My whole life I’ve always loved what is considered the ‘impossible’ or ‘improbable’. I loved hearing stories about distant planets full of bustling alien life and epics depicting the long, heartfelt journey of hobbits on their way to destroy a magical ring. I loved watching David Bowie dance around in those super form-fitting tights in the Labyrinth while he sang about a child he may or may not have just kidnapped. I spent more hours than I’m willing to say on reading book after book on Jane Goodall because I wanted to live with gorillas or making history jokes and laughing to myself because I am oh-so funny. Flying dragons? Hell yes! Wizards? My favorite. Space travel? Course laid in, captain! These were my humble beginnings and introductions into what I now call being a ‘nerd’.
Wait! Listen, I’d like if right now you were to attempt to define what ‘nerd’ means to you and leave a little comment telling me so, before you continue reading. What do you picture? What sort of traits do you attribute to such a word? The first things that come to my mind are glasses, pimples, Star Trek and math. Though, you may find being what is considered a nerd today to be different from what nerdism was yesterday. Not so much in the idea that nerds are people who enjoy a certain…Shall we say, genre of things, but how nerds are perceived. This may blow your mind, but, being a nerd does not mean being thrown into a garbage can by some intellectually challenged jock in high school or excelling in every conceivable subject while simultaneously having little to no friends and poor eyesight. In the paraphrased words of John Green, being a nerd, essentially, means loving stuff! It means caring about things (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMweXVWB918)! And here’s the thing…sometimes, some people think we’re…get this! Cool.
Like all people, I had a moment of awakening. The first time I realized I was a nerd is due to the vlogbrothers, Hank and John Green. The instant I started watching their videos on YouTube, a message was conveyed to me, a message that has touched the hearts of thousands! There are more than one of you, there are a ton of us, we are all awesome and we can change the world in a completely positive way. And all of these words are wrapped into a pretty package, Don’t Forget to Be Awesome. Now, you may be wondering, who the eff is Hank…and John? They are two nerdy brothers who, years ago, decided to become closer by totally removing textual communication between them for a year, resulting in hundreds of videos and a massive nerd-following, the Nerdfighters (I suggest you watch a few videos, www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers). This brings me to the point of mentioning…The internet makes everything easier.
Yes! It’s true. The internet makes (almost) everything easier. Growing up, being a nerd was not something that was thrust into a positive light. Nerds, dorks and geeks alike have been picked on, pushed upon and ignored by our more…Socially superior peers. Nerds! How many times have we helped out our fellow man on their English papers? How many times have we been called four eyes, when in truth, we have two? How many times have we been ridiculed simply because we like things and then become excited about those things?! Too many, I say! But here’s the interesting thing, in my opinion, the existence of the internet has changed nerd culture for the ENTIRE world! People base their general physical appearance on what nerds have been known to wear, they put on Green Lantern t-shirts and suspenders. They even start to…Read! Nerds are hot right now! We’re in.
In histories long past, intellectuals have been set apart from society. We’ve all familiarized and sympathized with that lanky, loserish dork in some terrible 80’s flick who just wants the returned affection of the most popular person in school, which usually ends with some sort of make-over to get that person to look in their direction. If you’re like me, you may wonder, ‘why on Earth do nerds have to take their hair down, wear cool clothes and contacts to be accepted? Why can’t all forms of people be accepted’? Well, that time is coming! I like to think of it as a sort of…Nerd Enlightenment era. Nerd culture, with all of our science references and in-depth conversations about who is better, Spider-Man or Batman is…cool. I can’t help but place the happy-blame on the internet! Us nerds, we’ve been taking things over for a while now. We’ve been sucking people into our massively interesting world and keeping them there! Why? Because it’s just that! Interesting!
In recent years media — online and otherwise — have made things like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter a big part of pop culture as well as nerd culture. It started this revolution, turning nerdy things into popular things, while not losing any of its dorky integrity. Television shows like The Big Bang Theory and the revamped Doctor Who are adored by ‘cool-guy’ and ‘four eyes’ alike! Inventions like better computers and software, iphones and MP3 players, easier ways to accumulate one’s favorite items through Ebay or Craigslist, and even more convenient ways of communication like emails, texting and IM’ing! Facebook, tumblr, YouTube, all things created BY nerds and appreciated by many!
With all of this happening, one thing has come to be known, knowledge is most definitely power. Information is so readily available it’s nigh ridiculous! And who loves to ingest knowledge more than nerds do?! The so-called Nerd Enlightenment has made me realize that intelligence is valued more than it has been in quite a while! It’s no longer considered bad when someone likes something that may not be a part of the norm. Being different and thinking deeper is most definitely being praised more often. People with similar interests are brought together by others like John and Hank Green. Sure, life will always be peppered with those who fancy spending their lives hurting others for their own benefit, or those jocks who just love to steal your backpack and throw it around on the back of the bus, but nerds place in clique-society has been expanded! Cool and nerd may one day be synonymous!