Male nerds have an undeniable appeal to our society. Men with a mixture of oddness and sincerity are the focus of much fascination right now and this obsession with the nerd is reaching dangerous new levels.
Their awkwardness beguiles us as their quirks and smirks distract us from the chance they may not be as intelligent as they seem. Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy, Brett from Flight of the Conchords, media whore Joe Hildebrand and our spasmodic Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
In the case of Rudd, I don’t think many Australian men would aspire to his high-calibre dorkiness – the giggles, the hifalutin diplomatic vocabulary alongside the chummy teen-speak – yet we continue to embrace his personal limitations.
I belieb it is because of these tragically nerdy features…
- We need a leader with big, obvious, awe-inspiring flaws
He swears, he works too hard, he likes seeing himself on TV. Sounds like most people I know.
- He’s a hopeless fan of his own family
While Abbott can speak all he wants about family values, I know Rudd values family because he tweets it, they’re with him at the church gate and he won’t stop droppong them into conversation, sorry, press conferences.
- Rudd loves loves Jesus and supports gay marriage
Most Christians I know can’t reconcile these two things. That doesn’t mean most Christians are against gay marriage but for many people it’s a difficult, complicated issue that is painted as black and white in the vitriol blasting from both sides of the debate. Rudd handed down a considered response with heart, soul and a supporting feature in Woman’s Day.
- The man speaks frankly and in tweetable soundbites
Rudd is a master of the media moment.
How many people do you know can send a tweet which fulfils none of the three tenants of viral content (funny, risque or original) and it still garners 1200 retweets?
- Rudd knows he is a nerd.
Most nerds believe they are actually pretty cool, that they are not truly nerds. This group includes myself, Malcolm Turnbull, Kochie, Tony Jones, Tony Abbott and most male politicians. Now, ‘coolness’ is itself indescribable, except to say that once you think you are cool, it’s clear to everyone that you are not. Rudd is either uber-intelligent and overplays the nerdy card to precision, or he is a rare form of nerd who can walk the line of embracing his own nerdiness to the point of appearing cool.