August 5, 2007

NYT says nerds are "hyperwhite"

From the New York Times:


Who’s a Nerd, Anyway?
By BENJAMIN NUGENT

What is a nerd? Mary Bucholtz, a linguist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been working on the question for the last 12 years. She has gone to high schools and colleges, mainly in California, and asked students from different crowds to think about the idea of nerdiness and who among their peers should be considered a nerd; students have also “reported” themselves. Nerdiness, she has concluded, is largely a matter of racially tinged behavior. People who are considered nerds tend to act in ways that are, as she puts it, “hyperwhite.”

While the word “nerd” has been used since the 1950s, its origin remains elusive. Nerds, however, are easy to find everywhere. Being a nerd has become a widely accepted and even proud identity, and nerds have carved out a comfortable niche in popular culture; “nerdcore” rappers, who wear pocket protectors and write paeans to computer routing devices, are in vogue, and TV networks continue to run shows with titles like “Beauty and the Geek.” As a linguist, Bucholtz understands nerdiness first and foremost as a way of using language. In a 2001 paper, “The Whiteness of Nerds: Superstandard English and Racial Markedness,” and other works, including a book in progress, Bucholtz notes that the “hegemonic” “cool white” kids use a limited amount of African-American vernacular English; they may say “blood” in lieu of “friend,” or drop the “g” in “playing.” But the nerds she has interviewed, mostly white kids, punctiliously adhere to Standard English. They often favor Greco-Latinate words over Germanic ones (“it’s my observation” instead of “I think”), a preference that lends an air of scientific detachment. They’re aware they speak distinctively, and they use language as a badge of membership in their cliques. One nerd girl Bucholtz observed performed a typically nerdy feat when asked to discuss “blood” as a slang term; she replied: “B-L-O-O-D. The word is blood,” evoking the format of a spelling bee. She went on, “That’s the stuff which is inside of your veins,” humorously using a literal definition. Nerds are not simply victims of the prevailing social codes about what’s appropriate and what’s cool; they actively shape their own identities and put those codes in question.

Though Bucholtz uses the term “hyperwhite” to describe nerd language in particular, she claims that the “symbolic resources of an extreme whiteness” can be used elsewhere. After all, “trends in music, dance, fashion, sports and language in a variety of youth subcultures are often traceable to an African-American source,” but “unlike the styles of cool European American students, in nerdiness, African-American culture and language [do] not play even a covert role.” Certainly, “hyperwhite” seems a good word for the sartorial choices of paradigmatic nerds. While a stereotypical black youth, from the zoot-suit era through the bling years, wears flashy clothes, chosen for their aesthetic value, nerdy clothing is purely practical: pocket protectors, belt sheaths for gadgets, short shorts for excessive heat, etc. Indeed, “hyperwhite” works as a description for nearly everything we intuitively associate with nerds, which is why Hollywood has long traded in jokes that try to capitalize on the emotional dissonance of nerds acting black (Eugene Levy saying, “You got me straight trippin’, boo”) and black people being nerds (the characters Urkel and Carlton in the sitcoms “Family Matters” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”).


But of course, this being the NYT, there has to be a deconstructionist coda that makes it the fault of white people:


By cultivating an identity perceived as white to the point of excess, nerds deny themselves the aura of normality that is usually one of the perks of being white. Bucholtz sees something to admire here. In declining to appropriate African-American youth culture, thereby “refusing to exercise the racial privilege upon which white youth cultures are founded,” she writes, nerds may even be viewed as “traitors to whiteness.” You might say they know that a culture based on theft is a culture not worth having. On the other hand, the code of conspicuous intellectualism in the nerd cliques Bucholtz observed may shut out “black students who chose not to openly display their abilities.” This is especially disturbing at a time when African-American students can be stigmatized by other African-American students if they’re too obviously diligent about school. Even more problematic, “Nerds’ dismissal of black cultural practices often led them to discount the possibility of friendship with black students,” even if the nerds were involved in political activities like protesting against the dismantling of affirmative action in California schools. If nerdiness, as Bucholtz suggests, can be a rebellion against the cool white kids and their use of black culture, it’s a rebellion with a limited membership.


Of course, in California high schools, there aren't just blacks and whites, but somehow Asians, among others, just don't exist in the academic mindset. The reality is that when it comes to nerdishness, blacks, whites, and East Asians tend to follow the classic Rushtonian trichotomy.

