The guitar hero-pundit-nerd nexus

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There's not a lot on cable TV these days that can put a grin on my face and keep it there. OK, Discovery Channel's Everest: Beyond the Limit is pretty morbidly fascinating, though I'm too squeamish for the way the show lovingly lingers on gruesome frostbite images.

But last night's finale of The Colbert Report—sweet. Now, ever since Bill Clinton played the sax on The Arsenio Hall Show and some people thought it looked cool, the fine line between rock star, politician, and big ol' dork has been terminally blurry. Nobody realizes this better than Colbert, who started a fake feud with the Decemberists over the idea of the "green screen challenge," which Colbert started early this year to get fans to put snazzy backgrounds on footage of him throwing himself around with a light saber. (In the final grand prize contest, one "George L. of Marin County, CA" came in second.) The Decemberists' version managed to look dorkier, and this was clearly a matter of pride for them.

Who won this contest? Colbert, of course, who got to try to make Peter Frampton cool (he was) and Henry Kissinger look lovable (he wasn't). And maybe Chris Funk of the Decemberists, who poked and plucked at a B.C. Rich—the dream guitar of Guitar Hero 2 aces everywhere—against his green screen with jaded aplomb that you know won't look right when the background of a giant battle droid is added behind him.

The Revenge of the Nerds is an ongoing process of course, and maybe the makers of the Heavy Metal animated flick (the 1981 version of course) had it right all along, and maybe the next big candidate to announce for the '08 race will do so via an animated version of him or herself in the middle of one of Colbert's Tek Jansen adventures, preferably while shredding on a giant shrieking axe that's also a death ray.

But the crossing of the streams has to be done the right way. After all, Jack Ryan's marriage to a Star Trek actress didn't do him any favors.

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