Having been teased something rotten for so many years, the world’s nerds and geeks suddenly found themselves at the forefront of style and popular culture.
No longer was the computing swot – with his trademark thick-rimmed glasses and shiny forehead – the social outcast. In a dramatic role reversal, he was, all of a sudden, the cool kid.
It was back in 2013 that the phrase ‘geek chic’ first found its way into the Oxford English Dictionary. The definition – “the dress, appearance, and culture associated with computing and technology enthusiasts, regarded as stylish or fashionable” – neatly embodies the shifting of attitudes. Once considered to be awkward and uninteresting misfits, geeks were suddenly held in the very highest regard. As nerds, squids and dweebs everywhere set about enjoying their time in the spotlight, something unusual was brewing in the automotive world.
In hindsight, the ascension of our adenoidal computing enthusiasts actually makes a lot of sense. For one thing, as pointed out by a 2013 article in The Guardian: “The digital revolution elevated alpha nerds such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to unprecedented power and inf luence.”
And whereas many of us might once have been distrustful of new technology, the fact that we all found ourselves walking around with a quite brilliant piece of it in our trouser pockets will surely have made us all more receptive to it. Computer technology has come to form the very foundation of our day-to-day existence. Accordingly, the people behind the technology have become superstars.
Would it be too much of a stretch to declare scientists, computer programmers and engineers the new rock stars? Perhaps, but there’s certainly less clear air between the two groups now. You need only consider the vast public profiles enjoyed by two of today’s geeks-in-chief – physicist professor Brian Cox and Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk – to see that nerds no longer lurk nervously in the shadows.