As I wrote in 1999 in "Nerdishness: The Unexplored Cornerstone of the Modern World:"


Nerdishness appears to me to be one of the main manifestations of masculinity, although radically different from the more famous hunter/warrior/jock/leader mode (let's use a term from African politics and designate representatives of the better known form of masculinity as "Big Men"). Certain fundamental trade-offs tend to distinguish nerds from Big Men. In the realm of intellectual traits:

1. Nerds are more "object-oriented," Big Men are more people-oriented.

2. Nerds tend to focus narrowly but deeply (single-tasking), Big Men broadly but shallowly (multitasking). Nerds lack the "situational awareness" that the Air Force prizes in fighter pilots, but their ability to concentrate obsessively makes them good at designing the planes that pilots fly.

3. Nerds work best asynchronously (as Howard Bloom says, they never say the right thing at the right time -- I can vividly recall walking along after a college history class, thinking about the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when some black friend passing by said, "Hey, what's happening?" "Hmmhmmh????," I thought to myself in consternation, "What exactly is happening? Well, the Austro-Hungarian Empire is definitely not happening, but what is?" About five minutes later, I came up with a clever, but by now useless, reply, which later I could never seem to remember the next time somebody asked me "What's happening?). In contrast, Big Men are better when they are "in the flow" (of the discussion, the hunt, the battle, the basketball game, or whatever).

Interestingly, in terms of cerebral skills, nerds tend to be more stereotypically masculine than Big Men, who benefit from stereotypically female mental skills like emotional intuition and multi-tasking. In contrast, nerds tend to be less traditionally masculine than Big Men in physical/emotional traits like muscularity, self-confidence, aggressiveness, etc.

As Mike Waller points out, cave-nerds probably made the stone axes for early cave-Big Men to hunt with. I suspect that nerdishness has been symbiotically related to the prosperity of communities. (Howard Bloom makes a similar point.) In nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, nerds' object-orientation would not be very useful since objects tend to be heavy to carry. Similarly, in tribes that need just about every man to hunt, nerds' ineptness at making correct split-second decisions would tend to get them eaten by wild beasts, or at least shunned by women who want men who bring home meat. On the other hand, sedentary communities that have been able to free some men up from food provisioning or war-making, make greater degrees of specialization possible, allowing nerds to flourish as craftsmen. In turn, these nerdy technologists make the tools that allow even more men to stop hunting and farming and turn to nerd-work. Thus begins a virtuous cycle of economic growth. ...

These trade-offs between nerdishness vs. charismatic masculine leadership are readily apparent among different ethnic groups in industrial world, too. Allow me to quote a section from my review of Harvard economic historian David Landes' "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why some are so rich and some so poor," which appeared in National Review on 4/6/98. In it I launched the following trial balloon:

"Interestingly, many of the most striking racial differences can be thought of as resembling faint sex differences. For example, contrast the triumph of Japanese manufacturing with Japan's near-total failure in the brutally competitive global market for celebrities. (A recent survey revealed that Americans believe the most famous living Japanese person is Bruce Lee, a dead Chinese guy.) It's the mirror image of African-Americans' undistinguished technological achievements versus their outstanding performance in producing media personalities.

"Why? Japanese talents include a set of extremely masculine intellectual skills. Tests show they tend to excel at objective abilities like mathematics and mentally manipulating 3-d objects through "single-tasking" (focusing deeply upon a single impersonal logical problem). Blacks, on the other hand, are often better at typically feminine, more subjective cerebral skills like verbalization, emotional intuition and expression, sense of rhythm, sense of style, improvisation, situational awareness, and mental multi-tasking. Michael Jordan's brain, for instance, enables him to anticipate his opponent's every move while simultaneously demoralizing his foe with nonstop trash-talking. (Try it sometime. It's not easy.)

"Next, think about physical and emotional/personality traits. Here the races are arrayed in the opposite order. Blacks tend to display more of typically male qualities like muscularity, aggressiveness, self-esteem, need for dominance, and impulsiveness. In contrast, the Japanese economy benefits from a male workforce endowed with more typically feminine virtues like small fingers and fine motor skills, cooperativeness, humility and anxiety, loyalty, long-term orientation, diligence, and carefulness. Combined with their first-rate masculine mental skills, these make Japanese companies powerhouses at exporting superbly engineered machinery.

"Compared to Japanese organizations, black communities tend to be physically and psychologically masculine, sometimes to the point of disorderliness. Yet a relatively high percentage of individual black men achieve fame by possessing charismatically masculine looks and personalities, without the nerdishness that Dilbert-style male intellectual skills often induce."


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some sort of irony here.

Scott Adams has dumped on the nerds, the people who thought he was one of them. Now (rich enough?) he feels empowered to act like a member of the elite. None of that horrid whiteness for him:

http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/07/immigration.html#comments

What a sell-out.

Udolpho said...

Nerds are basically intolerable. I don't know if they are hyperwhite or just plain hyper, but the Internet is full of them like the ghetto is full of cockroaches. I think the hallmark of their use of language is rigidity.

