Dave's Corner of the Universe

Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide

Geek is the New Black

geek girl

When I was a kid being a geek the equivalent of being a pariah. Now the term nerd is seen more a complement that an insult. People fly their geek flags as oppose to hide in their parents darken basement hopping others will not notice them. Geeks are no longer portrayed as Steven Urkle but by the semi hunks of The Big Bang Theory. Not that I am complaining but what happened to usher this new age off geek chic?

urkle

From this…

big bang

…To this.

Geeks are by their very nature pop culture enthusiasts, and now it seems their passions are becoming main stream. If you doubt this look at the line up for the your youth oriented TV network, CW, with shows like Flash, Arrow, The Originals, Reign, The 100, Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Izombie and The Messengers. Not only are they targeted for a nerd audience, three out of nine are comic book inspired.

Why? Well like everything else in entertainment, it comes down to money. A while back a gay friend told me that the entertainment business had to market to gays because, since they didn’t have kids they had the most amount of money to spend on things like movies and TV shows. I am not sure if that is true but it makes some degree of sense. Nerds may not have a lot of money but they do seem to be willing to spend more of it on their passions. They are targeted by Hollywood because they are perceived as spenders and main stream pop culture follows along.

The movie that shows that nerd obsessions can = money it is The Avengers and the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe. In high school the comic book nerds where so dorky even I looked down my nose at them. Back in the day the only thing less sexy that comic book collectors were table top role players. Now on some days ten percent of my very casual enforced dress code fellow employees are wearing superhero tee-shirts. Recently one of the hottest girls I saw on the streets of Portland had a black Batman logo on the butt of her jeans.

Avengers

The avengers combine summer popcorn action with well-acted characters that we care about and opened the door for superhero movies for the next decade. Graphic novels are seen as legitimate source material for movies as literary classics. And comic book movies are just inspiration for superheroes, look at the origins of such movies as The Road to Perdition, History of Violence, 300, Snow Piercer and The Scribbler.

scribler

The comic book source for movie well runs deep.

The TV show that helped bring nerds out of the basement the most in the last decade is Dr. Who. It gave nerds of the world wide exposer than Star Trek TOS did in the sixties. Back in the eighties when I went crazy for the PBS released Tom Baker Who, most Americans had very little idea what I was talking about. You may not be in to Who, just like you may not be in Star Wars, but it would be hard to find someone who doesn’t know who The Doctor is as it would be to find someone ignorant of Boba Fett. It also was the biggest thing in the last decade for female geeks to rally and bond over.

Dr who

Honestly the argument about weather females can be geeks is stupid. Of course they can. But it took something that appealed to all genders before geekdome could move forward in to the main stream. Who like Trek appeals to all walks of life, liberal, conservative, old, young, all races. Everyone can find something in the show to connect with.

Video games are another factors in geek acceptance. I can’t play video games I make the avatar walk into walls no matter hwo hard I try. But let’s face it gaming is a billion dollar business, with the average age of a gamer being thirty-five and nearly fifty percent of gamers being female. It is no longer the geek in a Pac Man fever tee-shirt popping quarters in an arcade. Video game became part of our life when computers did.

halo

The new media is very geek friendly. You are reading a blog that is mainly devoted to obscure works of fiction, movies and comic books. A long time ago geeks only were able to share their passions by word of mouth and memiomographic fanzines. But now thousands and thousands of people can come all over the world and share their geeky obsessions.

The books that did the most to make being a geek seem cool is in my opinion is The Harry Potter series. Not only did it make a magic nerd cool, it was a children’s book that could be appreciated by adults. The first edition of The Sorcerer’s Stone was publish in 1997. Eighteen years ago. So the children who grew up reading Potter are now adults. They grew up with the concept that geekdom was awesome and should be shared. Because many people read it when they were young it had more an influence than say the cyberpunk bible Neuromancer, who though one time was influential has now drifted into obscura.

harry

The biggest geek lit name to rival JK Rowling is George RR Martin. With his Game of Thrones. I have to admit that I am the only geek that I know that isn’t head over heels with the series. It not that I don’t like Martin, I loved his work in the superhero opus Wild Cards. But well I don’t have HBO. And I just don’t want to hop on a bandwagon. I had a friend who was hooked on page one of the first book, but when he got the last page of book two, and saw an ad for the NEW HBO series he lost interest in the books. And that is the sad part about geek acceptance. Geeks use to think they had something unique, now we are part of the big picture. Some have chosen wrongly to oppose women in geekdome because they see the end of their exclusive club. In ways they are junkies that no longer get the same high form their old drugs that they use to, because it is accessible to everyone.

game of thrones

Even hot white hiared chicks with dragons doesn’t get me on the GT bandwagon

So what is the new age geek cool hunter going to find to be ahead of the curve? Personally I think that it is going to be the classics. I think Lovecraft, Poe, Baudelaire, HG Wells and the like are going to have a comeback. And all of us lit geeks can say I liked that when it wasn’t cool.

HP

Is he the new face of geek cool?

