"NERDS ARE COOL NOW" QUESTIONS MUST BORE YOU, BUT DO YOU THINK THAT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH A BROADENED SCOPE OF PERCEIVED "NERDINESS"? LIKE, MAD MEN IS NERDY, BUT I DOUBT JON HAMM KNOWS HOW TO FIX A COMPUTER. I don't think it's defined by the things you're into. I've always said what truly makes someone nerdy is how much they understand things they're passionate about, not just if they're into computers or comics or Doctor Who or whatever. It's definitely more acceptable to be into those things. When I was growing up, to some degree, we lived in a bit of fear. Very few people "got it," and it was usually a small group who were all relatively socially ostracized. I think that's one of the reasons why Comic Cons became so popular. They were just giant in-real-life chat forums for people to be communal, to bond.

HOW MUCH SATISFACTION DO YOU GET KNOWING YOU'RE STILL SEMI-FAMOUS WHILE JENNY MCCARTHY HAS BEEN IRRELEVANT FOR EONS? I don't know. When I look back at that time, we were just so not in any of the same categories. Not in a super-harsh way, but people laid this competition down where it was, "You're doing this, but she's doing this." It's like comparing a basketball player to a hockey player. That's about as sportsy as I get, by the way. I know hockey players have sticks, basketball players have a ball, and I understand the basic mechanics of those games, but that's about as far as it goes.

Barry Thompson can be reached at  barrythompson84@gmail.com.

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