19 September 2006


Time magazine while reviewing Ken Jennings' recently unleashed tome, Brainiac, coined the term celebrinerd.

Ken is trying to get this coinage to catch fire the way truthiness did for Stephen Colbert.

I'm willing to act as a Kenminion and spread the word.

Here are six celebrinerds from the past and the present, and some explanation as to their qualifications.

James Woods is a celebrinerd. The acting persona he's so carefully crafted (the latest iteration being the head lawyer in Shark), would seem to argue against that. But, don't let that fool you. Mr. Woods is a nerd. How do I know? First, he plays poker, and pretty much all folks who do really well at competitive poker are hardcore nerds at heart. Reading people alone isn't enough. To maintain some edge against the inevitable turn of fortunes in games of chance, having the ability to calculate those odds is important. As so happens according to his Wiki he scored a 1579 on the SAT, attended a Linear Algebra course at UCLA while still in high school, and attended (but dropped out of just before graduation) MIT. Enough said. Not all celebrinerds need to wear big thick rimmed black glasses taped in the middle to qualify.

Kat Dennings is a celebrinerd. The Queen of YouTube, a nerd? How is this possible? I'll tell you how it's possible, any woman who lists Douglas Adams as one of her favorite authors is a nerd. Plus, being totally into anime and manga outside of East Asia also marks you as a big time nerd. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Marcel Duchamp was a celebrinerd. He loved puns (see LHOOQ). He loved chess, achieved the level of grandmaster when he played competitively (and famously played against a naked model inside the Pasadena Art Museum in 1963). A love for puns and chess = nerd, nerd, nerd.

Jennifer Beals is a celebrinerd. She took time off from Hollywood to attend Yale. That in of itself isn't enough to make one a celebrinerd, although going Ivy League is a good start. OK, to be honest I've got nothing else, I just have had a crush on Jennifer Beals since Flashdance. Sue me. Did I mention that I find nerdy girls, seriously, seriously hot?

Franz Liszt was a celebrinerd. If you believe this Ken Russell film (it's a crime that this isn't on DVD), Liszt was the world's first Rock Star. I can't argue with that. He also was a child prodigy (nerdy), a piano virtuoso (nerdy), and changed the way people played piano (technical innovation=nerdy). He was obsessive about piano, single minded in his pursuit towards perfecting himself as a pianist. Again, pretty damn nerdy, plus he was one of the world's first international superstars, so the celeb- portion of the word still fits.

Weird Al Yankovic is an ultra-celebrinerd. He plays the accordion! Do I really have to say more? Just watch his new video, White and Nerdy, above. Also, visit his myspace, and check out his latest collection of nerdy parody songs, Straight Outta Lynwood, in stores Sept 26th!!!

UPDATE: This post was in reference to Ken's 9/18 post, I hadn't finished reading his 9/19 post which just so happens to mention the Weird Al video I posted (and I should give a belated hat tip to Gizmodo, which is where I first saw it, as well). All nerds have similar tastes (celebrinerd, or just plain old anonynerd), I guess.

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