Old Money Style: Bill Nye

In a world obsessed with celebrities, he makes science cool.

In a world swirling in opinion and dogma, he champions research and facts.

In a world seething in anger, he smiles.

Sidwell Friends and Cornell graduate.

Bill Nye has Old Money style.

  • BGT


14 thoughts on “Old Money Style: Bill Nye

  1. It’s too bad that Nye is such a political hack and not a real scientist (B.S. Mechanical Engineering). He follows an agenda, not science. Real scientists (those without political agendas) dismiss him.

    1. Hi Dave. I’m not sure what political agenda Bill Nye has. Perhaps you’re referencing his stance on climate change, which is fairly mainstream in the scientific community. Or perhaps his recent support of GMO’s, which I personally do not agree with. Both you and Mr. Hillman mention this ‘political agenda’, which is curious.

      We don’t do politics on this blog. Bill Nye has made contributions to education and the scientific community, which is what the post focused on. Disagreements on issues or strategies about finance, parenting, Old Money, etc. happen often here. Everybody keeps it polite. Respectful differences of opinion are welcome. Broadside and inarticulate attacks are not. Please keep that in mind should you wish to visit the blog and/or comment again. Thank you. – BGT

      1. Byron, I admire your entire blog and the book. Fantastic. Fun and illuminating. First class.

        As a big fan of you, the Bill Nye ‘Old Money Style’ reference stuck out a little. Here, I’m referring to the Netflix program he did for children titled “Bill Nye Saves The World” and in particular the song “Sex Junk” by Rachel Bloom he introduced, applauded and endorsed. It is easy enough to find on YouTube if you’d be interested to review it.

        I appreciate you wouldn’t have watched this nor been aware of it when you posted. Nor would I, except that I have three young children I’m raising with the Old Money values we espouse here.

        As you know, Old Money values include discretion, self-control, restraint, modesty, the nurturing of responsible children, good manners, the avoidance of profanity and, at least I would hope, a prohibition on the sexualization of children.

        There are so many exemplars of Old Money and even Old Money Style but, I respectfully suggest, Bill Nye’s hosting and public support of that song targeting children makes his inclusion here questionable.

        Other than this, I am thoroughly enjoying your blog and thank you for your effort and generosity in allowing me to participate, even as time permits.

        Cheers and thank you.

      2. Thank you, Anglo. I have caught some flack for the Bill Nye post, so you’re not alone with your concerns. Your comments are always welcome. Keep ’em coming. – BGT

  2. If you had posted this 15 years ago, I would have agreed with you, but in 2017 Bill Nye is as angry, dogmatic, and political as any Fox News or MSNBC commentator.

  3. As an educator, I have to say I love Bill Nye’s style. Despite what some trolls may think, and despite some views I may disagree with, he is a model of excellence for children. Children require exposure to gentlemen and there kind as representatives for the world of knowledge. Nothing turns my stomach more than classless fools posing as teachers and completely turning children off to learning. His style motivates, classifies his intellect and expertise, and communicates to the world that knowledge (science in his case) truly is power. People like him give educators the respect they deserve. My hat goes off to you Bill Nye.

  4. Byron, your reply to Dave was perfect. Name calling and other personal attacks should not be a part of our discussion. Any derogatory baseless label, whether “hack” or “troll” should be avoided. And anyone’s disagreement with another’s politics has absolutely nothing to do with whether one is old money.

    That said, I would really like to know more about your reasons for considering Bill Nye as old money. Sure, he dresses nicely, went to East Coast schools, is popular, etc. More than likely he is now wealthy but that alone would only qualify him as new money; I could find nothing in on-line biographies placing him with the inherited wealth crowd. What if we could change just one of the variables about him, i.e. what if he had attended the University of Texas instead of Cornell? Or any other “tweak” that you might consider. What if he dressed more like a stereotypical engineer? Would any one characteristic change your classification from old money to something else? As I have said before, I am fascinated by what our society considers “upper class” and “old money”. They are such elusive concepts, at least to me.

    As always, I appreciate all your hard work. Keep it going, for all of us.

    1. Thanks, Charles. As far as I know, Bill Nye is not Old Money. That’s why I titled the post “Old Money Style”: he’s made contributions to society, overall, that I think are worthwhile. (Getting kids interested in science, for one.)

      Being Old Money or adopting the cultural characteristics of it do not require Ivy League degrees, khakis and penny loafers, or anything else that can be purchased. It’s an attitude of substance over decoration, modesty over arrogance, and community over self interest. These values can be expressed in Austin or Anchorage.

      When society refers to Old Money, they often focus on families with double-barrel names and nine-figure net worths for a century or so. But that’s just tabloid fodder. The real deal is being polite to everybody, regardless of their class, doing what you love for a living, and not showing all you have. That’s what people really, truly admire in upper class families. And that’s what we try to focus on here.

      Thanks again. – BGT

  5. Mr. Tully,

    I have loved your website and books for years now – and still do – but you are way off on this one. Bill Nye could not be further from Old Money. He is the definition of a poser/NMG. Real OMGs, such as Bill Buckley Jr., would never be associated with this trash, let alone endorse it as part of their postmodern TV program. Please see for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtJFb_P2j48

    1. Hi Nico, thank you for your support. Comments on this post have represented a range of opinions, which is fine. The video link you included is entertainment, not to my taste. (I’m more of a PBS/BBC viewer.)

      I’m old enough to remember seeing author George Plimpton (a bonafide OMG) appearing in television commercials for various household products (in the 1970s, I believe.) My father was perplexed beyond reason that a man from such a good family would do such a thing. Only later did we learn that Mr. Plimpton used the endorsement money to keep The Paris Review afloat.

      Sometimes it’s best to reserve judgment. – BGT

  6. I’m a little bemused by all the negative comments. One of the main things I love about this blog is that it tends to steer clear from politics. I’m no fan of Bill Nye and share virtually none of his political beliefs but that was not the context of this post. I really wish everyone would keep their political opinions to themselves on here, even if I agree with them.

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