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View Poll Results: Would you identify yourself as a Nerd, Geek or Freak? Is it something positive for you?

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  • Yes, Nerd and proud of it

    9 40.91%
  • Yes, Nerd but I'd rather not be

    1 4.55%
  • Yes, Geek and proud of it

    1 4.55%
  • Yes, Geek but I'd rather not be

    0 0%
  • Yes, Freak and proud of it

    1 4.55%
  • Yes, Freak but I'd rather not be

    0 0%
  • No, none of the above

    5 22.73%
  • Nerd/Geek/Freak are meaningless words

    5 22.73%
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Nerds, Geeks, Freaks - subcultures for smart ppl?

  1. #1 Nerds, Geeks, Freaks - subcultures for smart ppl? 
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    I just read this article which I think is a brilliant description of subcultures in secondary schools / high schools. It's written from the perspective of a 'Nerd', trying to understand why it is that smart kids seem to be so unpopular in most school environments. Really a must-read for anyone at high school, or for anyone with children in high-school.

    His main point: schools are detached from 'the real world', so whatever school kids do has no practical consequences. When a nerd gets the right answers at school he/she may get a compliment from the teacher and a punch from the bully; when Bill Gates gets the right answers he gets 50 billion dollar. So in school there's no logical way to create hierarchy, and left to themselves kids will invent one based on popularity. In a ranking on practical skills and professional succes in life nerds score on top; ranked by popularity they score near the bottom. Why? Because they're unwilling to invest all their time in getting the right cloths, lifestyle and any other conformity that popularity demands. They're too busy with things that really interest them, like science and technology.

    So again, a must-read if this in any way affects you.

    I guess most of us would be identified as nerds/geeks/freaks etc by others, perhaps also by ourselves. What's your opinion on this, what's your experience? Do you feel attracted to Nerd or Geek subculture? Are these actually two different subcultures or two words for the same thing?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore Cuntinuum's Avatar
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    The old "detached from the real world" saying used again. Youth subcultures ultimately effect the real world in time since the youth does get older, and the general culture then adapts to it. I see it like music, it imprints a lasting effect on society from a distance. This article seems like an old generation view to me. Nowadays, at least for highschool, the nerds are just as bad as the football players, there's no bullies, jocks, or hierarchy, the nerds got horns too now man. Everybody sticks up for themselves.

    nerds vs jocks is a pastime, group vs group vs group is today.

    edit: Actually, it is different in rural areas, they still conform to old fashion ways if the school is small enough. Once it gets big enough all the urban influences come in and everything changes.


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  4. #3  
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    This is a subject i have always been fascinated with having worked in various situations and positions in schools and youth clubs.(in the UK)

    Why is it cool to be a fool at school?

    Why is it regarded as uncool to work hard and show intelligence at school?

    It was like that when i was at school and it still seems to be prevalent, although it appears to be changing slowly with the increase in pressure to succeed and the increasing awareness in young people of the high competition in the workplace as well as getting places at Universities.

    It often depends on what group you hang around with.

    I often find those youngsters that bully kids for showing aptitude, and the peers who hang around with them seem to be fearful of being exposed as dumb (often they aren't, but they always seem to be afraid they might be!) and so it is safety in numbers and the security of belonging in a group where it's seen as cool to be a jackass.

    Smart kids are a threat to these types of bullies because they might expose them, so the answer is 'act dumb like me or get thumped'

    It's a shame really.

    Wouldn't it be great if it could be turned on it's head and it was seen as being well cool to work hard and be brainy!
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed that article. The author made a lot of really good points, which make sense against my own personal nerd experience.

    I think our educational system in general (at least in the US) needs a serious upgrade. When I left high school I thought I wanted to be a writer. I knew I liked biology but I couldn't envision a real-life profession in it, not with my incredibly limited experience in the subject, not until I took advanced bio classes in college.

    In general I just didn't understand how different real life was from high school, and the thought of facing a life time of experience not unlike my current 14-year-old existence was, without a doubt, depressing. Homework assignments felt empty and pointless - which, largely, they were. Real life work can feel like that sometimes, particularly if you're stuck in a job you don't like, but for the most part it's much more rewarding.

    Thinking of the behavior of high school students reminds me of the behavior of zoo chimps. Like captive chimpanzees, high school students for the most part have their material needs taken care of by their keepers (parents). They don't have to work in order to get food and shelter. Acquiring resources could be considered the first step towards achieving reproductive success, and in this case, it's already accomplished. Acquiring mates is the next step, and in a group of monkeys sitting around with nothing to do, social networking is the best way to achieve this. And like the author said, social networking requires a significant investment of time. The problem is that the real world is not a social-only world, and so those of us with more real-world strategy in our personalities suffer in a social-only world.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  6. #5  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    You are al nerds of the highest calibre! Thats a compliment.

    That was very interesting (the half I read before it got boring,no offense). I see that in some areas it incorporated nature/nurture arguments for psychology and succesfully integrated them together in a very logical way.

