Who would you guess to be "just about the last group of people it's safe to mock in polite company" ... Republicans? Nudists? Nope - it's actually nerds:
David Anderegg has just published a book espousing that theory, Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them, and how the social stigma and social prejudice against nerds reveals our negative attitudes towards intellectualism and learning achievements - which, he says, are dragging our entire culture down.
And because I was watching The Twilight Zone over holiday and feel like drawing some moral-filled, foreboding, sci-fi similarities between real life and fiction - compare this line from the book, quoted in the above linked article:
In 2004, we graduated more sports-exercise majors from U.S. colleges than we did electrical engineers.
... to this sentence from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451:
With schools turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word 'intellectual,' of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.