May 2010

Making Geek Cool Hall of Shame

Nerds candy

As a follow-up to my previous post Making Geek Cool Hall of Fame in which I laud people, TV shows or events that improve the coolness factor of geeks, I've started compiling a Hall of Shame list. I actually had a harder time with this one. Maybe it's my inherently nice nature, but I found it easier to rail against the culture as a whole rather than specific elements.

I'm sure, however, that you will not have that problem. I would love to hear additions to my list by comment, email or tweet!

1. Disney Channel—when making my Shame list, it ended up just being a list of Disney and Nickelodeon shows, so I decided just to name the two channels as numbers 1 and 2 on the list. Upper elementary kids are especially susceptible to the anti-geek message from television, so I think these two popular channels should be ashamed. Hannah, Wizards of Waverly Place, Suite LIfe on Deck: Can we just have an intelligent girl or boy in the lead role instead of the "geeky" sidekick or brother?

2. Nickelodeon—see comment above. I did put iCarly on the Fame list, so kuddos there, but it, too, has anti-geek elements.

3. Seventeen magazine and other teen magazines for girls

4. My husband—I hate to say it, and I'm sure he's not the only parent out there, but he has on occasion slipped into the the ‟You don't want to be a nerd so get out there and play some ball...″ fallacy

My almost-middle school daughter thinks being called a nerd is the worst insult ever. I have tried to point out that she attends a school of geeks to no effect. I've pointed out that geeks make more money (a topic of interest for her) with an effect lasting for nanoseconds. I thought about showing her that geek chic is in but was afraid she wouldn't stop laughing and really wanted her to do that homework. I've decided she's just rebelling against her mother, so I'll get back to reading that Wired article on Geek Power.