The Nerd is the Word: Taking back the N-word

Welcome to the first installment (hopefully of many) to “The Nerd is the Word.” This column will be your place to go for what’s happening in the world of Geek and Nerd culture. Do you have the Konami code tattooed to your arm? Is Neil deGrasse Tyson your hero? Do your Wednesdays involve learning of the newest exploits of Spider-Man, Batman or Invincible? If you answered yes to any of those then grab your sonic screwdriver because this is the place for you.

This week we’re taking back the N-word, yep, Nerd. The idea of what does or doesn’t make a nerd is something that has been a point of much debate in more recent years. Being a nerd has become cool. The astronomical success of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises this past summer has shown that comic book characters can be enjoyed by everyone and the term “nerd” doesn’t seem to hold the same stigma that it once held.

So what makes a nerd? Chris Hardwick (The Nerd King of Hollywood) described it in a recent episode of his The Nerdist podcast as someone who “focuses on something to such a granular level and trying to understand it more than any other human being”. He summarized that as saying “It’s not what you like, it’s how you like that thing”.

Because of this definition (one that I am personally fond of) there are so many different nerd factions. There are music nerds, comic book nerds, sci-fi nerds, even sports nerds exist under that definition.

The “vogue-ness” of being a nerd has caused uproar in the nerd community. What was once a derogatory term became a badge of honor around those who identified as nerds. Now, their label has been co-opted by nearly everyone. “I spent all day watching ‘The Big Bang Theory’, I’m such a nerd” or something similar has become common place on social networking sites. However, watching a TV marathon does not a nerd make. However, if you watch whenever it’s on TV, have all of the seasons on DVD, much of your wardrobe is from the show, and you are constantly analyzing the show, then it starts to paint a much nerdier picture.

So what does all of this mean? Though I want to get along with all of the non-nerds in the world, understand that label. Just because you say you are a nerd, does not make you one. Please stop clogging the San Diego Comic-Con ticket sales and convention floor just so that you can go to the Twilight panel. Don’t base your entire knowledge of Batman off of the last three films. And for the love of GOD, it’s Joss Whedon, not Josh. The man gave us Firefly for crying out loud, at least get his name right.

The next portion of this column is the pull list. I am a huge comic book fan, so a small section each week will be dedicated to the books that I am most excited about for the week.

These are the books for the week of Nov. 21

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #17 (Marvel): This current run of Ultimate Spider-Man has been one of the books that I look forward to each month. Peter Parker is dead and the hero under the mask is 13 year old Miles Morales. In the last issue (#16.1), we get a new glimpse at an old evil, Venom. Now, with this new issue, the connection between Miles and Spider-Woman will be revealed. It’s the start of a new story arc which means it’s a good jumping on point. Brian Michael Bendis is one of the best story tellers in Marvel’s writer stable and Sarah Pichelli’s artwork is fantastic.

Deadpool #2 (Marvel): The only book that I continued into the Marvel Now! reboot. Co-written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan with art by Tony Moore, the first issue was an absolute riot. Your favorite Merc with a Mouth is back and this time, he’s taking on the reincarnated forms of dead presidents who are bent on taking over the world. This book will be one of the best uses of $2.99 each month.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed it and return each week.

When he isn’t writing news stories for the Siskiyou, Ian Hand can be found not talking to girls while contemplating a big ball of wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey…stuff. Follow him on Twitter @IanHand253

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