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Real Geek, Fake Geek, Sexy Geek?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by scootah, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. scootah

    scootah
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    Esquire talks about geeks


    The geek thing has changed in the last few years. I started working in IT in the late 90's, and I remember very clearly when a hot girl at a geek function was anyone who didn't have a moustache. I remember when the girls coming to gaming days were universally shaped like one of those punching bags you can't knock down and had massive social issues. I remember when reading comics was so uncool that admitting it would kill your chances of getting a girl home, and I remember when knowing the rules of Dungeons and Dragons assured your virginity into your thirties.

    I also remember when telling someone that you worked in IT was the ideal way to kill a conversation and when your career as an IT person was the ultimate dinner party killer.

    Then there was a shift, when people realized that they needed geeks. And everyone who knew anything about a computer got respect, if not a party invite. The guy who cleared your browsing history or got rid of viruses was a king on the dorm floor. Still a virgin - but much revered none the less. Every asshole who knew how to use a search engine and how to put in an SMTP setting could act like the smartest guy in the room (in a room full of surgeons) and get away with it.

    Over the last few years, people have learned to shut that shit down and not take shit from the helpdesk monkeys, or the asshole who cleans their laser printer. But something about geeks has become strangely attractive. The only active Dungeon's and Dragons group among my friends includes a topless model who's done national mens magazine covers. The hot girls in HR at my office come up to ask for help with getting drivers working for their gaming rig and I see their proxy traffic going to WOW forums and build strategy guides in between checking out race day and wedding fashion websites.

    Justin Timberlake, a Music and Drama geek with Dorky Glasses talks about bringing sexy back and there's a section of the audience that doesn't laugh. The barrage of comic book movies and crap with the cast of Juno pack out theatres. Book stores in trendy fashionista neighbourhoods have a 'graphic novels' section at the front of the display cabinets and 'circus arts - juggling' classes in my neighbourhood are packed out with hot girls every weekend.

    Focus: Geeks? Hot or not. Are you a geek? Are you old enough to remember when being a geek sucked? Has your geekishness become a social asset or are you still a basement dwelling sock-fucker with a canadian girlfriend who's never met your friends?
    Sock-Fucker Focus: Do you avoid the big room that pizza comes from? Does the DayStar burn you? Do the people in your school/office just need to read more Penny Arcade so that they 'get' you?
    Alt-Focus: Esquire Article - Discuss
    Alt-Alt-Focus: Ladies that need help with their MMO characters, support requests here.
     
  2. Blue Dog

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    Before the spring semester ended, the little 6th grade girl I tutor asked me point blank after I had just showed her how to work a random math problem: "So... Were you, like, a big nerd growing up"?

    I answered, "Growing up? I'm STILL a big nerd. I just don't try so hard to hide it".

    I don't think there is a person out there who doesn't have at least a little nerd in them, its just to what degree. The extent of a person's geekiness and the level to which, if at all, it socially inhibits them varies from case to case. Is it ok to enjoy playing video games? Sure- why the hell not? Do you have a fascination with certain niche cultures, media, and/or technologies that are not socially accepted as "cool"? Who gives a shit- do what you love because YOU enjoy it, not because someone else SAYS you should. But do you retreat within your your shell of obsession to the exclusion of 1) normal human interaction to the detriment of your personal growth and 2) becoming a fully-functioning and productive member of society, i.e.- becoming the generic and cliched "unemployed and alone, sitting in your mom's basement eating cheetos and leveling your World of Warcraft character 24 hours-a-day" super-nerd? There is definitely a problem with this, I think.
     
  3. lostalldoubt86

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    I don't know if I'm a geek. I just know that I'm socially awkward at times and never miss an episode of Dr. Who. Also, I got into Weezer in 1992 and was told they weren't cool by the other 6 year-olds, so if I am a geek, I've been one for a really long time and DO remember when it was something to hide.
     
  4. BeCoolBitch_BeCool

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    If you read Filmdrunk, you know he recently made a big deal about this a couple months ago

    I wouldn't necessarily say that being a geek is cool now. People just figured out that geeks tend to have more disposable income.
     
  5. Luke 217

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    Wait. What? Weezer didn't exist until 1992, and the Blue Album wasn't out until 94. And I'm pretty sure not that many people heard of them until The Undone Sweater Song which was released later in that year.
    So you weren't nerdy, probably just a 6 year old hipster.... Because you liked a band that nobody had even heard of in 92.

