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Have Geeks Gone Mainstream?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the just-call-me-'Katz' dept.

The Media 458

An anonymous reader asks: "Recently, I've been seeing more and more news stories about how 'geek' has gone mainstream. There have been a slew of articles with titles like Geek Pride and Geek Chic, which discuss how movies like 'The 40-Year Old Virgin' and 'Napoleon Dynamite', as well as television shows like 'Beauty and the Geek' have made it cool to be a geek. Two pinup calendars of geeks have been released this year, taking advantage of the new mainstream interest in all things geeky. These include the Geek Gorgeous Calendar, which features women who work in the hi-tech industry, and the Girls of Geekdom Calendar, which includes geeks like 'Art Geek' and 'Movie Geek'. So if being a geek has really become cool, why has interest in CS as a major dropped among incoming freshmen and women are still a minority in computer and engineering fields? Is it cooler to pretend to be a geek (wear 'Save Pedro' shirts, etc.) than to really be one?"

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458 comments

It's working out (5, Funny)

Darby (84953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068605)

Yeah, it's nice. I mention I can compile a kernel in any bar, and models, strippers and hookers are begging me to do coke off their tits.
Truly amazing.

Geek interests (4, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068798)

Well, the thing is... most geeks I know really wouldn't be interested in doing coke off of hookers' tits. Rather, they'd probably be looking for girls that like to talk (about non lame things), play games, or various other not-necessarily-that-geeky but geek-interesting activities.

Others would probably just be happy to have a woman look at them. You can pull the slashdot stereotype but there really are many varieties of geek.

Because there's no money in it (1)

PimpDawg (852099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068609)

The market is flooded. For the 2nd year in a row salaries in IT have DROPPED. But Microsoft still claims that we have a shortage of IT people. That's because their goal is to get congress to pass more H-1B increases and flood the market so that IT salaries keep dropping.

Whether you're a geek or not... (3, Interesting)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068614)


Wearing a "Save Pedro" shirt isn't cool anymore. My youngest brother is in highschool, and probably three quarters of his friends have (and regularly wear) these shirts. When a "fashion" has made it to high school it's no longer cool.

Re:Whether you're a geek or not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068649)

Do you mean "Vote for Pedro"? --another useless comment by me, AC.

Re:Whether you're a geek or not... (1)

entirety (909951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068661)

If you are talking about fashion you are either a celebrity, high school, or college student. By the time you reach my ripe old age you can still be a geek without the fashion statement. The true test of geekdom is if you really don't care about driving the wives mini-van (or letting her drive because you want to play with your high speed wireless, gps, and laptop as she drives). The true test is being so "Otaku" about something that you can pretty much zone out the rest of the world. THAT is a geek. You may also be a geek if you have trouble focusing on a conversation because you are too entranced with your naval watching/programming/building/collecting/studying you name it... Just had to get that off my chest... Not even really on topic to the parent post... sorry bud...

Re:Whether you're a geek or not... (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068741)

Stupid question but what the hell is a "pedro" shirt?

I saw someone wearing one around town the other day that said "vote for pedro". WTF?

perhaps... (2, Insightful)

Rs_Conqueror (838344) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068617)

I blame napoleon dynamite, he gives us all a bad name...

I agree (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068795)

"Napoleon Dynamite" was a terrible movie. Or, at least, it had a terrible image of geekdom.

The kid had various geek stereotypes, sure. Lack of coordination, unshapely body, poor taste in dress, and so on.

But, the kid was not intelligent. That was made obvious. He was in fact less intelligent than most his age. And further, he lived a life full of pretension...he did not have the strong and direct mannerisms from which geeks draw their antisocial stereotypes. Instead he makes up shallow and obviously stupid stories about his exploits, utterly oblivious to how transparent they are.

How does he save himself at the end? By becoming brilliant? NO! By learning to DANCE. TO DANCE!!! What does that have to do with geekdome? Sure there is nothing wrong with it, but dancing is what the NON-GEEKS do to be cool.

If you want to see a REAL geek movie, go watch Real Genius. And maybe read some Larry Niven.

Geekery is defined by sublime levels of self-mastery. Geeks reject social standards which hold no value for them, and cultivate their minds to no end. The power of the human mind is what separates us from lower animals, and the geekly expression of this power places us at the cutting edge of human evolution. This is where the value of geekdom lies.

I would further suggest that geeks are the true authors of the world as we know it. Who invented shampoo? Who designed the intricate networks of pipes that carry our waste neatly away? Who created fine fabrics and devised methods of weaving them into finer clothing? Who created sports cars? Air conditioning? Athletic shoes? Everything, absolutely EVERYTHING that non-geeks love about themselves and their world was created by geeks.

Go geek or go away.

Ok, I am done.

