Whether it’s space, kittens, typesetting, coffee, philosophy or retro-Westerns, there’s no denying that everyone’s a nerd for something.
|Courtesy of Tumblr|
Think about it…our programming ranges from the ABCs on Sesame Street (with knowing winks to pop-culture savvy parents), to historical documentaries, to the chemistry of crème brûlée. There’s no other channel anywhere that has the opportunity, the time, or for that matter, the responsibility to deep dive into the most arcane subject matter and document every fascinating facet of human existence.
PBS was the first to introduce Monty Python to American masses. Likewise with Dr. Who. The public got its first taste of hard, mind-bending science in prime time with Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. For years we’ve been the original dorky destination for anyone with an intelligent, obsessive pursuit – and we’re ok with that.
|Courtesy of a 2013 PBS Annual Meeting presentation. |
View entire deck here.
Plus, we’re living in an interesting time. One has to only look at mass culture to see that nerd-dom is becoming a desired identity where intellectualism is now on a pedestal, geek is chic, and niche interests are now big business. For many who had the nerd label foisted on us, this is a fantastic development.
Friends, it turns out that Huey Lewis was right - it’s hip to be square.
For this very reason, a few of the Poindexters at Eight, Arizona PBS decided to take our nerdery to the streets (quite literally) during the Homecoming Celebration at Arizona State University and the Arizona PBS Nerd Walk was born. The first PBS Nerd walk took place October 2011; the second walk was held October 2012, and the upcoming PBS Nerd Walk is slated to take place October 19th, 2013.
|Arizona PBS Nerd Walk 2012|
True, “we're here, we're nerds and we support educational television in Arizona" might not be as catchy a rallying cry compared to some other revolutionary demonstrations – but, through this event, it quickly became clear that our herd of PBS-loving brainiacs will forever be a force to be reckoned with.
|Bob Beard, Eight, Arizona PBS|
“After the first walk, my son began to have confidence about being a nerd. Seeing everyone together helped him realize that there are plenty of amazing people like him, and that there is no shame for his passions (Something I was trying to teach him but unable to fully show him in the local community). I really appreciate you putting it together and hope for many more fun experiences connecting with fellow nerds through the walk.” –Tia, Nerd Walk participant
Everyone is a nerd for something – and PBS is the place that can bring them together on-air, online, and especially in your community. Whether marching in a homecoming parade, starting a nerdy book swap or having a dedicated “geeks night out,” I encourage you to start a PBS Nerd movement of your own. By embracing your nerd status now, your station is sure to live long and prosper in the future.
Bob Beard is the Promotions and Events Coordinator for Eight, Arizona PBS. A life-long geek himself, Bob created the Arizona PBS Nerd Walk and is currently writing his graduate thesis on nerd culture for the Communication Studies program at Arizona State University. He can also beat you at Ghostbusters trivia, so don't even try.
This blog post is based on the Arizona PBS Nerd Walk article posted on ASU Magazine's site.