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John Hodgman On the Coming Geek Culture 401

Posted by samzenpus
from the nerd-empire dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Famous writer and minor television personality John Hodgman posits the end of the culture of Jockdom in favor of a cultural reverence for engineers, scientists and Slashdot readers: 'Jockdom is very noble. It's not deliberative. It's certainly the best way to win wars. It's the best way to motivate teams of people to fulfill a goal — not just war, but getting things done. The most important way to motivate a factory floor. But as you know, we're not as much of a manufacturing society as we were before. China and other big industrial nations are rewarding their nerds and technicians rather than creating a culture that makes fun of them — it would be wise for us to embrace the book-smart as much as our culture has traditionally embraced the street-smart, the jock-smart. I'm not saying nerds must have their revenge; I'm just saying the time for wedgies is at an end.'"

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John Hodgman On the Coming Geek Culture

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  • I for one (Score:5, Funny)

    by Asdanf (1281936) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @10:55AM (#29911433)
    I, for one, welcome myself as one of our new overlords.
    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:07AM (#29911639)
      As they say "The meek shall inherit the earth ... if that's alright with the rest of you". Well, I guess in this case that would be "the geek shall inherit teh Earth".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by olingern (1119857)

      I, for one, welcome myself as one of our new overlords.

      Well, I welcome myself as one of the new supply depots

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:24AM (#29911917) Journal
      Yeah, I'm just gonna repost something I wrote a while back that sums up why I think this will never happen:

      It's time for nerds to rise up yet again. Throughout modern history in the US, celebration of the nerd has resulted in unprecedented economic prosperity and global economic domination.

      From the idolization of Einstein, Feynman, and other physicists, arose the economic superpower that dominated much of the world in the 1950s and 60s.

      In the 80s, we were captivated by the message of Revenge of the Nerds, and on the shoulders of this movie we came to dominate the new era of Information.

      Ladies, gentlemen: Now is the time. Now is the time to rise up from our comfy chairs, to rise up from our futons, to rise up from the depths of our basements! We must rise up as one united voice of nerd-dom, and speak to the mouthbreathers who have ground us beneath their bootheels since time immemorial. We must tell them:

      ENOUGH! Take your stupid sports and shove them. Take your stupid pop music TV shows and shove them. Take your idolization of stupidity and sacrifice it on the altar of curiosity, the altar of edification, and the altar of neckbeards and cheetos!

      WE MUST DEFEAT THE...

      What's that mom? Yeah... OK... I'll be up for dinner as soon as I finish this level. Did you get some Mountain Dew?

      Sorry, gotta go AFK.

      Originally posted here [slashdot.org].

    • you're already at +5, but that was one of the funniest meme posts I've seen. :)
  • Hey? (Score:3, Funny)

    by ae1294 (1547521) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @10:56AM (#29911447) Journal

    Isn't that the guy who played spider-man in those movies???

  • by schnikies79 (788746) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @10:58AM (#29911471)

    Then you wouldn't be pegged with (and the associated stigmas) of a certain stereotype.

    I was heavy into science in high school, as well as sports and other extra-curricular activities. I never had a problem with any group of people.

    • by sammy baby (14909) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:03AM (#29911563) Journal

      [Maybe people should be more well-rounded.] Then you wouldn't be pegged with (and the associated stigmas) of a certain stereotype.

      I was heavy into science in high school, as well as sports and other extra-curricular activities. I never had a problem with any group of people.

      <sarcasm>
      Right - people get picked on in high school because they're not sufficiently well rounded. That was exactly my experience.

      How clearly I remember the captain of the wrestling team accosting me in gym class in my sophomore year, throwing me against the wall, and sneering, "You know, you could really benefit from a more diverse set of interests."
      </sarcasm>

      • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:40AM (#29912235)
        Sounds like he had a thing for you and really bad pickup lines.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rho (6063)

        Maybe you were too sarcastic in high school?

        A lot of people don't like that, you know.

      • How clearly I remember the captain of the wrestling team accosting me in gym class in my sophomore year, throwing me against the wall, and sneering, "You know, you could really benefit from a more diverse set of interests."

        Of course not. But part of why nerds are picked on is because they don't relate well to others. If you like computers, but also literature, soccer, skateboarding, backpacking, or whatever, it's more likely that you'll make friends and not be "that kid who sits alone reading fantasy novels

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Red Flayer (890720)
        Yeah, because bullies always announce the underlying rationalism for singling their victims out for ostracism when they pick on someone.

