As we discussed on one of the first editions of the Geek Pride podcast, one this website’s fans ‘unfriended’ us on Facebook because we were not ‘geeky’ enough. Matt asked on what basis we weren’t considered geeky enough for this person. They replied, “You don’t talk enough about coding or computers.”
To our former fan, we weren’t geeks because, and let’s be frank, this site tends to focus on pop culture such as films, comics and video games over other forms of geekery. They left, off to find something more to his taste. I hope they found a site, a Geek Coding Facebook page. I hope everyone finds something for their niche.
The point that it raised for me, and that I wish to discuss, is the concept that one cannot be a geek unless you’re interested in the things which you, yourself as Geek Judge, are interested in. I suppose this could be called Geek Snobbery. People assess one another’s choices and preferences and decide whether they are fit to what they consider to be the definition of their own social sub-type.
I believe that Geek Snobbery has come from a desire to protect what could be defined as Geek Culture from the mainstream. It’s no secret, with blockbuster movies and major TV series being made from comics and books, that what were once considered to be hidden and small parts of the world have now become completely mainstream. Now that we’re three Iron Man films deep – and, really, who could have seen that coming a decade ago – we can’t say that comic books are niche. Video Games, which were once the purview of people locked in their bedrooms – myself included, are now bigger that films.
All of this, whilst completely awesome, means that Geeks who grew up with their interests being the cause of probable bullying and minor social ostracism have now become the purview of the people who told us we were stupid and awful as kids. High school / Grammar school stuff doesn’t leave you, and on a subconscious level that people want to keep their realms for themselves. Terms like ‘hipster’ and ‘Fake Geek Girls’ are created and slung around, and the normals who have now read The Incredible Hulk comic books are separated from those who feel they’ve been a part of the Geek Culture for decades.
It is wonderful to feel like you belong, to self-identify with a group and feel akin to others. That is the point of Geek Pride as a website: pride in who and what we are. But we should not decry people who geek over things we don’t: there are Crypto geeks who love making their laptops as solid and unbreakable as possible, Disney geeks, Bronies, book geeks, trainspotters and every other possible fascination and love under the sun. They are no lesser a Geek because they don’t like to code, or don’t think Batman is the best superhero, or have never watched Anime with subtitles.
To me, the definition of Geek is simply this: someone who cares deeply enough about a subject or pastime to learn as much as they possibly can about it, and someone who finds themselves thinking about said thing in their spare time and passing moments. That is it. No requirement of not being mainstream, of capes or elves. And Geek Pride stands for anyone who has such an obsession, a love, for something which is essentially trivial.
Do not, my friends, judge a Twihard because you don’t like the material, or a Brony because ‘it’s a kid’s cartoon’ whilst you secretly still love to watch old episodes of Ghostbusters. Merely do what all good geeks do: try and introduce them to the things which you love, spread you passion, and Geek Out with your Freak Out. As it were.