Nerds used to be not cool. Now nerds rule.
Back in the day1, nerds were marginalized. They were picked on, made fun of, excluded, and maybe even exploited for being smart, socially awkward and/or quirky. Not that they cared or were even aware (and what a great protective mechanism). BTW, today, we call that bullying, and that’s definitely not cool. But bullying is another story.
Now, nerds rule.
When a nerd grows up and knows a lot about some arcane or intricate subject, he or she is called an expert, authority or thought leader, a genius or innovator. Nerds don’t usually grow up to be athletes, movie stars or other celebrities. They’re scientists, engineers, academics and even artists.
Please let’s think of them in terms of their special talents and intelligences, not in terms of their quirks and social deficits. It’s all about reframing, really.
A nerd’s mystique is sort of chic. A nerd’s mind is to be respected. Revered, even. Probably nerds are on the autism spectrum. But ASD, or PDD, is another story, too.
Read about what animal welfare and autism activist Temple Grandin has to say about educating students who have Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism in Genius May be an Abnormality.
Then, of course, there’s the argument proposing there’s a fine line between genius and madness and creativity and craziness are inextricably linked, which Temple points out. Again, another story.
Anyway, consider this category my tribute to nerds near and far, past and present, famous and not so famous. Some are nerds
groundbreaking contributions to whatever. But I have to get their permission to post stuff about them first. So you’ll have to wait.
In the meantime, you can read more about nerds in A Short Illustrated History About Nerds.
Oh, and PS, there won’t be a new post every day, as ‘Nerd of the Day’ implies. I just liked the sound of that better. It’ll probably be more like nerd of the week. Or month, even.