Sometimes I think I was born 20 years too soon to be part of the generation I should have been a member of.
Looking around, I see tattooed kids proudly proclaiming themselves to be “nerds.” They have their own television shows, websites, conventions, festivals. Of course, there always were Renaissance fairs and A-V clubs, listservs and online bulletin boards. But it was not quite as visible a community as it is today. The Big Bang Theory is a hit television show; Comic Con was available live on cable; geekandsundry.com airs its own shows. Maker faires, where people demonstrate and share all things hand-made, from knitting to robotics abound around the country.
When I was in my teens, being intelligent resulted in bullying and name calling. Being an intelligent female was a social death sentence, unless you were smart enough to pretend overwise. In your typical office, a woman having computer skills is tantamount to knowing how to type or run the photocopier in the 1970s; suddenly all the annoying technical problems of everyone’s computer is your problem, with no remuneration.
Suddenly, it seems, being a geek is now it’s something to be proud of. How did this happen? Was it the dot.com money-makers in the 90s? Was it Google and Microsoft being written up as such fantastic places to work? Or maybe it’s just that the internet offers so many grassroot, individualistic ways to communicate and publish, their blowing of their own horns garnered the attention of the mainstream.
Whatever confluence of events caused the mainstreaming and celebration of the intelligent in our society, it’s refreshing. I envy these kids. Nerds. Brains. Geeks. They have stopped acting small and have realized they are the Universe in ecstatic motion.