        The parent to your post makes a decent point... those with multiple and varying interests are probably more likely to be less of an outcast, and thus less likely to be picked on. Bullying is a form of establishing and demonstrating social status (among other things, I know). If you have well-rounded interests, you are less likely to be in the bottom of the pecking order,
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          The parent to your post makes a decent point... those with multiple and varying interests are probably more likely to be less of an outcast, and thus less likely to be picked on.

          I don't buy it. If anything, "jocks" are even less well-rounded than "nerds." The only way being more "well rounded" is going to improve one's social status is simple statistics - if one of your interests puts you in a "cool group" then you'll be "cool." It's a quantity versus quality situation. Pick the right group and you'll only need that one group, pick 100 wrong groups and your social status will be just as bad as if you had only picked one wrong group.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by selven (1556643)

      I prefer specialization. Someone has to do the IT jobs, and I would prefer it to be someone with a lot of IT experience compared to someone with decent IT experience and decent arts experience and decent sports experience.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:33AM (#29912063) Journal
        I've lost count of the number of times I've been able to solve a programming problem that specialists are stumped by simply by realising that it was already solved a decade ago in another field and the solution can be moved across.
      • Specialization means no ability to think outside the box. Knowledge is overlapping.

        I don't work in IT, but if I had to hire someone that has knowledge of IT and art, or just IT. I would pick the IT and art person. They are most likely more creative and can come up with better solutions.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          "I don't work in IT" Then you probably aren't qualified to hire IT Professionals.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BrokenHalo (565198)
          Specialization means no ability to think outside the box. Knowledge is overlapping.

          Verily, forsooth. A couple of generations ago, it was regarded as a Good Thing(TM) to be a polymath. It seems that has largely been buried in a drive towards specialisation, and I believe the richness of our education has suffered as a result.

          One thing I have found interesting is a tendency for mathematics professors to be quite well-read in the arts. I still remember one of my first maths professors illustrating a point
      • by Bigbutt (65939) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @12:39PM (#29913191) Homepage Journal

        Specializing in IT is pretty broad though. I know I've solved a lot of problems as a Unix Admin because I'm also a programmer. I'm amazed at the number of admins who can't even use tar without help.

        But still you should have other knowledge bases. I'm into motorcycles and can fix mine without too much trouble as well as go fast and get my knee down in corners. I'm also a gamer (both computer and table-top) which gives me a very broad level of knowledge.

        And of course:

        A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

        -Robert A. Heinlein

        [John]

        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @01:19PM (#29913775)

          That wasn't necessarily RAH, that was one of his characters.
          A lot of his characters were kinda fucked up - like the guy who cloned two female versions of himself and had a three-way, or the guy who went back in time and fucked his own mother.

          So, I'm just saying, you might want to take what he wrote with a big grain of salt.
          After all, specialization is what got our society where it is today - without it we would all still be living the agrarian lifestyle.

    • by SirWhoopass (108232) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:27AM (#29911965)

      I agree completely. In fact, I seem to recall this whole thread about nine years ago [slashdot.org]...

      What's the big obsession on Slashdot with perpetuating silly stereotypes? It's like people here actually believe that they are B-movie nerds, waging an eternal war against jocks. My friends and I played role-playing games in high school, we liked to mess with the computers. A wild Saturday night was some Pepsi, pizza, and a game of Starfleet Battles.We also played varsity football, basketball, and track. We were in the weight room three days a week.People who thought they were "nerds" thought we were "jocks". The people who thought they were "jocks" thought we were "nerds". I had a lot of fun playing sports and a lot of fun in other activities. You only hurt yourself by letting someone label you.

      I think the biggest problem is the labels would appear to identify academic and athletic achievements. When, in reality, they're just certain fringe social groups and kids often allow themselves to be identified as one or the other, to their own loss. The most successful people I know were both in academic and athletic activities while in school, and continue to pursue both physical and mental growth as adults.

    • The problem with the "well-rounded" argument is that eventually it becomes impossible to achieve a higher level in science without intensive focus, study and specialization; largely to the exclusion of other distractions. Many non-engineers have difficulty understanding the sort of mental commitment that comes with pursuing a professional career in science or engineering. They simply refuse to believe that one's career can use up so much of ones otherwise "free" time (my former personal trainer was in this
    • by sorak (246725) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @12:16PM (#29912829)

      Then you wouldn't be pegged with (and the associated stigmas) of a certain stereotype.

      I was heavy into science in high school, as well as sports and other extra-curricular activities. I never had a problem with any group of people.

