|Re: May be a stupid question...|
Message #3 Posted by bill platt on 10 July 2003, 10:21 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Pierre Brial
Geek, and Nerds, which may or may not be the same thing depending on when and where you are (like, 1977 at Cal Tech vs 1998 at MIT etc) have the following general characteristics:
Do not care that they either dress different, act different, or think differently from the majority of persons in the school,
Do not participate in parties, drinking, etc
Academically or intellectually superior (or just perceived to be)
Now, it gets complicated, because the athletic part, or any other part of the definition is really not universal---in other words the California Nerd is defined more by his lack of beach savvy than the MIT Eastern nerd...
The one true over-riding "Nerdyness" or "Geekyness" is an extreme interest in something, especially if it is not a mainstream popular culture interest--and especially if you "know too much" about it. So by this definition, people who would seem "tough" or "cool" are in fact truly nerds: for example, motorcycle gang types, or "chopper bike" enthusiasts generally, are in fact very nerdy: they know a whole lot about something that is not mainstream: motorcycles; they are fanatical about it, and they don't care that they look different. So, take heart all you nerds: You have a lot in common with some of the "toughest" out there!
In american teenage popular culture (which is of course where all of this sort of self-conscious blather starts) it is not cool to know anything in depth. The less you know, the better--except what the latest eminem or brittany (sp?) spears song is---but only in a superficial way. Teenage girls are especially affected--they start to worry more about how they look, and the idea of studying or learning anything useful is considered way uncool. The boys have similar pressure, but really not as much--they don't worry about makeup, and teenage boys are so goofey anyway that it really does not matter how hard they try to be cool, they still look and act goofy.
Now in France, everyone is so worried about passing their Bach and getting into "universite" that it is I imagine more acceptable to be earnest in one's studies.....