Karen said...

There would be more globally famous Japanese musicians if the music industry wasn't such a monolithic assortment of dinosaurs. As it is, Japanese musicans have pretty devoted followings in the West, with no marketing, hardly any touring, and no airplay.

Peter said...

Nerdishness is no laughing matter. There is nothing that makes it harder for a man to find a woman than being nerdy. Being short, overweight, balding - those drawbacks are nothing in comparison. Women basically have zero tolerance for nerds.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, this article really treads much too lightly:

Compared to Japanese organizations, black communities tend to be physically and psychologically masculine, sometimes to the point of disorderliness...

Sometimes!? This list of orderly black communities on planet earth is short.

Combined with their first-rate masculine mental skills, these make Japanese companies powerhouses at exporting superbly engineered machinery.

Yes, and exactly what machinery has a black community ever exported? That's a serious question. It has occurred to me after reading this koolaid-filled article that black communities, on their own, are largely incapable of producing actual machinery. It seems that even the musical instruments and weapons that have come out of Africa have no moving parts.

It takes engineers to build machines. And it is the males of any human community who are going to be great majority of the engineers. Yes, there are some black men who are interested in engineering, but the black community as a whole, wherever it may exist, lacks a critical mass of men interested in engineering. That’s a major problem - unless you enjoy primitive “big man” tribal societies.

Anonymous said...

Peter -- yes and no. I think it's cultural, in that yes Women detest nerds and will flee ASAP from them. But there are a number of fairly nerdy guys who hardly fit Steve's description and seem to do OK with women. Both Manning brothers for example are fairly nerdy. Bill Walsh was fairly nerdy. Many leaders are/were fairly nerdy.

Which brings me to my one big issue with Steve's otherwise great column on nerds.

Leadership requires fairly large doses of nerdiness, though the nerdiness is often hidden. Africa's big problem, and one that also runs through African-American communities, is the near total lack of leaders. Leadership defined as creating an organization of people to accomplish an objective by doing things as a unit, as one, and doing things they would not ordinarily want to do.

If you have watched any of ESPN's "The Bronx is Burning" you'll see a classic tale of leadership, Reggie Jackson depicted as obsessing over respect and the Press's treatment and Billy Martin, and the fairly nerdy, drunk, redneck Martin wanting only to win the Series to validate his career. With George Steinbrenner throwing his ego around.

Nerdy leaders would include Bill Walsh (a former amateur boxer with 70 bouts to his name, Al Davis wouldn't hire him as head coach because he doubted his "toughness"), Billy Martin, William T Sherman, and Steve Jobs. All of whom were served not by charisma and gift of gab and the ability to charm but by obsessive focus on the smallest details and leadership.

Every player, coach, and assistant on the 49'ers knew what they were going to do, how they were going to do it, and were confident they'd execute to defeat their opponents, decisively. The same went true for Martin's Yankee's, Sherman's troops, and Job's people at Apple, NEXT, Pixar, and Apple again.

People with charm and nothing else end up with ... West Africa. Or Arkansas. It takes that obsessive focus, ruthlessness to reach goals, sacrifice and self-disclipine (leadership is tremendous work) and so on to be an effective leader who accomplishes something. Big Men are not leaders. Merely ... Big Men. The largest lion in the pride until another bigger, younger lion knocks them off.

Getting back to women and nerds, women generally prefer socially stratified, Big Men oriented societies where de-facto polygamy is in swing, so they can move upwards in power/wealth/status. Even a fraction of the Big Man's wealth is better than all of an average man's. If enough material success accrues to nerdy men so they can be credibly seen as a Big Man (even though they are not), women will find them attractive.

But with growing freedom and economic success for women, they are able to do what they want without penalty. Which for most of them is pursuit of the Big Man even if it means sharing them with other women. Heck the sharing just confirms they made the right choice since other women have him as well.

The tremendous number of women around Mayor Tony of LA is explained by this. Besides Salinas he has the Korean fashion designer, the LAPD officer on his protective detail, and numerous lobbyists.

Which leads to likely the new issue of politics: more freedom for women leads to them inevitably choosing Big Men (humans are slightly polygamous, around 10-15% size difference between men and women averaged out). Like all mammals the sex-size difference indicates the degree of polygamy. But in a democracy there is an easy coalition of singleton men based on resentment of the Big Man and his women. In the past these were called serfs, slaves, and peasants. I would assume that to be a factor in politics (it already is in East Germany where in some places there are only 40 women for 100 men ages 18-34 and the men not so surprisingly join the NPD).

But oh yes, it's all us white oppressors fault. The NYT is a parody of itself.

Anonymous said...

