Is It Time To Rebuild Geek Culture? : Blog Of The Nation With unlimited access to obscure, weird, and strange media over the Internet, nearly anyone can become a games or book "nerd" of some sort. Comedian Patton Oswalt has had enough — he says it's time for the true geeks to revive and rebuild their unique empire.
NPR logo Is It Time To Rebuild Geek Culture?

Is It Time To Rebuild Geek Culture?

When literary cult classics like the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy become ingrained in pop culture, do they lose their seal of nerdiness? leshoward/flickr hide caption

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Dweebs. Nerds. Geeks. No matter what you called "the people who knew too much about weird things" back in the day, well, their reputation is changing.

These days, the fodder weirdos and the nerds lived, ate, and breathed is embraced in pop culture. "Normal" children can be found attending ComiCon in droves as if it were a brand new amusement park. Kids who have never even touched multi-sided dice drop references to Dungeons and Dragons like it's going out of style (well, I'll leave that up to your own judgment). The "popular nerd talk" could go on forever, and perhaps that's helped two cultures that have clashed on the school yard for years to merge once and for all.

Comedian, actor and former nerd Patton Oswalt doesn't like it one bit. He's actually brought this issue up before in a hilarious stand-up bit about George Lucas making the second set of Star Wars sequels. Oswalt says,"I DON'T GIVE A [expletive deleted] WHERE THE STUFF I LOVE COMES FROM. I JUST LOVE THE STUFF I LOVE."

Well, he's revived the rant — and now says it's time to revive geek culture. In the January issue of Wired Magazine, he pinpoints the year 1987 as the downfall for the underground empire he was once a part of.

But who (or what) is to blame for the culture's destruction in the first place? The Internet:


The problem with the Internet, however, is that it lets anyone become otaku about anything instantly. In the '80s, you couldn't get up to speed on an entire genre in a weekend. You had to wait, month to month, for the issues of Watchmen to come out. We couldn't BitTorrent the latest John Woo film or digitally download an entire decade's worth of grunge or hip hop. Hell, there were a few weeks during the spring of 1991 when we couldn't tell whether Nirvana or Tad would be the next band to break big. Imagine the terror!

Alas, there is hope — Oswalt has a game plan! I'd rather not divulge it, as he is the true geek who can save our inner geek. Read on to find out how geek culture can be elite once again.

But first — do you think that geek culture has eroded and faded into pop culture, soon to be lost amongst the Internet memes and YouTube videos? Or are we on the right track?