1557 Fake Geek.
In the fairly limited time we’ve recorded history humans have not changed by orders of magnitude. We are, essentially, still the primates that had little tribes here and there. We just have better tools now. On average we still treat what we perceive as other with the same sort of brutality and tribalism we always have. It’s coded in us in a way even we don’t fully understand. We still lob spears at one another for not believing in the same magical sky people, scuffle over resources, and generally behave like the ridiculous apes we still are deep down. Even if you get a group of people who are on the same page we keep cutting the group into smaller and smaller bits. At our very core we are at war with ourselves. We want to be part of a tribe, but apart from that tribe, & other tribes. The modern joke, of course, is the goth kids who reject conformity, while clearly adorning themselves in a uniform that identifies them as part of a group. Which leads me to my point, more or less.
Mike wants to infiltrate a group that he’s already a part of, but doesn’t know for sure what the current uniform is. He expects there to be a gatekeeper. He’s right, of course. Even if it isn’t as blatant as someone quizzing him about green lantern he will be judged and whoever is part of the other group will decide if he can be part of it. They all might love the green lantern, but he may not love it in the right way. We’ve all been on both sides. Trying to get in, trying to keep others out.
When I was in high school I wore a button up shirt, unbuttoned, over a t shirt. Then the grunge look became a thing, and everyone thought I was trying to get in on that look. It was like before that time, having dressed that way for ages, I had been invisible until a larger group randomly chose my manner of dress as a uniform. People who never spoke to me would ask if I was trying to be “grunge”, when, in fact, I’ve always been a fat slob who can’t dress himself properly. The upside to this was that for a while it was much easier to get the kinds of shirts I liked because they were “in”. Over time the fad passed and I kept dressing as I always had and went back to being invisible.
We’ve all liked a thing that no one else liked only to have it become popular. Then we find ourselves saying “I liked it before it was cool.” We wear it like a badge and try to separate ourselves from the Johnny come lately mob. Everybody knows that one person who just has to let you know about all the bands they love that “you’ve probably never heard of”.
I know I’ve been a dick about my hobbies before. I’m sure I still am, reflexively, all the time. I try to be aware of it, but sometimes it just slips through. I used to quiz the Teen about Superman, because she likes the idea of Superman, but not really the piles of nonsense that go along with Superman. She likes hiom because her dad liked him, and that’s an easy visual reminder of him. The fact that the Superman in Man Of Steel isn’t really the way the character has traditionally been portrayed doesn’t matter to her. She likes him for reasons that are not the same as mine, but they aren’t any less valid than mine. That said, I feel like the stories, or at least some of the stories, are important. They could show her a richer version of the concepts he represents. Ultimately the choice to seek them out will be hers. If she chooses not to it’s not my place to try and shut her out of the fandom. Still, when she says “I like Superman.” there’s a part of me that says “You don’t know what Superman is.” Except now I try not to vocalize it. She knows what Superman is to her. Anything outside of that is none of my concern.
Ed says that about everybody.
The strategy is to look like a poser in order to put them off their guard, then hit them with both barrels when they least expect it.
Razzafrackin’ kids try to out-nerd ME, will ya?
I just started playing D+D again after 20 years last week with a group via Skype.
We’re playing in the Animated Series universe with ‘Beneath the Blade of Sword Mountain’ , the unproduced prequel to ‘The Dragon’s Graveyard’ (the ep that deals with the kids saying ‘F it-let’s just murder Venger’).
I’m playing Presto.
Forgot how fun it was.
Fifteen years for me, away from the dice. An old friend of mine got me back onto it last year, though. But it has taken me up until recently (about 3 months ago, after one dead character), to really get my dude up to scratch.
We are playing the “Rise of Tiamat” module. I’m a Level 9 halfling rogue now :)
I really like today’s essay about geeks and tribes and such. Some people go their whole lives getting older without getting wiser, but I think you got wiser.
Nice commentary Jackie, thank you.
And great comic, obviously.
/actually, Between Failures is probably my favourite webcomic, just so you know.