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19 comments on “Geek is the New Black

  1. Tintorera
    March 8, 2015

    You hit the bull’s eye.

    Btw: I loved Steve Urkel. On German television, he had the same distinctive dub voice as SpongeBob SquarePants (Santiago Ziesmer). Unforgettable 😀

  2. moonminded
    March 9, 2015

    I have never considered myself a nerd (OK- Toastmasters) because I don’t get obsessive about sci-fi and fantasy (yet here I am commenting to strangers because WordPress detected references to comics in my early posts and recommended this blog, which has turned out to be really enjoyable.) I did send this fake-girl-geek link to my Whovian pal, though. Shout out to the ladies for crossing over! http://www.upworthy.com/2-nerd-guys-shut-down-the-fake-geek-girl-myth-with-the-kind-of-logic-spock-would-be-proud-of

    • davekheath
      March 9, 2015

      Glad you liked it. There are a lot of things to geek out about now.

  3. Lolsy's Library
    March 9, 2015

    What an interesting read! I’ve never really understood the “hate” on girls thing, we can help them buy more things! =D Get more involved, play the games with them, instead of complaining about them playing the games,lol
    I like buying “things” that relate to the games, shows etc, that I love. I trying to keep with the original type formats though. If there was a book/comic I go out and read it. I also like GoT tv show, but I am definitely not “obsessed” with it. I can miss a couple of episodes and not have “withdrawals” so to speak,lol

    • davekheath
      March 10, 2015

      I need to put GoT on the lust just so I can talk to some of my geek friends and understand them.

      Female geeks like my sister are awesome and I can’t see why anyone would want to exclude them.

  4. E
    March 9, 2015

    Geeks are bringing sexy back. Oh, and realizing that HP and the SS came out 18 years ago immediately sent me to the bathroom for a grey hair check. Cheers!

    • davekheath
      March 9, 2015

      Thank you. Yes I remember my cousins kids talking about the waiting for the 3rd Harry Potter book t come out. They both have now graduated college..

  5. Mike
    March 9, 2015

    “I think Lovecraft, Poe, Baudelaire, HG Wells and there are going to have a comeback.”

    I think it’s already started. About three years ago, shortly after I started reading HPL, I was in Starbucks and overheard a young couple making references to Lovecraft. Turns out they were playing a game based on the Lovecraft universe.

    I had no idea HPL was so popular. Folks as different as Joyce Carol Oates and Sam Francis have responded to the call of Cthulhu.

    • davekheath
      March 9, 2015

      With the announcement of The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft and At the Mountains of Madness being made into major movies I felt that the old man from Providence was about to become a house hold bane, but with those movies seemingly on hold, I am waiting to see what will happen next.

  6. AddAltModeR
    March 9, 2015

    Great post! You really nailed the highs and lows of this strange new world where being a geek is actually cool. I wouldn’t say I’ve fully got used to this shift yet bit but it certainly has benefits.

    I hope you’re right in your prediction about Wells, Lovecraft etc. That would be great, I was so sad when the Del Toro Mountains of Madness movie got put on hold, seemingly forever.

    • davekheath
      March 10, 2015

      I still have my fingers crossed for that one. The pulp and Victorian eara is this huge gold mine that has yet to be fully tapped

  7. starwarsanon
    March 11, 2015

    I love this line: “Geeks used to think they had some unique, now we are part of the big picture.” It’s really true.

    I go off and on about it. I guess the only part that kind of makes me resentful is that a lot of these new geeks have never gone through hell and high water for their obsession. I was teased MERCILESSLY in middle school for liking Star Wars. If I was a boy, I would have been shoved into lockers and beat up probably, so thank goodness I’m a girl. Nevertheless, the boys were *so* cruel to me. I had Star Wars t-shirts on, Star Wars binders, Star Wars pencils, Star Wars folders, read Star Wars books at lunch time…oh my goodness. The bullying was horrible. So I guess that’s the only thing that I don’t understand about these new nerds and geeks. They never really had to suffer for it because it’s been handed to them with The Avengers, high class gaming, etc. Even with Star Wars, the new movies have made it so chic again. Sigh.

    But on the other hand, I’m happy more people are discovering Star Wars and other geeky things and I have more people to talk to about it. That never happened before. I love that I can blog on this platform and have conversations with people about Star Wars that may not have happened 15 years ago.

    • davekheath
      March 11, 2015

      It is a two edged ligthsaber. Yeah I am extremly glad that geeks are bullied anymore but yeah we shed a little (and in my case very little) blood over our obsesions so it like we earned it.

  8. kindkerry
    March 14, 2015

    I also like how wearing eyeglasses somehow became cool too and people who don’t even have a prescription or even need to wear them do. Geek Chic Forever! 🙂

    • davekheath
      March 15, 2015

      So true, it is become hip here in Portland t wear eyeglass.nature has insured that I need to wear them, I guess genetics is making me hip, weather I want to be or not.

  9. mitchteemley
    March 19, 2015

    I’ve always been a closet geek, but my two adult daughters fly their geek colors at full mast!

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