Is David Brooks’ Next Half-Baked Pop Sociology Book Going To Be About The Super-Geeky “A-Punks”?

May 23rd, 2008 // 11 Comments


Lurking within today’s New York Times‘ op-ed section is David Brooks’ attempt to get in early on calling the rise of the “geek” in society, no doubt because he’s looking for another genre of well-off people to sucker into buying a book that shows “who they really are” in the grand sociological scheme of things. (Oh, for the days when people read and wrote in an effort to experience cultures that may have been at least one degree removed from their own.) Brooks’ column about the “nerd ascendancy” name-drops Tina Fey and Jason Kottke, notes that the new geek uniform eschews pocket protectors for “text-laden T-shirts,” calls Barack Obama “the Prince Caspian of the iPhone hordes,” and, of course, runs down the sort of cultural product that people who experiment with fonts for fun consume in their spare time:

Nerds had their own heroes (Stan Lee of comic book fame), their own vocations (Dungeons & Dragons), their own religion (supplied by George Lucas and “Star Wars”) and their own skill sets (tech support). But even as “Revenge of the Nerds” was gracing the nation’s movie screens, a different version of nerd-dom was percolating through popular culture. Elvis Costello and The Talking Heads’s David Byrne popularized a cool geek style that’s led to Moby, Weezer, Vampire Weekend and even self-styled “nerdcore” rock and geeksta rappers.

I, personally, would have name-dropped one of those Nintendo cover bands instead of Moby, but I guess going to all those Bobo-ish Play-playing wine bars in the early ’00s really had a long-lasting effect on Brooksie. Also: When I searched for “Geeksta” on YouTube, this piece of NSFW garbage came up:

People, people. This is yet more evidence as to why the rise of the geeks is not a good thing for music. At least if you’re going to write a “dirty” rap about robots, at least have decent flow.

The Alpha Geeks [NYT; HT MC]
Vampire Weekend – A-Punk [YouTube]

  1. Ned Raggett

    calls Barack Obama “the Prince Caspian of the iPhone hordes,”

    My brain just rejected society.

  2. MC

    Oh no! A full book on this subject would be the ultimate nightmare. Not least because it would extend the ironic t-shirts trend another 10 years.

  3. Mick Kraut

    Didnt this whole “Geeks are the new cool” or “…and the geeks shall inherit the Earth” play out in 1997?

  4. Maura Johnston

    @Mick Kraut: But we’re living in World 2.0! The whole universe was only in beta before 2001! Haven’t you heard?

  5. Mick Kraut

    @Maura Johnston: It seems I did’nt!

    Since I dont text on my phone and still spell out complete words in my emails and IMs, its easy to see how I would have missed the 2.0 memo I suppose…

    So if the universe is no longer in beta, does that mean that what used to be considered bugs are now actually features?

  6. Empire

    @Mick Kraut: If so, then my apartment complex is infested with features, and the traps don’t seem to help.

  7. cassidy2099

    Maybe that guy on the Data track has no flow, but it’s still better than “Lollipop”.

  8. Dick Laurent is dead.

    For authenticity, every time you open a page of his book someone comes over and gives you a wedgie.

  9. hellzinger

    Bah! Here’s the better dirty Data song:

    (I don’t know the best way to acknowledge my geek chic. Geek chic: I has it.)

  10. Empire

    There is a ton of good nerdcore rap with great flow. Check out Optimus Rhyme and YTcracker for starters.

  11. alternatestory

    Love this post’s tag. That is all.

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