January 27, 2011

Geek Weekly: I am a geek.

In the past few years, it's become cool to be a geek.

You've got Wil Wheaton and the characters of “The Big Bang Theory” (not to mention dozens of others) showing us how easy life is for a geek. But see, there's a secret no one's telling you. Are you ready for it? You sure?

It's actually no cooler to be a geek now than it ever was.

The thing is, most of the stuff that geeks have traditionally loved (translation: obsessed over) have become mainstream. All those people out there claiming to be geeks? Most of them are just “normal” people who happen to like the Lord of the Rings movies or read the Harry Potter books. The true definition of a geek is somewhat different.

Take a look at this handy visual guide I found on the internets to see what I mean:

Geek-Nerd-Dork Venn Diagram

See, there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. Geeks (or nerds, or dorks) tend to have poor social skills. They obsess about the things they “fan” to a degree that all those other people find disconcerting, if not downright alarming. They have such a difficult time relating to the world around them that they prefer to live in a universe created by George Lucas or Neil Gaiman. They can only find a certain amount of acceptance among other geeks. The only reason they seek acceptance at all is because human beings are social creatures and want to be with other humans. Well, that and they want to make sure as many people as possible know how much they know about “Doctor Who.”

Another thing about geeks? They are fiercely protective of their status. They are True Geeks because they have suffered. Unfortunately, in their (usually futile) attempts to shelter and protect themselves from The Bullies, they often end up shutting themselves off from the world instead. It's a vicious circle, really.

I consider myself a geek, although I don't feel that particular sense of protectiveness. If the backward-hat and khaki-shorts wearing college boys want to play D&D on the weekends, or to wait in line for a midnight showing of Avatar (the third re-release, with 28 seconds of new footage!), then more power to them. The fact that they like something that I like, causing it to become popular, can only benefit me. It means that more of the things I like will get made, because they bring in the almighty dollar.

To be honest, I sometimes feel on the outside even amongst geeks. Because no matter how much you've always wanted to be on the inside, no matter how much pain and suffering you've gone through to finally get there, once you've finally arrived you look at those poor souls still on the outside trying to get in, and you lock the door against them.

It's even worse, now that it's become cool to be a geek.

But enough of that emo shit. (Don't you hate emo kids? They're so lame.)

In spite of that, I wear my geek badge with pride. Because the best part about being a geek is that there are so many flavors. Mine is based largely on a Star Wars/“Star Trek” background, with a healthy dose of Stephen King and a massive affinity for horror movies thrown in. My tastes have changed over the years, evolved into something different with every new discovery. After resisting for years, I finally dove head-first into the world of Harry Potter and never looked back. More recently I discovered the joy that is the “Doctor Who” reboot (Eccleston is totally my Doctor). About a year ago, my obsessive tendencies drew me to a strange little German soap opera called “Alles Was Zählt,” because of the gay storyline. And that's only scratching the surface of my fandom experience.

There is so much more about me that makes me a geek, most of which I'll explore at a later time, because this entry is already too long as it is.

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