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The Year of the Nerd

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Ryan Stewart tells us why in the new Phoenix:

Even if we weren't aware that Obama collects Spider-Man comics or that, upon meeting Leonard Nimoy for the first time, gave him the Vulcan hand signal, there was still a clear "one of us" vibe emanating from Obama, a vibe at odds with his charismatic rock-star image. But he pulled it off, and now, in addition to being our first post-racial chief executive, Obama will also our first post-nerd president.

His victory was the consecrating moment of a period that could be only described as the Year of the Nerd. Yes, 2008 was the year that the dashing high-school quarterback and the perfect prom queen got sand kicked in their faces by the freaks and geeks held previously under their thumbs. This rising subset is only beginning to realize its own strength. This was the year that a comic-book superhero movie grossed nearly a billion dollars. That video games, despite their relatively high cost in an economic shitstorm, seem to be recession-proof. That meathead pro athletes were using more and more Internet-based services. That world-music fans, trumpeting fringe performers from obscure countries, were vindicated. And that a Swiss shrine to Nerditude was unveiled, one that cost bazillions of dollars — and could have blown up the planet. (And still might?) That's sooo cool!

Hail to the geek
If, say, Dick Gephardt were to try to pass himself off as a Star Trek fan, nerds would sniff it out as cynical posturing in a nanosecond (a typically nerdy measurement of time). But Barack passes the sniff test — he's an honest-to-goodness nerd.

And he's about to be nerd-in-chief.

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