The Evolution of Nerd Culture: A Change for the Better

It wasn’t that long ago that I was watching a promo video for the Broken Skull Sessions when I had my mind blown.

The Broken Skull Sessions is a talk show where Stone Cold Steve Austin interviews other professional wrestlers about their life and career. In this video, Austin had a rapid-fire question session with Cody Rhodes where he asked Rhodes what the best The Legend of Zelda game was to him.

Rhodes, a noted Zelda fan, quickly answered Ocarina of Time to which Austin responded with his take: Breath of the Wild. This stunned me because Stone Cold Steve Austin is the last person I expected to have a Zelda opinion.

Video Credit: WWE

This could’ve been easily chalked up to a producer telling Austin to say that name or that it was the most recent game in the series. But then Austin released some receipts.

Several weeks later, WWE released a photo of Stone Cold playing Breath of the Wild in his studio on a TV typically reserved for showing wrestling highlights of his guests. 

Look, there’s a certain amount of suspension of disbelief you need to have when it comes to professional wrestling and I’m willing to acknowledge that this whole episode could be a work, or a scripted wrestling moment.

On the other side, it reveals just how mainstream nerd culture has gotten and I love it.

Image Credit: WWE (via Zelda Dungeon)

The Evolution of Nerd Culture

It wasn’t that long ago that nerd culture was taboo in society as many had visions of a nerd looking and sounding like Steve Urkel. It wasn’t cool to like superheroes, video games, or any of the other aspects that make up nerd culture.

I ended up venturing away from video games as I entered high school in the late 2000s. I didn’t think it was “cool” to like nerdy things so I cut them out of my life.

That was a big mistake.

I’ve found it’s so much easier to embrace your interests regardless of what they are because staying true to yourself is important and freeing. 

As for society as a whole, that shift has been gradual over the past 30 years as now, nerd culture rules many aspects of pop culture. 

The 2000s were a great time for this shift to happen as pop culture transformed during this decade.

Films like Star Wars, Spider-Man, and The Lord of the Rings all set the foundation in the early 2000s while Iron Man and The Dark Knight in 2008 helped solidify their status into the lexicon of cinema.

This shift also happened in television as shows like Lost spurned a lot of interest so much so that nerdy characters in 30 Rock and The Office were constantly referencing it.

Video games grew a lot during this time as well. Shooters were the rage of the 2000s as games like Halo and Call of Duty reigned supreme. 

Overall, the 2000s did a lot for the evolution of nerd culture, bringing it to a point where Stone Cold Steve Austin is even mentioning Breath of the Wild.

This is big because Austin was the epitome of cool in the late ‘90s/early 2000s as he cloaked himself in the attitude of the era as he put on a show every Monday night on Raw is War.

It goes both ways, too.

Image Credit: Arizona Sports

Athletes and Nerds Unite

One of my favorite YouTubers is The JWittz. I follow him on Twitter and he is a big Pokémon and Nintendo fan, but he also tweets about basketball and other sports.

This was awesome to see because when I was in high school, sports and nerd culture rarely mixed. Now, we see it everywhere.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is a big gamer and streamer. Former WWE Superstar John Cena is a huge anime fan. Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward is also a big gamer and has been for years. 

The list goes on and on. 

This never used to happen, especially in sports like football where you had to look and act a certain way. Now, athletes openly embrace this side of themselves and it’s about time.

Image Credit: Vulture

Who You Truly Are

It’s so nice to be at a place where we can share our loves and passions with the world. It’s sad it took us so long to be accepting of nerd culture, but what matters is we’re here.

I think what I’ve loved most about the evolution of nerd culture over my lifetime is how much we all can enjoy in common interest. There’s so much in this world that sends us all scurrying to our corners where we will defend our opinions to the absolute end with our personal relationship being the casualty.

That’s not to say nerd culture is perfect. There are still plenty of ways we can continue to improve in inclusiveness and other areas.

Still, our interests in pop culture shouldn’t be that. They should be an area where we can all share what we love with those who may or may not have the same interests as us but still revel in the fact that we enjoy it. 

It also feels good to not have to hide anymore the fact that you love video games, comic books, or whatever other medium formerly deemed too nerdy for the masses. 

Nerd culture has come a long way from the days of Urkel or Sheldon Cooper being the stereotype. The idea of what a nerd is is astronomically different than even a decade ago.

Never again should we shame someone else for what they like or dislike. Let us all come together on this playground of fun and fully embrace who we are, regardless of our passions.

“And that’s the bottom line, ‘cause Stone Cold said so.”

Featured Image: Florida Smart

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