Let Us Ask: Geeks as Celebrities

(After reading "Starstruck" I began asking can geeks/progeeks be celebrities.  This was actually a fun speculation, and I wanted to write it up).

So, my progeeks and profanes and protaku, can we working nerds, technophiles, and geekonomists be celebrities?  Can we breathe the same air of awesomeness that the truly famous do, can we confuse paparazzi with our "Let the Wookie Win" T-shirts?  In short, can we be beloved and admired and followed?

The answer is literally, yes, no, and maybe.

YES there are geek celebrities.  We know them because we are geeks.  We go to conventions to see them, we follow their twitters, they are in the news.  Joss Whedon, Will Wheaton, Scott McNeil, and far far more are all geek celebs to one extent or another.

If anything I think we geeks love talent-driven celebs.  We're all about making stuff and getting stuff done, stuff that is cool and awesome and interesting.  We like our celebs because they DO stuff and make things happen (or did).

However, when it comes to the bigger picture . . .

NO geek celebs are not really the big-time stalked-by-paparazzi celebs for the most part.  Star mags don't post every move Nathan Fillion makes.  The news doesn't report where Peter Molyneux goes for lunch.  Geek celebs are not celebs "on the level" of some of the news-dominating A-Listers.

Geek may be Chic, but it's not Chic enough to be a dominant part of culture.  It has its place, but it isn't so widespread as to have geek celebs who can get whole news cycles.  Maybe we should be thankful for that.

Things change though so . . .

MAYBE geek celebs will some day be up there with other big names.  Geek is changing, being more accepted and indeed being cool.  Geek runs a lot of our economy and industry.  Take a look at the attention Mark Zukerberg is getting – good and bad – and you see a potential "mainstream" geek celebrity.

One may wonder if we geeks want to truly have a culture where news mags worry over what kind of jeans John Romero now wears.  That is entirely another question – in fact, maybe we can't avoid it.

So that's it, my geeks, nerds, and countrymen.  Yes, no, and maybe.

Steven Savage