 

Definition of a geek (3, Insightful)

sj88 (930814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068618)

Part of the definition is that it is not mainstream.

Re:Definition of a geek (5, Informative)

Skyfire (43587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068635)

No, part of the definition is that you have to bite the heads off of chickens in a circus.

From a historical perspective (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068619)

If anyone from a previous century saw the average person today, they'd think we were all geeks (or spacepeople or heretics)

Re:From a historical perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068655)

Hey! I AM from a previous century!!

and yes, I think you are all geeks.

Re:From a historical perspective (1)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068659)

Two types of people these days...Luddites or Geeks...take your pick

Napoleon Dynamite? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068625)

I might not understand, but I thought it portrayed geeks in the worst light humanly possible, and that is where it got its humor from. How would that make it cool to be a geek?

Re:Napoleon Dynamite? (4, Funny)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068637)

That's the problem Geeks have. They watch these movies and think they are now in style. Sad really. We nerds pity the geeks.

Re:Napoleon Dynamite? (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068690)

Because, as geeks we too laugh at these exagerated characters. So it feels like they are laughing with us, when in reality they see us in the same light, and are laughing at us. We think we are cool because of the added attention towards geeks, but nonetheless are still the butt of the joke.

Re:Napoleon Dynamite? (1)

alc6379 (832389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068730)

I can't say that Napoleon Dynamite was a "geek". Dork, perhaps, but not geek.

I think that you can be a geek, but still not be a dork, or in the same vein, a loser. I think that's what it is these days-- geeks are getting shown to not be losers, but instead are being recognized for their interest in some subject, and lauded for that intelligence.

Napoleon Dynamite was... (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068731)

Napolean Dynamite was a particular nerd from a particular time. The timeframe was the early nineties, and the setting was smalltown america, a different kid who wasnt trying to fit in. He wasn't a typical "geek" who is here on /.

-everphilski-

Re:Napoleon Dynamite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068754)

Actaully, Napoleon Dynamite really didn't portray geeks. Geeks generally have skills. I herefore suggest that he was more of a Dweeb.

INterst has dropped (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068628)

Interest in being a CS major has dropped because there is a well known stereotype about IT workers being the most overworked and underappreciated and underpaid people in any business. The fact that this is often the truth does not help matters.

Re:INterst has dropped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068687)

True enough.. in Oilvania (Calgary), it's well known that anyone who is willing to learn the mind-numbing art of DBA, payroll S/W, or process pipe drafting makes nearly twice as much as anyone trained in a 4 year program of computing science (the knowledge of which enables most of the aforementioned high-level careers). Oil pays; flashy webpages pay; program architecture that doesn't crumble under it's own weight in two years doesn't.

What, me cynical? Never. I'm exstatic that my house has net *decreased* in value compared to the exact same homes located 1/2 mile closer to the downtown core, by over $20k in the last year. Sheesh.

Never mind me, I've had a few rum & cokes :-p

Re:INterst has dropped (2, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068818)

Ohh, I don't know. If you're a good IT engineer that's well versed in lots of technologies and an expert in a couple, you'll pull a real good salary - at least in the US.

I won't post my salary but it's really quite good, in the top 7% of the income in the state. I don't expect my salary to ever decrease; the problem of course can be finding jobs. It's either no job, or a really good paying job. There's not much in between - nobody would hire me for a Help Desk position becuase I'd leave as soon as I got an admin job and they'd be right.

IT is still a difficult field to get into, it does take many years of work experience to really get moving - and you have to make the right descisions on when to move on. You also really need to be into it, enough so that you keep up on new tech at home to stay sharp.

I am overworked to a degree, but I do enjoy being busy. My work days go by fast doing things that I like doing. I really can't complain about that.

For me, I'm not all that upset that more people aren't coming into the IT field. That means more demand for qualified people such as myself. Of course, a CS graduate could have much better prospects if they specialize in a very high tech field, such as microprocessor design. But that's more science work, and not so much IT work and thus not my competitor.

And in the end, the last thing the IT industry needs is more CS grads anyways. You certainly need no degree to do the type of work I do. Hell, I beleive you don't need a degree to do work in most fields; seriously - who needs a Bachelors or Masters to configure network systems, to admin Unix or Windows boxes, or to manage e-mail? Nobody. It's all about technical training, experience with production systems, interest, and half a brain in your head.

No, but... (2, Insightful)

ichthus (72442) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068632)

...the mainstream is enamoured with geekdom.

True geeks will never go mainstream. They'll (we'll) always be geeks unto our own.

Re:No, but... (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068725)

No, they are not enamoured with geekdom.

Just a short time ago, I was sitting around having coffee with a few average (cute, smart-ish, normal) chicks I'm friends with and a couple random guy friends and a couple people most of us didn't know.

