Geeks and Nerds
"Whatever you say about sci-fi fans, they have an acute sense of the monumental. A pretty good definition of sci-fi, in fact, is fiction that focuses exclusively on monumental events: plagues, comets, interspecies wars, the return of the dinosaurs." Nugent, American Nerd
In Benjamin Nugent's American Nerd, the subtitle reads "The Story of My People". Certainly it isn't the story of my people. Apparently, American nerds are pretty much all men. Nugent does touch lightly on the presence of racial and sexist stereotypes at work in the construction of the nerd. There is even a chapter examining Asperger's Syndrome (which affects males more regularly than females - to the tune of 90% according to the book) and arguing that the syndrome became a problem at the same time that being a nerd became a major obstacle to social acceptance. It was interesting to read about the historical, literary, and cinematic development of the nerd stereotype and a few things resonated with me, particularly the idea of adult-onset coolness and the idea of dignity through candor (as opposed to WASPy concealing of emotions and impolite activities) because I certainly do that.
While American Nerd was interesting, but not inspiring, an article in the Spring 2007 issue of Shameless by Erin Hoffman was much more resonant.
"Yet my mother's geekiness is not merely a lust for high-tech toys. It lies in a tireless pursuit for a better way to do things, a sense of eternally young idealism. Her love of gadgetry is a love for efficiency, of building tools that allow us to do more, experience more, and accomplish more in the brief time we each have on earth...
Thus, geekhood is not about technology alone. I like to think it has its roots in something truer, deeper, and more complex: the vision that we can make the world a better place, and the passion to pursue that vision with vigour and clarity of purpose...
In the great social taxonomy, geeks and hippies are common descendants, for they share a philosophical vision. And vision is what geekdom is all about."
If Erin Hoffman writes a book about Girl Geeks, it would certainly make it onto my to-buy list.