Neil deGrasse Tyson: nerd alert!
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As presenter of the popular science programme Cosmos and director of the Hayden Planetarium, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has become the leading voice of science and reason for many Americans. But not all.
“He is the fetish and totem of the extraordinarily puffed-up ‘nerd’ culture that has of late started to bloom across the United States,” writes Charles CW Cooke for the National Review. “‘Nerd’ has become a calling a card – a means of conveying membership of one group and denying affiliation with another.”
For Cooke the idea of the “nerd” no longer represents World of Warcraft and Star Trek. Instead the term has been co-opted by liberal Americans as a kind of political strategy:
“One part insecure hipsterism, one part unwarranted condescension, the two defining characteristics of self-professed nerds are (a) the belief that one can discover all of the secrets of human experience through differential equations and (b) the unlovely tendency to presume themselves to be smarter than everybody else in the world.”
But the political left’s embrace of “nerdom” is “little more than a ruse,” he continues. “They have the patois but not the passion; the clothes but not the style; the posture but not the imprimatur.”
Cooke’s portrayal of these supposed fake, liberal nerds prompted a sharp response from the left.
“It’s easy to see why, despite their supposed enthusiasm for excellence, conservative pundits would offer up liberal scientists, journalists and artists as hate objects for their base,” writes Amanda Marcotte for Salon.