In the course of conversation, I said something to the effect of "well, what do you expect - I'm a geek!".

To which one of the cute girls said (as if the words that had just come out of my mouth were something like "I'm a fat disgusting stupid braindead loser")... "Oh no, you are not! Don't be so hard on yourself!".

Seriously. I mentioned completely unashamedly that I'm just your typical geek and the response I got was this sort of consoling "dont' say such terrible things about yourself" kind of comment. She (and she wasn't alone in this) actually thought I was berating myself with such a label.

Geeks have this fucked up notion that the world loves a geek and that everyone sits around and admires the prowess of nerds, dorks and geeks. Guess what? THEY DO NOT. The people out partying and drinking and having a good time with other good looking successful non-geeks see you as someone to do their homework and fix their computers. You are not someone to be in awe of anymore than they should be in awe of the Maytag man or their mechanic.

Hearing people prattle on about how acceptable it is seem pathetic, to me. It's like the biggest group of losers in highschool getting together and saying "hey, we're totally cool! honest!" and believing that because *they* think they're top shit - the whole world does, too.

If you don't believe it, look at the Vonage ad running on Drudgereport right now that says something like "No fees. No installation. No problems. NO NERDS".

I'll proclaim my geekdom around other geeks. People outside of the geek inner circle have no need to know this about me. I'm just a normal person.

Re:No, but... (4, Interesting)

Omestes (471991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068763)

This might be because of two definitions of the word geek. One is the socially bad one, of a some smart, but socially annoying guy hiding in his parents basement. The other, good definition is that of a generally tech savvy individual with wide reaching interests, and a short attention span for various forms of knowlege (grokk everything, and move on). The later is okay now, whereas before we were creepy.

Really, its sort of like saying "Yeah I hacked my box", where the non-geek will take it as what we take to mean "skr1ptk1dd13" crap, when we actually mean, "it didn't work right, so I rewrote my OS" We're so used to talking to ourselves, that we forget that people use these words differently in the real (non /., non serverfarm) world.

Also, who said you have to be a techie to be a geek? I'm a philosophy geek first, and technology comes second. I think tech is just the primary obsession of geeks since it's easier to tweak/hack/control.

Re:No, but... (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068772)

Notice how you posted this at 10:03PM (CST) on a Friday :)

I have an excuse, the lady and I are both coughing up phlegm and virii, heh.

You're right though, geeks are still uncool and unchic. Maybe companies are trying to sell geeks as chic in order to get more geeks interested in their products?

As an ex-club owner, I can most definitely tell you that my standard door policy was to never let in people like me. Sell out? Maybe. But you don't pay $15k a month in rent on standards...

Re:No, but... (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068797)

Notice how you posted this at 10:03PM (CST) on a Friday :)

I have an excuse, the lady and I are both coughing up phlegm and virii, heh.


So do I. I work Friday nights, so I can have a four day weekend every week. I'm currently fighting some hotfix fires for a university that is a major customer of ours.

I'll take making money on a friday night over blowing it on drunk chicks on a friday night any day. Er.. any friday, at least.

You want to go out on a day other than Friday and saturday nights when there is less competition and more available choices

And for the record, I'm in MST - so it's only 9:30 (though I work for 3 more hours).

Geeks * (1)

CriminalNerd (882826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068636)

The only reason interest in CS has dropped is because only the smart geeks and nerds who spent their time studying upside-down in trash cans are the ones who take it.

As for the minority of women, well...You don't see a lot of girls upside-down in trash cans, do you?

Re:Geeks * (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068709)

You don't see a lot of girls upside-down in trash cans, do you?

Hmmm maybe if we put CS books next to kegs, there would be an increase.

It's better to watch stuff, than to do stuff. (2, Interesting)

taylor_venable (911273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068641)

It takes a lot of work to be a "geek" in any real sense of the word. Learning the ins and outs of math/science/technology/whatever requires time and commitment, which most people can't (or won't) afford. So why go through all the hassle when you can just pretend you're "down with it" and join the crowd. It's just like any other cultural trend: take (more modern) rap music for example. Not everybody can rap like P. Diddy, but if you wear his clothes and represent yourself as if you were part of his culture, you too can become cool.

Re:It's better to watch stuff, than to do stuff. (1)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068746)

Not everybody can rap like P. Diddy, but if you wear his clothes and represent yourself as if you were part of his culture, you too can become cool.

hoookayyyyy..easy there buddy. trust me rapping like puffy isn't a compliment. Thats just for white ppl who don't know diddly about hip hop and get the marketing hype of the industry so to them diddy == cool. on two other notes, does that fact that i'm juggling two women now not make me a geek. I still code in C and python. and why is it that the women in that "geek calendar" either look constipated or scared. jenna, chelsea,lilac looks like she's on crack and jesus don't get me started on barbera. C'mon there are actually hot geek girls.

