Brian Wilson Is A Machine-Like Nerd?
WALL STREET JOURNAL “I believe there are two main categories of nerds: one type, disproportionately male, is intellectual in ways that strike people as machinelike, and socially awkward in ways that strike people as machinelike. These nerds are people who remind others, sometimes pleasantly, of machines….."
"Do I mean that nerds in this category are robots made of flesh and blood? No."
"Brian Wilson is not into the ocean. ‘I'm afraid of the water,’ he says when people ask him about surfing. One interviewer has described his ‘Rain Man-like personality’ as being reminiscent of a ‘voice-mail menu.’ Wilson is from Hawthorne, California, ten minutes from the Pacific, which makes his hydrophobia impressive. But his mother, Audree, has long maintained that he hummed the entire melody of ‘The Marines' Hymn’ before he could talk, and that his mastery of musical instruments proceeded apace. When his younger brother Dennis persuaded him to write a song about a new teen pastime, he came up with ‘Surfin',’ which became the Wilson brothers' first hit and led to their reinvention as the Beach Boys. Wilson proceeded to paint a fantasia in song, an amber-encased America ruled by athletes with multiple vehicles and multiple girlfriends. In the mid-1960s, as the rest of the Beach Boys toured Asia, he surrounded himself with studio musicians and recorded Pet Sounds, making Coke bottles into percussion instruments, recording in a pit of sand to get the right sound, writing string charts, and letting other people write his lyrics. The more the world fell for his make-believe, the more time he spent alone in his studio, sequestered from the world, living with equipment."
"Wilson did things a machine cannot do. His work was more intuitive than logical. Nerds of this kind, crucially, are not actually like machines; they just remind people of them. They get stuck with the name ‘nerd’ because their outward behavior can make them seem less than, and more than, human.”