Africa lacked neanderthals. No admixture, so few real engineers.

Anonymous said...

This article reminds me of the Last King of Scotland. The white guy visitor to Africa is not a true nerd, but he is a doctor. The black host is the archetypical charismatic Big Man, of course.

Obviously, there are many such white guys (and girls) across the world who seek out third world societies. And their motivation is not altogether commercial, political or religious - the attraction is also rooted in the issues discussed in this NYT article.

And it's not just whites. Certain Asian groups also have this attraction. We can assume that East Asians feel this way toward the white communities of the world - that there is a slightly increased sense of excitement, danger, emotionalism, primitivism etc involved when they travel to places like North America and Europe.

But I wonder how East Asians feel about a place like Germany, which seems to be one of the most emotionally "East Asian" white communities. Is it just me or is there a noticeable lack of Japanese in Germany, and also a lack of Germans in Japan. I get the sense that there isn't a lot of cross-cultural exchange between the two. Probably some posters will disagree with that. But maybe there really isn't much of an "opposites attract" dynamic happening on the intellectual level.

By the way, iSteve, it seems like there is little discussion of Asians (in general) on your blog. But they are pretty quiet and I guess the squeaky wheels get the grease.

Anonymous said...

Though Bucholtz uses the term “hyperwhite” to describe nerd language in particular, she claims that the “symbolic resources of an extreme whiteness” can be used elsewhere. After all, “trends in music, dance, fashion, sports and language in a variety of youth subcultures are often traceable to an African-American source,” but “unlike the styles of cool European American students, in nerdiness, African-American culture and language [do] not play even a covert role.”

So, because they have disavowed some of the worst aspects of popular-culture, they (we?) get to be nerds. But, the fact that some of these aspects can be attributed to black influence, makes them "hyper-white". Let's see they probably don't listen to much rap, but on the other hand, probably not much country music. They don't like basketball, but then again, neither do they like lacrosse. What a crock.

Anonymous said...

Don't East Asians and South Asians have a greater tendency toward nerdiness than whites? And isn't the redneck stereotype the very opposite of nerdiness? Hard drinking , gun-toting, combat arms serving prickly hunters of deer, feral hogs and raccoon? Here we have very quintessence of mass whiteness with a cultural continuity (Scots-Irish) stretching back hundreds of years. A group far more representative of "whiteness" than the relatively small numbers of high-IQ achievers or WASP Wall Streeters.

Not that I have anything against nerds, I'm just searching for clarity.

tommy said...

There are a lot of hyperyellow nerds (including white Japanophiles) that the New York Times seems to have overlooked.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the dilbert link...I read a half dozen posts and thought ok the dilbert creator scott adams has gotten a wake up call here...but the thread is massive! it goes on and on and on...entire link is the equivalent of the immigration debate in micro form with dilbert creator as the detached senator on the receiving end of a blizzard of righteous red hot angry faxes from constituents...bet lots of dilbert fans have lost jobs to h1b visa holders. big mistake mr adams!

Artanis said...

One unusual but true datum is that Japanese men have probably the smallest male organs of any nationality on earth. This can be confirmed by a search of actual Japanese adult film, by the examination of japanese condoms (an inner city school in America bought thousands of them via bid process and a scandal ensued when the vast majority of the student males who tried them were unable to get them on or they would split from overstretching) or by simply asking Weatern women who have worked over there as sex workers or who simply had a lot of sex there. I grew up around airline people, and in the swinging 70s the stews were pretty uninhibited. They knew where the men were packing and where they weren't, and would tell you if you asked. The Japanese were universally considered both the most obsessed with sex and the least well equipped.

Anonymous said...

South and East Asians may be "nerdy" but so too are the hard-drinking Scots-Irish.

They may love their hunting, guns, and dogs, but they also love to tinker with machinery. Autos (moonshiners predictably tinkered with their cars to make them go faster than the feds leading to NASCAR), planes (the Wright Bros), and heck TV (Idaho Farmer Philo T Farnsworth). Heck they guy in World's Fastest Indian was a nerd, so too is Jessie James. What else would you call a guy who spends most of his day shaping metal to make chopper motorcycles. He got a special metal shaping machine from England that went out of production in 1930 so he could custom build his own gas tanks. Jessie James is a nerd, even if he's banging Sandra Bullock.

agnostic said...

It's telling that the NYT uses the term "hyperwhite" -- you never use "hyper" to describe something good. Hyper-religious, hyper-conservative, etc. Never hyper-ethical...

Google says there are roughly twice as many pages with "hyper-conservative" than "hyper-liberal," btw.

Center for the Prevention of Nerdiness said...

