Thursday, 14 June 2012

A [Geek] By Any Other Name - Part 2

Good Thursday everyone!

If you remember in April I wrote an article which covered the Internet phenomena called Nerd Rage.

Today I'd like to tackle another aspect of Geek/Nerd/Dork culture. It's something I am now calling:


So this week my wife started her new role where she met some people who would fall under the Geek/Nerd/Dork umbrella - let's call them Gords (Geek, dOrk, neRD).

Now don't get me wrong, my wife is very Gord friendly. She married me, plays WoW and is painting up a Malifaux crew after all! And so it was very interesting to hear how this group of Gords reacted when she tried to engage them in conversation.

I won't go into the specifics, but instead describe a situation that happened to me:

It was at my club's last Malifaux tournament. We had a number of guys turn up from other clubs, and when I arrived I saw a group of them standing outside the venue having a chat, making jokes and laughing.

As a friendly, responsible 'home playing' Gord I decided to say hi and introduce myself. So I waited for the joke they were telling to pass and said hi.

Now don't get me wrong, I met some fantastic dudes there that day, but I'll always remember the reaction I was given at this point.

It wasn't rude, it wasn't 'stand off' it was... Defensive.

Imagine a group of Gazelles feeding while a predator stalks them.

They're happy chewing their grass and talking to their fellow Gazelles when all of a sudden they hear a twig snap. They don't run away, but they stop eating, their ears pop up, and each one becomes alert trying to spot the danger while prepping to bolt.

This is what happened to me. When confronted by someone who was not part of their immediate group I was seen as a harbinger of threat. Not a threat itself, but a sign of potential to come.

All of this aimed at a guy who's short by most men's standards, plump around the waist and with a beard. Or as I like to describe it, squat, fat and furry.

So hearing of something similar being experienced I thought back to other experiences that I've either observed or been involved in.

It seems to be standard in Gord culture that whenever we are confronted with either something new or different we try to establish if this is a threat, and I have now come to call this period of time, when the Gord group as a whole looks on the new person/change with wide eyes and a look reminiscent of a deer in headlights as Dawkwardness.

Say it with me: Dawkwardness.

So I suppose the first question should be, why do Gords act Dawkwardly towards new people and change?

Well let's look back through Gord history, what is the one thing that has united all of us at some point? What has encouraged Geeks, Dorks and Nerds to socialise together and share hobbies?

It's persecution. Call it what you like, bullying, discrimination, picking on the weak kid, it's all the same and nearly all of have experienced it at some point.

Of course you don't have to be a Gord to have been bullied, of course not, but I think it's human nature to want to protect yourself when confronted with something different.

Let's say I'm at work however, working in the Finance team for a branch of the police - not allowed to say here which branch I'm afraid.

So someone new turns up, we all assess the situation, all in an instant we make a hundred assessments.

We take in the new person, we call on our Visio-spacial sketch pad to relay back to our schema bank and decide if this person is a potential threat - of course in today's world where every boy is Chucky and every girl Carry, everyone is a threat.

We also assess the current group were in. How safe do you feel with them? Do you think they would have your back in a fight or would they throw you under the bus?

Let's go back to my work example. I'm surrounded by my team, I know that if a bad dude turns up, they don't have my back. But if I was with the police officer dudes, that's a different matter. They're trained for this sort of thing, I know that push comes to shove they have my back. In the latter situation, I'm calm and collected around change and new people, because I know I'm reliably safe.

Let's apply this chain of thought to a group of Gords. Each one who spent years at school being bullied. They meet someone new, they asses the situation and think 'shit... I'm surrounded by a bunch of people as useless as I am'.

It is this moment of realisation which causes the dawkward reaction.

And so please, I'd you've ever been on the receiving end of a Dawkward-bomb, please don't get offended. It is not a reflection on you, but instead on us.

It makes you wonder, in the natural world where animals group together for protection... Just why would someone who can not protect themselves group with others who also can't protect themselves?

The answer is simple. It's not protection, you can't put 5 pussies together and have us turn into a transformer and kick ass.

No it's sacrifice.

It's like the joke goes:

How do you outrun a bear? You don't, you just outrun the slowest person.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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