The Big Picture: Brainiacs: The Once & Future Nerds

MovieBob

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Brainiacs: The Once & Future Nerds

MovieBob takes us back to the dawn of the nerd.

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ZZoMBiE13

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Oct 10, 2007
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I don't remember ever being called a nerd, though I can't remember a time when I didn't fit the mold of one.
I was also a metal head and that's where I got most of my jock hate circa 1986-1990.
 

M920CAIN

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I'm socially challenged, but I don't see myself as smart, so I guess I'm some kind of nerd hybrid, not fully qualified to be a nerd, but definitely not a jock either.
 

MovieBob

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Wellll I have Asbergers so that's probably true. Kinda thought the two were synonymous already.
 

Vausch

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I sort of liked how Yahtzee described a nerd as a person that fixates on one (or few) specific things and either becomes very skilled in it or very knowledgeable on the subject(s). Then I realised that does sound a lot like Aspergers syndrome.

Could be a tough call there. Sheldon on TBBT for example fits pretty much all the definitions of what makes somebody a high-functioning autistic or Aspergian (unsure of that's a word, sure I heard it somewhere) but Jim Parsons and Chuck Loore swear they had not heard of it before making the character.

You definitely can safely say that most nerds in pop culture could very well be considered well off. I mean sure, most are stereotypes to varying degrees like they still live at home in their late 20s despite obviously making enough money or are socially awkward, but most tend to be very skilled in one or more fields of science. Heck, I'm surprised there aren't more millionaire characters that just don't care to flaunt it.
 

MovieBob

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Oooooh i know there was gonna be so much rage and butthurt and flaming, stupid people throwing all reasonable arguments out of the way as soon as you even slightly implied that there could be a small thin link between
Autism/Aspergers and Nerds/Geeks/GeekNerdCulture.

Listen guys we might as well admit it, one of the key aspects of living with and being autistic or having aspergers (like my girlfriend ive been with for 8 years now) is that you are very easily compelled and have a knack for focusing and sometimes fixating on one particular area, be it studies or other hobbies.
The reason for this lies in that most autistic people have the two spectrums of emotion and reasoning on completely different ends and even though someone may be passionate about something doesnt mean theyre emotionally involved as long as their fixation is being catered to.
 

A3sir

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As long as you don't make the mistake of associating The Big Bang Theory with nerd culture. TBBT is to nerds as blackface is to African Americans.
 

MovieBob

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I know any brony reading this or well, furry too for that matter or anyone part of a stigmatized community. Sometimes, there is no smoke without fire and there CAN actually be a small hint of truth to the whole: Lol only autistic sexually frustrated manchild neckbeards watch this show for little girls.
Yes, yes they do and no its not inherently a bad thing.

In the words of Ice Cube
"Embrace yo stereotype" - 21 Jp St.

Fixation, obession, passion, enthusiasm and autism sometimes do go hand in hand, its not that hard to accept and like i said, neither is it a bad thing. Hell some of the most brilliant minds in history had hints of autism or social problems in their days.

I think the whole stigma around autism and aspergers comes from oversimplifying a lot of the traits.

Like when you just suddenly see someone enthusiastic about anything these days or someone wanting to be creative, most comments of anything new just screams: LOL THE AUTISM IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE.
 

Andre Nilsson

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I have Asperger syndrome. so if what you said is true then I am a nerd. I have never seen my self as one. although I am convinced that Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory also has Asperger syndrome. he is showing all the symptoms fore that. but than again he also show all symptoms fore being a nerd but still.
 

puff ball

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i feel like this should have been two separate episodes one for the past history of the meaning of nerd and the second how we currently define the word. as for myself ive always considered myself to be a nerd im a quiet introverted person who held on to toys and child's TV shows longer then my peers appeared to. combine this with my lack of athleticism makes me feel kinda nerdy.
 

