Screech, Urkel, Clark Kent, Bill Gates, and heck, the whole cast of The Big Bang Theory. What do they all have in common? They’re all nerds, aka geeks, aka dweebs. There was a time when being called any of these would have been considered social suicide, but gone are those days. The days of shoving these poor hapless beings in lockers is over, nowadays, nerds are the popular ones. Yes, you read that right. Nerds are suddenly cool.

How? Well, for at least a decade nerds have pervaded, even dictated, what goes on in mainstream society. From the world of technology, film and tv, music, literature, fashion, and most of all pop culture. The losers of yesteryears are now the leaders of almost everything cool. Let’s take a look.


Technology – By now, we have all used a computer, both for work and leisure. Software and programs being used in your typical office setting, are made and coded by computer programmers (the classic nerd). Some of the world’s largest and most successful companies are led and founded by people such as Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple).

The gadgets and devices we use and depend on nowadays, are made by tech-savvy nerds. Who has not heard of or even owned an iPod, iPhone, or iPad? Applications used in these smart devices are made by none other than nerds. Technology is such an important part of today’s society, that it is now considered a necessity. Everyone owns cell phones, computers, and tech toys like mp3 players, video game consoles, and even televisions that are loaded with all the new technology of today.

More importantly, the use of social media has become so widespread and common that people from the age of 10 – 80 seem to be using it. Everyone has embraced these websites to connect and communicate.  The fact that the words Facebook and Twitter have become part of our everyday lingo is just further evidence.


Film – Nerds have also dominated in this field. A large number of the blockbuster hits in today’s movie theaters are classic Nerd favourites.

Superhero and comic book based films, as well as fantasy, and sci-fi flicks have taken over Hollywood. The Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and Iron Man franchises have continued to be the highest grossing films in recent years.

Fantasy films such as the very successful series based on the Harry Potter novels, were seen both by children and adults alike. Lord of the Rings and its sequels were also some of the top grossing films of the last decade, and along the way they earned and won a number of Oscar nominations.

As far as sci-fi goes, there’s the new version of Star Trek, and the re-hashed Transformers series that have earned millions at  the box office. It is no longer just geeks that follow these franchises, but the general public as well.

Films like Juno, Napoleon Dynamite, and Super Bad whose protagonist stars would have generally be considered nerds have moved beyond cult hit status and also taken over the mainstream.

As far as television goes, some of the biggest hits on the tube right now are The Big Bang Theory, a show all about nerds; and Glee, a show about a high school glee club. Shall I go on?


Music – Two of the biggest hits of this past summer featured a past band geek turned highly sought after producer and artist, Pharell Williams. His hit with Daft Punk “Get Lucky”, took over radio waves, and who hasn’t heard the infectious hit song he collaborated on with Robin Thicke and T.I., “Blurred Lines”?

Even genres such as rock and hip-hop have jumped on the nerd bandwagon. Pink wrote and sang a love letter to all nerds, but more specifically, to all outcasts of society called “F**ckin Perfect”. Katy Perry and Kanye West collaborated on a hit song about aliens. Music videos also by Katy Perry (“Last Friday Night”) and the new song by rapper Sonreal (“Everywhere We Go”) featured geeks with braces and a Napoleon Dynamite-esque character playing the leads.


Literature – Two words: Dan Brown. Who is he? Well, he only wrote the massively read novels The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, both so popular that they were turned into blockbuster films. The protagonist of these books, Robert Langdon, is a Harvard professor does it get more nerdy?) of symbology (a fictional field that studies historic symbols). The books use codes, patterns, and puzzles that have to be deciphered by the main character. In The Da Vinci Code, Langdon and a cryptologist follow clues that have to be pieced together to solve a crime. Angels and Demons focuses around physics and locating antimatter that has been used as a weapon of mass destruction.

Another popular author, Malcolm Gladwell, writes books about finding patterns and reasoning that explain how popular trends are formed from the subculture to mainstream society (The Tipping Point), and traces how successful people reach great success  through finding patterns (Outliers: A Story of Success).

Also, the aforementioned series of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings novels have become best sellers and are widely followed.


Fashion – Have you heard of “geek chic”? Glasses, suspenders, bow ties, loafers, and slacks…your typical nerd’s uniform. They’re no longer just for nerds. If you take a look at the streets of any major city, you’ll see hipsters and trendsetters sporting this nerd wear. People that don’t need glasses, wear glasses as a fashion accessory. Pop Stars such as Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, and Usher have all been know to don the nerd look.

These are only a few examples of how nerd culture has infiltrated mainstream society or pop culture. The main reason probably being that more and more people are now accepting and embracing what was once considered “uncool”. Being called a nerd, geek, dweeb, or however you want to say it, is not considered derogatory anymore. The terms are, in fact, used freely and proudly by many as a symbol for being smart, trendy, and of course, cool. Nowadays, being a nerd means being passionate and knowledgeable of a certain topic. So nerds all over the world, rejoice! You are loved and even emulated by the general public. So go ahead and declare your nerdom loudly and proudly. May the geeks inherit the earth!

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