    For some reason with me, I was class C bordering D, I had intelligence, but did not persue that nor popularity, although I was alpha in my group. Oddly the popular kids stuck up for me against class B kids, even some class A. Now UK secondary schools are evil, really evil. I think their protection for me stems from Infant and Junior school; my Dad was in the army and after leaving he joined The Royal British Legion, and gave demonstrations and explanations about war etc to the children, and always pointed me out from the entire school. Later on he stopped doing the visits for one reason and another, but the kids (popular ones) always stuck up for me, asked if I wanted someone beating up who picked on me etc etc. Granted I got a rub in snow now and again, as it was my share for the popular kids to show they weren't going to give an inch, but they gave me miles, and my group as a result towards the end of Year 11 began uniting with the popular groups-we had formed respect. Can anyone explain why that is? Why was I treated differently to everyone?

    PS Even the most popular attractive girl used to hit on me, and other lads in class A didn't say much to it. WTF was going on?
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    In my high school days, I can recall popular and unpopular kids, and I can recall smart and not-so-smart kids. But there wasn't a strong correlation. There were smart kids who were popular, and "dumb" kids that weren't so popular.

    But...
    I think being unpopular may "cause" intelligence. Some unpopular kids may spend more time studying than playing with other kids or engaging in sports etc.
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    The problem is that the real world is not a social-only world, and so those of us with more real-world strategy in our personalities suffer in a social-only world.
    Well put. Our strategies are more succesful in the end, but "in the end" can seem very far away when you're still at school.

    Quote Originally Posted by william
    But...
    I think being unpopular may "cause" intelligence. Some unpopular kids may spend more time studying than playing with other kids or engaging in sports etc.
    You got a point there. Maybe it strengthens eachother: students with a slightly stronger interest in science and knowledge in general get bullied, causing them to become even less interested in the monkey-cage networking game and even more interested in science, etc.

    I guess I was in a bit of a luxury position myself (I posted this as comment to the article as well, 'jjw' is me). In the Netherlands we have a layered secondary school system, with different schools and different curricula according to intelligence. At primary school we're still all lumped together, but at secondary school you go to one of 4 layers (from 'hand-labour only' to 'Nerd Paradise', with 2 intermediate layers between them). So in my class 'nerd' was actually the standard. It's not a perfect system, those who fail to pass a year twice actually have to leave the school and join a lower level one (happened to several people I knew, was quite tough for them). And I can only guess what a hellhole the lowest level schools must be for a nonconformist. But for nerds it's great, so I don't complain :wink:
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  9. #8  
    Forum Sophomore Cuntinuum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    You are al nerds of the highest calibre! Thats a compliment.
    Is that because we're on a science forum?
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  10. #9  
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    I would much rather shag a nerd than the popular poseur!

    I always used to go for the nerds and geeks at school and ignore the popular boys, because they were always much more, fun, interesting and they often turned out to be dirty minded, well-endowed, little dark horses!

    Whereas the popular boys were often boring and only obsessed with themselves and usually had little malfunctioning penis's, or they came too soon, which is why they worked so hard to make up for it by trying to be cool.
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  11. #10 Re: Nerds, Geeks, Freaks - subcultures for smart ppl? 
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    I just read this article which I think is a brilliant description of subcultures in secondary schools / high schools. It's written from the perspective of a 'Nerd', trying to understand why it is that smart kids seem to be so unpopular in most school environments. Really a must-read for anyone at high school, or for anyone with children in high-school.

    His main point: schools are detached from 'the real world', so whatever school kids do has no practical consequences. When a nerd gets the right answers at school he/she may get a compliment from the teacher and a punch from the bully; when Bill Gates gets the right answers he gets 50 billion dollar. So in school there's no logical way to create hierarchy, and left to themselves kids will invent one based on popularity. In a ranking on practical skills and professional succes in life nerds score on top; ranked by popularity they score near the bottom. Why? Because they're unwilling to invest all their time in getting the right cloths, lifestyle and any other conformity that popularity demands. They're too busy with things that really interest them, like science and technology.

    So again, a must-read if this in any way affects you.

    I guess most of us would be identified as nerds/geeks/freaks etc by others, perhaps also by ourselves. What's your opinion on this, what's your experience? Do you feel attracted to Nerd or Geek subculture? Are these actually two different subcultures or two words for the same thing?

    From my experience it has always been about the person's attitude. Most of my school life was in a private school and I think I owe a lot to that. However, I did spend my last two years of high school in the public sector. In a school where everyone wanted to be "Bad". I was the guy who you would find reading the quantum physics book during the US History class. Yet, I never got picked on. I had friends who were football players, artsy drug addicts, and total nerds. The thing was that I didn't view high school as important. I saw a bunch of rowdy, disrespectful kids and I mostly wanted nothing to do with it. I was myself and no one questioned it. It's like I was sort of naturally bad. I didn't try to be but because I was comfortable with who I was and defended who I was people respected me. If the druggies told me about their high I would show disgust, if the football jocks showed me their muscle I would say "good for you". If the nerds showed me some wacky math problem I say "that's freaking awesome".
    If I had to I would probably identify best with the nerds but I hung out most with the artsy ones, and didn't really care for the others (their egos disgusted me). Now that I think of it, maybe people left me alone because I looked kinda scary. Lots of black... but not Gothic. More like I'd-sneak-in your-house-and-cut-you-if-it-were-worth-my-time type black. :wink:
    But since I'm a nice guy the people who got to know me enjoyed my company.