Don't know if this explanation makes sense, but... (1)

Woldry (928749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068643)

I think it's less that people are pretending to be geeks, and more that people already think they are (whether or not they actually are). It's the "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" phenomenon: Everybody, even the insiders, feels like an outsider. So they identify with the pop-culture image of outsiders, even if they don't fit it at all. Geeks are perceived to be outsiders, so people identify with geeks, and want to proclaim their "outsider" status by claiming geek culture as their own.

The lack of interest in CS as a profession is not especially related, IMHO. People who already think of themselves as geeks may adopt what they think of as the geek "uniform", but aren't likely to alter their own genuine interests just because it's what geeks are expected to do. That is, they want to show that they're geeks, by looking like geeks, but they don't have to prove it by acting like geeks, because (as far as they're concerned) they already do.

The lack of interest in CS also, I suspect, is directly related to the perception that, since the dotcom bust, the country is glutted with out-of-work or underpaid IT people, and there is (the perception goes) therefore no future in it.

On the lack of interest in CS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068700)

... CS is NOT the only thing that geeks are into. That's really fracking annoying that people keep repeating that myth. Math, physics, biology, etc... These are all valid Geek pursuits. Even history. Come to think of it, the biggest geek I personally know(and I know many) is a geologist.

Re:On the lack of interest in CS... (1)

Woldry (928749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068778)

I only meant that the public perception of geeks is that they know computers, not that CS was the only thing that makes a geek a geek (or is even a necessary attribute of geekdom).

Actually, I myself am a perfect example of this. I have only a casual hobbyist's interest in CS. I dabble with just about any software I can get my hands on, buy new PDAs just because I'm curious about their differences (I think I have seven or so lying around the house, plus the Ipaq that I actually use daily), that sort of thing. But if you asked me to compile something or wanted technical advice about lisp syntax, I'd sort of grin nervously and try to change the subject.

I do, however, attend Medieval Faires whenever I can (and have spent more money than I care to admit on costumes for doing so), obsess over choral music to an absurd degree, and have intense curiosity about the hard sciences (especially paleontology, physics, astronomy, & cosmology) and a major jones for fantasy (less so for sf). Especially, my interest in philology and historical linguistics has proved to be embarrassingly passionate: I once made a co-worker stare alarmedly when I went into raptures over finding a box of tremendously obscure histling textbooks at a book sale; he said he thought I had come across a porn goldmine.

Re:Don't know if this explanation makes sense, but (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068804)

Who said that CS = Geek? I think most geeks can fall into CS, or a science, since they are all very technical control-freak jobs, where they can tweak variables, hack systems (in the Linus sense), and control the living crap out of something all in the reason of grokking.

From this I take geek = obsessive. Geek = someone who wants to know everything about an aspect of a system.

We, if I'm allowed to be a geek (not CS, not fully science), are intellectuals, we obsess more about theory and knowledge than about how we look, if people like us. Also, please compair the depth and number of hobbies that you average /.er has, compaired to the normal population. It is the curiosity, not necissarily the technology.

Hollywood version (5, Insightful)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068645)

Only the hollywood version of the "geek" has gone mainstream. If people knew and understood real geeks, nobody would want to be one.

Saving is for whales, voting is for Pedro (0)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068646)

"Is it cooler to pretend to be a geek (wear 'Save Pedro' shirts, etc.) than to really be one?"

I don't know really, you tell me? I voted for Pedro, did you? (kidding)

PS on the GeekGorgeous.com website, the link titled "buy it now!" does not mean you can simply buy a hottie programmer for I/O testing purposes.

Best. Link. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068771)

Once again, marketing knows what buttons to push. :-)

How is this different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068647)

If the difference between, say, the 'normal' girl and the 'geeky' girl is comprised somehow of interests or intellect, how do pinup calendars really celebrate that? I checked the sites out, and I'm not really sure where the 'geek' comes into play. Ok, so instead of just crossing her arms, she uses a tactfully placed book? Sure, cheesecake is cheesecake and I suppose that'll appeal to any guy or girl of that interest, but really, whats so special?

To look at it another way, If the pizza guy/pool boy/plumber was somehow replaced with a Geek Squad member, would we now be heralding the era of "geek porn"? If it was an alien (I suppose he'd have many tentacles), would it be that sci-fi porn be a direct appeal to geekdom? No, not really, you'd more likely lump it into the generic porn category and just think of it as a minor variation, not as some categorically unique appeal to a "niche" market. Ok, so maybe the tentacle stuff is it's own category, but it's not because it's "geeky"

Then again, I could be wrong, I may not just "get it," but I'm not sure how this is classifiably different than any other pinup calendar, and I hardly see the grand significance in mainstream acceptance or perception of geekiness. Seems like this was just the posters attempt to appeal to the CowboyNeal in all of us to get this story approved.

