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CNN: High-tech elevates status of lowly geeks

Jul 07, 2000, 23:37 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Perri Peltz)

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"The meaning of the word "geek" has evolved considerably since its original definition: a carnival performer who bit the heads off live chickens and snakes. The term still has a derogatory connotation, describing a goofy, techno-gadget fanatic. But that may be changing too."

"With the rise of information technology in the business world, technophiles have ascended in stature as well. Many now wear the badge of geekdom with honor. Long subject to outsider status, geeks are finally coming into their own. Madison Avenue has caught on to the geek craze. Print ads and commercials now commonly spotlight geeks. ... With the virtual explosion of new technology jobs, it seems no one can afford not to have a geek or two in their world. "

"There's a streak of alienation running through this culture," said Jon Katz, who has written about the Internet for Rolling Stone, Wired and Slashdot.org. "There's a streak of braininess, obsessiveness. I mean, anybody can use a computer, but not anybody's a geek. I think the new reality that's converging all this is, you have on the one end this culture of extraordinarily gifted outsiders who have patched together the Internet. And then there's the rest of the world -- business, education and politics -- that suddenly has woken up to the fact that they desperately need the Internet. It's very important. And so they become sort of central while still not being in the mainstream."

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