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Nerdfighters and Nerdfighting

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A nerdfighter is not a person who fights nerds1, despite the immediate impression made by the word. If you are looking for ways of fighting nerds, you'd be better off referring to the Entries on Bullying, Boxing or Karate. The word 'nerdfighter' is modelled on 'freedom fighter', rather than on 'fire-fighter'. Nerdfighters are people who believe that the world 'sucks'2 and that they can help to change that. They are usually intelligent and they come from all over planet Earth. They are known for their belief that they are composed internally of awesome3.

Nerdfighting is the act of decreasing 'world suck'.

We fight against suck... we fight for awesome. We fight using our brains, our hearts, our calculators and our trombones.
– Hank Green, a founder of modern nerdfighting

Nerdfighting can be any activity that either helps to remove stress (such as writing an enjoyable novel), or directly helps others (such as moving to Africa to teach the impoverished).

The Founders of 'Nerdfighteria'

American video bloggers John and Hank Green founded nerdfighting accidentally through fans of their YouTube vlog's year-long project, Brotherhood 2.0 — an idea that the two brothers should communicate without any textual means. They had invented a number of rules that, if broken, would require an embarrassing or unpleasant punishment, like eating a 'blenderized happy meal'. They quickly created a forum which they soon replaced with a complete community website. John Green is a novelist and former book critic for Booklist Magazine and The New York Times. Hank Green is an environmentalist musician and self-proclaimed blogger.

Nerdfighter Achievements

  • John Green has, at the time of writing, published three books: Looking For Alaska, An Abundance Of Katherines and Paper Towns.

  • Maureen Johnson, another novelist nerdfighter, has published six: Suite Scarlett, Girl at Sea, Devilish, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Bermudez Triangle and The Key to the Golden Firebird.

  • A collaborative project by nerdfighters on YouTube called 'The Project for Awesome 2008' aimed to publicise issues of the day by commenting madly on other nerdfighters' videos on a particular day to reach the 'most commented page'.

  • Another achievement is the creation and management of DFTBA Records4, a record company created to distribute nerdfighter music worldwide. They have six available albums: So Jokes (Hank Green); Dave Days (Dave Days Show); DFTBA Records (various artists); Video Girl (Venetian Princess); Chameleon Circuit (Doctor Who-themed rock band); Taking Leave (Alan Lastufka and Tom Milsom); I'm So Bad At This: Live! (Hank Green); Trock On! (Doctor Who-themed rock by various artists) and Driftless Pony Club (Driftless Pony Club).

  • EcoGeek is a website containing up to date news about technology and the environment. It was originally managed solely by Hank Green, but others soon stepped up to help.

  • Another, rather ambitious project is to buy a private island and become a nation.

  • Perhaps the largest achievement of nerdfighters is the Uncultured Project headed by Shaun; donations go towards eliminating poverty wherever Shaun is now. He's worked in Bangladesh for most of the project, but they have built a well in Africa among many other things.

Where can I find a Nerdfighter?

Nerdfighters can be found all over the world, although the areas with most nerdfighters are Europe and North America. Here's a map created by a selection of nerdfighters courtesy of Google maps: Nerdfighteria. Remember, this map was made by only a few hundred out of more than twenty thousand; many more are out there, from Africa, Russia and even Antarctica.

1Nerds, in case you are not aware, are highly intellectual, often socially awkward, and usually passionate in their field (eg, 'radio nerd' would be used to describe a person passionate about radio).2Something which sucks can be negative in any way.3This is, of course impossible, because 'awesome' is an adjective, not a noun. However, many nerdfighters ignore this and use awesome as a noun anyway. The word in this context means the same as the adjective: that the object described is worthy of awe.4DFTBA stands for 'Don't Forget To Be Awesome'- a slogan used by nerdfighters as a greeting.

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