Wednesday, October 21, 2009

# 6 Being a Dork (or a Nerd or a Geek)

As a science fiction fan who owns the entire Farscape and Babylon 5 series on DVD, I'm getting really annoyed at the ubiquity of beautiful people saying "I'm such a dork!" I mean supermodels self-identify as “total nerds” these days because they read the latest Wally Lamb. By Grabthar’s Hammer, there’s a hip-hopping group called N.E.R.D.!

I know, there’s a way to spin this that nerds are no longer being marginalized and all that, but being marginalized is what being a dork MEANS.
The real nerds, I mean the ones who go to Babylon 5 conventions are just
as uncool as ever, but now they don’t even have the comfort of a shared
identity that hasn’t been co-opted by the Michael Ian Blacks and Jason Lees of the world.

Rather, cool people flatter themselves by associating with things like comic book culture and awkward outcastery because these things are now supposedly “cool,” but the minute that happened, they ceased to be genuinely, nerdy, dorky or geeky (I know that all these designations have their own sub-connotations and shouldn’t be used interchangeably, but for my purposes this holds, because the people using them who shouldn't don't understand those distinctions). If "punk rock died when the first kid said, 'punk's not dead,'" then nerdhood died when Jessica Alba said "I'm such a dork."

Isn’t this an even more insidious form of nerd-persecution? Would Natalie Portman ever deign to actually go to a Farscape Convention and hang out and talk about her favorite episodes or get together with real D&D dorks and commit to an adventure as a kick ass elfin bard with a penchant for skullduggery? Would the real-life analog to the Simpson’s Comic Book Guy ever really be welcome at the Greenpoint dive bar? Of course not. Genuine nerds are as unwelcome as ever and yet the Scarlet N is being worn with such pride these days that the word no longer signifies, and nerds, real nerds have been robbed of their one genuine comfort: belonging to an identifiable class that can differentiate itself at least from Natalie freaking Portman.

Being a dork is not about giggling, squealing, self-satisfied joy and false humility. "I'm such a dork" is meant to be spoken with shame...and yourself...alone, because you have no friends except your dungeon master and Londo Molari and Rygel the XVI, Dominar of the Hynerian Empire.


  1. "nerdy, dorky or geeky (I know that all these designations have their own sub-connotations and shouldn’t be used interchangeably..."

    I guess you didn't hear the news:

  2. You're not THE "anonymous" are you? ....If you are, do you need any legal representation?