (and by extension, even Nazi bonehead) culture still rest firmly in black culture, although it's Anglo-Caribbean rather than African-American black culture. Mods, ska, rocksteady, stingies etc. etc.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:08 PM
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the disagreement between "No one is" and "their doctor"?

It's not my hovertext, but I believe the consensus among the Unfoggetariat is that there's no disagreement there.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:13 PM
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Speaking of the mouseover text, are we meant to overlook the disagreement between "No one is" and "their doctor"?

Personally, I like "they" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun.


Posted by: oztk | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:14 PM
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I believe the consensus among the Unfoggetariat is that there's no disagreement there.

Paging Ben w-lfs-n. Paging Ben w-lfs-n.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:17 PM
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Standard American "whiteness" is influenced in all sorts of ways by "blackness,"

Hey, look, it's college ogged.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:18 PM
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I suppose "their" works, but of course "his" is better.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:18 PM
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Hey, look, it's college ogged.

When dealing with the harebrained theories of academics, Slol, sometimes one must needs stoop.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:20 PM
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the harebrained theories of academics, Slol,

Back away from that appositive, mister.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:21 PM
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Nerdy people drive like this.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:22 PM
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I suppose "their" works, but of course "his" is better.

I heard this crazy rumor a few years back that "their" had newly been declared grammatically correct, or at least acceptable, as an alternative to the rather awkward "his or her." Or "his/her." And so on.

Wacky.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:37 PM
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It's not my hovertext,

So SB really does have access to the server?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:45 PM
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Some discussion with links.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:46 PM
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newly been declared grammatically correct,

By whom, the English Academy?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:46 PM
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I think the article is using 'hyperwhite' to stand in for something like 'overly concerned with rule following'. This is coming from a linguist, after all, for whom knowledge of and adherance to grammatical forms is going to loom large. But I think it also misses the point. What's distinctive about nerds (I say, speaking through my ass) is that their displays of dominance take place in an intellecutal rather than a physical realm. So, for example, one kind of nerd is going to attempt to show dominance over a similar nerd by correcting a citiation from Iron Man ("it was issue #297, dumbass!"). This is different from, but also similar to, racing to see who can chug more beers in two minutes.


Posted by: dr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:53 PM
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By whom, the English Academy?

No idea.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 5:55 PM
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The American Heritage Dictionary usage panel doesn't like it. Too bad for them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:00 PM
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10:
She seems to take something characteristic of nerds and decide that it's their essential feature.

So what is the essential feature of nerds? Nerds are typically antisocial among the populace in general, but gregarious among their own kind. As Renaissance Faires demonstrate, nerds need not be technically skilled. What is the sine qua non of nerdhood?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:01 PM
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Extreme social awkwardness.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:05 PM
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22's definition ( A nerd's "displays of dominance take place in an intellecutal rather than a physical realm") is a decent start, but fails to include RenFair nerds, video game nerds, and furries, among others.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:06 PM
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Well, everything is hard to define, but nerds are generally socially awkward, not athletically gifted, and obsessive or near-obsessive about their interests.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:09 PM
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Furries aren't a type of nerd, though furrydom and nerdhood might coincide frequently.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:13 PM
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28: No embarrassing archive links? We all thank you. Someone had a good Friday night.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:15 PM
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30: ? Why would 28 be particularly archive-apt?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:16 PM
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Dos nerds.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:17 PM
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I suppose "their" works, but of course "his" is better.

Do I really need to point out how sexist this is? No?

Good.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:21 PM
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31: I don't think it would be hard to find comments by various personages that admit or demonstrate any of the characteristics.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:23 PM
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nerds are generally socially awkward, not athletically gifted, and obsessive or near-obsessive about their interests.

Fair enough, but methinks you describe Old Nerdity, not the same as the New Nerdity.

The California-style New Nerdity described in the article doesn't seem to include social awkwardness, for example. Nerds are cool now!

The term seems to bear only a passing resemblance to what it what it once meant. According to the kids, I mean.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:29 PM
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If it doesn't include social awkwardness, it's not really a nerd.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:31 PM
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Do I really need to point out how sexist this is? No?

Honest question: what do you use? "Her" as a substitute for "him"? Or just "his or her"? Or "her or his"?

Or come up with a construction that allows you to avoid the question? i.e. "one" or god forbid, "a person."

Just curious. Not that I lay awake nights.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:33 PM
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The term seems to bear only a passing resemblance to what it what it once meant. According to the kids, I mean.

According to the NYT.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:33 PM
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36: Nerds are people, too, w-lfs-n. "He" or "she."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:34 PM
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33: Of course not. Your comment appeared in my head before either of us posted. But this is the White & Nerdy thread. We will do the Sexism/Pedantry thread some other time.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:35 PM
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The article contrasts nerds with cool kids; nerds are merely "in vogue."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:36 PM
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what do you use?

Me, personally? I use "their." Those who want to be all hung up about using a singular pronoun should alternate "she" and "he."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:39 PM
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The article contrasts nerds with cool kids; nerds are merely "in vogue."

