I ran across this article [Link] this morning while going through my RSS feed accumulator. It’s entitled “Why Batman Is the Ultimate Lightning Rod for Nerd Rage.” It also prropagates a grave albeit too common inaccuracy.
I have to admit that I have been trying to read the book that the article is about. It is a truly remarkable piece of scholarship. The author should be a professor in some endowed university somewhere. Unfortunately this situation is part of what dooms the book.
Basically the book is TOO long. It is one of those books that would have been better as a 35 slide POWERPOINT presentation. AS is, it is completely overwhelming and trackless. Not that it doesn’t have a track. It clearly does. But the track is beyond human comprehension in less than several years of scholarship just on that.
It also has a horrible flaw. It claims to be about nerds. But the author has nerds and geeks swapped. To demonstrate this, I cite a REGISTER article [Link] entitled “What’s the difference between GEEKS and NERDS?” I quote from the article:
Geek – An enthusiast of a particular topic or field. Geeks are collection oriented, gathering facts and mementos related to their subject of interest. They are obsessed with the newest, coolest, trendiest things that their subject has to offer.
Nerd – A studious intellectual, although again of a particular topic or field. Nerds are “achievement” oriented, and focus their efforts on acquiring knowledge and skill over trivia and memorabilia.
Both are dedicated to their subjects, and sometimes socially awkward. The distinction is that geeks are fans of their subjects, and nerds are practitioners of them. A computer geek might read Wired and tap the Silicon Valley rumor-mill for leads on the next hot-new-thing, while a computer nerd might read CLRS and keep an eye out for clever new ways of applying Dijkstra’s algorithm. Note that, while not synonyms, they are not necessarily distinct either: many geeks are also nerds (and vice versa).
Note the difference here: Geeks are collectors; Nerds are achievers. And by that achieving a collection is not Nerdish.
So if you take the book and replace “Nerd” with “Geek” in every instance at least that distraction will be alleviated.
But I doubt whether it can be read as entertainment even then.
But I hope I am wrong because the author is deserving of some reward for the magnificence of his scholarship.