Reminds me of high school and the music scene. I listened to music you didn't hear on the radio. It was called "alternative" and sometimes "new wave" by the uninitiated. These no-name, underground, and marginalized bands were The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, Nine Inch Nails, REM, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Janes Addiction, Souxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths/Morrisey, Bjork/Sugarcubes, 10,000 Maniacs/Natalie Merchant, No Doubt/Gwen Stefani, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Butthole Surfers.
Now everyone recognizes these bands. Their music, both old and new, is considered mainstream. I have heard early Cure elevator music. Perry Farrell from Jane's Addiction is on a damn reality show. Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) may win an Oscar this year for the score of The Social Club. The examples are too numerous to list. Needless to say, these musical analogues of the archetypal basement dwelling geek are now industry leaders and serve as seminal inspiration for the young, fresh , hot new things that will form the mainstream of tomorrow.
This interaction and evolution is relfected in the rise of geek culture in the mainstream. However, the main difference I see is that geek culture is directly shaping our society and catalyzing our future merely by the expression of its core identity. Sepcifically I am referring to the inexorable link between geeks and the technology they not only love, but create. Generous helpings of new, unavoidably ubiquitous, geek-made technology like smart phones, file sharing/P2P, game consoles, social network services (facebook), Bluetooth, navigation systems, WiFi, laptops, everything Apple, and so on (ad nauseam!) not only change the way we interact, relax, work, and play but also, in an almost insidiously seductive way, mold everyone who uses them into and effigy of geek-ness.
The geekification of America is inevitable, and I, for one, welcome our new geeky overlords.