What It Means to Be a Geek

7 Mar

Almost a month ago, over on Jezebel.com, one of my favorite Jez-writers, Tracie Egan Morrissey, wrote an article responding to the MTV show My Life as Liz.

Now, I won’t claim to have seen much of this show. At most, I’ve watched bits and pieces of two or three episodes but I agree with her, MTV Get’s It Wrong when they talk about geeks.

Here’s the thing. I grew up a geek. And I wasn’t even that geeky, I was a Theatre Geek which means I still had friends, a community, parties to go to every so often. But I was also the girl who was friends with people from many different groups. I may not have ever been popular, but people knew who I was. That felt like an accomplishment, even when I was only known as being that new girl from California or, the second time around, that new girl from Texas.

But I was also the girl, for a long time, who had a crush on the geek boy down the street. The one who would walk over to my house, to walk his sister home from the cast parties. The one who made my mom presents when she first got sick from cancer. The one who I didn’t hang out with except for our bus rides to school. And the one who, I never followed through with because I was embarassed what others might think of me.

And I never let myself get over that. Because geeks are the best people.

I guess what bothers me is the same as what bothers Ms. EM, that in the show Liz “chooses” to become a geek. And that’s not something possible. In fact, it’s the part of hipster culture, and hipster she is, that bothers me.

There’s the idea that comes along with geek chic and hipsterdom that says that finding something interesting that your friends haven’t heard of makes you the discoverer of said thing and makes it cool and weird. Like how suddenly, taxidermy is *cool* but, because it rides on a trend of liking the newest of the new, it will most certainly be *uncool* again real soon.

I’m not saying that taxidermy isn’t, in its nature, cool or uncool. I’m just saying that there is probably, somewhere out there, a hardcore taxidermy geek that has liked taxidermy long before it was cool and is sure to ride out the wave of it’s cool-dom into when it’s uncool again.

This is what makes geeks different. Geeks like what they like and they like it, sometimes, forever. Now, I know I’m making generalizations here. But let’s look at a few examples of one of my favorite sub-sections of geeks: the fandom geeks.

I’m talking about my friends and yours who go to Cons. These people (and I include myself in this group) often devote themselves to costuming or producing art or purchasing art that is based on these obsessions, sometimes, long after they’re gone.

You may have heard of The Browncoats and their battle to bring back Firefly, which has had a new revolution even now!

You can find the website and more, here. Geeks inspire me because of their genuine desire and their sense of community. But most importantly, most geeks don’t care what I think.

And that’s where this story gets questionable. Call her what you will, this Liz character is not a geek.

What do you think?

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One Response to “What It Means to Be a Geek”

  1. Lisa Horton March 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    Well said, sister. On all counts.

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