Hm? What counts as cool isn't what's in vogue?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:39 PM
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The trick, parsimon, is that being uncool is in vogue.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:41 PM
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I hear it's hip to be square.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:41 PM
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I use "their." Those who want to be all hung up about using a singular pronoun should alternate "she" and "he."

You do this in professional papers? "Their"? Really.

Well, no big deal. I remember a period of time during the mid- to late-90s during which (some) theorists felt the need to include, early on in footnotes, elaborate explanations about why they were choosing to use "his" or "her" and how this should not be taken to mean any number of things.

It was sort of funny.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:43 PM
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In professional papers I don't think it comes up very much. If it did, I would tend to use she first, then he. Which is actually pretty useful if, say, one is talking about "an author" and "a reader" in generic terms--the different genders of the pronouns make it easier to follow the sense of the paragraph.

This honestly isn't an issue. It's been standard practice to alternate she and he for quite some time now. And yes, there are editors who will allow you to use "their" as well.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:45 PM
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Nerds are not inherently socially awkward, though many certainly are. They just need to achieve a critical mass before they can socialize, at which point "Old Nerdity" becomes "California-style New Nerdity."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:45 PM
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I remember a period of time during the mid- to late-90s during which (some) theorists felt the need to include, early on in footnotes, elaborate explanations about why they were choosing to use "his" or "her" and how this should not be taken to mean any number of things.

David Velleman does this in Practical Reason, which is no longer available free from his website because CSLI reissued it, in 1989. Phil action > theorists, baby.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:49 PM
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I think we're clearing dealing with a family resemblance concept rather than one that can be defined by necessary and sufficient conditions.

It would be interesting if, as the article implies, *all* the species in the Nerd Kingdom display this sort of linguistic 'hyperwhiteness.' But given where the 'in your X Ying ur Zs' phrase originated, I rather doubt it.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:52 PM
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I'd just rephrase it: "No one is excused from reading the archives without a doctor's note."


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:53 PM
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Foolishmortal, you seem to think that a bunch of nerds socializing aren't socially awkward.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:54 PM
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But we want to make sure that the note bears the appropriate relation to the person not reading the archives.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:55 PM
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Phil action > theorists, baby.

Huh, funny, yeah. That's exactly where I'm remembering it from, I believe. Theory of action. Maybe Sabina Lovibond found herself exercised over it.

1989, really? Okay.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:56 PM
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What if the note bears the proper relation but says nothing about the archives?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 6:58 PM
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Wait. This is a study of nerdiness in California. Asian people are white now?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:00 PM
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That, too, is a possibility we should rule out.

"There does not exist a person p such that p is excused from reading the archives and p does not have a note from p's doctor excusing p from reading the archives."


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:00 PM
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Asian people are white now?

The whitest.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:01 PM
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52:
Yes I do think that. Have you ever seen large groups of nerds congregate? Some can be flighty, but most will enthusiastically discuss overclocking settings and anime. Once a group of nerds achieves critical mass, social conventions are changed utterly, and a terrible beauty is born.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:02 PM
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Medical doctor or is a phd in any field ok?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:02 PM
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Language Log, Languagehat, and Jane Austen all accept the singular "they". End of Story.

Aryans are Iranians, Iranisan are Aryans.

Iranians are white, white, white! Not necessarily Nazis, bit WHITE! Someone hit Ogged with the clue stick. He's hyper-white!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:03 PM
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People are conflating geeks and nerds, damnit.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:07 PM
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One of my Chinese teachers in Taiwan said that her father only wanted her to date Chinese -- but all PhDs and MDs counted as Chinese.

The story is more complicated than that, but that's enough for now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:07 PM
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People are conflating geeks and nerds, damnit.

We await your explanation.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:10 PM
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Is Sabina Lovibond a Harry Potter character, or what?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:10 PM
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Velleman's apology.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:12 PM
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An obvious reply.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:14 PM
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Is Savina Lovibond a Harry Potter character, or what?

Sabina.

But holy shit. Who knew. She just killed my dissertation, that's all, the fucker. Her reading of Wittgenstein is so obnoxiously off-kilter in an impossible, squinty, fly-away-hair sort of way that I needed to kill that chapter, I really did.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:14 PM
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We await your explanation.

Along with your reason for excluding the crucial "dweeb" and "Poindexter" demographics.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:15 PM
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Bizarre. Velleman seems to miss the point entirely, which is that "he," whatever its grammatical status, makes people think of males or the masculine, or however you want to say it. I wasn't aware that people alternate "he" and "she;" the academic stuff I've read recently just uses "she."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:16 PM
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64: Geek has to do with how a person relates to other people and to the social aspects of their chosen interests; nerd has to do with how a person relates to the technical/mathematical aspects of their chosen interests.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:17 PM
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Gotta run, but thought I'd drop in and say that the thesis of that article is f'in' stupid. Has nobody heard of ghetto nerds?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:20 PM
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nerd has to do with how a person relates to the technical/mathematical aspects of their chosen interests.

