PEEK

AP Shocker: Obama's a Geek!

Or a nerd?

I suppose this is among the slowest news days on the calendar, but I was still surprised to see this profound bit of reporting gracing the front page real estate of the San Francisco Chroniclethis AM:

President-elect Barack Obama used to collect comic books, can't part with his BlackBerry, and once flashed Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy the Vulcan "Live Long and Prosper" sign.

That and other evidence has convinced some of Obama's nerdier fans that he'll be the first American president to show distinct signs of geekiness. And that's got them as excited as a Tribble around a Klingon.

Obama is good at "repressing his inner geek, but you can tell it's there," especially when he goes into nuanced explanations of technical matters, said Benjamin Nugent, author of the book "American Nerd: The Story of My People."

"One imagines a terrifying rally of 'Star Trek' people shouting, 'One of us!'" Nugent said, in an interview conducted by e-mail, of course.

Others see only some geek qualities, qualifying the president-elect as merely "nerd-adjacent." After all, he's an athlete and kind of cool, some experts demur. Still, there's enough there for geeks to celebrate.

Psychology professor Larry Welkowitz of Keene State College in New Hampshire hopefully speculated that there's a shift in what's cool and that "smart can be in. Maybe that started with the computer programmers of the '90s."

Maybe you should shut up, nerd.

The AP helpfully offers a kind of taxonomy of spazzes for the unitinitiated:

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.
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