Podcast: American Nerd author Benjamin Nugent

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Benjamin Nugent is the author of "American Nerd: The Story of My People"
It's a book on nerds that's part history, part sociology, part reportage and part memoir. Nugent traces the history of the nerd, from the antagonists of romanticism in the 19th century to the classic Hollywood nerds of the 1970s and 80s to the "geek pride" and "nerd hipster" classes of today. He also writes movingly about his own childhood, and that of the friends with whom he played role-playing games as a middle school student.

If you enjoyed this show, try these:
David Hajdu on Comics in the 1950s
Merlin Mann
Patton Oswalt


Interesting but I can't agree with his characterization of the nerd stereotype in the 70's as affectionate or warm at all - I recall it as a virulently negative term for a very long time indeed. Only with the growth of group awareness and identity (ie via BBS's, then the internet) and the attachment of financial success to the stereotype did things really start to change.