So Renaissance Fair people are geeks but not nerds? I didn't like it at first, but that's growing on me.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:23 PM
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Velleman seems to miss the point entirely, which is that "he," whatever its grammatical status, makes people think of males or the masculine

Velleman is basically saying (entirely unspoken) that the felt need by some theorists to reclaim or rewrite the language away from subterranean sexism is *not his agenda*, and would divert his project.

Sort of. It was interesting. In any case, a general claim that he didn't want to politicize his work even to that tiny degree.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:33 PM
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Velleman is basically saying (entirely unspoken) that the felt need by some theorists to reclaim or rewrite the language away from subterranean sexism is *not his agenda*, and would divert his project.

What? He says,

I share their goal of inclusiveness in language and differ with them only about the means to that goal. My view is that traditional usage in this case makes English more inclusive, not less.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:39 PM
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71: Doesn't work. History or philosophy nerds may not be particularly technological, but they're still distinct from geeks, while there's a certain level of techno-/mathophilia that's indistinguishable from geekery.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:43 PM
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I think the geek/nerd distinction is critical, but I'm not sure I agree at all with LR's 71. Maybe with an example I would.

To me - and I'm a CMU alum, so I'm going to claim a certain authority - geek is broader, and one can be a geek in almost any field. It has to do with getting a little too absorbed in (usually, but not always) technical aspects of whatever interest you have. Someone who can't talk about bikes without getting into gearing, or pro racing, is being a bike geek. This doesn't simply mean "really interested in bikes." Part of it is social awkwardness - instead of keeping the conversation on a socially appropriate level, the geek gets into mind-numbing detail.

Whereas nerds are limited to more intellectual interests, and so are, for the most part, a subset of geeks. If you're being a geek about something geeky - online gaming, historical reenactment, computers - then you're almost certainly a nerd.

But that's more of a field guide description. The essence might be closer to this:

A geek is socially awkward about her special interest.

A nerd is socially awkward about everything but his special interest, and even then relates best to other nerds.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:46 PM
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Well, yes, that's the explanation. It's reasonable on the face of it.

The fact remains that the privileging of "he" and "him" in English does mark agency as male, male as active, female by omission as passive or receptive, reflects deeply embedded gender values, or whatever, and so on and so forth.

It doesn't quite fly for Velleman to beg for a semantic, gender-neutral usage for "he" when it's really not there in our language. Nice try, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:50 PM
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78 to 75.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:51 PM
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You've completely lost me, parsimon. Your 78 was my point in 70, but your 74 sounded like disagreement. So, huh?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:53 PM
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A more traditional rule of thumb is that nerds are smart, geeks not necessarily. But I don't know that that applies anymore.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:54 PM
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Velleman's comment is a good example of being on the losing side of a cultural shift, knowing in one's heart that you've lost, and then madly rationalizing in order to claim that while one's heart is in the right place (inclusiveness) for perfectly good grammatical reasons one is forced to so something that looks quite sexist.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 7:56 PM
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For instance, you all are totally geeking out on this pronoun issue.

Anyone who knows what is good for her will stop worrying himself about this issue.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:00 PM
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It seems to me that "mofo / mofos" should be the generic pronoun. To disagree would be to deny an essential aspect of agency to female mofos. Anyone can mofo, not just guys.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:01 PM
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"mofo" isn't a verb, John.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:06 PM
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The word geek should only be used to refer to employees of the circus that bite the heads off chickens. The word nerd is impossibly vulger, and should not be used in polite company. (If there is Happy Days slash fiction -- and I feel confident without searching that there is -- then it would be appropriate in that context to use the word.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:07 PM
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A more traditional rule of thumb is that nerds are smart, geeks not necessarily.
I don't know where you get this JRoth, but I couldn't disagree more (well, sure I could, but, you know).
I can't think of the number of times I've had to hold my tongue during overheard bookstore conversations between nerds about their elaborate theories of world history, no doubt gained from a lifetime of playing risk.
Another element of the definition might be that nerds seem to function best in imaginary or highly abstracted worlds, the better to avoid stupid reality.


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:08 PM
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You've completely lost me, parsimon. Your 78 was my point in 70, but your 74 sounded like disagreement. So, huh?

Talking at cross-purposes. My 74 wasn't disagreement. It's pretty much as Gonerill says.

Velleman isn't *really*, as you suggested, missing the point about inherent sexism in the language; he just wants to justify refusing to address it (by doing something as simple as using "she" occasionally) by claiming that since his project has to do with human agency, what it is to be an actor, he wants to be able to treat these questions as tangential.

The claim to the inclusiveness of "he" is obfuscation (and bullshit).

The only reason it matters in the slightest is that Velleman *is* doing work on agency, what it is to be an actor, the nature of our explanations of actions and responsibility, and so on, and if there's anything that one would want be careful of there, it would be glossing over gendered conceptions.

Not saying that Velleman's work suffers from it; just that it's, shall we say, glib of him.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:09 PM
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Very much disagree with the "geeks are socially awkward sometimes, nerds are always" categorization, although I agree with the "smart" one (although really, it's more "knows math"). I know a number of scientists and engineers (mostly women, but not entirely) who are extremely nerdy, but are not particularly socially awkward at all. They're not super schmoozy social butterflies, but there's nothing about how they interact with people outside of their field that pegs them as being "geeky" or "nerdy" or "dweeby" or whatever.

