Being a geek has always been cool

Reading my RSS again and Den of Geeks hit me with the post titled When did geekdom become ‘cool’?

You can’t walk down a busy street without seeing a T-shirt with the word ‘Geek’ on it, it seems. So: is this a good thing or bad?
It can’t just be me that does a double take walking down the high street now. After all, more and more people seem to be wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the word ‘Geek’ or ‘Nerd’ on them, as if geekdom has accidentally come into fashion. Lots of people who – at face value – would never be seen dead with such clothing on just a few years ago are now embracing it as a fashion choice. I’d be lying if I said I’ve got used to it.

The whole thing then goes on to slam people who jump on the bandwagon of geek culture. I get it but it seems too simplistic…

I’ve learned that being interested in quality films, shows, comics and books has far more advantages than not. Not since my younger days have I looked at something hurling out the word geek in a derogatory manner and wished I could change places with them. I think my life improved once I worked that out. That notwithstanding, it’s an interesting cultural change that’s taking place. Because not only is geekdom less frowned on, apparently, I’m informed by far more fashionable people than me, it’s ‘cool’ to be a geek or a nerd now. Who’d have ever thought that ten years ago?

I understand the instant feeling of bitter distaste of those people gatecrashing our party. I mean its our party and all those other people use to take the mick out of us, so screw them right?

The problem is with this all, is its too simple!

Through out the whole post, theres references to the most typical of geeky and nerdy stuff. Board games, Comics, role playing, etc. These are but a scratch on the surface of what a geek is. I’m sure I’ve said it a million times but I’ll say it again.

Geek is anyone with a passion boarding into obsession.

There are geeky designers, geeky writers, geeky motorbikers, magicians who are geeky, geeky chef’s, geeky fashion models, people who do up cars who are geeks, knitting and crafty geeks, etc, etc… You don’t think DJs are one of the most geeky people you know? Or heck how geeky are professional photographers!

The post is so badly leading towards the technical realm, it hurts to even read more. We should be encouraging people to look a little deeper within themselves and find what really makes them tick, not pointing the finger back on them and laughing. We’re better than that (I hope).

Luckily theres a bit of what I suggest in the final paragraph…

as a result of cultural shifts going on, I can but hope three things.

One, more people get to enjoy said films, comics, games and shows.
Two, it opens a door for people to enjoy stuff they’ve never thought about trying – and that, in turn, they’re welcomed for doing so (as opposed to being criticised for not being ‘true geeks’, as I’ve seen over the past weeks).
And finally, that those who choose to bully and criticise those for liking something ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’ just think twice about it. If that last wish comes true especially , then Next can sell all the ‘Geek’ T-shirts it likes as far as I’m concerned

Fashion and brands pick up on whats in the zeitgiest, but thats not a good enough reason to get our own back, take the higher road!

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.