When I began high school, nerds were anybody who used a computer, had intense interests, or were enthusiastic about being intelligent. Being a nerd meant being pummeled by a jock or bully. When I left high school the paradigm was beginning to shift. Computers were gaining mainstream acceptance and there were a few decent movies made from comic books that attracted the interest of audiences beyond people who were into graphic novels.
Over the next decade, this change intensified. Geeks became rock stars. They built companies in their teens which they sold for millions in their twenties. Programming was cool. Internet anything was all the rage. Summers belonged to superhero movies. Standing in line at the Apple store was as chic as waiting for concert tickets. Hipster culture took over. Geek is now everything.
Steve Jobs, who I think of as an iconic visage of a “crossover” geek, will have passed two years this October. Apple no longer commands an army of loyal hip yuppie Jobs clones. Young people are souring on social media. Even Spielberg and Lucas are talking about a bubble burst.
This weekend brings Comic-Con, which comes amid a summer of lackluster box office performances and general disappointment with the slate of summer movies that were supposed to be “Dark Knight” level exciting. Comic-Con may be the single greatest contributor to the end of the geek bubble, a well of geek brand loyalty which has been tapped by everyone from studio hacks to Jimmy Fallon’s embarrassingly stupid appearance four years ago.
Will this year bring any new excitement to geekdom? Or can we expect to see jocks resume their place as nerd-pummelers?
I’m including a link back to this article: “Is the Geek Bubble Ready to Burst“, which I discovered when researching the term “geek bubble”. It seems to have predicted this geek demise, as did this article from Cracked.