Friday, July 8, 2011

Nerds: A Book

I should probably mention that I'm reading this book.  It seems pertinent to the overall mission of Frakking Shiny as it focuses on geeks and nerds.

"Nerds: How Dorks, Dweebs, Techies and Trekkies Can Save America" by David Anderegg asks a pretty simple question: Why in the United States do we chastise people, especially kids, for being smart? We've gone so far as to create derogatory slang for smart people- nerds, geeks, dweebs, etc.  Anderegg then goes on to examine the effect that being labeled a nerd has on a young child, on both a localized personal level, and large scale societal level.

I picked up this book because I am a nerd, geek or whatever you want to call me, and the idea that I might help save America appeals to me. I also picked it up because it talks at length about little kids who get bullied for being "nerds" and I have very, very vivid memories of being beaten up, teased, and generally made to feel like something less than a person throughout middle school because I was smart, and small.

I won't go into too much detail, but I really enjoyed "Nerds".  I mean, it mostly made me sad to read about little kids getting picked on because they wore glasses, or played Warhammer, or got good grades, but the writer has a strong voice, and he does an excellent job of analyzing a problem (Smartness is not valued by our society) and offering up a solution to said problem (Perhaps we should start valuing smartness). It's actually a quick read, the things Anderegg discusses are interesting, and if you have never been called a nerd in a derogatory way, you might learn something.