Epic Immuno-Suppressing Battles

Someone stuck my voodoo doll into a bottle of Benadryl, probably about forty-five minutes ago. I am all woozy and vapid.

Last night I set about arranging our two bookshelves to reflect two epic battles: Monkey vs. Robot, and Hipster vs. Nerd.

Monkey vs. Robot (available as a live-action or animated short film, compact disc, or comic book in addition to the representation on my shelves) was a relatively straightforward task: you’ve got the automotive maintenance, electronics, computer programming (robot), the paleontology, neurobiology, anthropology, tree-identification (monkey), and the computational neuro-stuffs (like Buddha, hybrid monkey robots transcend eternal struggle).

Hipster vs. Nerd was much trickier. While monkeys and robots duke it out in art and culture, in full view of society, the battle between Hipster and Nerd takes place deep within individual souls. Some have clearly been won to one side or the other – Kerouac is a hipster, Carl Sagan is a nerd – but others have taken up wildly waffled positions: technophilic hipster-nerds (Neil Stephenson, BoingBoing), double-crossing triple agents (Philip K. Dick), etc. Some authors appear to be casualties of the war, reduced to completely non-ironic pieces about life’s simple pleasures. I was unable to classify several items:

  • A scholarly biography of Galileo – the exact title escapes me at the moment; it conveys the subject matter while simultaneously being bland. Galileo himself was probably more Nerd than Hipster, and we can see this by comparing his career to that of Copernicus, who averted theological problems by accepting a foreword to his heliocentric masterwork asserting that nothing he wrote actually had anything to do with reality. It’s not quite the multiple levels of ironic self-detachment attained by modern hipsters, but the spirit is the same. Anyway.
  • Douglas Coupland – though I firmly maintain that Generation X is easily hipster, Peter kept stubbornly bringing up Microserfs just when I thought the conversation was over.
  • The Iliad – I met a classics major once, at Stanford. He was a nerdy guy, but humanities nerds are really a separate breed if you don’t count philosophers. Most philosophers are well aligned with the Nerds on pure wanking.


I have Internet at home now (yay!) though I still need to purchase a longer ethernet cable. Perhaps I will go back to starting, finishing and posting entries in one day rather than three.


  1. Eloriane wrote:

    That entry made absolutely no sense to me.
    What were you sorting?!
    You have become exceedingly hard to follow as of late.

  2. yami wrote:

    Er, yes, books. And improvised bookends, mostly half-emptied liquor bottles.

  3. Rana wrote:

    That has to be the most creative way I’ve heard to organize one’s library.
    Mine’s more or less by topic and size, with a few exceptions for the aesthetically interesting (which get to hang out in the front of the shelves, on coffee table equivalents, etc.).

  4. Anonymous wrote:

    yer smart.

  5. ester wrote:

    classics majors = major nerds. i know several. of course, in my skool, even the rugby players are nerds … and some of the rugby players are classics majors too. which, er, proves my point.

  6. yami wrote:

    Wait, nerdy rugby players? I don’t think I can deal with that concept. If your school was really that nerdy, there wouldn’t be a rugby team, just intramural badminton and frisbee golf.

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