Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Urkel Effect?

Joel Stein is concerned.

I am, however, deeply worried about the Urkel effect, which holds that voters leaning toward Obama will walk into the voting booth and suddenly think, I cannot take four years of listening to that giant-eared nerd. Because people are starting to realize that Obama is not all that cool. He's earnest like C-3PO, emotionless like Spock, overly practical like Encyclopedia Brown and incredibly skinny like C-3PO, Spock and Encyclopedia Brown.

Obama seemed cool at first because he uses slang, dresses well and bumps fists. But a lifetime of dangerous undercover work makes it easy for me to spot a fellow nerd. Obama has done a good job passing, with his nice suits, easy smile and attractive wife. But those are just the over-30 nerd trappings of success. Have you seen him try to dance? It's like watching a white guy make fun of other white guys. Sure, he played high school basketball, but how many cool kids play indoor sports in Hawaii? The man is all superego. He never gets angry or flirts with hot chicks by asking them to be his Vice President. Obama has written about using pot and cocaine, but a New York Times article found only school buddies who said he merely dabbled with marijuana. That's because the only people who bring up their drug use didn't really do drugs. Try asking George W. Bush about alleged cocaine use. You'll see how the nonnerds play it.

And my favorite part.
Former TIME reporter Benjamin Nugent, author of American Nerd: The Story of My People, is also worried about the Urkel effect, though he thinks Obama is less nerd than nerd-adjacent. These are the types of terms you have to endure when talking to the author of American Nerd: The Story of My People. "He would be the guy the jocks didn't choose to towel-snap, but he would kind of stand there looking disapproving while they towel-snapped. Whereas McCain would be more likely to towel-snap you, and Sarah Palin would make out with the guy who towel-snapped you," he says.

I'm adding American Nerd to my list of books to read. And praying that the Urkel effect does not come into play on Tuesday. We nerds do not need another setback.

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