The Gilded Lily


What makes a nerd

When I consume popular culture or art or entertainment or music with other people- friends, acquaintances- I see one big difference between the way I think (let’s call this the “nerd perspective” for lack of a better term) and the way some others appear to consume.

When I love something, I want to know all about the primary sources- i.e., the book that inspired the screenplay (yes, I always read the book first); the author’s inspiration/references; the historical context; etc. etc. Then when I feel like I’m starting to get a handle on this thing I love, I start to look into the creator(s)’ previous and/or current work; more consuming. Lastly, I’ll connect with other people who love the same thing- on Twitter, or Tumblr, or YouTube. This is usually a passive connection for me- I’ve never been super comfortable conversing with strangers, online or off- but I seek the connection nonetheless. Kind of like attending a club meeting and just silently standing in the back. (Wow, metaphor-me is a supercreep!)

Other people, upon seeming to enjoy something, remark, “That was pretty cool” and then move onto the next.

In short, no comprendo. There is definitely something different about the “nerd” brain / personality / disposition which makes it react to stimulus in the (slightly) obsessive, researchy way I’ve described. Which is pretty cool, I think.

This is not a new concept; I have read better researched/more creative essays on similar themes— for example this 2010 Patton Oswald piece for Wired has stuck with me: However, this has just been kicking around in my head for a while, and I thought I’d try a little dear diary entry for a change.