    Don't worry though, Scooter will start a Hipster thread when they get cool sometime in the future. Hopefully after the apocalypse.
     
  6. Angel_1756

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    I fit a pretty geeky mold when I was in high school. Between being in the school band, all the science clubs, the occasional school play and spending hours at a time on the newly formed BBS based out of the nearest major city, I was as nerdly as one could be in a small town without having braces or taped glasses.

    That said, I love a nerd. Galen Weston (Jr) is my serious crush. Don't give me a jock - give me a guy who watches Star Wars and Battlestar and can upgrade my RAM. Meow.
     
  7. Nom Chompsky

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    Disjointed thoughts:

    Music and drama geeks being sex symbols is nothing new, at all. Think about all the people who did theater in your high school. Then think about the ones who really invested in it -- a lot of the ranks of Hollywood comes from there. Of course, there will always be models/athletes/dancers etc., but a lot of actors are probably pretty geeky underneath the $300 haircuts and leather jackets. Music is similar -- it's something you often have to work at, to the deficit of a real social life.

    Vince from FilmDrunk absolutely nailed a phenomenon when he said that the recent spate of attractive actresses pandering to geeks wasn't false in the sense that they don't actually like Star Trek, it was disingenuous because they're obvious statements made to get easy bonafides -- like a politician (truthfully) claiming to like ice cream and puppies.

    Being attractive professionally is definitely hard work.




    As far as myself, I've never felt comfortable with the geek label. I'm certainly not technically-inclined enough to be a tech geek, and even though a lot of my interests are kind of geeky, I've never really felt natural in those sorts of environments. I guess that's part of going to a small high school and getting to do a lot of stuff: at varying times I did math competitions, edited the literary magazine, was president of the chess club, did three different sports, and was the (sort of) lead in a play.

    That's not to brag -- lots of people in my high school did stuff like that, because there were so few people. However, whenever I ventured into the larger communities for that sort of thing, it felt very insular and weird. I have one female friend who plays serious chess, and she would be swarmed at pretty much every tournament by awkward guys.

    I'm inclined to believe that geek is a mindset rather than a collection of interests.
     
  8. Devils Advocate

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    I completely have a geeky side, and I am damn proud of it. There is nothing wrong with being a geek. In highschool, I was one of the few that enjoyed the yearly science fair. I was skipped a year ahead in English. I graduated in the top 1% of my class. I started taking college classes when I was 13. I adore reading. In my opinion, Star Wars episodes IV, V, and VI were/are the best trilogy ever fucking made. If you don't like Star Wars there is something wrong with you, and we will just not get along. I think that Spaceballs was complete blasphemy. I have read every single Harry Potter book at least 5 times. I have Pi memorized to the 8th place. I can play the violin. However, at the same time, I was a varsity cheerleader, ex-gymnast, and could down a triple shot of jack daniels without blinking.
     
  9. Blue Dog

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    I was pretty much the same way- I've read fantasy books (Tolkien, Eddings, Brooks, Gemmell, Martin, Rowling) my entire life, and thought the same about the extended edition "Lord of the Rings" DVDs as you do about Star Wars (which are great too. I never have seen anything from the Star Trek universe, however, and for whatever reason, I don't really care too). I played Final Fantasy and other RPGs, and still to this day I pop one in every few months to play again for nostalgia purposes. I look at retro-gaming websites. I played tenor saxophone for 2 years in Jr High, and was even awarded "Best Student". I appreciate classical music, though I don't know much about it. I'm friggin' addicted to cooking shows and food culture. I went to Space Camp- twice. I did well in school, especially math, and tutor kids today. I POST HERE.

    But at the same time, I've traveled all over the country playing AAU and YBOA basketball, played high school and I-AA college football, I won a state championship and MVP in youth soccer, I went out and had friends in high school and college, I hunt and fish, and I drink like I'm getting paid to do it.

    Like I said before, I think there is a little geek in everyone. Being a geek and being a jock are not mutually exclusive. But I think the people who THINK they are- you know, the "All jocks are idiot grocery baggers!" and the "Reading books is for Gay Nerds! ICE ME, BRO!" people on either side of the extreme- You know the kind of people I'm talking about. Those people are the real idiots, and at the end of the day, do you really give two shits what someone you think is an idiot thinks about you?
     