Another way to define nerdiness is by their being obtuse despite supposedly great intelligence. Steve's latest pro-nerd rant being case in point. I beg to differ with Steve and his endless rehashing of the Nerd stereotype, not to mention the bits of "own horn tootingism" I've seen evident in his latest articles.

I'd like to present some of the truths about nerdiness.

1. Not all nerds are geniuses and not all geniuses are nerds.

2. Nerds are often hyperviolent inventors of weapons of mass destruction.

3. Nerds were here at the dawn of civilization. They're responsible for those rather left-brained cave paintings we find now and then (stumbled upon the "technology" playing in their own feces no doubt).

4. Famous nerds who have done more harm than good are Bill Gates, Lenin and Marx, G W Bush.

5. Nerds generally have to toot their own horns.

Vol-in-Law said...

Peter:
"Women basically have zero tolerance for nerds."

East-Asian (Chinese/Japanese etc) women seem to like nerds. Finnish women like men who are nerds by Anglo-American standards.

Interesting comments about us Scots-Irish; how we like guns/dogs/racing and also engineering/maths/science et al (the latter is particularly clear in the case of the Ulster Protestant population). Makes us good fighter pilots, astronauts and such.

Theresa said...

Nerds = male-type brain = Asperger's/autism

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/opinion/08baron-cohen.html?ei=5070&en=c1c326bd63e5bdff&ex=1186545600&pagewanted=all

(Betcha there's more Asperger's/autism in North European and North-Eastern Asian populations than elsewhere.)

Anonymous said...

"Finnish women like men who are nerds by Anglo-American standards"

Maybe it is because Finns and Finnish society seems very introverted, at least to me. On a side note, I have run into some very attractive Finnish women.

James Kabala said...

"the examination of japanese condoms (an inner city school in America bought thousands of them via bid process and a scandal ensued when the vast majority of the student males who tried them were unable to get them on or they would split from overstretching."

One never knows, but this screams "urban legend" to me. Do you have any documentation?

James Kabala said...

A big problem here is the lack of a clear definition of the word "nerd." When I was a boy, "nerd" meant someone who was studious, a little socially awkward/not very popular (especially with girls), and wore glasses, but was basically a decent guy at heart. Examples of nerds in pop culture at the time would be Arvid from Head of the Class (does anyone remember that show?) and Paul from The Wonder Years. On The Simpsons two of Bart's classmates have aspects of the nerd persona - Martin has the brains and the Milhouse has the glasses, and both are socially awkward but more sinned against than sinning.
The "intolerable" nerd described by Udolpho, the one who is a lover of comic books and science fiction, and is not necessarily good in school, let alone genuinely knowledgeable about matters outside his arcane areas of expertise, is more what I would call a "geek." When these characteristics are combined with arrogance, it does make a pretty nasty combination. I know Udolpho is decidedly less than fond of the American Office, but he might appreciate the scene in a recent episode when Dwight (the parallel character to Gareth in the British version, but probably the most different from the original of the four main characters, and very much a geek) accosts an innocent bystander at a party with the question, "Do you watch Battlestar Galactica?" and upon receiving a reply of "No," says, "Then you're an idiot." That pretty much sums the "intolerable" geek personality.
I freely admit that I was (and probably still am) a nerd, but I would not consider myself a geek. (I have never even read a comic book.) However, these definitions are not set in stone, and I know that others use the term "nerd" where I would say "geek." So it's not quite clear to me which of these groups Buchholz, or even Steve, is talking about. They do overlap a bit, of course, but less than you might think.

James Kabala said...

P.S. Kathy Shaidle (relapsedcatholic.com) has some interesting comments about this at her site and she mentioned the geek affliction worse than science fiction and American comic books put together - anime. I have seen bits and pieces of it here and there, and oh, is it awful.

David Davenport said...

The classical god Vulcan made tools and weapons for the other gods. Vulcan was also lame. He walked with a limp.

/////////////////////

Is Chimpy Jr. a nerd? I don't think so. George Jr. seems to be quite sociable, extroverted, and always appropriately dressed and groomed.

Anonymous said...

I think the whole "nerd vs macho guy" is more workable if you stay within the white race. There,the guy who designs the planes and the guy who flies them are clearly contrasted types. They may have similar intelligence,they could even be related. The black male is a distinct type. The Air Force,for ex,does NOT want black males as pilots,per se,cause of their aggressiveness or athleticism,tho a particular black male may be a good pilot.(He would prob be one of your "Mulatto Elites"!) Black males in general will make lousy pilots.

Anonymous said...

Vol-in-Law: Finnish women like men who are nerds by Anglo-American standards.

Anonymous: Maybe it is because Finns and Finnish society seems very introverted, at least to me. On a side note, I have run into some very attractive Finnish women.

