I was born in the mid 80’s. That means I probably didn’t watch the signature 80’s movies that everyone knows about, until their reruns in the 90’s. And if there was anything I’d learned from the late 80’s-90’s films, it was that being a geek or nerd was looked down upon and made you a target for some jock, who also happens to be a borderline homicidal maniac.
Because nothing enrages jocks like a geek minding their own business… And why is it always the same blonde guy that wants to kill you? In EVERY movie? Damn Californian teenage hormones. Because the guy who plays your dick boss 10-20 years later is always a brunette in a suit. See how the food chain differs? Anyway…
Well before I go any further, I should probably clarify the difference between being a geek and being a nerd. From what I gather, according to today’s society, a nerd is someone that is actually book smart in something (usually academics) and a geek is someone that obsesses over an interest or a hobby. Something like that. Either way, they all sit at the same lunch table, wear glasses and are equipped with inhalers for their asthma. They’re never getting laid… Or are they…?
See the term geek is used so frequently now that it’s starting to umbrella way too much of the population. Suddenly the geek table no longer wears just glasses and braces, but also chains, dark makeup, crazy highlights and a lot of plastic bands. Didn’t the 80’s movies classify those as just punks? When did the punk crew decide to annex the geek crew? Or the other way around? What happened?
The answer – Technology and innovation happened. Mainly mobile devices and social networks. Allow me to elaborate.
It used to be that if you saw some kid hunched over an electronic device and staring intensely at the screen, it meant they probably had poor social skills and was a geek/nerd. Today we call those kids iPhone users. Or people carrying their iPads/laptops/Blackberry’s/whatever. And by today’s standards, if you’re not carrying one, you’re probably not cool or poor. Take three seconds to look up and answer the cashier’s question while on the grocery line? FUCK NO, I’m getting my high score in Fruit Ninja right now. Shut the fuck up.
Okay, so just because you have an iPhone and share the same social traits as an 80’s geek, doesn’t make you a modern new millennium geek. Especially if you have like, close to 900 friends on Facebook and like 400 people following you on Twitter. You’re way more popular and cooler than actual geeks. Nowadays, geeks are nerds that know way too much about comic super heroes. You know, the characters you see every few months for the past few years featured in Hollywood films with spandex and weird masks. Damn Robert Downey Jr. is hot in that robot suit… Wait, they’re changing the Spider-Man guy? To the Facebook guy? But I never liked that Mary Jane chick… And why is the Fantastic Four kid now Captain America? I don’t know much about Captain America, but I guess if that hot blonde guy is in it, I’ll see it. Woah, Green Lantern? Van Wilder dude?
Facebook. It’s not just the site itself that has millions of people’s face glued to a screen. The story of its invention itself has changed the way the game works. Allow me to elaborate, yet again.
What were the jobs held by the “successful” families in 80’s movies? Usually the CEO of a large company, investment banker, some other asshole-ish job. The parents of the protagonist usually had a less extravagant desk job, worked for someone else, etc. Kids were taught to get a good education and if they’re lucky or good enough, they too, will get a decent job working for someone else. Then came Microsoft and Apple and stories of how college drop outs were suddenly becoming billionaires without finishing college. Fast forward a few decades and Mark Zuckerberg becomes the word’s youngest self made billionaire through the invention of Facebook. A geek or nerd most likely. But a rich nerd that can buy your ass. So suddenly the image of being a geek isn’t just associated with working for some asshole that pushes you around. Suddenly it is associated with young adults that own the online social world. (Which is now the real world. This is why cyber bullying is such an epidemic…) Now geek-like activities are appreciated, even accepted in today’s society. If you listen closely, you can hear some 80’s jock’s head just explode in a wormhole through time somewhere.
So if geeks are what small children are aspiring to be, how can it not be mainstream? Okay, no one dreams of getting shoved into lockers, but if you can look past that, the other side is pretty sweet. This doesn’t mean that jocks and geeks now get along at lunch time. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be social cliques that determine one’s popularity in High School. It’s part of growing up and a rite of passage into the real world. Because when you grow up, there are STILL groups of people you hate, people that suck up to the boss, whom you can’t stand and are talking and snickering behind your back. The one thing that’s different is that now if you hit the person, you can be charged with assault and arrested, then get fired from your job. Should have done all the fighting back in High School. Damn.
After saying all this, I’d like to end off with a note that being a geek is cool only for the guys. If you’re a geek and a girl, you’d better be pretty underneath or an ugly duckling waiting to morph, because at the end of the day, no one is rooting for you. Even your fellow geeky guys prefer their imaginary girlfriend (brought to you by Imaginary Girlfriends dot com) over looking at your sorry self. In every underdog movie, the girl has to magically become super pretty for the guys to notice her. She then makes the choice to stay all dolled up and live happily ever after. Meanwhile, the nerdy guy with the skin problems, still has skin problems, but some chick loves him anyway…
Sigh. I forgot what the moral to my rant was. Something about how Hollywood is ruining all our lives, I think…