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The Seinfeld Axiom

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In his book Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them, David Anderegg uses an episode of Seinfeld, entitled “The Abstinence,” to make an argument about nerds and sex, called the Seinfeld Axiom. His argument states that the absence of sex in George’s life, caused by his girlfriend’s Mononucleosis, actually caused him to get smarter and when he finally has sex in the end of the episode and lost touch with his new knowledge, that it was sex that caused him to get “stupid” again. Yet, deeper into the episode, Anderegg blatantly ignores that a second main character, Elaine, faces abstinence with opposite effects. Instead of gaining intelligence, she begins to lose it until she cannot focus on anything. Looking at the evidence in the episode, it is clear to see that the abstinence played a limited role in the increased and decreased intellect. As George and Elaine were stimulated by knowledge while abstinent, it was George who grew more intelligent because he was being stimulated by knowledge he already had while Elaine faced new information with little to no value to her.

Analyzing the episode starts with understanding George and his level of intelligence prior to his abstinence. Throughout the first season of the show it is established that George is at least moderately intelligent, though his laziness may be at fault for his inability to do something with this intelligence. In “The Abstinence,” the episode opens with George being told his six-week sentence of abstinence while his girlfriend is still contagious from Mononucleosis. To a man as driven by sex as George, something that does not appear to match most representations of a nerd to begin with, this is met with an apparently lack of enthusiasm and seems like something ...

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...and thus play no role in nerds and sex. It is a goal to figure out how about pop cultures portrayal of nerds and sex and how these portrayals affect how nerds view sex and how their peers view them in a sexual context. This episode also raises questions about ideas of gender and race, as well as the role they play in sexualization of nerds. Understanding these ideas will lead to a better understanding of how nerds are wrongly portrayed in pop culture to be unsexual beings and how this affects the lives that they live.

Works Cited

“The Abstinence.” Seinfeld, NBC. NBC, New York. 21 Nov. 1996. Television

“The Café.” Seinfeld, NBC. NBC, New York. 06 Nov. 1991. Television

“Qualifying Test Scores.” American Mensa. American Mensa, Ltd., n.d. Web. 24 March. 2012.

Anderegg, David. Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them. New York: Penguin, 2007. Print.
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