I know of a whole lot of people who are geeks only by way of liking "geeky" things, are not conversant with anything technical or mathematical at all, and who are unbelievably socially awkward. Ever walked through an anime convention?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:14 PM
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Ever walked through an anime convention?

Dear god no. Only geeks do that kind of shit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:16 PM
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I don't see anything about anime that makes it inherently geeky, except in that aything can be geekified if you're obsessive about it. Those are nerds who are into anime.


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:18 PM
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The problem, LR, is that while lots of people draw a distinction between geeks and nerds, different people draw it different ways. For example, I used to draw the exact same distinction between geek and nerd as you describe in 89, but with the labels exactly reversed.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:19 PM
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Nothing is inherently geeky. In the 21st century we've moved beyond such outmoded essentialism.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:19 PM
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I don't see anything about anime that makes it inherently geeky

Surely this falls into the "if you have to ask" category.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:19 PM
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I'm not feelin' the geek/nerd distinction at all, yo.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:24 PM
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Geek is the new nerd. Nerd is the new cool. Why do I have to keep explaining things to you mofos?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:27 PM
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And mook is the new nerd.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:28 PM
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What I mean is that, folks into anime don't have to be geeks, anymore than non-Mexican folks into luchadores would are. Geekdom just happens to be where US anime interest has flourished.


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:29 PM
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A more traditional rule of thumb is that nerds are smart, geeks not necessarily.


I don't know where you get this JRoth, but I couldn't disagree more (well, sure I could, but, you know).

I can't think of the number of times I've had to hold my tongue during overheard bookstore conversations between nerds about their elaborate theories of world history, no doubt gained from a lifetime of playing risk.

Another element of the definition might be that nerds seem to function best in imaginary or highly abstracted worlds, the better to avoid stupid reality.

OK, maybe "smart" wasn't the right word. I was trying to get at something like 'focused on intellectual pursuits' - as opposed to athletic or artistic or crafty pursuits. Even something with a big built-object element like SCA is really just to support the life of the mind - or, as you say, "imaginary or highly abstracted worlds."

And I stand by my delineation. Someone who yatters on about bike gearing simply isn't a nerd by any definition I've ever encountered. But they're sure as hell being a geek.

One thing I think it's critical to understand is that this has changed in the past 15-20 years. When I was in HS, there was no meaningful distinction between the terms (nor between them and Poindexter or dweeb). But in the 90s - presumably as nerds became Master of the Universe types - the verb "geek out" took on a totally different connotation. Anyone can geek out about anything (maybe jocks can't geek out about sports - I haven't done field research). And once "geek out" entered the vernacular, it retroactively redefined geek to have a gentler connotation - even, I would argue, denotation.

In 1987, geeks and nerds alike wore pocket protectors. Now, I believe, only nerds do.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:31 PM
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Like Walt, I've seen the distinction between the two drawn sharply, but with the words switched on different occasions. There's two stereotypes: socially awkward and badly dressed person with an obsessive interest in something regarded by mainstream society as uninteresting -- anime, trainspotting, Ren Faires, whatever; and highly intelligent person with a great deal of arcane knowledge about something of some genuine value, to the point where that knowledge isn't communicable or interesting to a layperson -- programming, science, classical music, whatever. And of course being one makes you more likely to be the other -- the two things can, even though they don't necessarily, go together.

But I've seen 'geek' used for either, and 'nerd' used for either.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:32 PM
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Does anyone actually wear a pocket protector? I've never seen one in the wild -- weren't they a fountain pen, or maybe early ballpoints, thing?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:34 PM
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Nothing is inherently geeky. In the 21st century we've moved beyond such outmoded essentialism.

I'm pretty sure Ben was making one of his little jokes here, but I actually think this is close to right, and I think that this is the enlightenment that occured in the 90s.

I suspect that part of it was that, with the ubiquity of computers and the internet, socially-adjusted, athletic people began to do things - like create bots to rig online votes - that were previously the exclusive domain of big-time nerds. And so a more nuanced view developed.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:34 PM
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I've never seen one in the wild

This argument can only be settled by extensive field work, including specimen collection.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:35 PM
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Does anyone actually wear a pocket protector?

Oh, you'd be surprised. They're close to extinct now, but that's only because the belt-holster for the personal computing device is so ubiquitous.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:36 PM
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socially-adjusted, athletic people began to do things - like create bots to rig online votes

But I thought that was w-lfs-n...


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:36 PM
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On the social habits of the nerd, and inherent nerdiness:

I suspect we've all had the unnerving experience of seeing nerds quote Monty Python. But the thing is, Monty Python is funny as hell, and can even be fruitfully quoted. But once you've seen nerds doing it, you can't ever enjoy it the same way.

As for this:

But I've seen 'geek' used for either, and 'nerd' used for either.

I guess I can't argue if this observation is widespread. The distinction is clear to me, and I feel that, in my life, I see it used consistently along the lines I've described. Maybe it's a regional thing.

