“Never underestimate the nerd,” the Prime Minister reportedly told colleagues a few weeks ago, apparently talking about himself as well as the new Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd.

Is Australia ready for an election battle between two nerds? Is charisma overrated as a political attribute? And what kind of nerd should we never underestimate – “an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially: one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits”?

Is it not even nerdishness we dislike, but the way in which it manifests itself? While we laugh at them, do we find the nerdishness of some nerds reassuring?

So many questions as we wind up the year that may have turned nerdism into a national force.

Peter Fray

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