      It's not about being well-rounded. You say you were popular because you knew about science, sports, and "other extracurricular activities". If you had known science but not sports, you would have needed to be more well-rounded. had you known sports, but not science, you would have been ok.

      Well-roundedness is only necessary for people who don't play sports.

  • but I would take everything John Hodgman says with a grain of salt.
  • Jocks win wars? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by soundhack (179543) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @10:59AM (#29911489)

    I don't necessarily think "jockdom" is the best way to win wars. Military history is full of examples of headstrong, impulsive leaders losing while the soft spoken, thoughtful (as in deliberative), strategic leader winning. Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Marcus Aurelius, don't seem to me as typical 'jocks'.

    If the previous president is any indication, jocks are more likely to start wars, for inane reasons, and either lose or not finish the job. Not that I think of Bush as a jock, but he certainly wasn't a nerd/geek. There should probably be three categories, 'jock','nerd','loser/lamer'

    • Re:Jocks win wars? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:05AM (#29911601)
      Even at an implementation level, the jockdom approach to war was over decades ago. Oppenheimer et al, and many, many others over the years have obsoleted most of that approach.
      • by Duradin (1261418)

        Not really. When more than one country has nukes all nukes do is counter/deter nukes.

        Using a nuke for anything else than responding to a nuke would be utterly suicidal and even then your country may be better off not launching a retaliatory strike if the initial attack was fairly limited.

        Boots on the ground blood and guts warfare is here to stay until one country develops the next atom bomb and that effect will only last as long as only one country has that weapon.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Military history is full of examples of headstrong, impulsive leaders losing while the soft spoken, thoughtful (as in deliberative), strategic leader winning. Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Marcus Aurelius, don't seem to me as typical 'jocks'."

      The military incorporates a wide range of people as it must. The strategist and leaders have their roles, the "tactical athletes" have theirs, and there is plenty of overlap.

    • by samkass (174571)

      Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Marcus Aurelius

      Genghis Khan [amazon.com] was also very much a geek when it comes to war.

    • Yeah, I was kind of thinking that too.

      It varies, and I think jock/nerd is pretty well orthogonal to warfighting ability. Eisenhower, famously, was a football coach, and Patton on the battlefield was his star player; on the other hand, a succession of distinctly jockish Union commanders failed against the Confederacy's much better lineup of jocks, and it took nerds like Grant and Sherman to show them how it was done. As far as the front line goes, if you get a bunch of sports-obsessed young men together in

      • by Talderas (1212466)

        Patton was a jock. He was brazen and would frequently take risks that other commanders would have deemed too risky.

        Patton was a nerd. He designed a cavalry sword that was utilized by US forces. He also is one of the fathers of tank warfare.

        Patton was a well-rounded individual, likely one of the most exemplary Americans that have ever graced this country.

        As a side note, West Point tries to graduate well rounded officers. Knowledgeable in math and foreign languages and much as military matters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cro Magnon (467622)

      Jocks won wars back when mankind was throwing spears at each other. Once we got guns that could out-range the strongest spear-thrower, the jocks were obsolete.

      • Except those jocks he mentions on the factory floor. You know, the ones putting together the components of the steal fighters and artillery pieces...
      • by Duradin (1261418)

        Jocks won wars back when mankind was pounding on each other with their bare fists. Once we picked up rocks that hit harder than the strongest brawler, the jocks were obsolete...

        Jocks won wars back when mankind was pounding on each other with rocks. Once we stuck the rocks on sticks, the jocks were obsolete...

        Jocks won wars back when mankind was pounding on each other with sticks with rocks attached. Once we figured out we could throw those sticks, the jocks were obsolete...

        Jocks won wars back when mankind w

      • Right, that must be why all the nerds in high school ended up in the Marines, Army and other best fighting forces on Earth and all the jocks ended up sitting around in their parent's basements lifting weights and playing CoD4 wishing they were badass and smart like us.
        • by hitmark (640295)

          and risk getting ordered into some sort of nonsense fighting by a guy in a suite...

          i'll take the basement, thank you very much...

    • He wanted to be a jock-- wannabe types are often worse than the real thing.
      Bush wasn't good enough to be in sports and probably was a wimp like his father. He was a cheerleader because that is the best he could do (and they weren't like the ones of today.)
      A wimp acting like a strong leader is also worse than the real thing; I don't know why so many people thought he had leadership skills because it was fairly clear he was a wannabe on that as well-- if not also overcompensating for the wimp label of his fat

  • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @10:59AM (#29911497) Journal

    Pffft, who's gonna listen to this pathetic, whinging, scrawny little dweeb?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And since we live in the real world, people that combine intelligence with street smarts will always be the most valuable. Not just in war, but in any endeavor that requires getting a group of mad apes to come together.

