It is clear, Alex Jones has failed to grasp that high-school is not as it’s presented in movies like Revenge of the Nerds. Nerds are not universally excluded, and jocks are not some opposing force. In fact, many sport elites, who Jones would consider “jocks” are in fact… nerds.
Including multi-gold metal winning athlete, Michael Phelps. There is, in fact, a failure to grasp what a nerd is by people such as Alex Jones. While he is correct, nerds do run the world, he is very much in the dark as to the “Jock vs Nerd” mentality. A large portion of the “jock” population are nerds. As covered by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw in Escapist magazine in October of last year, a large portion of both the sports fanbase and players are, in fact, nerds. In his satirical piece, titled “Sports Nerds Are Nerds Too,” he cleverly points out how, while he himself lacks interest in sports-themed games, there is a huge market for them; what he terms “Dad Games.” As he put it:
All of this is evident in the fact that what matters to the buyers of football games isn’t innovation or anything in the mechanics, but how faithfully the game reproduces football as it exists in the real world. That’s why the developers can get away with putting out essentially the same game every year because they need to keep the teams and uniforms in line with reality.
Very nerd-like behavior… and very accurate. After all, fantasy football is essentially a sports-themed version of Dungeons and Dragons. The level of detail and rules adjustment for fantasy football can even put the most detail-oriented D&D player to shame.
What Alex Jones is really doing is trying to frame the debate in an intellectual vs anti-intellectual argument. His use of the term “nerd” is an attempt to rally his anti-intellectual base, by framing it as an “us vs them” argument. Very black and white. But the real world is never black and white, but full of colors, shades of grey. The reason why intellectuals run things is not due to some desire for power, but because they understand the hows and whys of the world. While anti-intellectuals bury their collective heads in the sand, the intellectuals are continually asking questions, learning how things work, and applying that knowledge. As a result, intellectuals claim powerful places, and, in effect, run the world.
Much of the world culture comes from nerds, the so called “geek chic.” In everything from car design to cosmetics, nerds – intellectuals – set the standards because they learned what the standards are in the first place. You first must learn the rules before you can bend them, or break them. Anti-intellectuals stumble over the rules, whether in auto body design or the chemical makeup of the perfect ham sandwich, because they’re curious. They can sometimes make things work, but in general they stumble, and luck into things instead of engineer them.
Alex Jones knows his audience; they fear intelligence, they hate those who ask questions. They want a simple world, which can be explained in a single book. They deny the real world for a fantasy land where the good guys wear white, everyone is the same religion, and there is nothing to question. Is it any wonder they hate nerds?
To close, there is a quote from Isaac Azimov which applies very well to Alex Jones and his kind:
Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’
Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.
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