And now, to make sushi.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:39 PM
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100 gets it right.

Also,
maybe jocks can't geek out about sports - I haven't done field research,
meet
the Society for American Baseball Research .


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:40 PM
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105 illustrates the importance of distinguishing between "like" and "such as".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:41 PM
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But we haven't yet radically democratized geekdom. Can anyone imagine someone claiming to be a Nascar geek?


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:42 PM
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yes


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:43 PM
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Yeah, but I bet they were a geek before they found Nascar. Or maybe just a nerd.


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:46 PM
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Popping back in: this thread is too nerdy for me.

I hope you all understand the magnitude of that statement.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:54 PM
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I'm going with "geek" as "socially awkward" and "nerd" as a geek who did well in school. All other uses--bike-geek, food-geek, etc.--are bastardizations. w-lfs-n, to the ramparts!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:55 PM
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Does anyone actually wear a pocket protector? I've never seen one in the wild -- weren't they a fountain pen, or maybe early ballpoints, thing?

The latter, I believe. I have one here in vinyl advertising Staedtler | Mars drafting supplies, with outlines of drafting pens, drafting pencils, and a compass. I don't often wear it because it clashes with my pearls.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:56 PM
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What Sifu meant to say was:

Thi's thread i's too nerdy for me.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 8:56 PM
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I pronounce each misplaced apostrophe as a click.

113: nonsense.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:00 PM
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112: A Weird Al video is linked to in 4, and it takes you 100+ comments for the thread to get "too nerdy"?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:07 PM
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Haven't been paying attention.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:14 PM
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'Sifu, if you quit u'sing the letter "'s" in your po'st's, we will quit ridiculing you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:18 PM
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Haven't read the whole thread, but skimmed enough to know that my crucial observation has not yet been made. I may not know much about sociology or linguistics, but I have watched some Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in my day, and Carlton was not a nerd or a geek. Carlton was preppie. He fit in perfectly well in his environment, and at least in some episodes was portrayed as more successful with women than Will was (I saw an episode recently where this was the case; Carlton was more respectful of an object of Will's affection than Will was, and she was interested in C because of it).


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:18 PM
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119: what would I gain from that?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:20 PM
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Tia's right; Carlton was an uptight future yuppie, not a geek or a nerd.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:21 PM
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Ghetto nerd.

Also, he stole my friend's wallet. So not white.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:24 PM
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Carlton was the Alex Keaton of the Banks household.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:25 PM
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Ghetto nerd.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:28 PM
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Ghetto nerds.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:30 PM
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I suspect we've all had the unnerving experience of seeing nerds quote Monty Python. But the thing is, Monty Python is funny as hell, and can even be fruitfully quoted. But once you've seen nerds doing it, you can't ever enjoy it the same way.

But the thing is, for about 10 years (in America) only nerds knew about Monty Python, because you had to be willing to listen to people with British accents, possibly on PBS. So boo on the injustice of it all!

To the main topic: I say that a nerd is someone that you know, immediately and by gut instinct, cannot possibly be getting laid.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:31 PM
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The point of the Carlton character, in contrast to Will Smith, is that he was really white.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:41 PM
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I was interested in this speculation:

By cultivating an identity perceived as white to the point of excess, nerds deny themselves the aura of normality that is usually one of the perks of being white. Bucholtz sees something to admire here. In declining to appropriate African-American youth culture, thereby "refusing to exercise the racial privilege upon which white youth cultures are founded," she writes, nerds may even be viewed as "traitors to whiteness." You might say they know that a culture based on theft is a culture not worth having.

This resonated with me; whether I was nerd or geek—both terms emerged after I was out of high school, we didn't have the words but we sure had the thing—I can remember feelings along those lines.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:45 PM
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Browsing around the John Threat wiki 123 linked to, I came across this: "In 1991, cDc was named "Sassiest Underground Computer Group" by Sassy Magazine."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:53 PM
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Yes indeed we were. Jane Pratt f'in' loved us.

We are also the only hacker group to have been used to discredit a witness in an international war crimes tribunal, as far as I know.

I rate those two things as approximately equally awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:57 PM
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The actual Jane Pratt quote is here (search for her name).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 9:58 PM
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btw, this whole thread got pwed by the second (!) comment at Jim Henley's digs:
It's seemed to me for a while that a major part of nerdiness is a combination of a strong facility for mastering complex formal systems with a lack of facility for comprehending subtle, informal systems. Thus, nerds go in for math, proper grammar, computer programming, and memorizing D&D manuals, but have difficulty with slang and flirtation.

Entirely pwned.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:02 PM
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True. So when do we start talking about Double Your Dating?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:03 PM
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No, facility is too much of a deficiency term. This may be descriptive of some, but it implies that all don'ts are can'ts, that slang and flirtation would be chosen if they could be. If nerdiness is based on unusual self-consciousness, which I think it was in my case, don't has more to do with won't than can't.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:09 PM
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By not mentioning it, Foolishmortal dissed my cpmment on that thread, the first (!). Death to FM.

