Four eyes. Freckle Face. Brace Face. Any of these sound familiar? Only ten years ago, these names were so hurful to the “genre” of people known as the nerd. Fast forward ten years and “cool kids” are buying thick lensed glasses and insisting on getting braces. Why? For nothing more than to make a fashion statement. So how is it the once ill-viewed nerd has evolved into the new coolest person on the block? What has happened to make gaming, science fiction and superheroes cool?
The answer is rather obvious. Nerds create good business. They earn a lot of money, are highly employable and are a good asset to computer based businesses (which is this modern day and age is increasing at a rapid speed). Not only that, but with more and more celebrities insisting on being the loner/nerd/geek at school or portraying nerds in video clips, films and tv shows makes the nerd image more socially acceptable. Gone are the days when being socially awkward was … well awkward. Gone are the days of being geeky because you bought a comic book. Popular culture has really taken a turn.
I think this turn is great! It has left me feeling like the coolest person alive! I was never socially awkward or excluded at school, but I did get laughed at for reading a book about an awkward love triangle between a vampire, a werewolf and a girl (aka Twilight) before it hit the big time. Those people who laughed are now obsessed and disgust me. The same story applies with music, with the newest example being Foster the People’s song Pumped Up Kicks. For all you mainstreamers reading this you’re probably thinking ‘yeah, that new song is rocking!’, when in reality, that song is actually two years old and landed number 32 in last years Triple J’s Hottest 100. LAWYERED!
Having observed how little things such as books to big dollar films and music growing from underground to mainstream only makes the “coolification” (a term coined by Rae Campbell) of nerdiness seem natural. Especially when putting into consideration the growth of technology. Having the newest iPod/touchscreen phone/tablet makes one socially accepted. Whereas being without would make you weird. Being tech-savvy is the new black.
According to The Oxford Dictionary the word “nerd” means: – a foolish or contempible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious
– a single-minded expert in a particular technical field.
If this were the 1980’s I would imagine being a nerd very hard. With the rise of technology these “boringly studious, socially inadequate” beings now have the means to find people with similar interests in a wider field. The internet. Making the once socially awkward, no longer awkward.
It can therefore be concluded that being dorky is now socially acceptable. Not that I ever did, but now I will have no shame in telling the world that I know the Sailor Moon theme song off by heart, I own all four series of the cartoon Avengers series on DVD, and I own the Napoleon Dynamite Script. Oh, and I religiously buy the National Geographics each month. And now if you call me a geek, I will happily thank you. In ending this post I am going to leave you with a cool photo of me decked out in my cool jumper and a special call.
Grossman, Lev (2005) “The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth”, Time Magazine, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1109317,00.html
Oxford Dictionaries, accessed 17/04/12, http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/nerd?q=nerd