    That being said, I think the jock thing is a little overblown. Plenty of near-autistic nerds with no social skills are getting paid just fine, despite our supposed jockocracy and out societies baffling refusal to put us at the center of the universe.

  • by mpoulton (689851) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:05AM (#29911611)
    The dichotomy between nerds and jocks is a false one, and it has been for some time. The stereotypes assert that "jocks" who are socially active, athletic, and attractive must not have any interest in technology, be smart, or value intellectual pursuits. Likewise, "nerds" who are smart and dedicated to learning must be slobs, socially awkward, and unattractive. This hasn't been the case at any time in the last decade or so that I've been paying attention. Some of the smartest and most academically successful people at my high school, who went on to attend highly prestigious universities, some to study science and engineering, were also athletic, social, attractive people. Many of the socially awkward nerds were not smart and did not value learning. In college, a significant percentage of my incredibly smart engineering colleagues had been high school football stars, loved to party, and were quite successful in relationships.

    Now that I'm in law school, it's clear that my fellow students value intelligence (including technical knowledge) right along with social prowess and appearance. The entire spectrum of personal attributes is not only respected, but expected in these circles. I believe this has been the norm among high-performing, successful people for quite some time now - it's not even clear that the jock-nerd dichotomy every really existed the way it is portrayed. As far as I can tell, the real divide has everything to do with social skills and nothing to do with intelligence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Like most social dichotomies, it exists as long as people believe it exists, and clearly a lot of people still do believe that. I blame this on high school. In the adult world, of course you're right that there are plenty of smart social people and dumb asocial ones, and generally speaking, the working world rewards people who are good at both their jobs and shooting the shit with their coworkers. But in high school, the lines are pretty clearly drawn. Kids who are good at math don't get laid, no matter

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SirWhoopass (108232)

        I think believe you are correct, in that the dichotomy exists only if people believe it to exist. I also think you are buying into it yourself. I played high school football, the coaches encouraged academic success. The captain of the football team was valedictorian (my school used a weighted GPA system, so only students taking honors courses would rank at the top, getting all As grades in shop and art classes would actually hurt your GPA).

        As for the mathematicians not getting laid... well, that's probably

        • It varies by time and place, I suppose. In my high school experience (mid-80's, Denver) "student-athlete" was almost an oxymoron, as a matter of unwritten but well-understood policy. The few students who did excel both academically and athletically ran into just enormous amounts of bullshit from the school and from other students. And from everything I've heard since then, I suspect my experience was a lot more typical than yours, but of course I don't know for sure.

    • by jhfry (829244)

      Agreed.

      However, there is something to be said about the social pariah's ability to focus on pursuits that many social people would never have time to invest in.

      This, I believe is the source for the stereotype. Essentially, if I am smart but not very social, then I am more likely to achieve a depth of understanding that a more social, athletic, and busy person may... thus I have achieved a level of knowledge that he just didn't have time for.

      The greatest thing that we can do, and are doing, to help destroy

    • by AP31R0N (723649)

      Way to miss the concept of stereotypes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TheGuapo (864659)
      "Now that I'm in law school"...

      Maybe law is one of those special places where the dichotomy falls apart. To be completely honest, my experience (through high school, college, and even into my professional life) have been nearly the opposite of yours. I think the socially adept, athletic, outgoing yet book-smart intellectual individual is much more of the exception. I know 1 person that truly fits that description.
    • by nate nice (672391)

      I don't know dude, in the engineering building we had a lot of geeks, dweebs and everything else. I mean, sure there were some studs such as myself and a few others...but I can't honestly recall a hot girl. Maybe 1 or 2. But there were lots and lots of hotties in the business buildings.

      Is it black and white? No. But there was a noticeable difference in the clientele between engineering and business on campus.

    • In matters of fashion, swim with the current. In matters of conscience, stand like a rock - Thomas Jefferson

      I don't think this dichotomy ever really existed- better minds have discovered that the most successful people are educated AND social. People fall into stereotypes as an excuse to under-achieve.

    • by Zalbik (308903) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @12:29PM (#29913037)

      The dichotomy between nerds and jocks is a false one, and it has been for some time. The stereotypes assert that "jocks" who are socially active, athletic, and attractive must not have any interest in technology, be smart, or value intellectual pursuits. Likewise, "nerds" who are smart and dedicated to learning must be slobs, socially awkward, and unattractive.

