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" Since "nerd" has lost so much of its stigma and specificity over the passing decades, it's now become a marketing term, engineered to target and appeal to young (and young-ish) men.
Take a look at Loot Crate's offerings, and you'll notice it's often hard to understand just how "nerd" figures into the equation. I prefer a little more consistency in my pop culture tchotchkes, thank you very much.
"Nerd's" transition from insult to all-encompassing buzzword might seem like a positive thing, but as we've seen with the tug-of-war over the equally meaningless title of "gamer," this change has resulted in some harmful effects.
Just as gendered toys place arbitrary restrictions on enjoyment, "nerd culture" throws up similarly frustrating boundaries--as in "These are the things you're supposed to like, and if you don't, you'd better start." Take a look at websites that used to focus primarily on video games, and you'll now see articles about pizza, rollercoasters, wrestling, James Bond movies, and SNL sketches. Of course, you probably realize "nerd culture" was never about nerds to begin with.
nerds--and not just the people reading these words on a video game website.
By shifting the blame from the people themselves to the market forces that drive them, Pegg--whose autobiography is titled --really highlights the insidious nature of "nerd." There's nothing wrong with escapism, of course, but anything branded with this descriptor is typically designed to placate and pacify, rather than challenge.
This wouldn't be an issue if the whole "nerd" identity--as with "gamer"--wasn't constantly reinforced by marketing.
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