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Joss Whedon is Lord of the Nerdiverse

September 29, 2011

I just discovered one of the fundamental laws of the universe, and I must share it with you. No, this has nothing to do with the evidence that neutrinos exceed the light-speed barrier. That’s cool and all, but this is much more important. I have discovered the one trait that defines a nerd as a nerd.

For years this question has stumped me. Every time I thought I was approaching an answer some new piece of evidence would confound my study. Because nerdliness is not a trait that (until now) could be measured directly, I have had to rely on my keen intuition to identify nerds. Unfortunately this method produces a great deal of errors that have greatly hindered my study. That one guy, he was a skater-kid; I didn’t think there was any way he could be a nerd. Turns out he larps. And I’m not talking about the noise Tiffany makes when she chokes. (Internet Cupcake of Bliss to anybody not named Tim who gets the reference.)

I finally pieced it together, though; I finally figured it out. Half of the nerds interviewed talked about some guy named Joss Whedon, and half of them talked about some TV show called Firefly. It wasn’t until I was told that Joss Whedon directed this show called Firefly that I got it. All nerds love Joss Whedon, or they at least love his work. This is the only true nerd litmus test. My findings are presented in a Venn Diagram off to the side.

One interesting finding of this study is that I am technically not considered a nerd. Inasmuch as “being cool” is just the lack of nerdliness, I am actually now considered “cool.” This introduces a unique challenge: almost all of my friends who enjoy Joss Whedon’s work have fairly good taste as far as culture is concerned, but now that I have it, I kinda want to keep my non-nerd status intact. To nerd or not to nerd; that is the question.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 1:47 pm

    If I like the movie “Serenity” but had not known it was directed by Joss Whedon until less than a minute ago or found out that it was a sequel to “Firefly” until I was in a conversation with a Best Buy employee a few weeks ago, does that still make me a nerd? Regardless, I think that this is a plausible definition. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Dad permalink
    September 29, 2011 2:36 pm

    Could it be, Adam, that there are different species of Nerds? Is it possible that there should be another level to your Venn Diagram, showing that the nerds who like Joss Whedon/Firefly/Serenity are simply one nerd-microcosm in the infinity of the multi-nerd-verse? Just sayin’…

    • September 29, 2011 6:50 pm

      There may be different species of nerds, but they are all Whedon fans– or will be. My research is unassailable. and impenetrable.

  3. September 30, 2011 2:36 am





    “Uh, Tiff?”

    *reclines in all-too-comfy office chair and awaits his all-too-breezily-earned Internet Cupcake of Bliss*

  4. Jon-O-Tron 2000 permalink
    September 30, 2011 8:55 am

    Precocious!! I know that one obviously I get one too!! and I guess I am a nerd now! because firefly is amazing! I think you should become a real nerd and watch it! šŸ˜€

    • October 1, 2011 8:53 pm

      *Awards Internet Cupcake of Bliss* I’m going to have to follow it up with a Muffin of Doom if you don’t lighten up on your exclamation points, though. šŸ˜‰

      –This is Adam B abusing my admin powers, and I approve the above message–

      –This is Tim Newton using my admin powers PROPERLY and I disapprove of this invasion of my privacy. Not enough to do anything about it mind you, just enough to write a stern remark. So there.–

  5. May 28, 2012 10:45 am

    Hopefully I have not passed the statute of limitations on replies to this post. Anywho, I have a question; where would one fall in the Venn Diagram who is merely an innocent bystander in a household practically full of Joss Whedon & Firefly lovers? Having never considered myself a nerd I see the need to come to some kind of satisfactory conclusion on this matter.

    PS And another question; when did the Star Trek-nerd litmus test become obsolete?

    • June 3, 2012 12:10 am

      Haha. You bring up some interesting questions.

      I think you can safely consider yourself on the outside. However, nerd proclivities are often passed to children from the parents.

      The Star Trek litmus test is probably still valid when it gives positives, but with the wide range of entertainment choices available to nerds today, it can give false negatives.

      I also want to point out that this will have to remain only a theory. My buddy in the psychology department turned down the opportunity to perform ground-breaking research and confirm this idea.

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