Thursday, March 25, 2010

Geeks and Nerds and Dorks, Oh My!

Last week, we got into a philosophical discussion regarding the correct classification of nerds, geeks, and dorks.  While these terms are definitely up for different interpretations, I decided to tighten up the requirments of each group within the realm of Not-So-Gentle Reader

Naturally, I decided to make a venn diagram... I don't think there's any question anymore of my belonging to one of those three groups.  Now it's just a matter of figuring out which one.
First up, we have the Geeks, a group that I would say takes a more-than-casual interest in a subject, whether that is a certain genre of film or literature, video games, technology, or some other hobby or form of entertainment.  Geeks are generally well-socialized and can blend easily into the fabric of everyone else with ease.  Everyone's favorite example of a geek seems to be Vin Diesel, who can play the Hollywood game by day but plays Dungeons & Dragons by night.

Nerds, on the other hand, take a more-than-casual interest in a subject that tends toward the academic, whether that is "literature" (which I differentiate from the more geeky genres of science fiction / fantasy) or another field that probably requires some kind of formal education to really "get."    (For example, as a caver I know more than the average bear about geology, but I'm not a true "nerd" the way those cavers who are geologists may be.)  I would also include a tendency towards organization in this group.

Finally, we have Dorks.  Classification as a dork does not require an interest in any subject, academic or otherwise.  Instead, it requires a general clumsiness, a lack of social polish, and probably a lack of fashion sense.  My favorite example of a dork from popular culture is Napoleon Dynamite.

But that's not all, my friends!  We also have those individuals who cross the boundaries between classifications, the Geeky Nerds (Leonard from Big Bang Teory), the Nerdy Dorks (let's say Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, since I can't think of a better example), the Dorky Geeks (Kip from Napoleon Dynamite), and the Geeky Nerdy Dorks (Sheldon from Big Bang Theory).

And where do I fit in this Venn Diagram?  As someone who keeps a "literary" blog, can recite the dialogue from The Princess Bride from beginning to end, and dances like someone who may be having some kind of seizure, I am most definitely...
A geeky nerdy dork.  (It's true.  OKCupid told me so in a quiz that is entirely scientific.)


Enbrethiliel said...


Your last diagram is so perfect! =P And utterly scientific!

I'd say I fall into the "Geeky Nerd" sector BUT that good grammar demands that I be identified a "Nerdy Geek."

And now I feel bad for "Everyone Else"!

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Is geeky not an adjective? If not, I'll just coin the phrase and then claim royalties when other people use it.

And I feel bad for everyone else, too! Aren't they BORED? I know I would be.

Greg Zimmerman said...

Ow. My brain hurts. Nicely done, though!

How would you classify the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons? I've always wondered that....

Bethany said...

WOW! Some science!

But I'd say I'm probably a nerdy dork. With a hint of geek, probably. Yes. Hmm...

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Greg: I'd say the Comic Book Guy is a geeky dork, mostly because I've never heard him talk about anything that isn't comic book / science fiction related. (I quote him all the time, though. "Worst. Star Wars movie. Ever. I will see it only seven more times in theatres.")

Bethany: I couldn't help myself with the diagram. When I told one of my friends I was making a venn diagram of nerds, geeks, and dorks, she had to roll her eyes. So I figure my place right in the middle is well deserved haha.

I also think dorkiness changes daily--for example, I'm much more of a dork when I drink. :)

Jillian said...

I guess I'm a nerd. Then again, I can also be a geeky nerd though. Lol.

This is a great and interesting post. I'm going to ask all my geeky/nerdy/dorky friends to read this :D

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Sometimes I think the two go hand-in-hand--most of the people I know who are geeks also have some nerdy tendencies, and I've only known a couple nerds who were not all geeky or dorky. :)

Homero said...

Oh. Dear. Lord.

You've gone mad. This indicates that you have far too much time on your hands. That said, so do I.

I'm assuming that with "Nerdy Geek" that "nerde" is modifying the word "geek", so that one is a nerd with geek like tendencies (just like red-orange is different from orange-red). A good example of this would be Kenneth Parcell from "30 Rock" (most of these examples are going to come from TV, so you better just zone out now.) He's obsessed with NBC TV and it's history, so much so that he's stunted his personal growth in an effort to become 'closer' to it, by litterally moving to New Tork to be a page for NBC.

Liz Lemon. also of "30 Rock" neatly fits with in the definition of a "Dorky Nerd Geek," exhibiting symptoms of all three of these things. Physically appeaing, but very unaware of it, she is a klutz who is socially obtuse, has a love affair with sugar foods and sandwiches, and has a number of odd obessions.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

I LOVE 30 ROCK. I watched part of the first season for the first time this weekend (since I don't have TV, I've pretty much missed the entire 30 Rock thing and am now seven years late) but love the characters and the way they interact. It's awesome.

And I agree about the nerdy geek vs. geeky nerd (and only a nerdy geek or geeky nerd would point that out, by the way), but there was no way in hell I was going to put together a whole color wheel of options. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

And I have just the right amount of time on my hands, by the way. Just enough to entertain myself creating things without an ounce of pracicality, but not enough for me to create those things in spray paint on the side of buildings. :)

Bethany said...

Mostly, I see a diagram and freak! Science (or even just sciency looking things) doesn't compute well in my brain at all. So I had to try really hard with this. Heh.

I feel like I have achieved something today!

Cozy Book Nook said...

I must be a 'geek-of-all-trades' or maybe a 'renaissance geek' and I'm definitely married to a huge one. Just how much interest is 'more-than-casual interest' anyway? I don't go to conventions or anything. Well, not my own conventions. I've attended plenty of hubby's crazy conventions. I actually do my hobbies-- he just gathers paraphernalia and convenes. Can you add a section for lazy geek or couch potato geek? ;D


Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Bethany: If I managed to make something "sciency looking," then I've achieved something today too!

Lesa: I would say that the difference between a casual interest and a more-than-casual interest would be the difference between someone who watches a movie once and someone who watches it over and over again, can quote it, has watched the director's cut, and has thought about the meaning behind the movie.

It's definitely qualitative vs. quantitative.

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, "geeky" is definitely an adjective!

I was just splitting hairs the way Crayola does with colours like "blue-green" and "green-blue." Since I'm more of a geek with some nerdy qualities, I went for "geeky nerd"! =P

PS--I came back to edit this post because my verification word is . . . "chide"!

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Oh, I get it. I'm a little slow sometimes apparently haha.

And your comment about the word verification reminded me that I really like the Word Verification Balderdash over at Wordsmithonia. It's an excellent opportunity to be creative with something fairly mundane. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm 51 and have only recently become comfortable with the internet, email, uploading pictures happy to find this page! I get it and you'll are my peoples!! I might be a nerdy geek. I love sci-fi and fantasy and am rabid about Jane Austen.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Welcome! There's a whole bunch of us on the internet, for sure!

I go through fantasy "phases" (my favorite writer is Brandon Sanderson) and I love Jane Austen, but I'm not much on science fiction. If it hurts my brain to figure out the physics of whatever they're talking about, then I'm not going to go out of my way to read it. :)

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