A message from Portlandia, the IFC sketch show created by and starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. Honestly, I think it's one of the consistently cleverest shows on TV right now, but this can o' worms they're stepping into... NOT to take away from their own nerd creds, but this video plays upon a big (and perhaps stupid) controversy within the "nerd" community of late -- which is "nerd come latelies" and more specifically, hot women who call themselves nerds.
Watch the PSA. I'll have more to say below, after you've seen it.
Watched it? Good. Now here's the thing. It looks to me like Armisen and Brownstein got a real person from Portland to deliver this PSA, and he may be speaking honestly. (My favorite part that struck a chord of reality is "Usually I'm really good at ranting.")
And yes, he makes a point that I've made to hipsters for years -- wearing glasses because you like the look and not because you actually need them to see does NOT make you a nerd. In fact, these days it probably makes you fashionable so stop using them for nerd cred. I've run into people like Zachary Levi and Nathan Fillion at parties, and they do not wear glasses to "fit in." When Kevin Smith wears glasses, it's so he can see. So, wanna-be nerds, those are like the three kings of nerddom right now, all standing in front of Emperor Whedon, who also does not wear glasses.
So that's out of the way.
But where this video fails is that many people don't mind being called nerds, and it fails to address the reality (sorry, Tony Harris) that many women and men who may be judged attractive by society (phew, that was delicate) ARE nerds.
Have you seen Team Unicorn, Mr. Armisen? I'll vouch that every one of them was actively enjoying Comic-Con years before they got any profile; I'd see them around. Clare Grant is such a nerd she married Seth Green for her collection. (Just as Freddie Prinz, Jr. -- the most inexplicably hated of nerds -- is such a nerd he married BUFFY, for gods' sake.)
For people like Brian, I want to suggest something. Look at your life and figure out what's actually making you unhappy. See what you can do about it. But some of the things you mention -- they sound fun. They sound like you're happy. And by the way, Brian, dude, you participated in a funny video.
If you're not Brian, but are like Brian, produce something. Don't just consume. Be a part of what you love, and do it with respect and joy.
Say, where IS Freddie Prinz, Jr. these days, anyway?
Email me. Write on our Facebook page. I'm eager to hear YOUR thoughts.
And join the Unicorps -- not just because our buddy Sean Becker directs Team Unicorn's videos.