CS Monopoly on Geekitude? (1)

Majikk (60247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068650)

First of all, CompSci is a well known for silly hours and miserable job security. But secondly and more importantly, since when is CompSci THE geek major? What about engineering and the physical sciences?

Yeah! (4, Funny)

m.h.2 (617891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068664)

...and chicks throw their panties at me when they see me in my "Free Kevin" T-shirt.

The Girls of Geekdom's "Computer Geek" (4, Insightful)

Robotbeat (461248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068665)

Sorry to say, but I just think that the "computer geek" pin-up model just fits too well with the typical computer geek... TOO well to be a pin-up, maybe. I don't really think that geek will ever really be cool or sexy, since an important part of what makes someone a geek is the lack of concern for coolness and a really under-developed (read:adolescent) sexual identity. Not only that, but the most geeky geeks that I know are much more concerned about the most correct logical conjugation of something than the idea that other people (especially those who aren't too interested in some obscure geekiness) even exist as incarnations other than a computer-screen glow. I mean, being a geek seems antithetical to being cool.

Re:The Girls of Geekdom's "Computer Geek" (0, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068786)

The article blurb completely misses the point. I'm not going to waste my time looking at a bunch of supposedly "geek" chicks in a calendar or whatever so I didn't bother following the links.

HOWEVER, it's idiotic to say "are geeks acceptable and mainstream now?" just because ther'es a poster full of HOT chicks calling themselves geeks. (Or go the other way where you have your typical fugly girl who is only hot compared to your average fugly girl, but geeks usually have lower standards so as long as you're not 400lbs, you're a "hot chick").

The point being being a geek isn't acceptable or mainstream. Being hot and attractive is. Being attractive makes everything acceptable. Why do you think it's socially acceptable to be a drunk, a junkie (heroine chic anyone?), a dropout, a braindead social butterfly or any other number of things? Because as long as you're ATTRACTIVE, they're all acceptable.

Addicted to meth, but you're handsome or beautiful? Then it's okay. Addicted to twinkies? Go away fatty, we don't want to see you. Alcoholic? That's okay. It's a disease. you're sexy and we love you anyway. Gameaholic? You're a fucking loser. Go rot in the corner.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it. Physical traits are beneficial to society and being attractive is more valuable than being smart. The only people who don't know or believe that are ugly people who think that brains are really as sexy as they are told.

Brains are sexy - in a sexy body. Be as smart as you want, but if you have fugly teeth or are fat or are goofy looking - you're still disgusting. And that's the way it should be.

And no, I'm not trolling. Don't mod me down just becuase you're afraid to confront the truth about the world.

Re:The Girls of Geekdom's "Computer Geek" (2, Interesting)

localman (111171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068823)

under-developed (read:adolescent) sexual identity

Maybe I'm being defensive here, but as someone who identifies as a geek, I don't believe that geeks have to be sexually inept or oblivious. For heaven's sake, i've got geek friends who swing. I'm a geek, I dance funny, but I know my way around.

I agree that geek won't go mainstream, though. A watered down co-op version will, and then it will die out. But being a geek means truly enjoying and exploring your intellectual abilities, something that you either do or don't naturally.

Cheers.

Re:The Girls of Geekdom's "Computer Geek" (1)

pingveno (708857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068833)

The geekosphere works just like most other communities. There are things that are cool or trendy in it. For the high school fashion crowd, buying a trendy set of shoes would be "cool". For computer geeks, having an installation of Firefox with a ton of custom-made extensions would be "cool". Cool is just a matter of perspective.

Coolness. There's no escaping it!

I'm a [Subject] Geek (1)

pazu13 (663695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068669)

If one can be an 'art geek' or 'movie geek' it's not necessarily so surprising is it? It doesn't seem as if the term is necessarily confined to people who tinker with machines anymore, and that it's simply just a fashion statement. (Would any geek want to actually be Napoleon Dynamite, who despite his dancing skills, in good faith tried to use a patently bogus time machine?) Since being a 'geek' has been disassociated with being a coder or engineer, it seems more like the mainstream has managed to steal a concept from a subculture and put its own mainstream spin on it.

I do, however, have a friend who decided to be a Comp Sci major because of the movie Hackers, so make of that what you will.

Everyone thinks they're a geek... (1)

Jaza (178039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068671)

Just because you have an iPod, doesn't make you a geek!

Re:Everyone thinks they're a geek... (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068685)

What if I've taken apart my ipod and rebuilt it as an attachment on the side of my glass frames and it runs on rechargable batteries which continuously charge via the tiny solar panels I've sown into the shoulders of my jacket?

