Part 1: On being a geek
Much has been said before about the term geek and how it infiltrated popular culture. With geeks "ruling the world" now, has it become redundant to label oneself a "geek"? What is a geek, or a nerd? Does such a niche sub-culture even exist anymore?
A geek used to be someone that enjoys a very specific, niche hobby. Usually socially ostracized, geeks, nerds and the like usually referred to scientists, scholars, hobbyists, role-players, modelers and above all - social outcasts. Fast forward some years and here we are: the geek stereotype is the stuff of popular series like Big Bang Theory, whilst none of those caricature geeks even exist anymore.
When I attempt to define geek I do so through my own experience and perspective. I grew up with the technology that now allows everyone to enjoy everything: computers, the Internet. This allowed the slow introduction of each and every technological advancement to my young, eager mind (a topic to be elaborated in a future post).
The result of this is that I had the opportunity to be a true "geek". I read fantasy and sci-fi before everyones girlfriends got into Game of Thrones the series. I played games on a monochrome PC before your room-mate played angry birds for seven hours on his touch phone, sitting on the toilet. I enjoyed anime before "whats your favorite anime" became the next most popular question after ''what's your age?''. I played tabletop RPG's before the term RPG was introduced to anything from soft-drinks to games.
This is not some hipster "I did this before it was popular" thinking - it is merely a lament that I no longer belong to a select few. Actually, it is more than that -it's the anger at the superficial adoption and bastardization of my hobbies.
Sound extreme? Maybe. But the fact remains that not only is everyone supposedly a "geek" - no one really is. What I mean by this is that while everyone rushes to label themselves a geek, or nerd, the interests that "qualify" them as such border the inconsequential and shallow. You've seen a part of a StarWars film, have a shirt? - geek. Played a extremely popular MMO such as W.O.W - nerd. Geeks have, as mentioned, become such a major part of culture (with gaming becoming a huge industry) that celebrities are now POSING as geeks to attract fans, which is an especially obnoxious phenomenon.
This leaves actual geeks with a very bitter pill to swallow - they will still be judged, segregated and ostracized for their social inadequacy and their actual dedication to their hobbies, while those same hobbies and interests will be paraded around, and claimed by, anyone and everyone with even the most arbitrary touch with them.
Its very similar to having your favorite underground band suddenly become popular. Yes, you are glad for their success, but you suffer seeing people who only heard the single of the new album parade around in your band shirt, or listening to your once favorite song as some idiots ringtone in a bus.
I therefore denounce geekdom, the term geek, and suggest inventing a new one. Suggest away!
Stay tuned for Part 2: The Geekette, where I will discuss a offshoot of this geekification of the world, and the false sense of entitlement the "true geeks" have because of it....