Who's a Geek?

01-Jul-09 1:30 PM by
Filed under Celebrities; Comments Off on Who's a Geek?

Earlier this week, John Hodgman, perhaps best known as the PC from Apple's "Get a Mac" ads, spoke at the annual Radio & TV Correspondents' Dinner, with President Obama in attendance:

Though the USA's current presidential administration does seem to be more science-oriented than its predecessor, the correlation between that and the President's own geeky nature and background is oft overlooked.

Barack the BarbarianObama's familiarity with Superman's legacy is evident not only in the picture Hodgman presented, but also when Obama roasted McCain some months ago. The President has since appeared in several comics of his own, including not only Spider-Man, but also an original title that segues perfectly with Hodgman's slideshow.

However, as proud as I am to have a geek president, I think we need to consider the image that Hodgman reinforced. It was just a decade or two ago that geeks were shoved into lockers, had sand kicked in their face, and never, ever got the girl. To hear Hodgman speak, those days are still with us, and the lines are still sharply delineated as the jocks-and-geeks war rages on.

In reality, as society becomes more technologically dependent, the geeks are inheriting the earth. Those who know how to use Twitter aren't just sharing lolcats; they're helping the Iranian revolution. Playing video games does not make us geeks; that activity has gone mainstream. Some of us would just as soon go for a 150-mile bike ride as we would watch Star Trek.

So if not the classic stereotypes of yesterday, and not the extremes that Hodgman parodied, then what defines the modern geek?

For that, I'll let geeks speak for themselves:

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