Let’s Stop Co-Opting the Word Nerd

Or pretending that liking something that resembles sci fi makes us a nerd. Or using it to rationalize a hobby or interest we have that is not mainstream. Sure, some tech guys used to be nerds, but let’s face it: those who rise to the top still possess the charisma and qualities of what the mainstream wants.

Almost everyone, even the most beautiful and accomplished among us, grows up thinking of himself as fragile, vulnerable, insecure, hanging by a thread a lot of the time. So because hearing about fear and insecurity is familiar to everyone, it is very easy to forget the breadth of the nerd spectrum, or the wider spectrum of human alienation. There are so many people in the world who are truly alone, who never were invited to a single party or made one single friend, who’ve never been kissed, who literally do live with their parents and never, ever speak to anyone; if we learn anything from the increasingly volatile lashing out of certain nerd communities, perhaps it should be that pain is pain, and that it is real and it all ought to be taken seriously and treated with compassion, instead of going, “Ew.”

Sympathy For the Nerd, The Awl