  10. Binary

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    There have been so many facets to a "geek" label over the years that it's almost difficult for me to say that I'm a geek. Do I enjoy IT? Do I love to peruse technical specs on things I buy? Get enjoyment out of fixing particularly difficult or obscure network/system problems? Do I spend non-work-time reading about IT-related subjects? All of that, yes.

    On the other hand, "geek" has been widely used to imply someone who is incredibly socially awkward, or only hangs out with like-minded people, or is inept at sports, or...

    I suppose it's really a matter of being into computers during the period when geek was considered an insult. It wasn't descriptive so much as dismissive - geeks were only geeks, nothing and nobody else. Consequently, despite being into IT since before high school, I deliberately avoided the label - most of my friends were not into computers, I was very active, a runner in high school and a mountain biker outside of it, etc. I was still into computers (not so much the RPG games but whatever, I don't judge), but I didn't actively associate myself with the so-called "geeks" in high school. Partly because I did have varied interests and rarely could I talk about last Sunday's NFL game or a great trail I found with those people, who were often very narrowly focused in my experience.

    It's interesting how different the word is now and how proudly people wear it. Sure, I'm a geek. It's just not all I am.
     
  11. MoreCowbell

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    I think the backlash against 'fake nerds' is related to a feeling that these people haven't paid their dues. Sort of like wearing a t-shirt for a concert you didn't go to, or wearing decorative dogtags. For some, being a nerd is so closely tied to being picked on. So they see these people, and say, "Oh, sure, you like Lord of the Rings and love proclaiming that now, but where were you when the other kids were laughing at me in elementary school?"

    Also, there's the head-shaking that occurs when someone takes a picture wearing glasses and captions it "OMG GUYS SUCH A NERD!!!!!!" No, no you're not.

    This strikes me as a bit of posturing...but I get it.
     
  12. PIMPTRESS

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    Does being smart make you a geek?

    I was pretty withdrawn and always had a caustic humour growing up, I read ALOT and studied people. I still don't think I qualify....
     
  13. Aetius

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    Indeed. If you got laid in high school, you can go fuck yourself.

    ...because that's what I was doing in high school.
     
  14. Nettdata

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    You say that like things have changed since then.
     
  15. Trakiel

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    I'm 32, and I qualify as a geek. Most Fridays a group of friends come over to my house to play Pathfinder (A Dungeons & Dragons clone). I still feel there's an enormous stigma around things like roleplaying games, video games, collectable card games, anime, graphic novels, and the like - at least for a person my age. The expectation is that those are "childish pasttimes" and someone who's in their 30's should have long outgrown them and matured to enjoying more "adult" activities - people who don't are weirdo freaks and there's something wrong with them. So I pretty much don't tell anyone I don't have a lot of trust in that I like to do that stuff.

    I'm also uncomfortable about being labeled or considered an IT geek. Not because it's shameful or anything like that, but because that particular label carries a set of expectations with it. If people think you're an IT geek they think you know anything and everything about any piece of techology and if you don't you fucking suck. It wouldn't bother me if I had the knowledge of someone like Nettdata or Scootah but my educational background is in economics and my sole credential is the MS cert I got in February. But since I'm the head of IT for my company - even though we use an outside vendor to do most of the serious IT stuff - I've got the title of IT geek regardless.
     
  16. Crown Royal

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    I guess you could call me a music and movie geek, since I know more about those two subjects than anybody I have ever met. But when I hear the word "geek" I don't think "knowledgable", which I am when it comes to music and movies. When I hear "geek" I think of my next door neighbour, who every fucking Friday invites over a small army of ultra-pathetic looking clones for role playing games at his place (I know this because he leaves his front window open and I can hear their virgin-enhanced arguements whenever I'm on my porch). They're overweight, have greasy, acne-flecked skin despite the fact they're in their thirties and probably have living things in their hair. THAT, to me, is what a geek is. A socially retarded dork.

    As far as why hipsters love the geek look, it's because they were no doubt unpopular twats in high school so they try to re-invent themselves down the road as the anti-anything "cool" cunts that they are. That, and the fact that they're losers.

