Over at CNN, there’s a lengthy article about Liz Lee, the self-proclaimed nerd and star of her own reality show on MTV, “My Life as Liz.”
I’d stop there and just say that having your own reality show in MTV immediately makes you not a nerd, but I’m going to take it a few steps further. Indeed, I think all we need to is take a look at the lovely Ms. Lee, pictured at left.
See that? She has clear skin, a pretty, made-up smile, a quirky confidence that belies her 18 years, great hair, and hip, indie style. I ask you, ladies and…well, probably mostly ladies — is this a nerd?
And the answer is no.
Listen — I have nothing against people who were popular in high school. I myself was neither here nor there when it came to popularity. But I’ve known (and even been related to) my fair share of nerds, and let me tell you, it doesn’t become cool to be a nerd until you’re around 25 — if, indeed, it ever does. That’s because 25 is about when you’re somewhat certain that you will be able to overcome your high school trauma, make a good living and find a nerd-partner (or, as I’ve seen happen more times than I like to recount, you turn into a TOTAL FUCKING WOMAN-HATING DOUCHEBAG to make up for all the chicks who turned you down as a teen).
Instead, Liz Lee represents an excellent example of the difference between Real Nerd, and Nerd Chic. Being a nerd in high school — like a real, picked on, made fun of nerd — is horrible. Wearing nerd chic is fun, makes you feel special and nonconformist, and increases the likelihood that boys who read McSweeney’s will want to date you (I generally consider that a negative, but whatever).
Liz Lee is, in case you couldn’t tell, the latter. It’s too bad, because she’s basically taking a massive shit on shows like “Freaks and Geeks,” which portrayed something similar to real nerdhood. But I suppose that’s MTV — and you know what? I’ll take Snooki over Liz any day.