Guffe

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This was a very interesting episode, I think.
I think these are your best BigPictures Bob, when you just pick a topic that isn't certain in any way and look at it from many different angles, very interesting!
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

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Dec 11, 2009
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Nerd is still employed in my secondary school(which I have just finished, thank god) as a term for anyone who displays excellence and enthusiasm into a subject.

Thing is, people only used this label up until Year 10, wherein people became more accepting, and I became more assertive, and less shy.

Or it could just be me, but whilst the way that people are identified by others as "nerd" is still a bit old, I feel that I am not stereotypically a nerd: I am tall, large and quite assertive(at least in school).

In my country however(birth country, I live in the UK, but hail from Lithuania, Klaipeda) or at least the city in which I was born, nerd is replaced by "computer-fetishist"(rough translation: kompiuterastas) and is applied to anyone who spends time in front of a computer and doesn't participate in sports(seriously, I met one of my dad's friends, and when my dad said that I don't do sport, he replied with "He must be a kompiuterastas").

So for a large part of my life(I am only 16, so yes, a large part) it has been used in the traditional sense, and as an insult.
 

MovieBob

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Yeah i would also like Bob to possibly dive into the more gray areas of discussion that are a bit touchy feely and might just hit a bit too close to home for some viewers but, i think its better that the discussion is open than not having it simply because: Oooh some of these people who genuinely live with these conditions and dont relate to this video might find it offensive. Well who gives a flying fuck if they are offended, speak your honest thoughts on this Bob and let us know.
 

MovieBob

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K.ur said:
So, the nutty professor was a happy Sherlock Holmes?
Well sorta kinda, think dr House instead when thinking aspergers and autism, just like with Sherlock Holmes.
The character Rivers in To the moon, demonstrates a fairly acceptable take on autism.
 

MovieBob

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M920CAIN said:
I'm socially challenged, but I don't see myself as smart, so I guess I'm some kind of nerd hybrid, not fully qualified to be a nerd, but definitely not a jock either.
Socially awkward/challanged/problematics is just one of the aspects that doesnt qualify you for autistic per default.
Just like a bunch of frozen squashed tomatoes technically doesnt qualify as gazpacho
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

Anime Nerds Unite
Apr 25, 2013
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DVS BSTrD said:
Wellll I have Asbergers so that's probably true. Kinda thought the two were synonymous already.
Yeah, I even have an unsubstantiated theory that nerds and even early otaku in Japan all suffered from some form of Autism (i myself have Aspergers). All of the characteristics are evident: limited social interactivity, attachment to items and trends, and in extreme cases like otaku, lack of emotional intelligence in terms of identification and how to respond.

I have a feeling that people are starting to recognize this and this is going to bring up issues of identification and boundaries between severity as Bob pointed out
 

MetalMagpie

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I've never really self-identified as being a "nerd"/"geek". During the time I was a socially-awkward teenager I only heard it used as an insult. By the time I started coming across "proud nerd" stuff, I'd gained confidence, lost weight, started taking part in sports and had a boyfriend. So I didn't see myself as fitting that stereotype any more anyway.

I still occasionally get called a "nerd" by friends/family, but only in a teasing way.
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

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Monxeroth said:
K.ur said:
So, the nutty professor was a happy Sherlock Holmes?
Well sorta kinda, think dr House instead when thinking aspergers and autism, just like with Sherlock Holmes.
The character Rivers in To the moon, demonstrates a fairly acceptable take on autism.
I would say so, a fair amount of autistics are straightforward in terms of understanding situations and may have problems understanding the emotional side of arguments. House is a good example: he's cocky and overly sure of himself but a lot of conflict comes from him not emphasizing with emotional issues and focusing on the medical side only.

It is kind of odd to think that the first ever nerds may have been people suffering actual issues. Doing research on otaku, a lot of them were forced into their position by a harsh social structure that forces people to conform and since autism make it hard for people to conform to a lot of societal rules, it would lead to problems.

I honestly think that more research needs to be done on this potential connection to see if it bares out.