The Rise of Nerd Culture

Judging from this past weekend’s universal nerd rage, it seemed easier to bullseye a Womp Rat with a T-16 on Tatooine than to land a much coveted San Diego Comic Con ticket. We are still 5 months away too. Imagine the angst that will rise once it’s July and the reality sets in that many will miss the greatest geek show on Earth. Who is to blame, Comic Con? TicketLeap? Twilight? Al-Qaeda? Maybe we are to blame?

If you have been a nerd or geek of any respectable length of time (not just since the Dark Knight movie) then you know that life as a misfit has not been easy. Like Frodo carrying the ring, it has been a heavy burden and long lonely journey. Often mocked and ridiculed as a kid, we often dreamed of elseworlds where nerd was the new cool. Well guess what, that era has arrived.

“Call them geeks, dorks or nerds, those once-uncool people ostracized for loving comics, obscure card games and computer code have loads of allure these days. Socially awkward Seth Cohen on the TV show The O.C., for example, has become a huge hit.”
                                                           -NYU Journalism Institute

This is why we have endured through a lifetime of persecution to help make the weird the new normal. The problem is that now that the ‘cool kids’ want to come to the biggest nerd party of the year, the San Diego Comic Con. In just the past 5-7 years, SDCC has gone from barely on the radar for most to becoming one the hottest ticket in nation. As we all know, Hollywood has played a big part in the influx of new fans. As a result, the newly converted Spiderman and LoTR crowds have changed attending the Con forever. It’s a reflection of a shift in our culture. After years of our labor, we are seeing the mainstreaming of this nerd culture into every aspect of life-like movies, technology, art, fashion, and social media. One of the most prestigious international organizations, TED (Technology, Entertainment, & Design), is just one big geek fest for the super rich and elite. This is the rise of the nerd culture.

The ticketing mess we all experienced is the natural by-product of this geek pop culture explosion. In order to have cultural ‘progress’, you must have ‘change’. In order to have ‘change’, there has to be ‘challenge’. What Comic Con and TicketLeap courageously experienced was an unprecedented ‘challenge’. Sure it could (and should) have gone much more smoothly and it would have been nice if the #SDCC Twitter feeds were filled with butterflies and rainbows. However, the chaos and pain we endured was necessary in order for progress to happen. Nerd is the new cool and we all share in the responsibility for that. The popularity of Comic Con is going to be one example among many in this new nerd reality. This year, the 4 day pass sold out in a few hours. No doubt that next year it will sell out in a few minutes. Just accept that.  

Regardless of what is happening in our culture, everything can be better and should be better. I believe organizations like TicketLeap is also committed to the same belief. However, we are going to have to be patient and give the system time to catch up to our enthusiasm and passion.

Ironically, there is a twist. In the long run, is Comic Con hurting nerd culture? This conversation from a professional artist was posted at Techland after last year’s SDCC:

“Comic-Con is hurting nerd culture, in a broad and systemic and probably permanent way. The people who make it possible (comic book industry) are being shoved into corners and trampled by lines for hall H…”                                             -Excerpt from Techland

So what do you think? Is the very thing that helped make Comic Con mainstream and popular going to hurt it in the long run? Is there something to preserve or protect in the midst of all this change? Should Comic Con remain focused on primarily the comic book industry? Is it time for a new venue to emerge that is a better reflection of tomorrow’s nerd? Your turn to vent…


2 thoughts on “The Rise of Nerd Culture

  1. While I wouldn’t consider myself a newly converted nerd, I don’t think I would have been interested in comic-con if it was all about the comic books. I’m happy that comic-con has more to offer, and when I went for the first time last year, I felt like I had found “my people.” I don’t think I realized how geeky I really am until the past 10 years or so, just because I wasn’t exposed much to nerd culture growing up, but now there’s a place I can go to help me on my journey of embracing my inner nerd. I’m happy for the changes in comic-con but I’m really glad I decided to go last year when it was a tiny bit less popular, because if not, I might not have thought it was worth the hassle to get tix for this year.

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