Recently some people on the internet have been getting their underwear in a tangle over the usage of the term geek/nerd. This arose because of Mark Henderson’s seminal (heh, I said seminal, heh) book about how scientists shall inherit the earth called “The Geek Manifesto”. Rumblings of “it’s not helpful” have been rebounding around the twitters like a game of pong. Some people in science and technology don’t want to be branded a geek/nerd on account of apparently negative connotations.
Here’s the rub – geek/nerd ceased to be pejorative some time ago. At the very least it is sort of adorable and the most, aspirational. The internet rules the world and the internet is in turn ruled by vast swathes of people who self-identify as geeks/nerds. The creative digital industry is awash with folks who will answer to that branding. Sections of the music industry too are propped up by geek/nerd tendencies.
The terms have even been reappropriated as verbs. To be geeky/nerdy about something is to know everything there is to know about that particular thing. Whether that thing is computers, music, or fashion is up to said geek/nerd.
The geek/nerd stamp is everywhere. Take fashion – all the cool kids have been geeking it up for years with thick framed specs, ill-fitting jumpers, and retro wear (par example). It’s not just hipsters, it is increasingly mainstream as can be seen by doing a quick google of geek chic.
Most people who really know about music, record music, play music would confess to being geeky/nerdy. Hell, there’s even a genre called “Nerdcore”. See acts like MC Lars for reference.
Even mainstream TV has jumped on the bandwagon with shows such as the Big Bang Theory and the IT Crowd. Now I know that these shows were designed to “laugh at the nerd”, but in reality a lot of people sympathise and identify with the main protagonists. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wrap up Moss and take him home in your pocket?
People try hard to be geeks/nerds. So next time you get branded a geek/nerd for being a scientist/mathematician/engineer be proud. What is means in reality is that you are hip, clever, and part of a culture that will inherit the earth. Mwoahahahhahahhahaha mwoahahahahaha mwoahahaahha ….*cough cough*