On the history of geek

11 Feb

I don’t mean to say that geek culture has completely taken over pop culture; geeks have a long way to go, especially in the music industry and the business of being a celebrity. What “geek is the new pop” means is that geek culture has, without a doubt, become something it wasn’t in the past.

Individuals more interested in science fiction and fantasy rather than sports and rock and roll have existed as long as there has been such a thing as popular culture. Several literature enthusiast claim that Frankenstein is the first bit of science fiction the genre has to offer, gut the real boom in sci-fi for the masses most likely started with Star Wars. Let’s call May 25th, 1977, the day Star Wars was released, year 0, and everything before that will be BSW (Before Star Wars) and everything after, ASW (After Star Wars.)

In the years from the release of Frankenstein to the year  1BSW, the terms geek and nerd were synonymous and referred to kids more interested in math and science than superheroes and role-playing games. Most kids from 40BSW to 10BSW read comics, so there wasn’t much separation between the masses and people interested in these things.

But then Star Wars was released.

After May 25th, 1977, a nerd became the bookish social inept math fan, and a geek become something else, and in the years after, “geek “ became a pejorative for someone interested in things that weren’t popular culture. Geeks became the only people reading comics, collecting action figures and attending Star Wars conventions in hotel party rooms. Popular culture went elsewhere.

Pop culture is the entertainment and interests of the masses. There are several eras in popular culture; most of which during the ASW years can be traced back to MTV and don’t include geeks.  Today, The Big Bang Theory is the number one show on television with more than 14 million viewers a week, and the highest grossing film of 2012, The Avengers, knocked on the door of a billion dollars. It’s safe to say that we’ve entered a new era in pop culture. Today, in the year 36ASW, geek is the new pop.

World domination, however, is far from imminent. That’s what this blog intends to point out. There are still too many geeky stones left unturned. Comic book movies might be huge, and the king of all geeks J.J Abrams might be directing a new Star Wars, but there is still a level of exclusivity that must be destroyed. Geekdom is for everybody, and Evansville is rife with opportunities to let a geek flag fly. This blog will show how.


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