    I like the Star Wars trilogy (the second trilogy sucked ass entirely, and don't argue with me) because of its entertainment value, and not because I need to escape my reality because it's a dial tone. Plenty of people are that way. I don't go play Cops n Robbers or Cowboys n Indians with other full-grown adults (sorry, it's called "LARPing" now) in cumbersome costumes or throw around 67-sided dice as a guy pulls storylines for a game out of his ass. It has nothing to do with being a "geek". In my eyes, Imaginationland is for children, and that's how it should remain.
     
  17. PewPewPow

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    Nerds still suck at life, Geeks on the other hand have always been successful.

    Case in point: Two of my friends graduated as civil engineers at the beginning of this month. They would both regularly be at school until 2am three nights a week. However when they weren't studying they were drinking, hard. Fridays were a twelve hour marathon of consumption. Both of them are average looking, in decent shape, and enjoy moderate success with women. They're basically the opposite of what one envisions when you think of an engineering student.
     
  18. Nom Chompsky

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    Me and my friends play Cops n Robbers all the time. Only we call it by it's adult name, "Doing Acid Then Stealing Stuff." It's more grown up than you give it credit for.

    Seriously, though, why not let people have fun the way they want to? If they're not hurting anybody, I think it's cool that people can still get their jollies without needing some sort of technology or something. Their hobby is no more imaginary than playing video games, or watching tv, or listening to music -- at least they're the architects of their own experience.

    I'm not into LARPing or anything, but I'm also up for a game of football or something on the weekends. Besides the backstory, there really ain't too much of a difference.
     
  19. Disgustipated

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    Although the exact definition of the terminology is subject to regional interpretation (at one time, 'geek' around here had nothing to do with intelligence - it just meant they were weird), I've been in the nerd spectrum since 1985. I was finally catapulted in there by a combination of getting glasses, moving schools and social ineptitude that was heralded in by physical isolation, loss of all my friends and overbearing parenting.

    It didn't help that I was a natural smartass who hadn't learned how to keep his mouth shut either.

    I graduated from Choose Your Own Adventure books to Fighting Fantasy (have a near complete collection still in my bookcase I'm keeping for my son) to Dungeons and Dragons pretty quickly, and regularly played up until a couple of years ago when I got too busy. I've got zero problem showing my nerd side. But, by the same token, I don't push it or play it up. I do what I do, it's just a reflection of me.

    A quick walk around my place would show you that I have swords on the wall next to digital art and pictures of Buddha, I've got anime next to documentaries next to action in the dvds, my first teddy bear next to the aforementioned Fighting Fantasy books underneath my fight trophies. I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks.

    For years, all of this was a problem and caused me a ton of ridicule and vilification. Mind you, I went to a school where making an effort was enough to get you bashed. Still didn't give a fuck. I've always considered that trying to be something other than what you are is a supreme waste of time and a betrayal in the denial of self.
     
  20. RCGT

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    To me, a geek will always mean someone who bites the heads off of chickens.

    Now that we've laid that to rest... I probably qualify. Growing up, I was always the quiet kid in class reading books, and I had a bunch of computer games (no consoles). I used Linux exclusively for about four years, just quit playing EVE Online (aka animated spreadsheets online), and read tons and tons of sci-fi as a kid. Still do, when I can. And I can absorb tons and tons of knowledge/info about various things - be it hockey history, info about different bands/hip-hop groups, learning a programming language, the ethnic divisions of Iraq, whatever. That's one of the key traits of a geek to me - the obsession with some field and having reams and reams of knowledge on it. (I tend to bounce from field to field, though, about once a month.)

    However, the socially awkward thing is a part of the stereotype that I don't think should be part of the definition - and if it is, then I guess I don't fit. Sure, there was a period when I was massively awkward (also known as "high school"), but through practice and hard work I dug myself out of that hole. How socially-skilled someone is doesn't have a lot of bearing on their attitude towards knowledge, which is what I think geekdom is all about.



    There's also a tendency sometimes among geeks/nerds to look down on others who don't have expertise in their field. This is enough of a phenomenon that I think it's actually become part of the stereotype:
    Whenever I've thought to myself, "Wow, that guy is such a fucking nerd," that kind of condescension towards knowledge that's not in their wheelhouse has been a part of it. Not seeing social skills, trade skills, etc. as intelligence is something I try to stay away from. "Of course charisma comes from using your brain! Where did you think it comes from, your kidneys?"

    If anyone knows where that quote is from, I would much appreciate it, it's been bugging the hell out of me.