Archive for October 4th, 2009

Paul Carr nailed this.

Geekiness is now cool enough to invade pop culture in a non-patronizing way.  It goes much deeper and further back than than Carr presents in his funny (and weird!) post this morning.

Super Cool Geek

Super Cool Geek

The “geek” used to stand for values and behaviors counter to fame, fortune and romance. And, in general, geekery didn’t lead to fame, fortune and romance.  There’s no real simple cause and effect chain of when geekery broke through.  A combination of hi-tech business success, the gadget as status symbol, the Internet and TXT as major communication medium, and the shift from blue collar to knowledge worker jobs generated a demand for pop culture representing the world and then the success of that pop culture reinforced further geek-to-cool.

Above I have a picture of Robert Redford from Sneakers (from 1992).  I think this is one of those early hi-tech geeks can be cool and sexy movies.   It’s distinctly different than say War Games – where the geek is still counter-culture.   I think the Matrix pushed geekery officially into cool.   In some ways the Matrix gave a message of “geeks shall save us all” as well as pushed geeks to be as cool as Neo – a celebration and a challenge.  The success of South Park’s creators, Simpsons’ writers, Model-turned-Punk’d-turned-TwitterLeader Ashton and countless other recent examples…. have only further cemented the reality that celebrity without geekery just isn’t possible anymore.

Now geekery is reinforced by the iPhone, distribution of viral videos, facebook, youtube.  Carr thinks it’s “weird” but in reality celebrities and media folks who don’t get their geek on are flat out not making as much money and gaining fans.   The geek vocabulary is now mainstream (and you might wonder if there is a deeper geekery developing that is counter culture to mainstream geekery… probably….).  Geekery is a part of how regular folks will meet boyfriends/girlfriends, get their first job, notify each other of life’s happenings, make their cash and so on.   The pop culture reflects this.

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