      I believe Hodgeman's point is more around the dichotomy between society's celebration of jockdom as opposed to nerddom. How many current professional athletes can the average person name? 50? 100?. How many Nobel prize scientiest? Maybe 3?

      Sure, those Nobel prize winners may also be rock climbers, rugby players, what have you, and those professional athletes may have IQ's in th 140's, but that is not what they are being recognized for.

      The fact is, society rewards elite jockdom much more that in does elite nerddom.

  • http://odeo.com/episodes/22014686-John-Hodgman-on-Dungeons-and-Dragons [odeo.com]

    This man's use of language reminds me of Terry Pratchett somehow. The American version.

  • Nonsense. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:07AM (#29911651)

    Women, despite outnumbering men, have been unable to achieve equality in macho culture despite at least 100 years of effort. No big reason to think that nerds will do any better.

  • While Hodgeman may be a comedian by trade, he has a great point. Though, where I live (Portland Oregon) the numbers of Geeks-to-non-Geeks is shoring up over time. In fact, I think Portland was recently declared the 3rd most geek-friendly place in the world.

    Truth is, the geek inherited the earth long ago. They just need to rise up and grow a backbone. It can be done. Right? Anyone? Bueler?

  • It won't happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:10AM (#29911711) Homepage
    Our culture does not respect those whose labor directly produces wealth. In fact, it doesn't even have a clue about how to become wealthy and stay wealthy now. The very fact that companies look at their domestic wealth-producing workers and think "these guys are optional" rather than going to H.R., middle management, etc. for budget cuts is proof of that.
    • Re:It won't happen (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kz45 (175825) <kz45@blob.com> on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:39AM (#29912201)

      "Our culture does not respect those whose labor directly produces wealth. In fact, it doesn't even have a clue about how to become wealthy and stay wealthy now. The very fact that companies look at their domestic wealth-producing workers and think "these guys are optional" rather than going to H.R., middle management, etc. for budget cuts is proof of that."

      In an army, the privates are important, but mostly replaceable. A general (and other people that are making important decisions), on the other hand, cannot be replaced easily.

      Even though you don't want to hear it, it works the same way with companies. Most non-management jobs are important, but replaceable. It's just a fact of life. On top of this fact, we have an economy where there is a surplus of talent and employees.

      You say that H.R and middle management are easily replaceable? I would have to disagree. Not everyone can do those positions well. I would not want the job of determining who gets fired. I also don't enjoy managing other programmers or filling my day with meetings.

      The trick to not being replaced is to have some sort of domain knowledge that makes it painful for the company to find someone to replace you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bkr1_2k (237627)

        Most non-management jobs are important, but replaceable. It's just a fact of life. On top of this fact, we have an economy where there is a surplus of talent and employees.

        In any company of 100 or more employees, the same can be said for most management positions, arguably all management positions. CEOs get replaced all the time. Middle management is very easily replaced internally or externally, as a general rule. There are, of course, exceptions where certain individuals really are crucial, but they ar

    • you could preserve american labor, and someone else would use cheaper overseas labor. then american consumers would buy that cheaper product of which nothing, not even company headquarters, gets a cut of that profit. then the next step is protectionism, where you insist everyone buy more expensive american made goods. then people buy far less, or they buy black market goods, because patriotism does not magically put money into your bank account, and you still need to buy a refrigerator. meanwhile, the rest of the world enjoys better products at cheaper prices while the american economy stagnates and shrinks, cut off from the rest of the world because of protectionism

      i'm sorry, but in the interest of what is best for the united states, fuck american labor. the industrial age is over, let china pollute itself rather than the usa. and unions seem less like their ancestors, out to protect american labor from predatory management, and more like the new predator: upper middle class incomes at the expense of everyone else, including the health of the company, and the country

      goodbye GM, goodbye industrial dinosaurs, good fucking riddance. if that means we are a poorer country for it, fine, no problem. as if the industrial age defines what is best for us, or even the only model for wealth creation possible. no, your lament at the decline of american labor only means that you don't know any better, not that there isn't anything better than what you have unilaterally decided is the come-all be-all of existence. you think the industrial model is only thing that defines wealth creation, and for some reason is fixed in your mind as a golden age, and all that comes after is somehow magically inferior. maybe its superior, and you simply don't see that. superior not in terms of the economic imperialism of past ages, but superior in simple quality of life

      japan is coping with ecnomic decline to a far greater extent than the usa, and for a lot longer (since their economy stagnated in 1990). and maybe it means the japanese aren't seen as ubereconomic imperial masters any more, but maybe it also means less salarymen are having heart attacks and that the japanese have a more mellow, easier and happier life. the europeans have months of vacation time and generous social safety nets. so what exactly should we be fighting to retain in your mind? are we at economic war with the world?

