If there is a film which accurately depicts what has just occurred in America’s political life, it is the 1984 comedy classic ‘Revenge of the Nerds’. To set the stage for my thoughts, let me bring readers up to speed on the basic plot.
Two loyal friends, nerds to the point of ridiculous, enrol at (fictional) Adams College to study computer science. They are housed in the freshman dorm with the Alpha Beta, a fraternity populated with football players of below average intelligence. One rather dense student manages to burn down the frat house. Fire and alcohol are never companionable. Suffering a bit from Dunning-Kruger syndrome, the leaders of Alpha Beta deny fraternity membership to the deserving pledges (Lewis Skolnick and Gilbert Lowe).
This established natural order of treating outsiders with disrespect finally comes to a head. The nerds set out bent on revenge. They report their grievances to the campus police. Unfortunately, the police are bound by the rules of the Greek Council. The nerds are denied adjudication of their misfortunes and realise the only way to effectively confront inaction and callous disregard is to gain a charter for national membership of a new fraternity. Scandalous schemes ensue. But by the end of the film, it can be easy to fall in love with “the nerds”.
Art mimics life. And in this case, Washington has been accosted by tens of millions of voters named Skolnick and Lowe. We have dealt with the Washington fraternity. Our time is now, and it is the revenge of the nerds!
Hillary Clinton regrets one thing. It is not the discovery of official emails on an unsecured server. It is not Benghazi. FBI Director Comey was not the cause of her downfall. She regrets the day she drew back her shoulders in sorority sister manner and declared that fifty percent of Trump supporters belong in a “basket of deplorable”. Mrs Clinton forgot her lip zipper. She became an Alpha Beta. Her words created national wounding and wounded animals always howl. The excoriated barked loudly, and we hatched our plans.
In a glorious manner, the mighty-but-fallen inadvertently aided capitalism. Americans are entrepreneurial in spirit, and Mrs Clinton gave birth to a niche industry. Washington D.C. hosted not one, not two, but a triad of “Deplorable” Inaugural Balls. The hotel industry is certainly happy about this fortunate turn of events. The nerds can dress up like the Washington elite and raise a glass of cheer. The hotels gain a bit of pocket change.
Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. Another group of nerds descended upon the Capitol for the festivities. A well-known Christian PAC hosted the Faith, Freedom and Future Inaugural Ball. A mega church minister from my region was in attendance. Checking out his Facebook and Twitter feeds show image after image. Look at me! Here I am with Donald J. Trump, Jr. Look at me! Here I am with my good buddy Eric! Look at me! Here I am with... Trotting over to Donald Jr. and Eric’s Twitter feeds I noted in a somewhat satisfactory manner that neither of Trump’s sons had posted “Look at me” photos with the pastor in question. One other thing bothered me on a small scale. One image showed a minister “praying over” Mike Pence. Faith is not the overlord of governance nor should it ever become the norm. Everyone should pray FOR our elected officials. But in the ranking system of governance, we are the clay feet and not the head and shoulders. We are always beneath and never the command centre.
On January 20, I took a moment to call a dear friend who was performing at the Veterans Inaugural Ball. An anticipated 34 of the 76 living Medal of Honour would be present. As a man who has been awarded the Purple Heart and a Silver Star, how was he holding up? Having flown into Washington for one of his earlier performances at the Kennedy Center, I knew he would do just fine. But I was unsure of how deeply felt his emotions at being afforded this great privilege. This group were categorically not “nerds”, but they were welcoming in a new Commander-in-Chief. And they remain part of a deeply honoured few.
Anti-jihad bloggers are feeling a bit of vindication regarding their sites. I just received an envelope full of stickers from a woman with whom many in the press corps shared a unique experience. We had our evening turned upside down when two terrorists showed up at the “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas. The men shot a police officer when trying to access our perimeter and subsequently died in a blaze of gunfire. The rest of my evening was spent talking to reporters from Fox News, CNN, Daily Beast, etc., as we sat in our designated hardened area surrounded by serious firepower. Our hostess merited more of a panic room. After being ferried to a secondary site via convoy and filling out an FBI affidavit, we were unceremoniously told we needed to arrange for transportation home. I shared a cab with the official photographer, and my debit card recorded a one-hundred-dollar transaction at one a.m. I count myself lucky to be alive today. And yeah, I can understand on a small scale this particular revenge scenario. Send me a few stickers to remind me of the surreal event which happened on May 3, 2015. Charlie Hebdo lives in me.
So, what is another group of nerds who are standing about with unhinged jaws over the surprising ascendancy of Mr Trump? It is those of us who populate the blogosphere with our thoughtful, and at times, incendiary remarks. This is a great time to blog, and there is almost too much to keep up with, but we are certainly having fun. It is the revenge of the nerds.
The writer is a freelance journalist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org