Geeks vs. Nerds

So Sherry thought I should post a second treatise on nerds. I am not inclined to do so. Too many variables, too many comparisons, just too much. And I’m not that interested. However, Dana conveniently solved the problem by providing this link: Geeks vs Nerds. It does not make my argument for me, but it’s so nicely inaccurate and outdated and full of holes that I can post a point-by-point rebuttal and feel terribly smug about it all.

The stereotypes “geek’ and “nerd” are generally used to insult social outcasts, technology-obsessed, or school perfectionists.

Traditionally, yes, but not anymore. Now they’re as much just labels for certain groups of people, or labels that denote a certain dedication to the person’s area(s) of interest. E.g. “Yeah, she’s getting her Ph.D in geology. TOTAL rock geek/nerd.” Now, there’s a whole argument to be made about that type of usage of “geek”, and the rapidly evolving etymology of the word, but I don’t feel like going into it in depth right now. Let’s just say that the word is rapidly losing non-tech connotations. And people can be both geeks and nerds.

These stereotypes are often used incorrectly to describe people who are really nothing like a true “geek” or “nerd.”

Yes, they can be. If you’re in high school. And what is a “true” geek or nerd? Are there false geeks and nerds out there lying in wait to… reformat our harddrives and steal our pencil protectors…?

Well, I did go out with a guy once who refused to refer to himself as a computer geek, and, rather, used computer nerd, because to him, “geek” referred to carnival folk who bite heads off live chickens and such. Okay. Archaic, evocative, but okay. And yes, nerd is still sometimes used to refer to purely physical appearance characteristics, usually as an adverb.

A geek generally isn’t the most attractive person; however, this is not always true.

This statement is a stereotype, and one that no longer holds much water. (Yes, I saw the caveat, but still.) Besides, hotness is utterly in the eye of the beholder. All the guys I’ve dated have been geeks, and my taste in men is excellent. 🙂 (No, Dana, I am not going to attempt to steal your husband.) As I have said before, geeks have evolved, and there are plenty good-looking, well-dressed, socially-capable specimens among them. (This is not to say that these specimens don’t still own and wear track pants and Haliburton Dinner Jackets…)

One of the most obvious traits of a geek is their extreme obsession with games and technology.

Umm… not necessarily. And “extreme obsession” is a bit of a relative term. Given the next section, I’d have to say most geeks are not extreme. Yes, geeks tend to be into technology. So are lots of people. I would think a more accurate statement would be that geeks have a greater understanding of the technology they’re into. In my experience, technology is just one example of what geeks are into overall: The Good Stuff. I have yet to meet a geek who has no interest at all in anything but technology. I do know plenty of geeks who are into The Good Stuff on all sorts of levels: computers, stereo equipment, cars, yachts, planes, good restaurants, sporting equipment, wines, spirits, clothes…

As for games… There are gaming addicts who are not geeks, and there are geeks who never game. Next.

With these obsessions comes outdated worldly smarts because they focus too hard on them and not as hard on the world going on around them.

Bullshit. Geeks like to know things. Lots of things. They have short attention spans and are very good at processing information. Geeks know plenty about the world, including having the “smarts” to navigate it. In fact, given the geek personality, geeks are more likely to have “worldly smarts” because they do their research. Exhaustively.

Geeks are usually social outcasts because they don’t try very hard to conform and are taunted for not being the same as others.

Again, maybe in high school. In the real world, only morons aren’t nice to geeks. To paraphrase one of the PA comics: they run shit. And, as I mentioned, they’ve become a lot more chic. You don’t have to conform when you are the trend.

They stick with whatever it is that seems right for them. They could care less about name brand clothing and such.

Hah! Sometimes, yes. Some geeks, yes. But what I know about high-end haberdashery has come from three sources. Two of those sources are geeks. And I know plenty of others who are whores for an assortment of labels, clothing and otherwise. Again, evolution. (As a side note, the geeks with the business skills are almost guaranteed to also dress well, in addition to being very smart and well-spoken.)

