Gosh, we're nerds!

Once considered awkward and socially incompetent, nerds have become more acceptable, although not completely integrated into polite society. This is the premise of American Nerd, a new book by Benjamin Nugent, who includes gamers and SCA members in his list of nerds.

Nugent, who considers himself a "recovering nerd," defines the "key to people we call nerds or geeks lies in what he calls their 'machinelike' qualities, sometimes marked by intellectualism, sometimes by social awkwardness, often by both." Among those afflicted with nerdiness are players of D&D, medieval re-enactors, SF fans and those involved in cyber activities.