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The Whiplash Decade

Why do they have to be such sore winners?

Illustration: Brennon Leman

This piece is part of the The Whiplash Decade, a package on the wild ride that was the 2010s.

The most significant pop-culture story of the decade is superhero culture’s evolution from nerd culture to monoculture. Nothing else has altered the map as profoundly; nothing else that seemed this unlikely 10 years ago feels as inevitable and possibly irreversible now. It feels weird to even refer to superheroes as “nerd culture” at this point. It’s like calling Facebook “computer culture.”

But for the record, there was once a social cost associated with being into superhero fiction past the age of…

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