Friday, June 29, 2007

Ratatouille Star Patton Oswalt on the Geek/Nerd Distinction

For obvious reasons, we here at Geekanerd are always looking for good ways to explain the difference between a geek and a nerd. In a recent Wired interview, Patton Oswalt (described in the article as "a lightsaber-toting Lenny Bruce") explained his take on it:

"A lot of nerds aren't aware they're nerds. A geek has thrown his hands up to the universe and gone, 'I speak Klingon — who am I fooling? You win! I'm just gonna openly like what I like.' Geeks tend to be a little happier with themselves."

Wikipedia defines the two terms thusly:

Geek: "An individual who is fascinated by knowledge and imagination, usually electronic or virtual in nature."
Nerd: "Refers to somebody who passionately pursues intellectual or esoteric knowledge or pastimes rather than engaging in social life"

Anyone else care to chime in with their own personal distinctions?

Also, read the rest of that Wired article for choice bits from Oswalt about his D&D midlife crisis and murdering George Lucas with a shovel.


Scott said...

My opinion has been that geeks are nerds on steroids. I consider myself a nerd, not a geek.

To me, a GEEK is a computer programmer with tape on his glasses, a pocket protector, bad case of acne, wicked overbite, and a laugh like Robert Carradine in "Revenge of the Nerds".

Whereas a NERD simply likes things like gaming, sci-fi, and any number of other nerdish pursuits.

Nerds are more likely to travel in packs and get sunlight than are geeks.

Degan said...

I'm inclined to agree with Scott in many ways (though i think patton's view is probably correct). I've come to terms with the fact that my concept of geeks and nerds isn't shared by many.

I've always thought of nerds as a bit more subtle than geeks-geeks are more obsessive and completely lacking in social graces-whereas nerds understand that your average folk don't care if the Hulk could beat superman (which he couldn't).

Geeks were always bigger dorks to me... but then, maybe those were just dorks. So that's where i have always stood-but i'm completely open to the possibiltiy that i'm way wrong-in fact, i'm just gonna trust patton on this one.

Anonymous said...

I think nerds make more money than geeks.

Degan said...

yeah, that sounds about right.