Sunday, August 12, 2012

So Long and Thanks for All the Flops: Geek Chic

Geek is over. I wish it were here to stay but I'm calling it. Why you ask?

Because of the number of big box-office flops this year. I know it's a rough metric but think about it. The number of big budget Hollywood flops has been overwhelmingly in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre.

GI Joe 2 was pushed back until next year even though it is done. Prometheus didn't pull in the big bucks like expected. John Carter was hundreds of millions of dollars of loss for Disney.

Face it, Geeks are no longer chic. Not that it's a bad thing. Think carefully about what geek chic has wrought. Ironic hipsters. Terrible versions of treasured childhood memories rebooted into soulless CG hurl fests (Smurfs anyone). It's not that geek is bad in general or that I'm happy to see it go.

Just the opposite. I wish it would stay—everyone can be cool in geek and that's lovely to hear. The problem is that we (I guess I should throw my lot in with the permanent geeks) turned ourselves into comic-book guy from the Simpsons. We lived out our fantasies and found ourselves fat, covered in cheeto crumbs and little better for the wear.

Geek chic's death is not final nor is it some sort of extinction. Geeks will just fade into their parent's basements again waiting for the day that the Green Lantern movie has been erased from our memories.

So the hipsters have abandoned their geek cohorts and now what remains? Are the penny stocks of penny arcade pedestrians pushed into the red? Did Facebook come crashing down? What is left of the geek movement?

Well, hold onto the stock if you have a long term investment strategy. Otherwise, sell out now if you want peak value; it may be decades before we see another wave of geek this big.

So for all the girls who were putting in time on the geeks—now is your decision point. Do you ditch him for the trainer at the gym or do you wait until web 3.0?

Geek got full of itself and flew too close to the sun. Now the wax is melting and it is all too clear that geeks are boys with their toys and not birds in the sky. And the future? I doubt we'll fall back to the days of Nerds. But I do feel the minimization and marginalization of members coming. Likely, we'll stratify between cool geek and “back to thine parent's dungeon” with more discretion than before. “Cool Geeks” will become a smaller and smaller portion of the trend setting world. Big box office flops are sure to even out; action movies will have less sexy smart and more sexy.

But really, I don't think anyone should think much about this. It's just the world of fads and there is nothing substantive in a fad. The core constituency, the ones that keep their packaging in mint condition, those are the ones that have substance. They preserve what's good and stay true to their interests. And we should all be so lucky to care about something so much as the geeks.