February 15, 2012

While explaining why he hates the BIG BANG THEORY...

36 comments:

  1. Science RULES. Bill bill bill bill bill bill Nye the science guy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is kind of true.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'll raise my Battle Axe to that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. But... Thats one of the GOOD nerd Stereotypes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. All stereotypes have some iota of truth to them. Nerd/Geek culture is no different.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think the greater inaccuracy is purporting that the world's best scientists are into comics and Star Trek and shit. All the movers and shakers I've known through my academic career were drawn more to the fine arts.

    And beer.

    Although I did know a paleontologist with a Spongebob obsession.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Steven Hawking is a big fan of Trek and Red Dwarf.

      Delete
  7. See.. that's where I draw the line between nerds and geeks.
    Nerds like science.
    Geeks don't.
    I'm a geek.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Other way around, dude. Geeks are the ones who love math and science and pocket protectors and have no people skills. Nerds are the ones who like Science-Fiction and Dungeons And Dragons and have limited people skills.

      Delete
    2. And when I say "limited", I mean they actually have a few friends, but that doesn't mean they're in any way popular. I mean, how else would they be able to play games like Dungeons And Dragons which require more than two people to play?

      Delete
    3. Incorrect. Nerds like math and science. That's why the stereotypical nerd has the pocket protector for pens and calculator. Geek comes from the carny concept of a freak or an outcast. Nerd comes from, well, nerds.

      Delete
    4. No, I'm with Anon 9.05. Geeks are the comic-book, Trekkie fans. Nerds are the mathematicians and scientists.

      Delete
    5. You can be a geek about anything. You can be a math and science geek, or you can be a star trek geek, or a car geek, or a literature geek, whatever. Geeking out about something is just going into way too much detail.

      I view the terms a little interchangeably though. Nerd is just the one which is an insult/slur.

      Delete
  8. I thought the problem with the Big Bang Theory was that it isn't funny.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Saying you have to be 'good at science' to appreciate it is like saying you have to play at least two instruments before you can appreciate music.

    A geek with no interest in 'science stuff' is a jock, even if he reads comics instead of watching sports.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Meh. Big Bang doesn't do it for me because in the end it's still laughing AT nerds, not WITH nerds. I mean, alright, only a small demographic would watch a show that was nothing but comic book talk and Whedon quotes for half an hour, but still...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Look, here's the Merriam-Webster definitions for geek and nerd:
    Geek - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/geek
    Nerd - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nerd?show=0&t=1329329208

    As we can see there are similarities for both words, but differences as well. The major difference being that nerds (based on the above definitions) are those who learn for the sake of learning. A geek is more likely either a carnival performer, or someone who specializes in a certain field, but may not necessarily enjoy science or a science-based field. The Big Bang Theory characters are a bit of both, really.

    ReplyDelete
  12. He aid while wearing a G.I. Joe shirt.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Brad the Dad2/15/2012 3:07 PM

    I'd really like to see more posts that clarify the difference between nerds and geeks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "He aid while wearing a G.I. Joe shirt."

    I don't wear G.I. Joe shirts, but I do wear Batman and Star Trek shirts. I'm a scientist and a nerd, and the BBT is completely accurate in portraying almost all scientists as nerds. We are. But most of us are not socially awkward, weird, or barely capable of normal interaction and functioning in common society.

    What BBT gets wrong (and what makes it so harmful) is not that it perpetuates the (correct) stereotype that most scientists are nerds. Rather, it's that it perpetuates the (incorrect) stereotype that most scientists are nerds that cannot function as normal, social human beings. It's simply untrue. An earlier comic had a character pointing out that BBT is like blackface for nerds - and I agree with that 100%. It portrays us as weird, bumbling fools, and it's insulting and degrading for that.

    I cannot tell you how many times I silently facepalm when I tell people that I'm a particle physicist and they inevitably ask "Hey, is everyone at your lab like those guys on Big Bang Theory?" They honestly don't believe otherwise and have to ask - hence, the perpetuation of the negative stereotype. They're not laughing with us, they're laughing at us, because they believe it's possible that it's true...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still think the "Blackface for nerds" is hyperbolic. Until businesses refuse to serve you on the grounds that you like Star Trek, get over it, because it's not really the same thing.

      Delete
    2. (Not that nerdery is portrayed any differently on other US TV shows.)
      ------------
      Blackface and racism are not synonyms. The show is "like" blackface for nerds. Not like racism, not the same as racism, not the same as blackface, but similar. Blackface is not even a product of hatred-based racism but of cultural ignorance. Hatred-based racism of African people is mostly a post Civil War problem. The bigots thought of Africans like farm animals or equipment; not a lot of people go around lynching cows and chickens. There's a PBS documentary airing soon that should be about this.

      Delete
    3. I always liked "Nerdsploitation" better.

      Delete
  15. Sis anyone else imagine sheldon's voice when reading that last comment?

    ReplyDelete
  16. IMO the greatest failing of the BBT is that they spend way too much time explaining things to each other that they should all know about, such as the Supercollider, the laws of thermodynamics and elementary aspects of Hindu culture. The show isn't written for smart people, its written for the mainstream, to laugh AT those weirdo smarties.
    P.S. How come the guys never get together and fix that damn elevator?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe because they were the ones who broke it in the first place?

      Delete
  17. James Williams2/16/2012 9:28 AM

    "What BBT gets wrong (and what makes it so harmful) is not that it perpetuates the (correct) stereotype that most scientists are nerds. Rather, it's that it perpetuates the (incorrect) stereotype that most scientists are nerds that cannot function as normal, social human beings."

