He is a clever and confident scientist who understands the math and laws of quantum physics. But when it comes to social interaction, he is completely helpless. He is the wildly popular geek Sheldon Cooper, a character from the hit US sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
Since it first aired in 2007, the public has gradually changed its stereotype about nerdy guys who love comic books and argue over the space captains of Star Trek. On May 16, the record-breaking 279-episode TV series came to an end, with Cooper beating his social anxiety and earning a major achievement.
“Geek culture ... may look back one day and realize that this little sitcom was more of a positive force than they thought,” its producer, Chuck Lorre, told The Verge.
According to CNN, the show brought geek culture into the mainstream and changed its definition. In the 19th century, the word “geek” originally appeared as a variant of “geck”, meaning “a simpleton”. However, due to the increasing importance of technology in society, the word has come to mean “a clever ... and cool person preoccupied with computing”, noted The Scotsman.
The Collins online dictionary updated its definition and named it Word of the Year in 2013. Now its main definition in Collins is, “a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about a specific subject”.
Geeky people tend to be motivated by the deep joy of building things. For many computer programmers, their true pleasure is to create “worlds” through coding, which “combines deep intellectual challenges with other creative activities such as art, cooking or music”, Turkish writer Zeynep Tufekci told The New York Times.
Many from the young generation are excited about thinking and learning. They are now comfortable with – and proud of – their geeky sides. From the newest gadgets, to the latest art and popular music, choosing to avoid geeks is choosing to be out of the mainstream.
What do you like to get geeky about?
(Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Luo Sitian)