I posted this on another thread, but it seems apropos here, as well:

STaLIn: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR

Chapter 30
Molotov Cocktails: The Winter War and Kulik's Wife

...On 30 November, five Soviet armies attacked along the 800-mile border. Their frontal assaults on the Mannerheim Line were foiled by the ingenious Finns, who, dressed like ghosts in white suits, were slaughtering the Russians. The forests were decorated with frozen pyramids of Soviet corpses. The Finns used 70,000 empty bottles, filled with gasoline, against the Russian tanks - the first "Molotov cocktails", one part of his cult of personality that the vain Premier surely did not appreciate. By mid-December, Stalin had lost about 25,000 men...

Stalin sensed the army was concealing the scale of the disaster. Trusting only Mekhlis, he wrote "The White Finns published their operations report that claims 'the annihilation of the 44th Division... 1000 Red Army soldiers as prisoners, 102 guns, 1170 horses and 43 tanks.' Tell me first - is this true? Second - where is the Military Council and Chief of Staff of the 44th Division? How do they explain their shameful conduct? Why did they desert their division? Third, why does the Military Council of the 9th Army not inform us...? We expect an answer. Stalin."

Mekhlis arrived in Suomussalmi to find chaotic scenes which he made worse. He confirmed the losses and shot the whole command: "the trial of Vinogradov, Volkov and chief of Political Deparment took place in the open air in the presence of the division... The sentence of shooting was performed publicly... The exposure of traitors and cowards continues." On 10 December, Mekhlis himself was almost killed when his car was ambushed, as he proudly recounted to Stalin: unlike many of Stalin's commissars, Mekhlis was personally courageous, if not suicidally reckless, under fire, partly because, as a Jew, he wanted to be "purer than crystal"...

Yet Stalin was saddened by these disasters: "The snows are deep. Our troops are on the march... fulll of spirit... Suddenly there's a burst of automatic fire and our men fall to the ground." At times, he looked helplessly depressed. Khrushchev saw him lying on a couch, despondent, a rehearsal of his collapse in the early days of the Nazi invasion. The pressure made Stalin ill with his usual streptococcus and staphylococcus, a temperature of 38°C and an agonizing sore throat. On 1 February, his health improved as Timoshenko probed Finnish defences, launching his great offensive on the 11th. Soviet superiority finally took its toll on the plucky Finns...

Finland lost around 48,000 soldiers, Stalin over 125,000...

Anonymous said...

I suspect with a bit of coaching many nerds could be tidied up and made more presentable to women (see Jesse James comment above).

But can we go down to the hood and round up some gang bangers and turn them into nerds?

Probably not.

Anonymous said...

PS: Stalin was, of course, the über-big-man.

Really the Übermensch, when you get right down to it...

Anonymous said...

"The "intolerable" nerd described by Udolpho, the one who is a lover of comic books and science fiction, and is not necessarily good in school, let alone genuinely knowledgeable about matters outside his arcane areas of expertise, is more what I would call a "geek." When these characteristics are combined with arrogance, it does make a pretty nasty combination."

Geek is a rather specific term for the types who are side show freaks at circuses. For a more in depth understanding of the Geek psyche, I suggest Karen Dunn's Geek Love. You'll never be the same after reading it.

I'm sorry but "nerd" has a very negative connotation for me. A nerd is obnoxious, petty and spiteful. Now if by nerd, you mean introvert, I'd prefer you just address the intricacies of the introvert personality. I quite like most introverts. Some are hot and all can be made to blush with very little effort. ; )

SFG said...

Steve is a nerd. ;)

Maureen said...

Re: Japanese not good with emotion, improv, or verbal expression

Oh, c'mon, people! Reveal your total ignorance of Japanese literature and culture, why don't you? Improvisational poetry, for instance, has been an important cultural skill there since the days when Rome still had an emperor. Emotional intuition is how their entire society _runs_.

Re: pilots

The military doesn't want _any_ population in general for pilots. They only want individual people with 20/20 vision and the personal qualifications and character needed to become good pilots.

SKT said...

"4. Famous nerds who have done more harm than good are Bill Gates, Lenin and Marx, G W Bush."

Are you for real?

The Bill Gates comment doesn't even deserve a response. Lenin I don't know enough about to comment on his personality.

However, I've never heard GWB being described as a "nerd" before. He doesn't have any nerdy traits. From what I've heard, he's extremely extroverted and people oriented, perhaps not as much as Bill Clinton, but he's definitely on the same side of the big man - nerd spectrum.

Ron Guhname said...