Sifu, how about you call yourself "'Sifu" ['Sifu] from here on out?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:09 PM
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difficulty with slang

A common misconception.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:10 PM
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137: fo' shizzle, B. Wizzle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:12 PM
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136: John, its not working.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:15 PM
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don't has more to do with won't than can't.

How would one know?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:19 PM
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Unusual self-consciousness is a contributing factor to lack of the relevant facilities.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:21 PM
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How would one know?

If he found it easy after changing his mind and making some choices, and had always done so sometimes and with some people.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:22 PM
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I'm on something of a Mavis Staples kick lately, and this just seems the perfect thread to share this.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:26 PM
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127 makes excuses for the unforgiveable. I don't care who you are, it's never right to sit around and quote lines from Monty Python skits. The next person who says "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" in my presence will die by my hand.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:26 PM
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"hand" s/b "pocket protector"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:26 PM
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141: Ratiocination obliterates flow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:29 PM
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Can we expand 144 to acknowledge that sitting around quoting movies or tv shows, period, is just incredibly obnoxious?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:30 PM
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What's the point, anyhow? I'd rather fail to be funny with my own jokes, thanks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:33 PM
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You're doing a bang-up job of that so far.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:34 PM
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The next person who says "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" in my presence will die by my hand.

That doesn't work as a threat. The first element should be surprise.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:35 PM
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Practice makes perfect.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:35 PM
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Here's another.

Consider this (like 143) a nerd test.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:44 PM
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If'n it's good enough for Jane Austen, it's good enough for me.

Also, I'm a nerd and I don't fit the definition of 127.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:51 PM
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Slol, I'm afraid you might have to accept that you, too, have a foot in the cool kids camp.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:53 PM
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you, too, have a foot in the cool kids camp

Slander!


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:54 PM
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Let me tell you about the fun I've had with LaTeX.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:54 PM
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Walt, the sheep is not a creature of the air.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:54 PM
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I'm sorry, you're too vain about clothes to be properly nerdy. At least, given that your vanity doesn't involve a cape.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:56 PM
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'At Cincinnati, during the performance of Hamlet, a sportive gentleman threw half the carcase of a sheep upon the stage: but this seems to have been a mere ebullition of amiable vivacity, not an expression of opinion.'

(from)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:56 PM
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I'm sorry, you're too vain about clothes

Aw, and here I thought you were complimenting me.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:57 PM
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That *is* a compliment.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:58 PM
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One of the many ways in which B and ogged differ.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:58 PM
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Let me tell you about the fun I've had with latex.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 10:59 PM
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Ogged is vain about clothes too. He's vain about his lack of vanity. And he doesn't wear cheap brands, either.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:00 PM
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Yes, but he doesn't have a personal style. That would be fuckwitted.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:00 PM
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He totally has a personal style, don't let him fool you.

Slol, I just really don't think we need to know what you're wearing under your cravat.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:01 PM
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Geez, I thought that was an ascot. I am a nerd.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:03 PM
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I wouldn't wear a cravat if it were the end of days.

You're thinking of my cummerbund. Which is an understandable confusion.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:03 PM
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Ogged has mastered No Style.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:04 PM
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Which is an understandable confusion.

Admirably coolheaded, slol! I always find it a most provoking thing when someone can't tell a cravat from something worn about the waist.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:04 PM
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Within the Style of No Style, by ogged.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:04 PM
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I always find it a most provoking thing

You should read more Lewis Carroll.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:05 PM
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I was thinking more wu wei.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:06 PM
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I wouldn't wear a cravat if it were the end of days.

You know, I'm really trying to help you pretend to be a geek, but this kind of statement does not help.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:06 PM
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Ogged has mastered No Style.

Le style est l'homme même.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:06 PM
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You know, like Porn Star Ding.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:06 PM
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Hey, neat, My "Tao of [ brand that ogged might wear ]" joke pwned as I attempted to research boring, yet upscale, clothing brands. Oroborous rocks Dockers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:08 PM
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So just to be clear, I'm quoting Buffon and you're bringing up Porn Star Ding.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:09 PM
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Ouroboros.

Orooborhöss.

Oh rew boh roast.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:09 PM
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I'm really trying to help you pretend to be a geek

You're right, it's a lost cause: I'm hopelessly awesome.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:10 PM
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Porn Star Ding makes sensible yet elegantly tailored slacks, yes?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:10 PM
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176 to 173, obviously.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:12 PM
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Last night I dreamt that I was a geek. Then I woke up and read this thread. Now I do not know whether I was then a nerd dreaming I was a geek, or whether I am now a geek, dreaming I am a nerd.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:12 PM
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The text with which eb is working in 183 appeared at the end of this kind of fun game.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:14 PM
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to 175 to 169:
Ceci, n'est pas une style


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:16 PM
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sensible yet elegantly tailored slacks, yes?

"Like trousers, like brain," as Joe Strummer said. Or, to borrow instead from Jeeves, "There is no time at which trousers do not matter."