//never ever get round to mentioning that, but yeah, its true.
That depends on how witty or ironic the shirt in question is.
It doesn’t matter what you wear or what your opinion is because, ultimately, even the staunchest opponents will share a middle ground with you on some topic.
“It doesn’t matter what you wear/ Just as long as you are there!/ “
The first rule of nerd club you do not talk about nerd club
My geekiness covers a variety of fields, but in no way would I assume I know more than someone else about a thing.
I like fantasy books, particularly Discworld (RIP Sir Terry Pratchett). I love the worlds they encompass, I occasionally even like the people they contain (Tolkien’s work is a bit “high and mighty”, while in the Discworld, people are still flawed, but they get their shit done). That being said, I don’t know all the names of the named mountains in the Ramtops. Does that make me less of a fan?
I’m an anime fan, too. But my paltry collection would pale in the face of some who call themselves “true” fans, I have fewer obscure titles (I guess “Boogiepop Phantom” might still count as obscure, or old, or whatever), I don’t get all the memes, and I don’t cosplay. Does that make me less of a fan?
I’m interested in things because I like them. My games collection is small, but it appeals to me. My anime collection is small, but it appeals to me. My books, my music, is stuff I found, liked it and kept it. But then, I can’t always afford to get something (home commitments), or even if I can afford it, I have to pass on something to get something else. It does not mean I appreciate these things any less, it’s just I can’t always show my appreciation.
Does that make me less of a fan?
I think folks forget that “fan” is rooted in “fanatic.” Involved to the degree of obsession. Enjoy what you want, how you want. I’ve never viewed losing your mind over something as a desirable behavior, engendering admiration or envy.
You make a good argument. There is a difference between enjoying something and obsessing over it. Most geeks (even back then) are just normal people, but the ones people remember are the ones who obsess over minutiae like mapping the complete genealogy of Chewbacca for 20 generations (for the sake of example).
I got into a ridiculously heated argument about nerd entitlement a week or two ago. I wish everyone had your attitude about it.
To be fair, in this age of geek “popularity”, you ARE gonna run into more posers than you did, say, 20 years ago. The problem is, what are YOU gonna do about it.
The sensible part of me would ignore them. I know what I want.
The jerkface part of me would give them a contemptuous sneer. Fuck that guy.
The hate-filled ragemonster part of me would try to explode this peon using my mind. Seriously. FUCK. THAT. GUY @_@
Opening this Friday, July 4th weekend: Miguel Hernandez starring in Get Him to the Geek.
Well, we strap on explosive belts and blow up people we don’t know.
Though wearing a Stooge Trek t-shirt from the estate that handles Three Stooges memorabilia, gets laughs
Am I geek or Nerd or something all together different? Hmm, I am a tribe of one.
Comics? Stopped collecting during the cover variant explosion but still occasionally pick up something I like. Few and far between and always alternative.
Anime? Binge watch but don’t buy as much if any, yet I have the complete Votoms on VHS as well as the complete Fushigi Yuugi on disk – what the hell was I thinking spending so much on those? The dub makes my ears bleed.
Cosplay/LARP? Yes those overlap by quite a bit. Do it for fun. Did masquerade once and nearly died from stage terror. Don’t make full costumes from scratch anymore after being the first Xigbar out there. Seams, so very very long.
Console? I did QA/QC at a distributor for SEGA and am still looking for a working vectrex at an affordable cost. Don’t have anything newer than a PS2 >_>
Computer? Ultima when it was still a PC game onwards. I used to code in assembler. Now I barely do spreadsheets.
Tabletop? Role Play, card, board, tactical, strategic – you name it and I either already have it or played it at least once.
Licensed Amateur Radio operator and certified Jedi Master, I have a certificate and everything =)
Is there any geek realm I missed?
Tons. Technogeeks, furry geeks, art geeks, car geeks — the list goes on forever. Rule 71: If it exists, someone is out there geeking about it.
I could quibble on a number of those realms since they had labels long before pop culture geekdom emerged.
