Wednesday, 28 March 2012

And The [Geek] Shall Inherit the Earth

Good Wednesday all,

So earlier this morning I was reading a response article to a Forbes article about Fake Geek Girls, and how apparently women pretending to be interested in geeky things is destroying our lives (or something to that effect).

This got me thinking, what actually is it to be a geek? And who are we to determine that someone either is, or is not, a geek?

I'd like to take you back to October 2010, Blizzcon, Chris Metzen one of the creators of Warcraft did a speech titled "Geek is:"
You Tube Link

As part of this he described the word Geek as:
"This word is power. This word is identity."

I would say that it's safe to assume this word has become to those of us who call ourselves 'Geeks' what the N word is to African Americans: It's our word now! We've reclaimed it from outsiders who used it in a derogatory manner in the past. "never again", so to speak.

But for me this is not enough, it has been said that words have power, and it is my experience that the same is true for Geek, but I am concerned by the motivation and almost ignorance behind this, to some it's simple a label, with little to no meaning, but to others it's a semi exclusive club where only with the secret decoder rings can you access the inner sanctum.

Let's start by looking at the history of the word:

Now the furthest back I can trace this word is to the 1900s (and I would be very interested if anyone can find an older use) to the travelling American Freak shows.

You can see the legacies of these today with performers often referred to as 'block heads'.

These performers have genuine talent and can move a crowd in a unique way, but back in the day it was not so.

Instead of housing Block Heads, the circus would normally have a young adult, virtually always mentally challenged, they would be dressed in rags and would be pulled around the stage by a chain.

This side show attraction was called The Geek.

The purpose of this character was to do nearly anything that the ring master demanded, more often than not this was to eat anything that the crowd would throw at him.

Because of the popularity of side shows and the Geek character, crowds would often bring things from home just to throw at the Geek and see him eat it, this would even involve broken glass and human shit.

In short the role of The Geek was to 'ingest and partake' in that which your 'normal' person would not.

Fast forward to the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Popular culture and 'traditional values' dictated that many things the modern geek enjoyed we're abnormal, after all, a normal adolescent boy spends his days playing football, not busing computers and role playing as dragon slayers!

From here it's not hard to see how the insult of Geek would have been thrown around, the irony of course is that now the word is synonymous with 'loser' rather than 'shit eater'.

But is it the correct term to use in today's society?

I asked myself, do I consider myself a Geek? The answer was clearly YES!

I then asked myself, am I proud to call myself a geek? The answer to that however was NO! Not because of embarrassment or shame, but to me being a Geek is just part of me, like the colour of my skin. It's like asking if I'm proud to be white, or male. To me that seems like a silly question.

Instead I look inside the umbrella that is the term Geek, what's inside?

To me there's many different titles, Video Gamer, War Gamer, Aliens obsessive, artist, writer, dreamer, imaginer and collector!

All of these I am proud of, each end every part of these I have poored blood sweat and tears into and I will fight for that.

I suppose you could argue that all of those elements fall under the title of Geek and so it just makes things easier, but to me that would be like lining up an Olympic swimmer, a bodybuilder and a footballer and saying "your all athletes, therefore I'll treat you all the same".

I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. Show me a Predator fan, or an AvP (comic and video game) fan, and I'll fight by their side through thick and thin, but present me with a Star Wars fan, or someone who thinks the best Alien film is AvP or AvP2, and I'll punch them in their crap lousy face :D

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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