Don't Call Yourself A Nerd Unless You're A Nerd PSA

January 22, 2013


This is a public service announcement from that show Portlandia about not calling yourself a nerd unless you actually play D&D every Thursday and buy comics on eBay and dream of having sex with anime characters or whatever. Brian here is an "actual nerd" and doesn't like it when people call themselves nerds who aren't. Here's my problem with it: who cares? I don't understand why there's this thing right now about trying to call out fake nerds and geeks. Almost everyone is trying to pretend they're something they're not, why are we calling them out specifically? Don't you have something better to do? Arguing about somebody's nerd credentials doesn't make you more of a nerd, it makes you a dork. And nobody likes a dork.

Hit the jump for the video.

Thanks to WonderBagel, who sounds like a GREAT IDEA. I was actually going to make a bagel with lox this morning but opted for a drinkable yogurt smoothie instead.

  • I hate the people who pretend to be fans of something because they think it makes them "unique" or "quirky" or some crap like that. You know the wannabe-hipsters/girls-who-call-themselves-nerds-for-attention.

    I wore a TARDIS shirt to school one day and some chick was like: "O. M. G. I LOVE LOVE LOVE DOCTOR WHO!"

    I don't know many other fans, so I was happy and asked her, "Who is your doctor?"

    She blinked at me and said, "What?"

    Me: "Your Doctor... you know... you never forget your first Doctor?"

    Her: "I don't understand...?"

    Me: "Your. Doctor. Who is your favorite Doctor?"

    Her: "Oh... well I don't actually watch the show"

    THAT is why I hate fake nerds. That. Right. There.

  • Goths hated it when spooky kids who only liked Manson and black metal started being "goth".

    Punks hate Green Day.

    Both hate Hot Topic (although they still shop there all the time).

    Subcultures don't understand why nobody likes what they like, and yet, they get pissed off when everybody wants to be a part of their group or finds a watered down version of it that they like.

  • Calling yourself a nerd is as silly as calling yourself a jock, a prep, etc. Once you are a whole, developed individual you do not (generally) require a label. So an attractive girl saying she enjoys reading comics does not mean she is claiming to be a 'nerd' or a part of your 'nerd world'. She's simply expressing what she is interested in, alright? I don't understand what the big deal is. Can't we all just get along? Don't you like sharing interests with people?

  • NotDavidBowie

    The point of the video is the word nerd is an insult to people like him and when faddists use it casually it can be insulting to someone who has been taunted and insulted by it their entire lives. It's not that "only we can call ourselves nerds", it's "that word is hurtful to us, especially when you are using it for your fad".

  • Crosscut Exit

    "Almost everyone is trying to pretend they're something they're not, why are we calling them out specifically? Don't you have something better to do?"

    No. That's what makes us nerds, stupid.

  • Evangelos

    THANK YOU! If you didn't suffer as a child through names like "four-eyes", "bookworm", "toothpick arms", "egghead" (god I hated that one), or "Tinkerbell" (wait, that last one might just be me, since my brothers/cousins thought they were funny)... Then you don't get to claim you're a "nerd" now that it's popular. If you can't differentiate between Star Wars, Trek, Gate, or Fox then you are NOT a nerd. If paleontology was only cool to you AFTER Jurassic Park came out, you are NOT a nerd. If the first thing you know about Tolkien was that Orlando Bloom makes way too good/pretty an androgynous elf prince, then you are NOT a nerd. NERDS are people who are very passionate/knowledgeable about a specific subject(s) to the point where "normal" people feel intimidated and persecute the poor bastards. We found comfort in other outcasts and only recently have been enjoying the decrease of anti-intellectualism.

    Don't try and take the title, without paying the dues... or we'll come and poke your eyes out with our +4 intel wands, and saw off your hands with our sharpened protractors. Yeah, not even kidding. -_-

  • Idlethoughts

    This whole "Now that us outsiders have established a social niche, let go ostracize those we perceive as outsiders" thing has kind of made me weary to use the title nerd when describing myself. Honestly if the exclusiveness of word means that much to your identity, you might want to reevaluate whats important in your life.

  • Evangelos

    If you're dumb enough to honestly mistake my sarcasm for butthurt feelings, then nerd you are not. Yes, I know I said "not even kidding"... But until sharpened protractors and +4 Intel wands are a thing, it's obvious I wrote this as a joke. At least the dork on YouTube who made the very same mistake was pretty hilarious after realizing his folly...

  • Idlethoughts

    It wasn't really clear how much of it was joking, Poe's law and all. I actually make a habit of making all of my empty threats ridiculous or impossible just so no one mistakes them for genuine threats against people. Sorry for the misunderstanding though, it's relieving that that was just sarcasm.

  • Evangelos

    Good on ya, mate. I stand by my FB comment on "King o'the Gay Nerdz" Mr. (demigod) George Takei's post

    "While those like me are seriously enjoying the rapid decline of anti-intellectualism IDK if we should be discriminating against the faux geek/nerd/dorks... Something about "two wrongs" comes to mind. And while it's true they haven't paid the dues for the title, I'd rather the terms continue to be thought of as "cool" and nerd numbers, interests, and lifestyles enjoy the rapid growth this sudden odd popularity has granted us. Nerd power in numbers guys and gals..."

  • Quil

    Why people would choose to wear eyeglasses unnecessarily has always been lost on me

  • KTO

    There is no such thing as a fake nerd, there are are just people with varying interest in nerdy things. Oh, except for those teenage girls with emo hair and 'I love nerds' shirts, they can go straight to hell.

  • Luneth

    I have to go to college with those kinds of girls, wearing their hipster glasses and t-shirts for bands they've never actually heard of :/ Pisses me off so much.

  • Idlethoughts

    If a person genuinely likes a fashion without caring about it's back story or liking it for the same reasons as you then they have every right to wear it, however if they're really just trying to be part of a group they don't actually identify with then it's honestly more sad for them than irritating.

  • halotron

    The big difference to me is that I didn't choose the label geek or nerd. It wasn't something that was cool where I said "wow everybody look at me, whee I'm such a nerd!" It was a derogatory term applied to me and my brethren.

    Other people can call themselves geeks and nerds and that's all fine, but they should understand that while they're applying the badge in a cutesy endearing way, for many of us it is a badge of shame that we have come to accept as unavoidable so we might as well embrace it.

  • Zach V

    For me, qualification as a nerd simply means you have a specific obsession. Like sports? You're a sports nerd. Like DnD? You're a DnD nerd. I'm just glad people are starting to identify as nerds instead of beating on us.

  • I prefer the following terminology:

    Nerd: one whose interests are outside of the mainstream, and are therefore socially awkward. E.G. Star Trek nerd, D&D nerd.

    Geek: one who is so narrowly focused on the minutae of their interest that (whether it is or is not mainstream) it makes them socially awkward. E.G. baseball geek, D&D geek (socially awkward squared)

    Dork: one who is socially awkward for no discernible reason, having no particular interests.

  • This!! Nerd to me is just someone who has extensive knowledge on specific subjects. I'd rather other people identify as "nerd" than use it as an insult.

  • Chonto

    "Nobody likes a dork" FALSE Female whales love the dork.

  • Luka Mlinar

    "The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

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