It all started with "if I ran the zoo" by dr. Seuss...

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Registered: 08-06-2009
It all started with "if I ran the zoo" by dr. Seuss...
1
Mon, 11-19-2012 - 8:48am
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20325517 Have you seen this discussion?    Campaigners in Sweden are trying to force a dictionary to change its definition of "nerd". But after two decades of "reappropriation" has "nerd" - and its sister word "geek" - now completely lost its derogatory connotations? In the 1984 film Revenge of the Nerds the rousing final speech of one of the protagonists starts with the statement: "I'm a nerd." Its plot may be cartoonish but the film reveals a certain cultural backdrop - to be a nerd was to be socially awkward, even socially inferior. Jocks, those who were good at sport, or other socially successful groups, usually ended up winning. To turn that on its head could form the basis for comedy. Things have changed. The Social Network in 2010 came in a very different social milieu. Now a nerd, or a "geek", can be a driven Machiavellian bent on success - Gordon Gekko in a zip-up hoodie. Today when people think of "geeks" and "nerds" they might very well name the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg - people whose imagination and grasp of the technical made them billions. Historic geeks are celebrated, with Alan Turing and Nikola Tesla's legacies provoking great passions. New York Times blogger and geeky statistician Nate Silver has been hailed as an unexpected star of the US presidential election after correctly predicting the outcome. "Memo to wannabe presidents: hire geeks, not pundits," advises this week's New Scientist magazine. Even sportsmen unabashedly refer to themselves as "nerds". Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, who has just been voted "sexiest man of the year", said of the honour: "It's a little weird because I'm a nerd video game player." Did you read the Dr. Seuss book "if i ran the zoo" when you were growing up? to your college students? Should we change the definition? Do you feel nerd is more negative than geek?
Avatar for suzyk2118
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Registered: 07-30-1997

Being techy, we use them interchangeably. DH's lab coat at the university he works at says 'the geek' on it.  Not a big deal on the receiving end; we're used to it!  I don't think any of us have read If I Ran the Zoo...