Friday, January 8, 2010


For years I’ve carped about the shallowness and triviality of TV news and the human interest pieces they air rather than telling us what’s really happening in the world.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself liking one of Jeanne Moos’ goofy little stories on CNN the other day.  It was an amusing story about Peter Orszag, the White House Budget irector. 

Although the story was typical TV dreck, I found it weirdly heartening, not for anything Mr. Orszag is doing in connection with the budget, but for it’s possible implications for the reputations of spec writers.

The gist of Jeanne Moos’ story was that Mr. Orszag, who is reputed to be a brilliant economist but who bears a striking resemblance to some of the characters in the 1984 movie “Revenge of the Nerds”, has somehow finally succeeded in making it sexy to be a nerd.   The story focused on the divorced Mr. Orszag’s romantic entanglements and the fact that he was apparently considered to be one of Washington’s most eligible bachelors until he recently announced he would marry again.

So if the nerdy Mr. Orszag is considered sexy, can spec writers be far behind?  We’re the quintessential nerds, absorbed in the business of creating contract documents.  Not quite as nerdy as the algorithm-writing engineers at Google, but close.  (Full disclosure:  In college I did indeed have a pocket protector bursting with pens.  This was when I was an architecture student, even before I knew what specs were. I didn’t clip my slide rule on my belt like the engineering students, though.)

Mind you, we spec writers aren’t looking for romantic entanglements or groupies as a reward for our nerdiness, but it would be nice to get wider attention and acknowledgement for our contributions to the architecture and engineering professions.

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