Any point on which Joe Strummer and Jeeves agree is clearly essential.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:17 PM
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Well, having brought Wodehouse and the Clash aboard, slol, I think you have excised the nerdiness quite thoroughly from this thread. I salute your urbanity.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:21 PM
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I'm telling you, Slol, if you don't start wearing a deerstalker or plus fours, you're going to have no nerd credibility left.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:23 PM
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Might Slol be correct? Might he have mastered urbanity and sociability with the same diligence and single-mindedness that we associate with nerdery? I see no reason not to take him at his word.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:24 PM
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Doesn't work that way.

134 to 189.

If these skills could be learned the same way one can learn (say) Python, there would be a lot less nerds in the world.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:26 PM
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O-o-o-o-on the other hand, something equivalent to 189 is reputed to be a theme of this book, which I haven't read.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:27 PM
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Fewer nerds, dweeboid.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:27 PM
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Dork.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:28 PM
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learned the same way one can learn (say) Python

I didn't say that they could, nor did I say that slol is not, as he says, awesomely extraordinary; merely that he might yet be a nerd.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:28 PM
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Ogged, Labs is going to be upset that you're cheating on him with Slol while he's away.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:30 PM
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Yeah I actually don't disagree. The outward signs of nerdiness tend to recede with age, for (I think) something very similar to your point in 189. On the other hand, ever since these goddamn computers got to be so popular there have been people claiming to be nerds who are nothing of the kind, which muddies the waters. Still, slol can certainly hang onto his membership pin.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:30 PM
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Two Irishmen, Pat and Mike, are walking down a street. Pat listens to Sandinista!, and promptly enters into a different and more dreadful world. Mike then remarks, "Nerdery is less a taking out, than a putting in."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:31 PM
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ever since these goddamn computers got to be so popular there have been people claiming to be nerds who are nothing of the kind

Similarly, the widespread adoption of contact lenses has made it hard to identify nerds based on morphology.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:32 PM
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197:
"promptly enters into a different and more dreadful world." s/b "groans in spirit."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:35 PM
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on the gripping hand, what there would be is fewer nerds. however, the sentiment expressed in 190 is true.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:41 PM
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gah, that was a hellacious pwn. I think I have a bruise now. I forgot y'all are still awake and stuff.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:42 PM
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Buenas dias, rosy-toed one.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:43 PM
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Are there really more people out there capable of learning Python than there are people capable of learning how to be urbane/sociable?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:45 PM
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Am I proud to be bringing demotic English to unfogged? You bet I am.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:46 PM
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Sifu, other evidence would have been a lot less embarrassing for you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:51 PM
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These are my people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:52 PM
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Remember back when Weiner was around, and googlefight was oft employed in such disputes?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:53 PM
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Huh. It doesn't seem to work anymore. How embarrassing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:53 PM
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O HAI EVRYBODY

I have a terrible sinus infection and it feels like someone is stabbing one side of my head with ice picks. I really should have gone to the doctor yesterday. oh well. I'll go tomorrow.

I had never used an ice pick until I was 20 something. I had always thought it was sort of a stylistic quirk that people in noir novels are all the time getting killed with them, but no. an icepick is a pretty formidable weapon.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:57 PM
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It's a lot fewer interesting than it used to be, that's for sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:57 PM
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Wasn't Trotsky killed with an ice-pick?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:58 PM
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203: Among those who don't already know, I'd guess yes.

Is there anyone else urbane but not sociable? My phone presence is fucking formidable, and I don't mind being dropped into situations where I don't know anybody, but if I see anyone a second time I must retreat and deliberate. This may be why I like to travel: easy escape.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:58 PM
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Yes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:58 PM
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209: What in heaven's name did you use it for that you know this?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-07 11:59 PM
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That's the kind of thing you could find out using it for its intended purpose, you know.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:00 AM
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Can Trotskyists be killed by any other method?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:00 AM
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217

216: booze, let's hope.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:01 AM
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w-lfs-n's right; I broke up a big block of ice with it, which allowed me to notice that it was sharp as a motherfucker, with a very strong, springy blade analogue. (not a blade proper because it's round.)


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:04 AM
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Hasn't worked so far. I say icepick and be done with it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:04 AM
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I thought Trotsky was killed by an ice axe.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:06 AM
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w-lfs-n may be right, but he is also a party pooper.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:08 AM
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I return and am disappointed that the nerd/geek distinction was never properly sorted out. Oh for the old days, when a geek was someone who bit the heads off rats, and nerds calculated the force necessary to do so.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:10 AM
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I thought Trotsky was killed by an ice axe.

Wiki says ice-pick.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:11 AM
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Sure about that?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:14 AM
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a geek was someone who bit the heads off rats, and nerds calculated the force necessary to do so.

Since not everyone has teeth of equal taper, it would be simpler to calculate the pressure, no?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:14 AM
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Or we could start filing our teeth again, like god intended.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:15 AM
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WTF is an ice *axe*?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:15 AM
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B. C'mon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:16 AM
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Used to chop the heads off ice princesses such as yourself. We have figured you out, B.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:16 AM
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Interesting. The Trotsky article say ice-pick and there's a link there to a Guardian story that the ice-pick has been found after many years missing. In any case, ice-picks are good for picking ice.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:17 AM
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Oh. Well, I hate cold weather, and I hate sports. Therefore.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:17 AM
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In light of some of the pieces in your book about pushy mothers, John, 229 is more disturbing than I would otherwise realize.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:18 AM
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225: Given the variables in both biter and bitten, I couldn't say. I suspect it's quite complicated either way. Advantage: geeks.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:20 AM
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Under no circumstances is Bitch an ice princess. She is the epitome of femininity, thirsting for both wisdom and pleasure (e.g. she's prostituting herself in the other thread for grammar advice).


