I wrote yesterday about Columbine, Dave Cullen’s definitive work about the Columbine High School shootings.
In his work, Cullen argues that the idea that killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold took their murderous actions was because of being bullied by jocks was one of many myths uncritically accepted and wildly promulgated by the media.
For some people, that was not a myth, though.
In Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet out of Idaho, Jon Katz fleshes out a Rolling Stone article he wrote about Jesse Dailey and Eric Twilegar, two self-described geeks in Boise.
Dailey and Twileger’s use of the Internet, which was arguably still in its 1.0 phase when Katz wrote the book, by itself makes for entertaining reading. Dailey consults the Web for everything he does, including where to buy, and how to tie, a tie he purchases for a job interview (He got it.).
More germane to Columbine, though, are the excerpts of the outpouring of letters Katz received from geeks who felt themselves repeatedly bullied and brutalized by jocks, with complicit teachers turning away.
Many of the excerpts are painful to read, especially those where the authors say they understand the rage that they attribute to Harris and Klebold as motivation for their rampage.
Through his protagonists’ journey, Katz is making a larger point about how, essentially, now is the geeks’ moment, that the balance of power has shifted due to the ascendance of technology and the need for people with those skills.
It’s a worthwhile read, both for his heroes’ journeys and for those who question the impact of bullying on the victims’ hearts and pysches.