      fuck your fetishization of the industrial age as all we should aspire to. welcome the poorer, more mellower american age. time to step off the world stage as its master, and fuck you to those of you who think we need to stay in that role for some reason

  • by name_already_taken (540581) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:15AM (#29911803)

    Hodgman ... played minor parts in Tina Fey's Baby Mama, Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying and Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Battlestar Galactica.

    No wonder the ending of BSG was so out there. Too many chefs spoil the stew.

  • The jocks [or anyone who chases dominance] are deeply insecure, and need external support for their fragile egos. Why else be so sensitive to perceived slights? The truly strong merely shrug them off. Strength means confidence, and confidence does not require continual demonstration.

    Here I am talking only about constructive society. There are also predatory societies where it is necessary to grab eveything you can. Doomed to implosion. Or in dealing with the stupid, who sometimes need to see teeth.

    Sin

  • Not Anymore.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TrippTDF (513419) <hilandNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:25AM (#29911931)
    It's certainly the best way to win wars.

    Jockdom is no longer the best way to win wars... Look at Iraq and Afganistan- we're slowly moving away from big ass bombs to smarter, more humanitarian ways of winning a series of wars that have more to do with culture and education than with fighting. Jocks-schmocks!
    • If you truly believe that's explained by a jock/nerd paradigm shift and not a difference in circumstance between a conventional force on force conflict and an insurgency embedded in a local populace then I don't think I want you managing military strategy as a nerd or a jock =P
  • We already do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nate nice (672391) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:25AM (#29911933) Journal

    I'm a nerd, enjoy math and computer science and worked hard at it. I have a job that pays really well compared to most people. I come in and go when I want and am responsible for myself. Most people I know in this field have similar lifestyles. I don't see how I'm being cheated or not rewarded.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by brkello (642429)
      I am with you. Seems like he has fallen victim to the American victim culture. No matter how good you have it, you are being persecuted. Bullying is a problem in school. I haven't had an issue with it as an adult.
  • or so the expression goes. And it is absolutely 100% true. It basically comes down to this: those with excellent social skills will have far more opportunities in life than those with weak social skills. Jockdom tends to develop the social skills, Geekdom, not so much. This is why jocks seem to always be doing well for themselves, even when they're not the smartest, or even not smart at all.
  • I'm not so sure... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ThousandStars (556222) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:28AM (#29911977) Homepage
    Based on essays like Neal Stephenson's Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out [nytimes.com], How Culture Keeps Students Out of Science [chronicle.com], and Paul Graham's Why Nerds are Unpopular [paulgraham.com], I'm not so sure. Those essays look back, yes, but I don't think I've seen the kind of fundamental shift described in the article. The Beer and Circus [jseliger.com] mentality on colleges still seems alive and well.

    I'd love to be wrong. But I don't think I am.

  • Yes but if you're truly smart then you'll realize that being athletic isn't something to be avoided. It's something you strive for. A healthy body == a healthy mind. Discard those stereotypes and do yourself a favor. Put down the bag of chips and go for a walk. It will pay better dividends than anything you can ever learn.

    • by PPH (736903)

      That's a good point. But that's not really "Jockdom".

      When you are in a meeting with a bunch of s/w developers, does their relative skill at athletics, size or strength have any bearing on the validity of the technical arguments that they are making? If the answer is 'Yes', then that's an example of Jockdom.

      Unfortunately, Hodgman has a good point. Often, even in the more intellectual professions, where the only physical prowess required is the ability to push a mouse around, the biggest, loudest, meanest a

  • Surely getting a geek to build you an atom bomb, or whatever, is more effective then sending a jock off to wrestle with the enemy.

    I've also got to wonder what the survival rate at war is for geeks vs jocks? I'd have to guess the geeks do better, and it's hard to win a war (not to mention somewhat meaningless) if you're dead.

  • I do look forward to the XKCD motivational posters.
  • OK, maybe overstated. But I think it was 2 years ago or so that I saw Conan O'Brien interviewing Quentin Tarantino, and WOW, those are two enormous nerds. From what I've seen of Tarantino, he can't help himself, and maybe O'Brien can but instead makes fun of himself for it. These are the people defining pop culture, and they're us (well, except they're a lot better at it than me, but...)