Example: Fury geek? Nah, just furies [people who like to dress up as non-homonids] that overlap various geekdoms such as cosplay or specific media character types, though being an over-informed master of trivia regarding bandicoots shuffles you off into the age old corner of the fanatic. There is also the rule 34 crowd …. *nope nope nope* [steps away from the keyboard]
Ed illustrating again why he was the muscle of his group of friends.
I have issues with anyone under the age of forty that “likes” Superman. I can’t help it. I’m a cinephile and comic nerd both. For those of us who remember the late seventies and the movie revolution that began therein (Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones, Alien, So so many great movies) Superman sums up to me with the phrase that taglined the movie. You Will Believe a Man can Fly.
God, I tear up just writing that phrase. And yet explaining this to anyone who doesn’t even remember the nineteen eighties is all but impossible.These days everyone and their brother can fly in movies, and generally without uncomfortable harnesses, massive post production edits, and the time/effort required of yesteryear. Thinking back on it all, I remember Interview With the Vampire. What movie do they use to show the change in society from black and white dullness to a color filled world of vibrancy and blues? Superman.
I suppose the real irony in all of this, is that I don’t even particularly like Superman as a character. He’s too powerful to be interesting. Sure, he’s got weaknesses, but they tend to be all or nothing weaknesses. Helpless against Kryptonite. Normal human versus Magic. The most interesting thing about him is when he is stripped to normal (or equal in the case of Doomsday) to see what he sacrifices as a normal man. Sure, the movie ruined part of this. How much drama is there if he can just fly real fast around the world and go back in time to fix whatever he did wrong? For me, the greatest was always (pre-brand new day) Spiderman. He jokes to cover his fear, has to pay rent, and has to choose every time between his conscience (and whatever mugger/thief/villain/whatever) and his personal life (Aunt May’s surgery/date with Mary Jane/class/sometimes even work) so no matter what he chooses, there are consequences…
And really, I suppose it is that consequences have changed that bothers me. What I’ve started calling the Wizard of Oz effect because I hate that movie. Always have. But it occupies a place of nostalgia that the people I work with (all younger than me) just don’t get. But back then there wasn’t even a VCR, let alone DVD or streaming services…. But that’s getting a little ahead of myself. See, back in the day every year there were four peanuts movies (Great Pumpkin, Thanksgiving, Christmas special, and the movie. Eventually Great Race, too…) and the Wizard of Oz. There was also that stop motion Rudolph movie and It’s a Wonderful Life. This was how I told seasons as a kid, more so than actual changes of nature. Once per year the family would gather about the cathode ray tube glow of the television and watch all together. The one I always hated was Wizard, but more people my age would say something similar about Wonderful Life, so maybe I name it wrong, but I always liked Jimmie Stewart, and ego prevents me from using a movie I liked as an example of fondness for something I didn’t.
Of course, later came cable television and subscription services (Star Wars on HBO prevented me from sleeping for about a week. Excepting I had to go to school at the same time, which was a great place for naps but a poor one for escaping the consequences of my actions… Eventually the television was unplugged, uncabled, de-antennaed, and moved to the garage for a month). The cost of VCRs dropped and rental places sprang up. Of course, at this point in time roughly half the family young’ns remember video rental places (hell, we still have the option in a couple grocery stores nearby, though I hesitate to include Redbox type services), but soon even that will be but a memory.
Fuck, but I hate nostalgia and it seems to have wormed its way into my mood, so I leave now.
Bastards (obligatory bile courtesy anti-nostalgia league of 1988)
Maaan…getting a Carol withdrawl here….. need a fix soon…maybe just some Alex or Jo…or Alex AND Jo……..
I still have my Bun-bun “Time to die, nerdboy!” T-shirt. I wore that one when I went in for LASIK surgery. They were zapping my eyeballs with frickin’ lasers, how else was I supposed to deal with that?
For my next-day followup, I wore my Agatha Heterodyne “Today is a great day for science!” shirt. It seemed only appropriate.