Celebrating Nerdiness

Sep 12, 2017 in Description

Why is Tom Rogers Celebrating Nerdiness?

Tom Rogers, the author of the essay "Fellow Nerds: Let's Celebrate Nerdiness", defines himself as a nerd. According to him, modern society has a poor understanding of what this term means which leads to misconceptions and stereotypes. Therefore, he writes a definition essay for people to have a more clear idea of what it means to be a nerd.

The purpose of the essay is to explain, that the definition of middle school nerds or the nerds in general, is not as horrible as many people think. Rogers wants to ruin some of the popular stereotypes about people like him and says that he actually enjoys being such a person. He states the purpose of the essay in the second sentence, saying that, although somewhat changed due to the appearance of the Internet, the term is still explained incorrectly. However, the author does not give a clear definition of the word. Throughout the essay, he says which features are characteristic to nerds and which are not, describes his and his children's nerdy life, but does not propose a comprehensive definition. In my opinion, such strategy is not quite effective because he starts his essay with the depreciation of the existing definition, but fails to give the "correct" one, so the purpose is not fully accomplished.

In the very beginning of the essay, Rogers defines the term by negation. He says what nerds are supposed to be, and then explains what they really are. For instance, he argues that according to popular belief, nerds always try to please the authorities, but he calls it "nonsense" (Rogers, para. 1). Further, in the essay, he tries to guess where the stereotypes about nerds come from and explains what their behavior really means. For example, Rogers argues that his "enthusiasm for answering the teacher's questions" created the impression among the other students that he "was deliberately trying to make them look bad" (Rogers, para, 2). It is worth mentioning that the language of the author is aimed at presenting misconceptions as negative and completely untrue. Such effect is achieved through the use of stylistically marked adjectives, such as "narrow-minded" and "thoughtless".

Another tactic used by the author, to define the term is telling the story of his own and other people's lives. This is particularly effective because to understand what being a nerd means you have actually to be one. Rogers talks about his feelings and intentions and decides that it is rather good to be a person like him. He tells the events from different stages of his life, from early school years till his adult life and shares his experience with the reader. He also mentions his children's lifestyle, which appears to be somewhat troubled due to people's misunderstanding of nerdiness. To make the idea of being a nerd, look more attractive, Rogers uses some outstanding names in his essay (Newton, Einstein, Tesla and Thomas Paine) arguing, "17-year-old versions of these men, placed in modern American high schools, would instantly be labeled as nerds" (Rogers, para. 3).

In his essay, Rogers seeks to defy another popular stereotype — that all nerds are boring and have no sense of humor. He uses many jokes in his writing, and his manner is humoristic and ironic. For instance, the phrase "Like most nerds, I didn't know I was one until I started school" is an obvious indication of the fact that he had problems at school, but nowadays recalls them with a smile on his face (Rogers, para. 2). In addition, he discusses his son's graduation speech, saying that he "delivered 10 minutes of stand-up comedy on being a nerd. The audience laughed until they cried" (Rogers, para. 10). Obviously, the author is very sympathetic towards nerds and is proud to be one.


To sum up, in his essay, Rogers tries to give a comprehensive definition of what a word "nerd" means. Although one cannot find such a definition in the text, it is clear that the modern world has an incorrect understanding of the term. Talking about popular stereotypes and ruining them, Rogers explains that people like him are enthusiastic towards studying, and although often misunderstood by teachers and classmates, they have a good sense of humor and are convinced that nerdiness has its advantages.

Related essays