4 thoughts on “Why nerds are unpopular

  1. i wish i had worked harder at being popular – being smart has got me nowhere. i got good grades in highschool and sat at the ‘D’ table b/c i believed there would be a payoff in the end… now i realize it’s all about being popular [or “networking” as they say in the real world…] :P

  2. heh what’s funny is that my friend korey in florida was like the leader of a gang of punk nerds who kind of ruled his high school haha and he was probably the most popular kid there. in his senior year, he corrected his biology teacher one day and just got up and left because he thought the teacher was stupid, and never showed up for that class again, except when they had tests and exams etc. and he still got an A haha.

    i did horribly in school. i didn’t learn much of anything useful except for science and math. i didn’t really start learning anything about the arts and writing until i moved to toronto took my last year of high school there. i was pretty popular there though. i didn’t used to be popular. it was kind of odd. and everyone wanted to sit next to me during tests and exams haha.
    before that, i had always thought that i was just kind of dumb, really. that’s what my teachers and my fellow students in denmark had led me to believe. funny how a change of environment changes all of that.

  3. NB: I will refer to both “nerds” and “popular” kids as “they”, as oppose to identifying myself with one group, as the writer did.

    “The main reason nerds are unpopular is that they have other things to think about. Their attention is drawn to books, or the natural world, not fashions and parties.”

    I really think it’s poor arguing to just say that they “have other things to think about”; other than the mention of parents’ influence, there is little explanation for why they *have to* think of other things. My general response to these arguements is *Well, what do you want?* The writer seems to ignore that it is a *choice* to think about “other things” rather than “parties”; as for “fashions”, anyone old enough to get a part time job can choose to dress however they want at school, at least to the extent that their popular peers can.

    “Even if nerds cared as much as other kids about popularity, being popular would be more work for them.”
    I cannot handle listening to an argument where the point is both:
    a) we didn’t really want to be popular; AND
    b) we couldn’t be because it was too much work.
    That’s just stupid. *Maybe* It makes sense if you say for some people it was about not wanting to, and OTHER people it was about not being able to.

    “Few smart kids can spare the attention that popularity requires.”
    Again, this should read “few smart kids *choose* to spare…”
    (if you even think that’s true – that smart and popular are mostly mutually exclusive)
    *Why* do smart kids, more than average-intelligence kids, have less time to spare for the “job” of being popular? Well, you’ve got to say that it’s because they CHOOSE to do other things. Again, I ask, “What do you want?” I mean, really, is it fair to say “I don’t have time to go to parties because I’m too smart and doing too many smarter-than-parties-activites” and then expect to be popular?

    If popular = being liked and known by lots of ppl and having lots of friends, well then it sounds like parties and other social events would be part of that, and too bad for you if you don’t “have time to think about parties”.

    I also find “And the active persecution is, if anything, the less painful half of the popularity equation.” and “Nerds would find their unpopularity more bearable if it merely caused them to be ignored.” a bit contradictory, if not literally, then in implied meaning.

    “It’s no wonder, then, that smart kids tend to be unhappy in middle school and high school. Their other interests leave them little attention to spare for popularity…”
    Why is “popularity” listed as one interest, when really it seems it would include many of legitamate interests and activities (one mentioned is cheerleading, and also fashion…etc)

    “Another problem, and possibly an even worse one, was that we never had anything real to work on…”
    Well, I think kids have time to work on lots of things, and if young people don’t feel their lives are contributing enough to society then they can choose to do more. I wonder if this writer thinks that programs like the Ontario new curriculum’s obligatory 40 hours of “volunteer” work would have helped this “nothing to work on” problem he grew up with, which he claims bred bullying.

  4. “I didn’t realize that the reason we nerds didn’t fit in was that we were a step ahead. We were already thinking about the kind of things that matter in the real world, instead of spending all our time playing an exacting but mostly pointless game like the others.”
    I think this attitude is disgusting; this is the passage that most obviously seemedd to me as writing from a jealous, pouty person who is putting on a “that’s okay, i didn’t want it anyway” attitude for self-preservation.
    And since when are networking, social skills, popularity, fashion, and even sports not “things that matter in the real world”?
    I’m trying to think about what “nerd activities” the writer is talking about that a) kept him and his friends so busy, and b) are close to what matters in the real world; he admits he didn’t take school seriously, so what then?
    The self-described “nerds” I know play video games and RPG’s and watch Star Trek and other things that seem to me at least as far removed from “the real world” as a football game or cheerleading practice or trip to the mall to buy clothes or thinking about parties…
    He mentions “books and the natural world”; well, I don’t see these as “activities” that mean you don’t have “time for” fashion.

    “We were a bit like an adult would be if he were thrust back into middle school. He wouldn’t know the right clothes to wear, the right music to like, the right slang to use.”
    If he is saying that the nerds were like this fictional adult in that they didn’t know what these “right” things are, can I just say that if you care to learn, it only takes a little bit of watching to figure out the “right” clothes or music; or else, how did the other kids learn?
    This is one list of things (music, clothes, slang) that he admits the “popular” kids didn’t get from their parents, so it seems everyine arrived at middle school with roughly the same knowledge or lack of, and some chose to care enough to listen to “the right” music, and some didn’t. (And probably the “right” music also just happened to be what some kids actually genuinely liked)

    “The stated purpose of schools is to educate the kids. But there is no external pressure to do this well.”
    This is simply untrue.
    (In the US schools are financially rewarded for high-acheiving students, as well as the fact that schools like it when their kids get into college, etc etc etc)

    “Nerds are unpopular because they’re distracted.”
    So… is the argument here that popular people are more dedicated and focused? Well then they deserve their popularity!
    “Distraction” is not something that happens when you intentionally put your attention on something(s) else; that’s called a *choice*.

    “Fourteen year olds didn’t start smoking pot because they’d heard it would help them forget their problems. They started because they wanted to join a different tribe.”
    This seems completely unsupported and I think it’s untrue.

    “Nerds aren’t losers. They’re just playing a different game, and a game much closer to the one played in the real world. Adults know this. It’s hard to find successful adults now who don’t claim to have been nerds in high school.”
    I would say that in a lot of fields it’s hard to find successful adults who choose not to socialize and network with people too different from themselves; yes, I suppose it pays to network with the smartest people, but it certainly isn’t good to have this attitude that everyone concerned with fashion or different priorities is beneath you. (“mindless”, and playing a less valuable “game”)

    Sure, you can point out Bill Gates, but I’m sure just about ALL the rich athletes were athletes in high school (which this writer presents as not nerdy).
    And many of the the beautful rich models and actors were probably beautiful in high school (which the writer also presents as not nerdy).
    So if you wanna talk extreme wealth, I don’t think you can really say the “nerds” have it all.

    That’s it for now.
    K.

    PS The one thing I found of value in this article, “Misrule breeds rebellion”, the author admits is “not a new idea”.

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