Morning Music: White and Nerdy

Straight Outta Lynwood - Weird Al Yankovic - White and NerdyIf you have to listen to a white person rap, it is probably best that it be Weird Al Yankovic on “White and Nerdy.” It’s very good. It cuts a bit to close to the bone for me. But it also suffers from the same problem that The Big Bang Theory does. Every white and nerdy guy is white and nerdy in his own way.

I think that we were all a lot more alike in high school. Yes: we all played D&D, for example. But you can’t be ostentatiously nerdy without realizing that you can’t be ostentatiously nerdy when you are like all the other ostentatiously nerdy guys.

Or maybe that’s just me. After all, I’ve always hung out more with the theater and literary crowd than the science geeks. It’s just that within the the theater and literary crowd, I am the science geek. In general, I find the science geeks really boring. (Doesn’t speak well of what the theater and literary crowd thinks of me, does it?!)

But the video displays very well what I think of as the defining characteristic of a nerd: being oblivious about just how uncool you are. The irony is that what is cool is defined by the nerds. Because things that are uncool today will be cool tomorrow. “Cool” is a loser’s game played by boring people. What’s ultimately interesting in a human being is their self-assurance and belief in their own tastes.

Is that Key and Peele at the beginning of the “White and Nerdy” video?

9 thoughts on “Morning Music: White and Nerdy

  1. Slacktivist once described coolness as being about integrity. If you know who you are and don’t try to pretend to be someone else, then that ultimately makes you cool. Of course, it’s not always that simple when you’re a teenager, but it’s a start.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/11/04/lose-your-cool-backpacks-bowties-blue-hair-and-youth-ministers/

    Also, here’s Al rapping in the role of Sir Isaac Newton:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yis7GzlXNM

    • Oh goodness, that rap battle was fantastic. Al was great. People who don’t appreciate the genre forget how musical a genre rap is; you do need to have tons of practice hours to speak your lyrics in correct time and emphasis along with the beat. Aside from his comic chops, Al is actually quite a skilled musician.

      There’s actually a thing called “nerdcore” rap, and here’s my favorite practitioner, MC Frontalot (who usually raps much faster than this — here he’s slowing down for effect): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r-4Irm_Ww8

    • It is hard when you are a teenager, because you are still a child. But I like that definition of cool. The thing is, you need some kind of personal support — but not much. I have however seen things that were totally uncool because cool, and vise versa. People used to think my listening to really old music was totally uncool. Now they may not like it, but they show signs of knowing that they are on the wrong side of coolness history. Of course, it will all become uncool again, which is the point. As Popeye said, “I yam what I yam.” And none of us have any choice so we ought to embrace it.

  2. A couple of years ago a Youtuber named Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN) released a movie that had a bunch of premieres all over the country. My best friend, who is one of the living versions of that song, went to the one in LA. He sent me pictures of the event. It was wall to wall white dudes with a couple of women in there who were clearly there because they love their boyfriends/husbands and wanted to support them.

    These days being nerdy like “Weird Al” or the AVGN it is considered cool. Fifteen years ago no one would ever fund a movie for someone like that guy. Now? Not quite a Hollywood premiere but a coordinated nationwide live event.

      • Not this guy in my book but then you are cool in my book so maybe that book isn’t very cool.

        Except I keep forgetting it in the freezer.

        • I just mean the society at large. I really only think Miles Davis was cool. I’m not sure of the etymology of the word, but I’ve always assumed it came from jazz and the move from Bebop, which was hot, to Davis and company who were very cool.

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