The world has come a long way in less than a decade. No, I’m not referring to cell phone technology or digital media but rather the mainstream perception of the geek. Ten years ago it would’ve been social suicide to bring up comic books in a public forum. Role-playing had to be conducted in hidden underground tunnels, lest someone spot a twenty-sided die and start asking questions. Nerds and dorks the world over had to form secret cabals and band together for survival. Unfortunately, a solitary geek would live a lonely existence, stuck keeping his hobbies to himself for fear of prosecution.
Those times are ending. “Geek chic” is a rather popular trend which has invaded various subcultures. Thick Buddy Holly glasses, t-shirts about video games or comics, and the latest in gadgets and technology are now being considered par for the course. There’s a whole television station that’s devoted to the geek, and it actually performs rather well. People watch. If asked about the possibility of that happening ten years ago I would’ve placed a rather large amount of money on the line against such an occurrence.
So, now the nerd is becoming popular. That’s a good thing, right? For most of us the answer is unequivocally “yes”. However, a new problem is developing that’s dividing the geek world into its own caste system. The top of the hierarchy are the cool dorks, the guys and girls that have a lot of friends to discuss Star Wars with. These people can set a trend within their nerd community, heralding the newest and coolest of genre haute culture. On the flip side of the coin exists the people who still don’t quite get the big picture. These failures to launch still speak in tones even the Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy would laugh at. They try to stimulate conversations through obscure references that ruin the moment when everyone ends up staring at them wondering just why in the world they’re speaking.
How is possible to avoid becoming such a horrible waste to geekdom? That’s the question I’ll be covering in a series of upcoming articles that span a variety of topics; movies, comics, gaming, television, technology, and literature. Its very possible to be at the forefront of the trends within all those areas, to exude the inner nerd and bask in the glory of science fiction and fantasy, and yet still have plenty of friends that can stand to hear you talk. So stay tuned, more will be on the way shortly!