Age of the Geek
By Cara Murray & Rosie Mujica
Scene opens on a girl sitting in a local Starbucks, sipping on her grande soy chai latte. Camera zooms onto the screen of her MacBook Pro where the latest episode of “Big Bang Theory” is queued. She is clothed in a distressed comic book tee and oversized, black-rimmed, prescription-less glasses. End this scene a nice wide pan, preferably with a sepia tone and cut to the title screen “Geek Chic: The Revival of the Nerd”.
If you’re anything like us, parts of this description can hit a little too close to home, but this is not to say that every time you watch BBT or enjoy a caffeinated beverage you morph into this stereotype. In the last couple decades the subcultures of the geek have started to emerge from the shadows, creating new generations of the geek and while the old and new both have distinguishing characteristics they have been horridly stereotyped. Before we take a romp through the generations of the geek we should probably address the stereotype of the old generation as well.
Cut to a group of teenage boys sitting around a table. The boy at the head of the table yells “Role for Initiative,” there is a mad scramble as the others reach for their D20s and prepare to role for their fate. The room is littered with pizza boxes, and empty Mountain Dew bottles; the atmosphere thick with anticipation. The camera pans over their acne ridden faces, and as the die start to roll the camera fades out.
So you may ask yourself, how did we go from boys in the basement to girls with grandes? One contributing factor is the rising importance of technology in our everyday lives. With tablets, iPhones, Kindles, Wiis, and TVs coming out every week, people are beginning to realize how essential “geeks” really are. In our wired world, learning how to write code and hack a network is the smart way to get ahead. Now that people realize how vital aspects of the geek culture are to their daily functioning, they have begun to emulate geek culture. Thus, there are girls with prescription-less glasses and boys who swear by anything from Apple. Now when you walk down the street, there are sure to be a few T-shirts adorned with superhero insignias whereas a few years ago, those tops were taboo.
Another reason for the transition from old to new generation geek has been the efforts of traditionally “geeky” industries to become more accessible to wider audiences. This includes casting A-list hotties in comic-book movies and Nintendo’s recent “I’m not a gamer” ad campaign. When Ryan Reynolds and Chris Hemsworth become the new faces of DC or Marvel, it is easy to fancy yourself a comic book queen without knowing the decades of back story. New generation geeks should realize the importance of years of comic book history that accompany their favorite superheroes while old generation geeks should be willing to embrace new fans of their beloved tales. Once old and new generation come together this awesome subculture will become a force to be reckoned with.
Fade in on a typical convention. The music delicately accompanies a wide pan of the room. Vendors, artists, actors, and cosplayers all mill around. In the midst of character discussions, gaming demos, and Q&As, old gen and new gen merge to enjoy the night. Cut to title screen, white letters on a black background proudly state “Age of the Geek.”