Judge John Hodgman Episode 63: Nature vs. Nerd-ture


Alex and Kristina are a married couple, and are academics who both have pursued admittedly nerdy careers. They're happy with their lot in life, but disagree on handling potential nerdiness in their future children. Should they be allowed to geek out at academic summer camps, or be forced to socialize at camps that focus on the traditional stuff, like canoeing or Capture the Flag?



This was a great episode.

This was a great episode. Very well-rendered judgement from Judge Hodgman!

Podcast Justice

Wow, I just had to comment because the Podcast Justice song was AWESOME!!

Yes, I am catching up on old episodes which is great because I don't have to wait until a new episode is released.


Good episode, but Jesse was wrong about Wet Hot American Summer. REAL wrong.

Sports as preparation for conflict

This was the best Judge John Hodgman so far. I, like His Honor, am mortally afraid of conflict, and have also disdained sports my entire life. I've always been rather proud of that. Now I'm going to force my children to be in sports so they can learn to deal with conflict. :-)

I really loved the following quote:

The thing about people that have played sports that always impresses me is that they are not afraid of conflict, because they have rehearsed conflict throughout their lives...in a kind of ritualized conflict called games. And they appreciate that conflict is something that happens, that you can get the better of or the worst of, and then you can shrug it off, and the world doesn't end just because you fight with someone else.

Nerd Camps rock!

Playing frisbee, dancing, roasting marshmallows, and constructing finite automata.

Doctors Who

The phrase "Eleven Doctors Who" really cracks me up.

Also, I've had the Podcast Justice song stuck in my head for the past two hours.

CTY Sing Alongs

In the 5 summers that I went to the Center for Talented Youth (CTY), we did some kind of singing most sessions. Also, we were "forced" to do typical camp type stuff on weekends - tie-dying shirts, water fights, team-building stuff...but, yes, we also had mock protests, etc.
However, I think it improved my social skills tremendously, in that it brought me out of my shell. I felt comfortable around the other kids and learned to have conversations and get along with others. So, it was definitely useful.
From the ages of 12 until 22 or so, I considered CTY the most important, best experience of my life. :)
I also, however, went to Girl Scout Camp, Church Camp, and Drama Camp - there's no reason you can't do different camps in different summers! Overnight CTY doesn't start until the kid is 11 or 12, anyway.

What century's childhood do you recommend?

In the Nature vs Nerd-ture podcast Judge Hodgeman made the point that so-called normal or stereotypical summer camps are a relatively new innovation, going back only as far as the late nineteenth century.

Which century's version of summer activities for children would his honor recommend? What parts of his own offsprings' childhoods harken back to a century before the nineteenth?