Thursday, February 18, 2010
Generational Gap on Nerds
What is a nerd and how do we feel about them? The answers are decidedly different depending on your age. The 9th grader was sitting at the kitchen table the other night working on geography and the question was, during a study break, how are nerds viewed in your school? Without missing a beat, she noted, "They are smart and liked by other kids." Wow. If you are over 40 something that is not the description you would have used. They were socially out of it. Certainly not a member of the in-clique which frowned on glasses held together by duct tape and a slide rule hanging down with countless pens protruding from their shirt pocket. Of course this generational revelation is important in the context of the Nerd ads that Rick Snyder is imposing on every TV viewer in the state…at least he hopes everyone. He is in desperate need to up his name ID, so the Ann Arbor business guy has taken a calculated risk by calling himself a nerd for governor and with the younger set it will probably work. That's because they aspire to be rich like other nerds, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Being rich and being nerdy go hand in glove with the younger set and so the ad works. However, research indicates that young people don't vote. Oh sure, they showed up in astounding numbers for Barack Obama, but then they retreated to their ipods and text messaging thing-a-ma-bobs. In strong contrast the older folks, who don't cotton to nerds, vote in larger numbers and may not want a nerdy governor. It's a roll of the dice with Snyder thinking perhaps he can rekindle the Obama generation and get them to the polls in August when most of them will be on the beach soaking up some rays. Snyder wins with Obama voters…in a GOP primary? Wow, somebody pass the duct tape.