Let me add another type. Pareto talked about two kinds of rulers: "Lions" and "Foxes." Lions are basically the same thing as Big Men, while Bill Clinton is perhaps the classic Fox. I'll take a nerd over a Fox any day. Whether it's a lawyer or a lit. professor, these slick verbalists are disgusting.

James Kabala said...

2:12 Anonymous: See, that's the problem. The words don't really have standard definitions, so the mental image each person has of what they mean is largely based on how they were implicitly defined in his home town when he was 12. I believe there was a Saturday Night Live skit on this theme (although it didn't involve the word "nerd"), a mock game show called "Geek, Dweeb, or Spazz?"
The first time I read this thread, I missed Center for the Prevention of Nerdiness's strange reference to GWB as a nerd. Huh? Kudos to David Davenport and skt for picking up on this.

TabooTruth said...

I got more and more irritated when I read the NYT article. Of course nerds are rebelling against the hypermasculine black culture! Largely because the culture is bereft of any intellectual value, we would be hypocrites if we gave it validation. We nerds actually care about human civilization and the world and whatnot, while the jocks and gangsters live purely for self-indulgence.

Watch "American Pimp," it will give clues into why only the charismatic African personality has the force to keep prostitutes (white ones too) in line. Legalize prostitution to bankrupt the pimps, I say.

As far as the black nerds...well the NYT assumes that there are more out there than we already see. Given how easy it is for a black kid to get into a decent school, I don't know.

Nerd failures with women are complex. Check out my post "Smart women and dating."
But, just remember that an entire seduction industry has arisen out of nerd frustration. There are alot of interesting theories they come up with, but I believe that there is only so much people can do with genetic determinism.

Either way, evolutionary psychology explains everything about women and nerd-aversion. Check out my post "The allure of the jerk"

Ultimately, though, Japanese "male brain" just means high visuospatial ability and not as high verbal ability.

However, their other "feminine traits" are purely due to a lower testosterone level. Look at the previous comment on polygny. Back 50,000 years ago, pair bonding was necessary for child survival in cold climates. Therefore, asian couples tend to stick together better. In african societies, there was easy food to gather and the women didn't need the men, so no pair bonding. African men competed violently to mate with women once, and not stick around. Asian men had to stick around, and shared parental responsibility, therefore making them more feminine. Read Rushton.

Anonymous said...

GWB is a nerd. Once he gained power that thin veneer of charisma was gone. His lack of language skills indicates a definite object orientation - the object in this case being world domination. He has at least one nervous tic. Most importantly, he was a male cheerleader!

Society for the Deportation of Nerds said...

Steve,

Have you ever considered moving to Japan?

Bill said...

Seems to me a lot of guys here use Japanese as the default of East Asians. I've never lived in Japan, so I am no expert on that country, but I can tell you with authority that China is a "big man" society. Powerful Chinese men are total cads, frequently charlatans, and not too concerned with the details as you may have gathered from the recent food import scandals.

The word for boss or big man in China is "da ge", which means big brother. Sure, there are lots of nerds in China, but they don't have it any better than nerds do in the US. Notice that in the Mexican boss article Steve refers to, the Mexican jefe is drinking Chinese penis liquor. I used to have a bottle of the stuff (snake penis wine -- really potent evidently), but never could bring myself to open it. I have had dinner with Chinese dakuan (another word for big man) where I found bull penis in my hot pot.

China is the big man society. Maybe I really am kind of a nerd, because I couldn't stand it. All good-looking women are considered to be whores - essentially they are - and a man with any money or power takes full advantage of that. I had some African friends in my Beijing neighborhood and they fit right in. After I'd been there a year or so strangely dark and kinky-haired little babies started appearing in the courtyards alongside the hemp bushes and chickens in the summertime. This went on until all the Africans got arrested and deported for involvement in a criminal conspiracy. The only foreigners I met who did not fear Chinese prisons were Africans.

I could tell a thousand other stories, but for now I'll just say that Americans don't exactly see the full picture when it comes to Asian behavior.

If you have nerd tendencies, a European woman is your best bet. Someone mentioned Finns. Yes, Finnish women are awesome. They also keep their looks for a long time. Maybe Japanese are OK, but there seems to be a big problem with dissatisfaction in Japanese (and Korean) marital relationships these days.

Anonymous said...

Watch "American Pimp," it will give clues into why only the charismatic African personality has the force to keep prostitutes (white ones too) in line. Legalize prostitution to bankrupt the pimps, I say.

Someone has no sense of history.

Where do you think the word "pimp" comes from? The classic "American pimp" shtick arose in European cities and was being worked in America (in European immigrant ghettos) by the late 19th century, at the latest. Jews (who I'd think Steve would tend to classify as "nerds" rather than "big men", though this dichotomy of his is garbage), among others, were overrepresented among pimps and prostitutes. Negroes learned pimping from whites.