  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:51AM (#29912411)

    It's sad to see middle-aged men still talking about stuff that happened to them in high school. I know John Hodgman is hardly serious, but the more I know about the USA the more it sounds like a country of 17-year old self-claimed losers who get publicly humiliated on a daily basis by having their underpants pulled up.

    Seriously, it's sad to see grown men still dragging along their high school complexes. Jocks and nerds? Grow the fuck out of it. Not only must every single god damn American TV show plot that's centred around males at school must be about so-called losers who get humiliated by big mean guys and mean "popular girls", on top of that you have a very significant portion of the American adult population who must completely identify and go out of their way to fit the stereotypes, from reading children's comic books about superior men in tight pants who avenge anyone by kicking the arse of the big mean guys (yes, so-called losers enjoy escapism by means of reading about a superior man who kicks all the arse they never had the balls to kick themselves) to being pansies who'll get pushed around by their wife as if they were still 12 and that the chick was their mom, probably because they feel that so-called losers don't need to grow some balls and become a man, so they forever remain whiny overgrown teenagers who play with Star Wars figurines and get flashbacks of having their underpants pulled up. If you're gonna play something that involves dungeons and you're over 20, it'd better involve gags and leather restraints.

    As an outsider, watching that shit is getting increasingly painful. We don't even have a word for wedgie cause no one gets their underpants pulled up in France, except maybe girls with G-strings that stick out of their pants, so that's hard to relate to your neurosis. It's like your entire culture and civilisation revolves around men with complexes who can't grow out of their teenager bullshit. Look at movies. How many of them are about a loser hero any other loser can relate to and who becomes a loser+ by staying a loser so you can still relate but in the process accomplishing something great? As in "big jewy loser who never kissed a girl and plays WoW goes through a bunch of adventures and in the end he kisses a hot chick whom he thought was "out of his league", whatever the fuck that means". Or "divorced middle-aged loser with a crappy job saves the world and gets with a hot woman". Sometimes it seems like you ALL must think of yourselves as loser, one way or another. That's pathetic.

    • Re:Sad (Score:5, Funny)

      by NiteShaed (315799) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @01:10PM (#29913631)

      Psst, hey, French guy. C'mere.....

      At first, I was wondering where this vitriolic rant came from, and from which country you could be from. Then I saw "France", and it all became clear. I'm not going to scream and yell, really, because I understand that this kind of a tantrum comes from a massive inferiority complex that the French collective psyche carries around. Hey, it's okay, really. Once proud imperial power, now relegated to getting wedgies from upstart nations that you once toyed with. You need a hug, and maybe a good solid "There, there" and a pat on the back. Then you'll bawl for a bit, check under your bed for Germans, and go back to sleep 'till morning. I know, it's hard to look around seeing American stuff *everywhere*, when you know deep in your heart that it's just not fair! "That should be French culture that's slipping it's tendrils into the lives of people around the globe, not American! Those jocks, er, I mean Americans don't deserve all the attention that us nerds, er, I mean Frenchmen should be getting on the world-stage!" you cry out. Then the U.S. gives you another wedgie and stupid England just snickers in that annoying way it has, and you're just left *steaming*.

      Oh, and "big jewy loser"? Really?

      As an aside, you've completely missed the point of all those movies you are so angry about. It's not that people identify with the "loser" character in those movies. It's that Americans like to root for the underdog. Maybe that's a cultural difference, maybe France prefers to "root for the winner", I don't know, but somewhere something seems to be getting lost in the translation.

  • News at 11...

  • Geeks wake up! (Score:3, Informative)

    by sp3d2orbit (81173) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @12:39PM (#29913185)

    If you're a geek and not getting laid, then listen closely because you should be.

    1. Popular culture lies. Dumb, muscle bound meat heads and frat-boys don't get the girl.
    2. The feature in men that women are most attracted to: intelligence.
    3. Studies show that intelligent men, over the course of their life, get to have more sex, more regularly than those who are less intelligent.

    If your a geek and don't think you can get a girl, you're wrong. All those popped-collared frat boys want you to think you aren't going to be successful because, if the truth got out, THEY would never get laid. So instead of trying, you sit home and play WoW.