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:22 AM
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She is the epitome of femininity

Okay, that's a new one.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:24 AM
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The Guardian article describes it as a "steel mountaineering instrument"; the first footnote to the Trotsky wiki article says ice-axe. The Conquest book referenced is searchable on Amazon and the citation has the correct page (unlike some wiki citations).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:26 AM
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I stand corrected. I will update my mental image of Trotsky's assassination.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:28 AM
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I realize the conversation has already moved on, but I offer a different term for socially awkward and that would be "dork". That is, I've always thought the distinctions were:

dork = socially awkward; lacking a sense for what's cool or current or popular; lacking a capacity to synchronize oneself with, or to fit into, a group setting

nerd = abstract-minded thinkers who prefer theories and generalities to reality; usually quieter introverts who prefer intellectual pursuits, but doesn't necessarily mean they are dorks

geek = unusual interest in subject(s) to the point of knowing everything about how it works way beyond what an average person would be; interested in sharing and, at times, showing off that quirky knowledge with anybody who will listen to them; tend to be more outward facing than nerds. Surely, we've all seen (or been a part) of some major "geeking out" going on between people for some obscure subject domain.

Somebody could be a combination of any of the three and surely there is correlation between them, but they are clearly distinct nonetheless.

As a proud nerd, I'd be offended to be called a dork.


Posted by: XYZ | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:48 AM
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At least, that's how the terms are used on Twin Earth.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:51 AM
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The title of the post reminds me to mention that one of the guys on the team who won the World Series of Pop Culture (and 250K) was on my pub trivia team this year. Unfortunately, our pub trivia was both harder and worth much much less money than the World Series of Pop Culture.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:58 AM
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ben, 239 is a comment for the ages. kudos.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 1:46 AM
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Sadly, alameida is banned.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 2:11 AM
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190 is good, like there might be about three and a half nerds in the room total of which so and so is one point two five nerds herself.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 7:12 AM
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My mother was an angel from Heaven, B. My lack of success didn't bother her a bit.

Lady Di had such a lovely, long slender neck, but Charles was too cowardly to do the right thing, Henry VIII style. And now it's too late.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 7:36 AM
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Cat and Girl settled the geek/nerd/dork question for all time ages ago.


Posted by: Bran Muffin | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 10:10 AM
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Ice-pick is the mythos and ice-pick it shall remain. If it's not ice-pick, then we can't list Trotsky's cause of death as icepickinthenogginitis, and that would just be sad.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 11:34 AM
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245: That cartoon gets it exactly right!


Posted by: XYZ | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:06 PM
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A) 245 GETS IT EXACTLY RIGHT

B) WHY DOES ADAM KOTSKO NEVER COMMENT ANYMORE?


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:10 PM
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I grew up—on the left—with the ice axe legend.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:17 PM
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Brian Leiter swooped down from his Texan demesnes and nabbed Kotsko. That is why he has not been commenting recently.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:25 PM
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248: He met mcmc.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-29-07 12:42 PM
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on the gripping hand

Delightful!


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07-30-07 7:56 AM
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An ice pick, being shorter and without protrusions, would be easier to conceal (inside a jacket, say) during the insertion, infiltration and approach phases, but an ice axe would be mechanically superior - and thus better during the actual assault phase.

Plus, Mexico is a hot country. It would be quite easy to buy an ice pick in your local hardware store. Not so an ice axe.

In these days of electricity and refrigerators, why does anyone have to break up huge lumps of ice anyway?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-30-07 10:56 AM
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I was ploughing through the comments thinking "England's a bit different" when this cropped up from B : -
I'm sorry, you're too vain about clothes to be properly nerdy
Mods in England in the mid-60s were obsessive about clothes. Not sure about "vain" exactly, but they knew which Paris/Milan designer influenced which cut, had lengthy discussions on cuffs, angles of taper, lapels, height of heels - this is the boys, right - and all matters sartorial. And they weren't athletic - a buff bod (even a convex chest) spoilt the cut of a jacket, and they all smoked.
In parallel was their detailed analysis of obscure soul records.

Nerds? Geeks? They were fairly socially inept, but then, so was everyone else.

David Beckham exhibits/ed nerdiness even now - practicing dead-ball moves on his own for hours. And Johnny Wilkinson. They both admit to mild obsessive/compulsiveness, and they're both socially inept too. But buff.

I guess that in the same way that anyone from England, or, more so, Scotland, would be diagnosed in the US as hopelessly depressed, so we'd also likely be categorised nerdlich.



Posted by: dave heasman | Link to this comment | 08- 1-07 9:16 AM
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