Being a pimp requires no "charisma". All it requires is knowing it can be done and learning the techniques, along with a lack of morals. Take an underage girl, buy her things, have sex with her. Then beat her and force her to make money for you. Some proportion of women (particularly runaways and those apt to be drawn in by a flashily dressed stranger in the first place) will interpret this as love.

One sees few white pimps in America these days since most whites won't stand for prostitution in their neighborhoods.

But, even today, Albanians and Israelis run sex slave operations that make negro pimps look very small-time by comparison.

Anonymous said...

Don't miss Triumph (the insult comic dog) vs. Star Wars Geeks.

James Kabala said...

"GWB is a nerd. Once he gained power that thin veneer of charisma was gone. His lack of language skills indicates a definite object orientation - the object in this case being world domination. He has at least one nervous tic. Most importantly, he was a male cheerleader!"

My final comment: See, this is what I mean about the word not having a standard definition. A inarticulate male cheerleader may well be a loser or a dork, but I would never regard such a person as a nerd unless he also displayed some kind of intellectual (or at least pseudo-intellectual) ability. And the original thesis of the Times article was that nerds, while not necessarily articulate in the sense of being eloquent, do speak in careful and correct English, which Bush certainly does not.

James Kabala said...

"ONLY [my emphasis] the charismatic African personality has the force to keep prostitutes (white ones too) in line."

The latest anonymous is correct; this is a dumb statement. If it were true, there would have been no prostitution in Europe until the last few decades or in Asia even today, which is obviously false. And I suspect that black pimp/white prostitute combinations in the U.S. are also of very recent vintage.

TabooTruth said...

I'm not saying that prostitution is impossible without Africans: it's the world's oldest profession. What I'm saying, though, is that in the ghettos of New York, black males can usually out-compete white males when it comes to controlling women. This dynamic usually only works, though, in atmospheres where prostitution is illegal, because of its connections with drugs and whatnot.

If you legalize prostitution, then you'll have more of a vegas-brothel type scenario, where threatening women with violence won't be as effective as in the projects where the woman has no where to run.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Where do you think the word "pimp" comes from? The classic "American pimp" shtick arose in European cities and was being worked in America (in European immigrant ghettos) by the late 19th century, at the latest. Jews (who I'd think Steve would tend to classify as "nerds" rather than "big men", though this dichotomy of his is garbage), among others, were overrepresented among pimps and prostitutes.

A while back, Spengler wrote a lengthy essay on this question:

Jihadis and whores
Nov 21, 2006
Wars are won by destroying the enemy's will to fight. A nation is never really beaten until it sells its women...
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HK21Ak01.html

Steve Sailer said...

Here's a blog posting on body-building nerds:

http://www.t-nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=1676346

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Testosterone Nation, and while it's maybe a little off topic [although not by much], the single guys around here [and, for all I know, maybe even the single gals, as well] might get a big kick out of Atomic Dog's classic essay:

Girls Gone Not So Wild

Although I don't know that it's exactly what you would call "appropriate" reading material for the married fellas.

Anonymous said...

Originally "object-oriented" went together with the word "programming" or the word "language". It is an overhyped programming methology. There is nothing wrong with it but C (which is technically non-OO) can mimic obect-orientedness well enough.

Of course i have no real right to make such pronouncements because I'm really only thinking about the traditional OO methodology of Java, Smalltalk, and C++. I have heard that the new langage, "Ruby", takes OO to a new, more elegant level, and alas I know almost nothing about Ruby. Incidentally, Ruby was created by Japanese man. Maybe others would like to add their own two cents.

Anonymous said...

Don't know where this falls on the Nerd-Big Man spectrum, but thought it was kinda interesting:

Girly men are perfect partners, say women
telegraph.co.uk

Women searching for the perfect partner avoid macho men in favour of feminine-looking types whom they see as more committed and better parents, research has found.

Men with masculine features, such as a square jaw, larger nose or smaller eyes were perceived to be less faithful, more detached and worse fathers. Those with fuller lips and wide eyes were seen as being more caring, nurturing and less likely to stray...

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Telegraph article on women preferring less masculine looking men, that has nothing to do with nerds. Nerds aren't pretty boys.

Regarding nerds and black culture, I wonder what sort of nerds you're all associating with because I know many young nerds who love rap, and most older nerds love earlier forms of black music. Nerds, as social outcasts, identify with the black alienation from white society, even though the alienation has a completely different cause.

Most of the "wiggers" posting in ebonics on blogs are nerds.

Muscle Building Resorce Site said...

Good point Benj! Nerds are basically intolerable and it's not a laughing matter. Maybe all women like me basically have zero tolerance for nerds.