A_Geek_Groundswell

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					Title:
A Geek Groundswell

Word Count:
792

Summary:
One day when I had nothing to do (well, actually, I had a lot to do, but
I didn't want to do any of it), I decided to play the Google game. This
is the one where you input your own name or something else into the field
in quotes to see how many search results you get. Because my most recent
book, Queen Geeks in Love, was coming out soon, I decided to search the
term "geek." What I found astounded me.

I got more nearly 70 million hits from the word "geek."

That's million...


Keywords:
teens, teen girls, young adult, books, geeks, Queen Geek Social Club,
teen books, teen reading


Article Body:
One day when I had nothing to do (well, actually, I had a lot to do, but
I didn't want to do any of it), I decided to play the Google game. This
is the one where you input your own name or something else into the field
in quotes to see how many search results you get. Because my most recent
book, Queen Geeks in Love, was coming out soon, I decided to search the
term "geek." What I found astounded me.

I got more nearly 70 million hits from the word "geek."

That's million.

So, I figured that most every term would fetch that many results, or
close to it. I started with what I would assume is the antithesis of
'geek': the "gossip girl', which yielded 3,560,000. 'Beauty Queen"
yielded 1,750.000. Glamour came the closest to geek, with 44,600,000, but
as you can plainly see, being glamorous is nothing compared to being
geeky, statistically. Even the trendy "fashionista" only turned back
5,590,000 results.

So what does this mean? Is Google a valid measurement of popular culture?
I suppose it's not extremely scientific, but it does seem to be in
indication of how many sites mention the word, which, by the way,
originated as a circus term for a person who bit the heads off live
animals. Thankfully, that particular aspect of geekdom seems to have
faded out, unless you count Ozzy Osbourne in his former glory days.

If you look to the true measure of what's out there in the zeitgeist,
check your local television listings. This fall, every new show seems to
be supernatural (which is within the realm of the geek.) We have
Moonlight, a vampire tale. We have Journeyman, Supernatural, Ghost
Whisperer, and Medium. The biggies—Lost and Heroes—sell DVD collections
in droves. Geeks are no longer hiding in their cyberclosets.

As early as 2001, the term "geek chic" began to be used, and in fact, a
London clothing company ran a campaign using that very term to market its
clothing. Fast forward to last year, when ABC premiered a show called
Ugly Betty, with America Ferrera starring as an anti-fashion uber-geek.
Well, guess who was on the October 2007 cover of Glamour Magazine? That's
right. The geeky girl. Of course, they glammed her up, but still, I
couldn't help but feel that someone from my team finally made it to the
big leagues.

Gloria Baume, a fan of Ugly Betty and a fashion editor at Teen Vogue,
told the New York Times that Betty's "geek-chic look could trickle down."
In the New York Times article, she added, ''I'm obsessed with the nerd
look right now,'' adding that a number of designers appear to be
similarly taken with all things dorky. ''Paul Smith did it in London,''
she said. ''Lacoste did it here in New York. Luella also did the geek
look. In her own kind of funny, twisted way, Betty has her own sense of
style. It's kooky, but it's totally her.'' (New York Times, October
2006).

USA Today even noted that "Knowledge is power and geek is chic. If you're
a cyber whiz who is plugged into the pop-culture world of sci-fi,
fantasy, comic books and cult horror, maybe even the master of a Web
shrine devoted to such once-arcane matters, you don't just rule. You
rock."

Scholars are even on the geek bandwagon. One Danish scholar wrote a
dissertation on geek culture and cited it as "the third counterculture"
after hippies and yuppies. "The geek culture is changing the norm,
transforming mainstream culture," writes Lars Konzack in his thesis,
titled "Geek culture, the third counterculture" " Not long ago nobody
would have known outside the geek culture what was meant by player
character, experience points, level gain, and hit points. Now it seems
like everybody knows. The geek culture is transforming mainstream
cultures and it's just the beginning of a general cultural change in that
direction," Lars Konzack, Aalborg University, Denmark.

In my own novels, Queen Geek Social Club and Queen Geeks in Love, the
self-professed geeks of the title are girls who unapologetically are
themselves. They like science and science fiction, but they also like
fashion and guys. They want to change the world, but they also want to
enjoy it. I like to think of them as the geek I never was in high school—
confident, comfortable, clever. They know who they are, and although they
struggle with self-doubt and anxiety like all teenagers, they use their
intelligence and the support of their geek sisters to get through it all.
In the end, it's a great message to send to girls (or guys), and it
reminds me of something someone once wrote in the margin of my yearbook:
"be the way you are and you'll go far." Go geeks.

				
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posted:12/5/2010
language:English
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