Ask Dayton 64 – Go Forth and Be Geeky
Not too long ago it was geeky to be, well, a geek. Now, somehow it’s cool. Can you explain what this means, and why you think this came about? Do you think it will last?
Why did being geek become cool? Simple, really: While you weren’t looking, all the guys who helped you with your math homework so you could spend more time lusting after the jocks, or the girls who helped you write your term paper before you left them at the library to go finger-bang the sorority sluts, got out of school, got jobs, and took over everything. That’s right, you ungrateful, myopic, “too cool to ever go out with us” mother fuckers: We own it all now, we’re your bosses, and you’re cordially invited to go and suck long and hard on that.
Okay, not really.
I mean, I’m sure there might be some kernel of truth buried in the midst of the rather overlong and under-edited sentences comprising the first paragraph of this answer. What do I think actually might have happened? Shit, people. I don’t know. To be perfectly honest, my answer to your query is that I don’t have the first damned clue.
Therefore, I shall answer, anyway.
For whatever my opinion’s worth, I believe there are several factors which, over time, have contributed to the various degrees of “geek mainstreaming.” First, one of the earliest bastions of geekery, the computer, lost a lot of its mystery and was made available to the masses. There was a time, not all that long ago, that the realm of computers was inhabited only by those select few who understood the enigmatic machines and the odd languages with which they communicated. Such information age necromancers often were looked upon with varying degrees of awe, confusion, and scorn, but holy shit could they make those boxes sit up and talk.
Of course, nowadays, everybody has a computer. There’s an entire generation of people who’ve never known what it was like not to have at least one computer in their house or classroom. Most of us now carry gadgets in our pocket which possess greater processing power than the onboard computer used by astronauts to land on the moon. Can you believe that shit? And we use these wondrous devices not to travel to other worlds, but instead to announce to the world what we’re eating for lunch, or to share porn along with pictures of cats that can’t spell. So, you know…wow.
Second: I have to think there’s something to movies, games, and television programs which used to be the purview of the more “nerdly” among us having now become accepted forms of entertainment far beyond that little outcast clique. Big-budget science fiction and fantasy movies and films based on comic books and video games are marketed as huge summer blockbusters designed to entice as many people as possible to plant their Milk Dud-snarfing asses into theater seats. Even franchises which used to be dismissed as being “too nerdy” have gotten EXTREME MAKEOVERS in order to appeal to the traditionally “non geek” crowd. Lookin’ at you, Star Trek. Regardless of anyone’s personal opinions on that flick, there’s no denying that the last Trek movie made more money than the three which came before it…combined. Some of those people have now discovered the fun to be had at Star Trek and other conventions, bringing some much-needed new blood to fandom.
Third, and again, this is just what I’m seeing, but in my mind it may well be one of the biggest contributing factors: THE WOMEN! That’s right, the ladies, with increasing frequency and ever-greater verve, have been asserting their rights to be geeks, too. The days of standing quietly next to their boyfriend or husband while he digs through the discount bins at a comic shop or convention are long gone. Or, if they’re not gone, then their end can’t come soon enough. Ladies are stepping out on their own, playing the games they want to play, buying (and writing!) the books and comics they want to read, dressing up in the costumes they want to wear, and fandom is all the better and richer for it. I say Vive la Femme!
In truth, there is no one kind of geek. The stereotype of the pimply-faced kid with ill-fitting clothes and horn-rimmed glasses who sits at home all day watching Star Trek reruns is gone, replaced by pretty much anybody with a nerd-on for something they really, really dig. In truth, the word “geek,” while often used only to label and scorn the “genre crowds,” really can be used to describe anyone who’s passionate about a hobby or other pastime.
We’ve got internet and computer geeks, gaming geeks, movie and TV and music geeks, history geeks, food geeks, scrap-booking geeks, and even wine geeks. The rabid followers of the TV show Glee even call themselves “Gleeks” and nobody bats an eye. Sports fans who memorize all manner of statistics and other minutiae, or who wear jerseys and other paraphernalia or just paint themselves in team colors when they go to games are definitely geeks of another persuasion. Hell, as was most recently pointed out by Steve McGarrett on an episode of Hawaii Five-0, “Fantasy Football is Dungeons & Dragons for sports geeks.”
Hell, we’re all one flavor of geek or another, when you think about it. The question now, is what do we do about it? I say embrace that shit. Hug it out, hard.
There’s a great quote from Simon Pegg (Scotty in the new Trek flicks, for those of you who’ve banished that film from your tortured memory), that goes like this:
“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”
So, listen to Scotty: Go forth and be geeky.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.