Editorial: Why Nerds are Cool

Everyone knows, nerds are not cool. Yeah, we all have that copy of GTA 5 shoved under our family’s PS4 or XBox One, but it takes a serious dork to have the gaming mouse, headphones, and specialized computer. Only a true geek would go to the store for groceries and come back with arms full of books. It is okay to read the biggest, but for pete’s sake, do not make it look as though reading should happen all the time. Everyone knows that. Thing is, sometimes everyone knows the wrong thing. Why was being a nerd condemned for so long? Why did people who were not afraid to be passionate about something cast off from society? Luckily, the millennial generation has stood up to this stereotype. Nerds, geeks, and dorks have risen from our bookshelves, computers, and game boards.

In my mind, the problem starts with our parents. Now, before you jump to conclusions, I want to say that not all parents are detrimental to a kid’s nerdy intuitions. However, a great many are proud that at least their son is the quarterback, and not one of those Robotics Club nerds with the glasses thicker than the walls at Fort Knox. Our moms and dads teach us the basics of living in this world, and whether they know it or not, instill our earliest prejudices. It is good, adorable even to have glasses as a young girl, but you had better grow into one of those sexy-librarian types or you will never have any friends. Young boys can like math all they want, but they should be calculating how many touchdowns they need to score to be the MVP.

In short, our parents sometimes forget that obsessions with nerdy things are good for us. Daniel Radcliffe once said, “If you’re going to be obsessed with something, books or films are pretty good. Some people are obsessed with heroin.” While morbid, Radcliffe makes an excellent point. What harm am I causing by having a deep-seated love for the Harry Potter books? If I am not threatening to beat you over the head with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, or to force you to listen to me read each word aloud, what danger are you in from my nerdiness?

Books, especially series, account for a large part of said nerdiness. Obviously, the Harry Potter series touched millions and millions of people all over the world. For some of us, it grabbed us and will not let go. We are the people that will shamelessly wear our House colors around campus (Puff Pride!), know what our patronus forms, and are generally ready to defend our love. What is so wrong with that? If you do not want to read it, do not say it is stupid or weird. Just do not read it.

We Potterheads are not alone. There are the Hunger Games, Divergent, Lord of the Rings, and John Green fandoms, along with hundreds of others. Book Nerds are unique in the nerd spectrum; we rarely have a visual representation of our favorite stories, before movies and such. Once a movie or show is made of our series, there is almost guaranteed that every single fan is going to love it and hate it with all the fiber of their being. But movies and shows have their own following.

Take the recent surge in superhero movies. Now, I like Chris Evans as much as the next person, but I do not even touch the level of enthusiasm the Captain America franchise has incurred. The same goes for Deadpool, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor. Even smaller characters, such as Hawkeye and Black Widow (I see you drooling), have their own fan bases. Here is my question though – how could superheroes not be cool? What is wrong with being dedicated to characters that are larger than life? Even TV shows apply to this question. Who would not be enchanted with the idea of traveling through time and space in a police box, or dashing around London with the world’s one and only consulting detective, or clutching a box of salt in one hand and pointing a Colt revolver at a demon with the other?

That is the secret of nerds. We can put ourselves in a world, and we leave a piece of our hearts there so we can return time and time again. And who says we do not have any friends? Yeah, jocks have their teams, and society darlings have their BFFs, but nerds have something even better. We have a widespread network of support, debate, love, jokes, and dorkdom. We have a place that people can express their obsessions and find them reciprocated across the world. We have a home. We have Tumblr. And we are not afraid to use it.