Just because someone is considered a geek, a lot of the time it is assumed that they get really good grades, but this is actually somewhat of a rarity. Geeks tend to focus on whatever interests them and sometimes don’t care how to factor a polynomial or when our constitution was established.

This I agree with. There isn’t a single university degree amongst my team at work. Geeks are quite often geniuses, but this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily well-suited to the academic environment.

One of the most noticeable differences between a geek and a nerd is their knowledge of what’s going on around them. Geeks notice when someone is making fun of them, but a lot of the time nerds tend to not realize it when someone is making fun of them.

Huh? I’m not sure of the specific definition of “nerd” that they’re going with here, but this makes no sense. Geeks are not only likely to notice if they’re not getting respect, they’re also fairly likely to get revenge. Thorough, brilliantly fitting, diabolically witty revenge. The nerds in question, those are the people who don’t notice a lot of every day life going on around them. Which is to say: academics. 🙂

Just like a geek a nerd is often victim to verbal torture.

See: high school. See: they run shit. See: revenge.

When someone thinks of a nerd, usually a picture of a person wearing glasses immediately pops into their heads. Most of the people that I would define as a nerd do in fact wear glasses, but there are also tons of people who wear glasses that I wouldn’t define as nerds.

I guess this would fall under the category of the assignation of stereotypes by physical attribute, but glasses are pretty common. Cool people wearing glasses are pretty common (see: me). So, whatever.

To qualify as a nerd you also need to get good grades or overachieve.

I would qualify this by adding a dash of the comment re. geeks about hyper-focusing on areas of interest. Someone who just focuses on good grades overall and overachievement overall is a keener, though not necessarily a nerd. Besides, in some environments overachievement is cool. Or, more problematically, very, very much expected. (See: the Asian educational system.)

Nerds generally fail to interact with others as often as most people and because of this usually have almost no worldly smarts.

They’re really into this idea of worldly smarts. People who fail to interact with others choose to do so for a lot of reasons. Shyness, lack of interest in people, mental or psychological conditions. I guess the angle they’re going for is that whole “scientist locked away in his lab all the time with only Bunsen burners and lab rats for company” schtick. And even those people go to conferences and hang with others of their ilk. (Plus, you’d be surprised just what certain environments, like academia, for example, are really like. It’s downright sleazy sometimes.)

Like geeks obsession with games and technology, nerds are classified as a type of person with a very extreme obsession with anything. Nerds are usually very obsessive with all of their interests, not just some of them.

Is it an obsession with anything, or an obsession with their interests? Pick one. Having strong interests in things doesn’t necessarily make you a geek or a nerd. Having strong interest in sports, for example, tends to make you a jock. Having strong interests in religion tends to make you religious. Having strong interests in rubber ducks makes you sexy. 🙂

Geeks have the ability to sometimes abuse substances while nerds never abuse any kind of substance.

Huh? Substance abuse has to do with things like personality type, stress, coping mechanisms, addictive propensity, genetics, environment, etc. Doesn’t have anything to do with being a geek or a nerd. My brother has a highly addictive personality, and he’s the Anti-Geek.

Unlike geeks, nerds are logical to a flaw and often stubborn.

I think they mean fault, but whatever. And I have yet to meet an illogical geek. In fact, they mostly roll their eyes at me for my stupendous feats of illogical thinking and speech. 🙂 And stubborn? Geeks aren’t stubborn? Are you fucking kidding me? Geeks are the most infuriating kind of stubborn: if they don’t want to do something, they just won’t. No excuses, no discussion, no argument, no doing the opposite. They just won’t, and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Like everyone else in the world geeks and nerds are human. They have the same physical limitations as every other human being. They are only different in the way they view the world and how they present themselves to it.

Wow. That’s profound. Ooooh… All I will add to that is: and, whether you know it or not, they own (or pwn) you. 🙂

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