Re:Everyone thinks they're a geek... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068782)

Grandparent said:
Just because you have an iPod, doesn't make you a geek!

But, as in your case, having an iPod doesn't automatically make you NOT a geek.

What's a Geek? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068676)

Like most, I know many self-proclaimed computer geeks, people who've managed to convince their non-geek friends and family that they are as 1337 as 1337 can be. They all talk the talk of the stereotypical Hollywood-type computer geek, down to the anti-fashion sense.

But attempt to talk to them in a geek-to-geek situation and you find they don't walk the walk. Sure, they know Windows and many of them have a superficial ability to drive *nix, but the underlying understanding of systems isn't there. They've memorised large chunks of various '...For Dummies' and Sybex books, but really haven't a clue at the end of the day.

One chick I met, sporting the mandatory Goth-ensemble and 'tude, had long talked herself way up as a Cisco/IOS guru, but when placed in front of a keyboard and asked to help resolve a conflict (2800 having a bad-hair day) even the 1/2" thick titanium-white makeup couldn't hide the blush. She's not unique, or even slightly ununsual. Gothgirl didn't even know where to begin.

I'm beginning to think that genuine computer geeks are an endangered species, on the way to being completely usurped by Microsoft Certified nohopers and other charlatans. :(

IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE A GEEK! (4, Funny)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068740)

You're home on a friday night reading slashdot!!! You're either a geek or married.

Save Pedro (1)

Tycho_Atreides (814306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068680)

"Is it cooler to pretend to be a geek (wear 'Save Pedro' shirts, etc.) than to really be one?"

Ive seen alot of college kids with Save Pedro shirts around, and I can tell you with some certainty that NONE of them are geeks.

save pedro? (1)

switchfutguy (880698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068683)

"Is it cooler to pretend to be a geek (wear 'Save Pedro' shirts, etc.) than to really be one?"

ummmm....according to napolean dynamite...isn't it "Vote for Pedro"?

Ugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068688)

I'm so sick of people being cool-geeky or whatever you want to call it. It's just another way for people with no personality of their own to attempt to fit in with the crowd. Grow up and be your own person.

Interest in Comp Sci (1)

Tycho_Atreides (814306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068694)

"So if being a geek has really become cool, why has interest in CS as a major dropped among incoming freshmen and women are still a minority in computer and engineering fields?" Maybe because kids have figured out that a career in comp sci is more like being an indentured servant to EA in a cubicle farm than it is like being in the movie "Hackers" ?

Dorkus Maximus (1)

xornor (165117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068697)

That character in Napolean Dynamite was a giant DORK, not a geek. The are mutually exclusive in my opinion.

"40 Year Old Virgin"? WTF? (4, Insightful)

No Such Agency (136681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068703)

Since when did a movie like that make geeks look "cool"? It's about a guy with several stereotypically geeky hobbies, who can't get laid AT ALL despite being at least reasonably attractive. Yeah, he's "nice" but that's like saying Gone With the Wind helped whites accept blacks because Mammy didn't shoot and rob Scarlett (much as the rest of us may have wanted to).

Notice they didn't make the character a beer-bellied 40-year-old sports fan virgin with a collection of World Series bobbleheads, that's all I'm saying. Don't kid yourselves that geeks are now "cool".

Easy answers (0, Flamebait)

mungtor (306258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068704)

This isn't hard....

1. Bring a geek is still not cool. Your best bet is to hang out with other geeks and try to be at least the coolest of the non-cool.

2. Enrollment in CS courses is down because there is no future in it. Everything you can learn in CS can be farmed out to some Indian tech worker for 1/10 th price of anybody in the US. They have all the theory and none of the experience, which is what today's company-on-the-go needs.

3. Girls aren't in technical fields because the educational interests in the US have been to neuter the school curriculum to make females feel more important. Instead of getting girls interested in science, it just means that Home Economics is worth more credit than AP Physics. This is important because girls suck at math and logic, but we need them to graduate for some reason.

Re:Easy answers (1)

pingveno (708857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068752)

Girls aren't in technical fields because the educational interests in the US have been to neuter the school curriculum to make females feel more important. Instead of getting girls interested in science, it just means that Home Economics is worth more credit than AP Physics. This is important because girls suck at math and logic, but we need them to graduate for some reason.

My Computer Science professor is a woman. Enough said.

In it for the money (4, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068705)

Not everyone who choses comp sci or some other "geeky" degree is automatically a geek. A lot of people are just in it for the money. If you look at the graph in the one linked article [cra.org] , there are two spikes -- the first one starting in the late 70's and early 80's and peaking in 83-84, which corresponds with the rise and fall of the 8-bit personal computer era; and the second one centered around the internet bubble. When computers were percieved as being a cool and/or profitable career in mainstream culture, a lot of people gravitated for it for the status and/or the money, not because they were computer geeks. When the bubble bursts and computers fall out of the spotlight, the trend-followers leave for greener pastures.

