I am, and always have been, a fan of Nikola Tesla, having most recently celebrated his birthday with a post here that included a link to the video of the O.M.D. song “Tesla Girls”. Now I find out that my appreciation of Tesla makes me a hip trendsetter! Who knew?
Today’s Wall Street Journal has an entertaining and informative article on Tesla’s resurgence, with the claim that Tesla’s ideas thrive in the 21st century while his arch-nemesis Thomas Edison is “so 20th century”.
But Tesla has been rediscovered by technophiles, including Google Inc. co-founder Larry Page, who frequently cites him as an early inspiration. And Teslamania is going increasingly mainstream.
An early hint was “Tesla Girls,” a 1984 single from the British technopop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Performance artist Laurie Anderson has said she was fascinated by Tesla. David Bowie played a fictionalized version of him in the 2006 film “The Prestige,” alongside Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. Director Terry Gilliam described Tesla in a recent documentary film as “more of an artist than a scientist in some strange way.”
Tesla, in short, is cool.
He’s now even a character in a video game, which I guess is how you know you’ve really arrived in the 21st century! Oh, and the having an electric roadster named after you, and a line of computer chips, … geek mystique, indeed!