i wonder what the social structures in the ‘k-12’ scene are like nowadays. it seems like things are different:

“A generation ago the kind of students who entered science fairs were considered nerds — preternaturally bright kids whose ardent intellects, moire-patterned wardrobes and clueless social instincts put them outside the adolescent mainstream. Geeks still roam the halls of American high schools — and of Midwood, for that matter — but many of Midwood’s Intel kids move comfortably in the newly respectable mainstream, where being scientifically astute has a certain cachet. They inhabit an area of cultural endeavor that — coming a quarter-century after the birth of biotechnology and personal computers and, yes, the rise of Nasdaq — is now seen not only as intellectually precocious but also, suddenly, improbably, as positioned in a fast lane pointed toward wealth, creature comforts and the freedom to choose what to make of one’s life. ”

and hey! when these kids get a little older there is even a handbook so those who love these creatures on the fastlane towards cultural dominance can figure out how to keep them shiny, happy people:

“The key to interacting with your geek is to learn to speak his or her language, she explains — defining personal improvements as “upgrades” and bad habits as “nonproductive feedback loops.” It’s simply a matter of using the right encouragement. Don’t tell him he needs to get some exercise and lose some weight; tell him that he will be better prepared for all-night Doom marathons if he is in better physical shape. It’s all about becoming more “efficient.””

but whatever these kids do – they must be very careful to not slip into the emerging bobo class. repeat after me, “i will not ever spend $15,000 on a slate shower stall.”

it’s oh-so-fun to whimsically imagine that nerds are somehow positioned to become the new cultural elites. but something tells me that your average 13 year-old geek doesn’t see things this way.

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