The smell (3, Interesting)

TEMM (731243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068708)

University of Victoria in BC, Canada did a survey among their female computer science students to find out why it isnt popular among women. It must be pointed out that UVic has a 30% female CS student population, and are shooting for 50%. The number one reason given in this survey was girls dont like CS because the classrooms and labs smell. Not surprising, since it seems that CS students personal hygiene skills are more lacking then their social skills. Sometimes it is to the point where Im ashamed to call some of these people my colleagues.

ugh (1)

orbit86 (932209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068749)

well I'am a CS student switching to Marketing.. The reason I switched because I won't do the math in Calculus,Physics because of DysCalculia (ahh no sympathy) so instead of being in a canumdrum next year and retake all the classes for marketing I'll start now. I find myself bored in CP1 because I know all of this and bored in Computer Architecture because It's not the material I want to know.. I don't care how a CPU is engineered. I liked writing business apps so switching to a Business Degree was the only option.. That and I want to become a corrupt rich bastard like Bill Gates! :)

Re:The smell (1)

ZippyKitty (902321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068801)

It strikes me as kind of odd to ask the women who STAYED in CS (or Engineering for that matter) why women don't want to study those fields. Aren't we the ones least likely to understand?

ZK

Geek is a fad | CS isn't the only way to go (4, Interesting)

ITchix0r (883851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068726)

"Geek" in the mainstream is just a fad. Geek as many of you know it, can refers to the poor skinny white kid with glasses who have a hard time ever get any. What's the difference between something like The Real World (real show on MTV) or like Geeks in a Basement (something I just made up). It just exposes us to something that we're not normally accustomed to seeing, that's all. Isn't the reason why we watch tv? To be in our own fantasy world or to laugh at others?

Having a degree in computer science isn't necessarily the only way to get a computer related job when one graduates college. At my school, there are other computer related majors such as information studies (IS) and management information systems (MIS), which have different roots. I am a female MIS major at my school. The ratio of males to females in my major classes is around 60/40.

I could be a programmer when I graduate, though someone with a degree in CS would typically be more equipped to be able to do a better job than I am. I think most of the MIS girls here are going to be the project manager types as opposed to computar geeks (me). Most of the guys I know who drop out of CS go to IS or MIS (they mostly go IS because it has less prereqs).

no.. (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068732)

Being a geek isn't cool, things geeks knew 20 years ago are now becoming cool. The technology we knew of/designed/supported have now gone main stream so more people seme like geeks. But in the heart of every true geek there is a love beyond "it's fashionable", the love of code/toys/pcs/whatever. While at the moment it's "cool" to be a geek the real geeks are never seen because we're too busy doing our own thing and ignoring the fads.

Give it 5-10 years and we'll see the fad blow over. When it does you'll see a lot of (insert new fad here)s and the same old bunch of geeks with no toys to play with thanks to all the idiots driving the industries we love with their loose money.

Pocket protectors have been around forever. (1)

NCraig (773500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068734)

Popular media starring "geeks" are nothing new. See Egon Spengler and Louis from Ghostbusters. See Erkel (if you must). Or Melvin Belvin (Happy Days). Or this [monkeymethods.org] delightful spread of Mr. Gates.

If anything, "geekdom," in America at least, is in decline. During the space race, NASA engineers were revered. Now they are the subject of mockery. There was a time when the public was excited about the release of new American cars. And as the summary states, computer science is less enticing to young scholars.

Two poorly crafted calendars and a movie starring a geek who is enjoyable because he is amusing (to some) do not a watershed moment make. "Vote For Pedro" shirts are an homage to MTV (the organization that produced and popularized the film) that have nothing to do with reading engineering texts for fun, spending all your spare time programming, or being the proud owner of a slide rule.

Oddly enough... (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068751)

I've known a lot of geeks and nerds, but have yet to meet even one that actually uses a pocket protector! Maybe I'm not "in" with the real geek crowd?

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

Woldry (928749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068799)

My brother, a chemistry teacher, Civil War fanatic, and slide-rule collector, uses pocket protectors.

Why not many women in CS? (4, Insightful)

Quixote (154172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068743)

Two pinup calendars of geeks have been released this year .... So if being a geek has really become cool, why .... women are still a minority in computer and engineering fields?

Maybe because such stupid calendars? When was the last time you saw Linus, Ingo, and Stallman on a pinup calendar? Sure, you will kid about their (esp. Stallman) appearance. But that is my point!! Nobody cares about these male ubergeeks' appearance; why should we care about the female geeks' ?

