Benjamin Nugent Explains, Exemplifies a Certain Type of New York ‘Nerd’

Benjamin Nugent, nerd. Photo: Gothamist

In Benjamin Nugent's book, American Nerd, the author posits that some New York creative professionals, in order to disguise a slavering ambition that might be seen as unattractive or uncool, adopt a "sartorial and conversational pose … to make it look like they're in whatever creative profession they're in because they're helplessly obsessed with it and big nerds about it and couldn't be any other way." Gothamist interviewed Nugent today, and his answer to their question about how he felt about being included in the Observer's recent Brooklyn Literary 100 gives us an inkling as to why Nugent developed said theory:

I just want my old life back. I'm fucking sick of these families stopping me on DeKalb and making me pose for pictures. I was having drinks with Sarah Fan last night at Art Bar and we were just minding our own business and having this amazing discussion about Neutral Milk Hotel when some asshole from TMZ walked in and out came the flash bulb. He must have texted his buddies because it was paparazzi central in there in two minutes. Christian Lorentzen came over with his entourage and they got us out of there okay, but it's like, I didn't ask for this shit, you know?


Did you get that? Real obsession masked behind pretend obsession in an anecdote about imaginary obsession. Hm. The plain old unconcealed version of obsession doesn't seem so distasteful now, does it?

Benjamin Nugent [Gothamist]