    Seriously though. I've taken my attitude beyond school. There's some guys at my work who have that "cool/popular/gangsta" type attitude and we're friends. This other guy their (who is far more interesting) has a sort of dark, goth style (don't laugh, I work at a grocery store and there's lots of kids). The goth kid went up to the deli and the guys their walked in the back room and came over to me and said something like "we don't like him, he's 'different'" (no joke). I said "you're different, now get out of my department." It's in the attitude. They're still friends with me but now they know I'm not some pansy who's going to join there little prejudice schemes of "coolness".

    So long story short. I just take life seriously and be myself. If people don't like it than so be it. The thing is most the people I know (even the "cool" people), have gotten rather used to my scientific ramblings and trying to convert big numbers in to a base six number system while I work or correcting their English. They might get a little annoyed by it but mostly they become interested by it.

    Quote Originally Posted by william
    unpopular kids may spend more time studying than playing with other kids or engaging in sports etc.
    I'm not even in school and I'm still like this. People invite me to a party and I just say sorry but I'm busy. If they decide to take the offensive and say something like "you have no life" I say "well maybe won day you will be just like your boss. A 40 y/o who still works in a grocery store, and still goes to parties, and still thinks getting drunk is 'sweet' and smoking cigarettes is 'bad'." That usually shuts them up. It makes me look arrogant but hey, maybe I am.

    Now you all know my life story... hey this could be a good myspace page. :P
    Yeah, no offense, but I "ress..pect..fulllly... disss..agree" with myspace. If you know what I mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    I would much rather shag a nerd than the popular poseur!

    I always used to go for the nerds and geeks at school and ignore the popular boys, because they were always much more, fun, interesting and they often turned out to be dirty minded, well-endowed, little dark horses!

    Whereas the popular boys were often boring and only obsessed with themselves and usually had little malfunctioning penis's, or they came too soon, which is why they worked so hard to make up for it by trying to be cool.

    I'm not sure if I should be freaked out or aroused by this....
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  12. #11  
    Forum Sophomore numb3rs's Avatar
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  13. #12  
    Forum Professor
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    Where did you find my piccy?
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  14. #13  
    Forum Sophomore numb3rs's Avatar
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    lol
    my grammer is not to be made fun of
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  15. #14  
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  16. #15  
    Forum Sophomore numb3rs's Avatar
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    omg nerdzilla
    my grammer is not to be made fun of
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  17. #16 Re: Nerds, Geeks, Freaks - subcultures for smart ppl? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    Do you feel attracted to Nerd or Geek subculture? Are these actually two different subcultures or two words for the same thing?
    I am massively attracted to nerds and geeks, hence I post here

    I like intelligent, creative, eccentric people, always have.

    I had a very eclectic set of pals as a young adult, none who together would gel, but I got along with all of them individually.

    I like 'difference' and dislike sheep.

    At school, I wasn't one of the most well liked kids but I was one of the most well known. Nowts changed

    Being popular is about 'sameness' in school, but as adults, uniqueness is what enables us to succeed.

    I guess the school is an artificial group environment where the herd mentality is necc for survival, when not part of a herd you are free to expand.

    If you're not herd, you're nerd! I know which I'd rather be
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    because they were always much more, fun, interesting and they often turned out to be dirty minded, well-endowed, little dark horses!

    .
    mmmmmm you got that right! Rock on nerds!!!!

    edit:

    This thread just inspired a post
    http://www.problogs.com/Post4097.htm

    It's called:

    If you're not herd you're nerd!
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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  19. #18  
    Forum Sophomore Kenny Klassen's Avatar
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    my school missed that memo I am a loser only because I fail to socially conform at all. Most of are jocks have better grades than I do, and yes they are tacking my science heavy proflio so. Are goths very in intellegence and are non- jock acdemics are another caterogry but I don't really fit in with them they are all way to conserenced with grades and do to a point socially conform even to the rest of the school. Half are school falls into the stoner cractergory which is again different they are the only reason the school has milder acidenmic choses. Sorry I just needed to explain not every school has the same social structure all the groups hate each other and I am a background the only person I know who doesn't fit. Wow it feels good wright all that for a purpose
    sorry I was gone so long, there are just to many undereducated people here I did not want to add to the problem but I am going to anyway
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  20. #19  
    Forum Senior TvEye's Avatar
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    The average nerd has average intelligence and likes to hit the books a lot. The average jock has average intelligence and likes to hit the nerds a lot. Few of the truly intelligent - as opposed to rote-learned book smart - people i've known have been socially inept and physically unfit, ala the nerd stereotype.
    "First we build the tools, then they build us" - Marshall McLuhan.
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