Ghost World and the problem with nerd culture

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The minute I saw Thora Birch in Ghost World, I thought she looked familiar. Not because I remembered American Beauty, or because she resembles Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games. I recognised her because I saw myself at that age – belligerently “different”, sneeringly aloof.

Later on, I realised that she was nothing like me at all – just like in Mean Girls, there isn’t much difference between the cruelty of the alternative kids and the snooty jock set, except that here almost everyone is trying desperately to please her and she throws it all back in their faces.  Continue reading

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10 Sexiest Nerds

It’s very much been a week for nerds. The coolest video on YouTube is a very not-safe-for-work celebration of Ray Bradbury, and new information on the life of Albert Einstein has been made public, revealing him as a dangerously charismatic philanderer whose wife I hope was not too put out by his outlandish behaviour. (It was said to have been a “marriage of convenience”, and since she didn’t fling an atom bomb at him when he wrote to her daily describing his affairs, we can only guess she didn’t mind too much.)

Meanwhile, teen goth favourite Robert Pattinson topped Glamour‘s Sexiest Man poll, in a list that seemed dominated by sci-fi and fantasy favourites. If Einstein could charm the socks off Marilyn Monroe with sheer brainpower, let’s take a look at some of the other brainy hotties out there …

Louis Theroux

The 40 year-old British-American journalist is best known for his Weird Weekends and When Louis Met … television series. The Singapore-born son of novelist Paul Theroux (and cousin of actor Justin Theroux), he went to school with Nick Clegg and then gained a modern history degree from Oxford. After a stint at the satirical Spy magazine, Theroux worked as a correspondent on Michael Moore’s TV Nation which led to his own television shows. One of the teenaged members of the Westboro Baptist Church developed a very obvious crush on Louis in his famous documentary, The Most Hated Family In America.

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Thomas Hertog

This guy is a theoretical physicist and colleague of Stephen Hawking. He works at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, and is most famous for “inventing the universe backwards“. So, like a reverse Carl Sagan, but hot.

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Wil Wheaton

He’s come a long way since he played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. A long-standing spokesman for the nerd community with his blog Wil Wheaton Dot Net, he writes about video games for The Onion AV Club and has provided voice acting in high profile games such as GTA IV. He’s now best known as Felicia Day’s lust-bunny in The Guild.

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Mike Patton

The Faith No More frontman is also a composer, producer and film and voice actor. He’s released works on John Zorn’s avant-garde Tzadik label, the first of which was 34 tracks of shouting, screaming, squeaking and moaning (no actual music or singing). Just goes to show how much you can get away with when you look that much like Johnny Depp. Earlier this year, Mondo Cane featured cover versions of 50s Italian pop performed by Patton and a 65-strong orchestra. He was also the voice of the zombies in Left 4 Dead, and the voice of the monsters in I Am Legend.

Continue reading