Thursday, July 26, 2012

Who is a Geek?

In the wake of Comic Con, there's apparently been much discussion about various "my geekery is better than your geekery" articles that tend to come out after an event like that. So, there was this lament about the booth babes and attention seekers. And then John Scalzi wrote a scathing reply that I do think kind of missed the point (that wasn't made particularly well in the original article, I admit) but that had some awesome things to say about being a geek.

Namely, this:

Many people believe geekdom is defined by a love of a thing, but I think — and my experience of geekdom bears on this thinking — that the true sign of a geek is a delight in sharing a thing. It’s the major difference between a geek and a hipster, you know: When a hipster sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “Oh, crap, now the wrong people like the thing I love.” When a geek sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “ZOMG YOU LOVE WHAT I LOVE COME WITH ME AND LET US LOVE IT TOGETHER.”

Any jerk can love a thing. It’s the sharing that makes geekdom awesome.

And that's what it's all about, and that's what I think the original author was trying to say, that the people he was targeting weren't there to share. They're the ones going in hipster mode. As a stealth geek, I don't go to conventions in costume. I generally fall into the "one of these things doesn't belong here" category (although at the moment the length of my hair makes me a little less stealth because it's the kind of thing you see among SCA members). I do dress nicely for conventions because I'm there as a professional, but I'm probably too old for anyone to assume that I'm there just to make geeky men gawk at me.

However, my message to the original author and those who think like him is that ultimately, the attention seekers might be doing you a favor because they help weed out the shallow gawkers, and the discerning geeky women will then be able to notice the men whose heads are turned more by a brain than by a scanty costume.

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