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Nerd culture was thoroughly mainstreamed at this point, but pockets of the world still consider(ed) it a fringe interest with credentials. The "fake geek girl" trope was popular around this time too, with male nerds signaling annoyance that their very fringe interest was secretly well-liked by everyone. Even now this attitude seems to persist, oblivious to (or maybe compatible with?) the reality that no corner of nerd culture remains in the margins, no idea unbought or unmonetized. Anyway this strip has no punchline and neither does my post.