Archive for the ‘TV’ category

How Nerd Culture Became a Mainstream Culture

June 5, 2010

I remember growing up being classified for most of my youth as a “nerd”- I stopped playing sports very young, I read comics, I knew too much about topics only a few people cared about, and I managed decent grades in school.  I learned very quickly that- until I found my own kind to run with- to stay quite and keep my head down.  This was the pox given to those labeled “nerd” in that time, that of the outcast.  Move forward to today and “nerd” is the new cool.  Now it is okay to be different and be involved with things that were once considered too “nerdy” for the general public culture.  How did this happen?  How did being a “nerd” go from being a bad thing to being a good thing?  While I make no claim to be an expert, here are the reasons I believe the views have been changed over the years:

Video Games become one of the most successful forms of entertainment: For several years now video games have kept pace with all other forms of media in total sales both in the US and globally this includes movies, music, video and books.  There are also more gamers in more genres playing now more than ever.  In a report released in February 2009, there was 50 million users on XBOX LIVE and the PSNetwork.  Lets not forget the over 5 million that still play World of Warcraft like a religion.  The simple fact that there are so many gamers out there now makes it easy to see how video game culture become excepted as a norm so quickly.  The terms “WOW” and “Gamertag” are now common terms for anyone age 10-30 and even beyond.  We were a generation that grew up gaming and have made it the powerful entertainment industry that it is today.

The “Always Connected” Age of Computers: When I was a kid, it seemed odd if you knew too much about one thing.  Now, with the ease of the internet and the ability at any time to connect to it, anyone can quickly become an expert even if it’s in their own mind- about any topic within minutes.  In fact, it was seen at one point that owning a computer or such device was the factor that instantly made you a nerd whereas now if you don’t have at least a computer of some kind you are the person out of the norm.  We now live in a technical world that requires knowledge of things that once seemed only possible to those in the nerd world.  Even the computer age has grown more excepting of those that were once outcasts- at one time it was odd to have a “website” and “post on a messageboard” but now nearly everyone in on Facebook and has several blogs they read and message boards they post on.  The sub culture changed within itself to except what is actually happening: everyone is connected almost all the time and are part of the ever-growing universe that has become the Internet.

Nerd Topics go Hollywood: Breaking into the mainstream in the US is actually an easy feet if you can accomplish one goal: make a successful media item- especially in the form of television or film- and get people to watch it.  You can either let it happen naturally or you can market your item to the point where you tell people they are supposed to like it.  But all sarcasm aside, topics generally seen as only for nerds have become not only popular forms of media but huge financial successes, leading to even more media from those genres being created.  Look at all the franchises that used to be seen as “for nerds only” that are now part of “must see tv/films”: Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Lord of the Rings, Stargate,etc.    Then think about all the media that grew out of their success: Heroes, Twilight, Harry Potter, all the Stargate and Battlestar spinoffs, all the other vampire tv shows and movies.  Add to that the retro franchises like Transformers and don’t forget the huge success that comic book movies have had over the last decade, especially the Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Batman franchises.  Anything that was once seen as nerdy is now fodder for possible success in various forms of media.  In fact, there are whole movie and tv shows made based on the nerd lifestyle- Big Bang Theory, The Guild, Superbad- and they have all had success.  True that this is due in part to the quality of some of these works, but also to how fans of these shows support what they like.  In fact this helps to complete the cycle- at one time it was the ultimate in nerd to be a die hard fan of something -like a Trekker- while now it is all part of the experience of enjoying what you like.  Being a fan of something is actually cool now, and even a socially acceptable way to spend ones spare time.

Nerds outnumber the Norms and take control: I think everything above is due to one simple truth- there are more people now than ever that consider themselves nerds than ever before.  And, for the first time, it’s okay.  You can get excited a new Mario game is coming or a new Spider-Man movie is being made or the last Scott Pilgrim book is coming out.  People have become not only more tolerant about each others differences but also more free to add there support and love as well.  Nerds don’t have to fear the jocks anymore.  In fact, it is now the nerds of the 80’s that were once so tortured that control the output of entertainment of the world.  Why do you think all of a sudden all those movies were finally getting made?  Those same grown up nerds are also the bosses of their one time tormentors.  They can freely talk about anything they like without fear of abuse simply because nerds now outnumber the cool kids.  In fact, this balance is so off that in most cases the cool kids ARE the nerds, at least to some degree.

Sure, it’s odd to live in a time where being a “nerd” is not a bad thing.  But it’s a welcome change. Now let’s all get our +5 Dexterity vest, lightsabers and NERF guns and have one good LARP session.  Wait, that might still be too nerdy….


It’s that time again….

July 18, 2009

Just dropping in between trips to let everyone know I’m off to San Diego this week for Comic-Con once again.  I’ll be updating regularly through the Twitter account-this time with pics from time to time.  It will be a hectic mess, but a good time should be had.  Hope everyone is having a great summer and I’ll be back in a week or so.

TAGTIST 61709: Nicely handled, Dave

June 17, 2009

1984 was the greatest year ever

June 9, 2009

A ton of articles are popping up on this very same topic, so I decided to put in my own two cents worth.  However, just to be different, I’m just going to give you a list of everything that came out in 1984 and let those items be proof enough as to how awesome that year truly was to pop culture, America, nay…the universe as a whole:

Movies: Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, The Karate Kid, Footloose, Police Academy, Beverely Hills Cop, The Last Starfighter, Nightmare on Elm Street,  flippin Purple Rain, Revenge of the Nerds, Sixteen Candles, Splash, The Terminator, This is Spinal Tap

Television: Jeopardy, Miami Vice, Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, Kids Incorporated, The Cosby Show, Who’s the Boss, Night Court, Punky Brewster, Highway to Heaven, Murder She Wrote (hey, I watched it with my grandma)

Toys: the big obvious one is Transformers.  Transformers AND Ghostbusters in the same year?  How did my young mind handle the awesome.  There was also Mattel’s Secret Wars Marvel figures and DC Super Powers Collection.  These things were like plastic crack.  And let’s not forget Nintendo is just a few months away….

gotta love a toy commercial hidden in entertainment….

Music: the aforementioned soundtrack to flippin Purple Rain, 1984 from Van Halen, Bon Jovi, 99 Luftballoons, Run DMC, Spinal Tap, Chicago 17, Private Dancer (what’s love got to do, got to do with it?), Born in the USA, the Bangles, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Frankie Goes to Hollywood (and says to relax), Madonna’s Like a Virgin, Stevie Wonder calls to say hello, Wham! is two very friendly friends, and Cyndi Lauper is making hits

that’s what I think of doing every time I hear that song….

Comics: Marvel creates the crossover with Secret Wars bringing along with it Spidey’s new black costume and subsequent alien problems, Alan Moore -the eventual co-creator of the Watchmen- starts to write American comics with Swamp Thing, DragonBall in syndicated for the first time in Japan, and the friggin Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made their comic debut.

sooo many memories and wasted afternoons…

Damn.  What a great year.  Since my generation has no wars to define us, we are defined by the culture around us.  I can’t wait to tell my grandkids I was there for the big one-1984: the year pop culture was at it’s best.

TAGTIST 1809: Scrubs Moment #3

January 8, 2009

Another-maybe even my favorite of all-moment froms Scrubs.  The patient says she hopes death is like a Broadway show, where we all go out singing….

TAGTIST 1709: Scrubs Moments #2

January 7, 2009

Another great Scrubs moment…

TAGTIST 1609: Great Scrubs Moments #1

January 6, 2009

To celebrate Scrubs coming back here is one of my favorite moments from the show….