I, for one, would like to see more sites dedicated to the many female geeks in our community who quietly toil away. The best way to promote geekdom among women is to highlight the women geeks' accomplishments, and not their vital stats. (If there are such sites out there, please post some links).

Geek redefined... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068748)

Geeks haven't gone mainstream. Mainstream - as it always does - has borrowed elements from what it thinks geeks are about and misappropriated them. Namely, it's taken consumer electronic technology advancement and misidentified what is a continuation of the hi-fi, walkman and telephone as geekiness. That's just human progression, geeks are always one step ahead (or behind, depending on how you look at it).

The core of being a geek mainstream will never have; the focussed, almost obsessive interest in certain subjects. Mainstream by definition is superficial, throwaway and temporary, geekdom is built on much more substantial foundations such as science, knowledge and a need to understand.

Yes (1)

Mirkon (618432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068761)

Vote Pedro indeed.

Being considered a "geek" is almost farcically easy anymore. You don't have to possess a mental lexicon of three-letter abbreviations, write a Z80 assembly program, or even understand how an operating system switches processes. No, nowadays someone is a "geek" for simply making a website or knowing the three-finger salute. It's very accessible, and people like patting themselves on the back for being knowledgable ("a geek") even if they only skim the surface.

Three finger salute? (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068783)

You mean "the shocker"? Might know it, but have never used it. Oh, hold on, you mean the MS crash recovery thing... you know, us real geek have forgotten about, as we all run Linux now.

DEATH TO WOMENS RIGHTS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068764)

DEATH TO WOMENS RIGHTS.
DEATH TO WOMENS LIBERTIES.
DEATH TO WOMENS FREEDOMS.

Repeal the 19th ammendment (women's vote).
Repeal the 19th ammendment (women's vote).
Repeal the 19th ammendment (women's vote).

Enrollment Drop (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068767)

Enrollment has dropped for one reason: the bubble burst.

I started college in 2001 right before the bubble burst (it was just starting). I can't tell you how many idiots there were who entered CS along with me. There were people there who had never used a computer (literally). People who didn't know how to type, people with no math skills (I'm talking sub-algebra), etc. Those people were obviously in it for the money (which they all freely admitted). There was one or two (usually older adults) who decided to do it to learn more ("I don't know anything about computers, and I wanted to learn what made them tick."), but the vast majority were in it for the cash. Even among those who were more qualified, there were many who were in it for the money. You could tell who was who pretty easily. Those with the real passion already knew many things from studying it themselves. Those who wanted the cash tended to do the bare minimum and write horrid code ("As long as it works!").

Now that the bubble has burst, those people aren't there. If you want to compare enrollment numbers, look at the numbers from 1992 or 1995 so (before the bubble). I don't know what those numbers are, but I would think they would be more representative.

From what I hear, bio-med is the new CS. That (along with possibly accounting) is where you go if you want money as it is the new in industry with high pay.

It would be interesting to see how enrollment has changed over the last 10-20 years if you could filter out the gold-diggers. It would still be higher during the bubble from people who went into computers because they found them interesting (as they became more popular, more people became exposed, so more become interested). I'd love to see that.

As to the question "Have geeks gone mainstream"? No. They haven't. They never will. They existed in the '50s. They existed in the '70s. They existed in the '90s. They exist today. That is nearly 60 years and they haven't gone "mainstream" yet. Blacks have gone mainstream in that time (they are no longer outcasts). Gays have gone mainstream (you may say they're not there yet, but they are more than geeks). And geeks existed before the 1950s too. I don't think it will ever happen. We may get some acceptance, some respect, but we're not going to be mainstream. We're never going to see "pro-geeks" like we see "pro-atheletes".

At least not any time soon.

Geek is like cool (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068768)

Geek is like cool: You don't declare yourself geek, you must be considered by your peers to be geek.

This doesn't mean that geek is cool, nor that cool is geek.

nerd vs geek? (1)

chancie (932322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068787)

what is the difference between a geek and a nerd? people who collect records aren't geeks, but i would definitely call them nerds.

re: Have Geeks Gone Mainstream? (1)

ltwally (313043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068790)

"Have Geeks Gone Mainstream?"

I can tell you from first-hand experience with females: NO, Geeks have not gone mainstream!!

Fickle Finger of Fate (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068819)

So if being a geek has really become cool, why has interest in CS as a major dropped among incoming freshmen and women are still a minority in computer and engineering fields? Is it cooler to pretend to be a geek (wear 'Save Pedro' shirts, etc.) than to really be one?"

Austrailians were cool for a while, but you didn't see people running off to that prison. And that was one of those nice club-med style prisons, not some solitary confinement.

Not just CS people, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068821)

But mathematicians and engineers can be just as much geek, and enrollment in those fields hasn't dropped.
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