December 26, 2012

The Year of the Nerds

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Every year should be the year of the nerds in my opinion but 2012 they really shined. It was more the year when people became more aware of what was going on in society and stood up. "Educated citizens" if you will. We saw a movement from praising the jock types and have a bit of "Revenge of the Nerds" moment where Americans sought out answers and those providing them were those who had facts (and numbers) and were not corrupted by Washington or money.

While politicians like Rick Santorum were calling people with college educations "elitest" when in fact being educated (whether through school or life) is the best weapon you have. Protestors from Occupy Wall Street to Wisconsin union workers, were educated enough to see what the politicians were trying to do and did the most powerful act Americans have - the right to protest. Politicians have always tried to control the masses, nothing new, but they try to make us forget the biggest weapon we have is coming together because when we do we possess all the power and have the right to overthrow them (if we so desire). This year, and hopefully in 2013, we scared them. We had our voices heard during the elections and Occupy has infiltrated several major movements throughout the country: Sandy, Occupy our Homes, etc.

Bill Clinton gave his famous "facts" speech at the Democratic National Convention. Where he broke down this rhetoric that Stephen Colbert refers to as "from the gut" sarcastically but it is actually a talking point for many on the right that said we don't need facts. WHAT?! Bill Clinton being the charismatic guy he is was able to break through to the average American and explain the numbers which are not that complex but the ideas surrounding them are. Americans typically vote for a guy they like or feel like they hang out with (i.e. W) but we just re-elected a well-educated President who never had to dumb himself down but was still able to explain complex issues to the public.

While Americans were dumbing themselves down with Honey Boo Boo and the Real Housewives, the nerds were getting their own TV shows and becoming best selling authors like Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes. Chris Hayes is someone who probably wouldn't be able to get his own show because he's considered so "progressive" but in actuality he just tries to uncover the truth and isn't afraid to ask the tough questions unlike most washed out Washington pundits (looking at you Chuck Todd....).

Nate Silver became a god among intellectuals (or nerds) for using basic algorithms to determine the election. No longer do you have to be the "cool guy everyone wants to hang out with" but more of the guy I want to hang out with so hopefully I become smarter. Nate Silver is never one I imagined (or Barack Obama for that matter) would be considered idols but I'm sure glad they are and makes me proud about something in my generation.

Hopefully in 2013 there will be a continued push to appreciate unbiased facts rather than having major media outlets put it down. We used to value education and our ability to compete in the global economy with our inventions, but that has definitely fell by the wayside. Millions of college students will be paying off their student loans for years to come, let them feel they got some value out of it. Putting down education or intelligence doesn't set a fine example. It would be a great message to send to the next generation that having a large vocabulary is sexy (rather than having the vocabulary of a 2nd grader with your own TV show) and to seek out respectable jobs rather than making their living by being a "reality star" who's fame is built on getting into fights for other people's amusement. What does that say about our society? We'll pay to watch women call each other bitches and throw drinks in each other's faces. Classless.

As South Park discussed, we've seriously lowered the bar. I really don't know who this generation (and mine for that matter) look up to. We were told to look up to celebrities. Lindsay Lohan, don't think so. Some looked to athletes - turns out they're all doping. It's nice to finally have some that make me question things or want to learn more. Let's not discuss crotch shots but rather let's discuss how to make a more functioning society.

How will you remember 2012?

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