If you say that someone is a nerd, you mean that they are stupid or ridiculous, especially because they wear unfashionable clothes or show too much interest in computers or science.
In the 1984 film Revenge of the Nerds the rousing final speech of one of the protagonists starts with the statement: “I’m a nerd.”
Its plot may be cartoonish but the film reveals a certain cultural backdrop – to be a nerd was to be socially awkward, even socially inferior. Jocks, those who were good at sport, or other socially successful groups, usually ended up winning. To turn that on its head could form the basis for comedy.
Things have changed.
The Social Network in 2010 came in a very different social milieu. Now a nerd, or a “geek”, can be a driven Machiavellian bent on success – Gordon Gekko in a zip-up hoodie.
Today when people think of “geeks” and “nerds” they might very well name the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg – people whose imagination and grasp of the technical made them billions.