    I disagree. The show follows a small group for which these stereotypes apply, from which the humor comes. Leonard is only marginally socially awkward and some of their coworkers are not awkward at all. It makes no sweeping generalizations, only that this group is weird. You can't deny that there are some folks like these characters.

    Untwist your wadded panties.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wait, a sitcom that uses exaggerated characters for humor? Stop the presses!
    You mean not all New Yorkers are neurotic narcissists? Not all Bostonians base their entire lives around the neighborhood bar? Not every Mobile Army Surgical Hospital is full of loveable scamps and cut-ups and pranksters?

    My world is shattered.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The problem isn't the fact it's a sitcom about nerds. It's more to do with the fact the show has managed to paint us (people who identify themselves as a nerd/geek) AS them. Imagine being a veitnam medic and being asked if it was like M.A.S.H. I'm not comparing the severity, just using an example.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "I disagree. The show follows a small group for which these stereotypes apply, from which the humor comes."

    Think back to the blackface example. Imagine that I presented to you a traditional blackface stage show. If you then told me that blackface was degrading of black people (by portraying them as bumbling fools all the time), and I responded by saying "No, only these particular characters are bumbling fools" - wouldn't you feel I was being a tad bit disingenuous?

    "Leonard is only marginally socially awkward and some of their coworkers are not awkward at all."

    I've seen at least a dozen episodes - all of the characters and co-workers (from main characters to side characters, like the female physicist Leonard hooked up with), including Leonard, were painted as being painfully socially awkward and bizarre. Yes, Leonard was the most mild of them - but the fact that he can be painted as the best of the bunch is not complementary to the show;s characterizations...

    "It makes no sweeping generalizations, only that this group is weird."

    The implication is that this is a typical representation of nerds and scientists. In the minds of a general audience, who wouldn't know any better, this isn't a special case of nerds and scientists - this tends more to the typical in their minds. It's playing on and enforcing an already-existent stereotype.

    It's not as if there are a half dozen shows focusing on the social life of nerds and that this is the one that focuses on weird nerds. Again, imagine there was only one show on TV focusing on the personal, social life of any other easily-categorized social group (like, say, black people), and it portrayed them as being socially incapable of normal interaction or thinking...what would be the unspoken implication? And even if that implication wasn't intentional...what would be the inevitable affect on cultural biases and beliefs in a mass, general audience, most of whom do not have the personal experience to know any better?

    "You can't deny that there are some folks like these characters."

    I deny that the number of folks like these characters, in the real world nerd and scientist population, is at all significant enough to justify these kinds of stereotypes (or even your belief that "there are some folks like these characters").

    I've worked with hundreds of physics grad students, post-docs, researchers, and professors in my career. They're all nerds, but only a few of them would be classified as "weird" enough to rank with characters like Leonard. And I don't know anyone who comes close to the level of Sheldon.

    "Untwist your wadded panties."

    Oh, right. And here I thought we were having a clear, polite discussion on the comment boards...and we stoop to this kind of juvenile crap? Really? Way to throw out the credibility of the rest of your post right out the window...

    ReplyDelete
  21. faaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrttttttttttttttttttttttttt

    ReplyDelete
  22. "Big Bang Theory just makes this whole stereotype that all comic nerds are smart an' whatever. An' that's just not true. I mean, look at me!"

    Disregarding the argument of whether BBT has an accurate or positive representation of nerds/geeks (which it doesn't), this guy's statement is just wrong. Yes, the four main characters are comic book geeks who are also science nerds, but all the other people on the show are either one or the other (or neither). The other people who are always at the comic book store don't seem to be geniuses in science or math. And the other people who work at the college don't seem to read comic books. If the only stereotype people took away from BBT was that people who read comic books are genius scientists, that would be kind of funny and awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Actually... I kind-of agree with this guy from the opposite side of things. Not that there's anything wrong with loving comic books (as I used to), but rather when you get really heavily into studying the super-nerdy subjects you probably lack the time and money to keep up your comic book habit (as I currently do).

    It's not impossible to be a math/science whiz in college and also regularly read comics, but it's hard. In high school it's easier because the smarter you are the more stimulation you need for your brain because the teachers (usually) can't keep up, and since you don't need to pay for high school you just spend your money on comics. But for me it eventually became an either-or thing. The library helped for a while (Hellboy, complete Sandman collection, Invincible hardback collections, complete Y The Last Man and many other good ones), but eventually I had to face the fact that I just couldn't maintain my rate of acquisition and missing out on even half of that would kill me. So I quit altogether (for now).

    But then right when I quit Brand New Day and Countdown happened and frankly I'm glad I got out before two entire universes of superheroes were ruined for me. (There's always Astro City, Invincible, Tom Strong, Ex Machina, Fables, and all the other non-Marvel non-DC stuff, but it would not have been enough.)

    Eventually when I get back into comics, I want to get back into digital comics, because I know I'm not going to have enough physical storage space to archive the amount I want to consume. But not until I'm done my studies.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I do find that now if I mention comics, conventions or anything like that I get the reply "like on big bang theory?" - "Well, yes and no"

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is an old issue in science fiction fandom, going back decades. Hard SF authors and editors were disappointed that most of their fans weren’t using SF as inspiration for real-world science careers, but were instead just enjoying the stories.

    The danger in the “Big Bang Theory” stereotype of nerds also being scientists lies in the inevitable disappointment and judgment someone will have against nerds who do not turn out to be scientists.

    ReplyDelete

.

.