31 May 2008


The NYT, Dr. Seuss, and The Fonz

Did you know that Dr. Seuss apparently invented the word nerd in 1950, and that it was popularized by The Fonz on Happy Days in the 1970s? David Brooks revealed that in his New York Times column last week, which is otherwise an entertaining but largely fact-free celebration of the ascendency of the geek.

What Brooks wrote—that nerds and geeks have some cachet of cool now that a lot of them make lots of money—is nothing new, but he did summarize his point in a couple of interesting phrases relating nerdism to U.S. politics, which have caught on around the blogosphere:

George Bush plays an interesting role in the tale of nerd ascent. With his professed disdain for intellectual things, he’s energized and alienated the entire geek cohort...

On the other hand:

Barack Obama has become the Prince Caspian of the iPhone hordes.

I have no idea what the second one even means.

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Maybe this could be interpreted to mean that Obama is "in tune" and uses all the latest communications technologies, as a counterpoint to G.W. Bush's inability or unwillingness to do so.

Nowadays it seems 'hip' to be a nerd, but few are true, authentic 'nerds'. I do math in my spare time, wander aimlessly while listening to talk radio, have difficulty in social situations due to aspergers, a hypochondriac, and play D&D which may qualify me as a nerd. Having an ipod and a myspace account, on the other hand, doesn't.

I wish I could beleive in a god, but I just can't wrap my mind around it. People say 'have faith' but that does that mean? I have no idea. How can I put my faith in somethign that isn't proven or tangible?
my favourite Seussism is his sentence, "The tough coughed as he ploughed the dough." It illustrates 4 different sounds the letters o-u-g-h can make. It's fun to say the sentence as if English made sense and the same letter combinations always made the same sound: The tuff cuffed as he pluffed the duff; The toe code as he plode the doe; etc. I actually added a 5th sound with my version: The tough coughed as he ploughed through the dough.