    If you don't believe me consider this (proposed by a evolutionary biologist): women are beautiful, men are ugly. Agreed? OK. Therefore, men must be choosing mates based on looks (that's why women get more beautiful every generation) and women must be choosing mates based on other features (intelligence).

  • Cultural biases (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rwa2 (4391) * on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:47PM (#29915093) Homepage Journal

    As far as I've heard and experienced, the whole "nerd" stigma is an entirely American concept. There aren't really any such thing as "nerds" in Russian or Asian schools; some kids get better grades than others, but they all play football ("soccer") together or climb mountains or whatever. Would anyone in the international community care to elaborate?

    I spent about 4 years growing up in Thailand during my childhood and went to an international school. So my personal sampling is skewed. I suppose we did make fun of kids with "teh ghey", but that eventually wore off once we realized how popular they were with the girls.

    On returning to the US in 8th grade, the thing that got me the most was that no one played... back East we'd chomp down our lunches in 5 minutes and run out to spend the rest of our break time playing "balloon" or "rabbit" or "tee" or some other form form of zombie / team tag. The only form of physical activity was excruciatingly over-organized team sports with lots of rules and very brief bursts of activity followed by protracted yelling and arguments... more of a game for the enjoyment of politicians and lawyers if you ask me.

    Anyway, other countries do have a lot more respect for education and teachers as a profession. Here they're treated more like some form of social worker, maybe marginally higher than street sweepers or bus drivers. Although the same thing appears to be happening to medical doctors now (back when I was growing up in Asia, a doctor was about the best thing a kid could grow up to be... so I was actually kinda surprised to find a lot of my childhood friends growing up to be computer programmers :P ).

  • by seifried (12921) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:59PM (#29915287) Homepage

    WWI: the tank broke the stalemate in the fields, although without it the allies would have eventually ground the Germans down (at a much higher cost though). Plus all the boring logistics stuff like convoys, canned food, etc.

    WWII: the atomic bomb, the 4 engine bomber (delivery system of other weapons such as fire bombs used to level many of Germany and Japan's major cities), radar, radar jamming, navigation aids for bombing like Oboe, statistical analysis of what worked and what didn't work in the war of the Atlantic (aka the best way to kill U-boats) oh and a code breaking effort by the allies that broke Enigma (German rotor machine) and Purple (Japanese rotor machine) allowing the Allies to read enemy message traffic in near real time in some cases. The guys like Patton definitely get a lot of credit in the media/text books but it's geeks like Turing that really kicked ass.

    Post WWII conflicts: many of the stalemated conflicts could be more properly termed police actions (especially in some cases as war was not declared) and in many cases you'll see a combination off stagnation/misunderstanding of the enemies real intentions/motivations has lead to serious messes.

  • Well I wonder (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @03:03PM (#29915343) Homepage Journal

    I highly doubt any of this nonsense is even close to reality. Here in "Real Life" we have gone from Shakespeare, Plato, Bach, Dorvak, Doyle, Poe, Shelly, and other great literary and cultural wonders to Tila Tequila and reality TV.

    Here in "Real Life" the rewarding of the lazy, unproductive, immoral, self destructive, and intolerant has only accelerated in the last 30 years.

    Our 'assaletes' are substance abusing, spouse abusing, liars. Our politicians are corrupt. Our Scientists are too busy pandering and tailoring research to meet grant requirments and political agendas, and our businesses are too busy keeping the contemporary corporate ponzi scheme alfoat to generate any real wealth.

    Between being moral bankrupt, greedy, dihonsest, and hypocritical this Geek veneration smells like more B as in B, S as in S.

  • by Chibi (232518) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @03:06PM (#29915391) Journal

    I hate to say it, but there is no coming shift to geek culture. There simply are not enough geeks compared to "normal people." Geeks don't have the spending power or sheer numbers to really matter. While geeks might have been on the cutting edge at one point, things like the internet, instant messaging, e-mail, social media didn't really start to matter until they started to appeal to more people besides a small niche population.

    While geeks may be some of the driving forces behind some of these advancements, only a few of them actually reap the rewards. Case in point, Twitter has gone mainstream. But who has the largest following? Ashton Kutcher.

    I just spent some time trying to track a gift down for my wife. In the search results, I came across a forum for handbags/purses. I've seen all sorts of forums in the past: Computers, DVDs, Anime, Cars, Sports, etc, but this was the first time I came across a forum like that. The ladies on that forum are not shifting to geek culture, they're just using new tools to communicate with others of similar interests in new ways.

To restore a sense of reality, I think Walt Disney should have a Hardluckland. -- Jack Paar

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