The rise of geek culture

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas blazed the trail for taking the geek world mainstream.

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Steven Spielberg and George Lucas blazed the trail for taking the geek world mainstream.

“Times have changed in the Geek world and it might not be how you think it is,” said English teacher and fellow Geek, Mr. Donovan Gentis. “When I grew up it was the creators of Star Wars and superheroes making their own works now those creators have sold their products away to big studios, it’s no longer the creator creating the stories instead it’s the film industry.”

There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?

With the decade of the 2010s behind us, its good to look back and reflect. In doing so, I believe a startling revelation has been discovered: the geeks have risen. It is easy to make a list of trends that have defined the 2010’s but there remains one thing that has completely dominated the world: pop culture.

There are many factors that have been in play that have accelerated this rise of geeky things from movies and Tv shows to social media and conventions.

Years ago, sports were the coolest thing around, everyone knew who the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys was and the bullpen for the New York Yankees. Nowadays, things have shifted, and you can find someone who can list off more Avengers then LA Lakers. Geeks may never be the toughest people in the room but with a shift of what people are interested in, they may be the majority in the room.

Why is this though? Why at the start of this century and even years before was it surprising to find someone who knew who Rocket Racoon when now The Guardians of the Galaxy are household names?

Well, the biggest reason for the boom of geeks is the most obvious: the movies.

“Obviously, the biggest contrast on geeks when I grew up versus today is it’s much easier to get into,” said Mr. Gentis. “It’s not something that’s new it’s just how we see it, it’s far more common to be a fan of Batman nowadays but don’t pretend people were never there. It’s just it was only advertised to outcasts and academics now anyone from the ‘jocks’ to introverts and extroverts, but you’ll always find people who hate it.”

Flashback to 30 years ago and for the much smaller population of Geeks, they would maybe be lucky to get a comic book movie or Sci-fi mainstream big-budget movie once every few years. Now, jump back to today, and almost every month a new superhero or space epic movie is released into theaters.

Just look at the numbers. Taking “Titanic” out of the equation, the highest-grossing films of all time include three different Avengers’ movies and two different sci-fi epics, “Avatar” and “Star Wars.” 

Money speaks, there is no question there. When superhero movies are earning upwards of a billion dollars it shows what people are interested in.

Other factors play into this rise of geekdom, with comic books having always been a platform for geeks. Sadly they will never be a big enough outlet to bring in fans because people just don’t like to read. The internet and digital age, however, have brought in many new ways to be a comic fan from streaming services to digital comic books.

People have said it before but there is no doubt that this is the greatest time in the world to be a geek. A renaissance of pop culture is upon us and it has helped give birth to many new fans. One such fan is Senior Jacob Farlow, whose life has been forever affected by these works of fiction.

“Believe it or not it wasn’t the movie boom and pop culture rebirth that got me into all of this,” said Jacob. “Instead, I know for a fact that I am a geek today because of my dad who at a very young age introduced me to both comics and Star Wars and star trek. Our tradition of watching all the Star Wars and Marvel movies is something I like forward to every year. These fictional characters meant so much to my dad growing up he wanted to make sure I discovered them as well.”

The landscape has changed forever. Visionaries that have created these iconic characters now take a back seat to movie studios adapting there works. For now, Geeks rule the world but who knows 20 years from now people could get tired of spandex-wearing super shoulders, lightsabers, and magic rings.

No matter what happens, our fictional heroes thankfully will never truly die. The joy of fiction is that batman still is the same age he was when he first appeared on comic shelves 80 years ago. To the geeks of old and the geeks of new, excelsior! And may the force be with you always.

“The best thing about being a geek is easily the community that has become so massive as of recently I have met so many of my life long friends because of it,” said Farlow. “Many others and I have embraced the label of ‘geek’ because its what makes us who we are.”