The portrayal of geeks by mainstream media is a constant source of frustration and anger for me; we’re usually shown (or, in reality TV shows, implied) to be socially inept virgins who live in our parents basements. We pass our time cataloguing our Star Wars memorabilia, correcting people on the proper use of the word “midichlorion” Slave Leia costumes. If you happened to see last night’s American Idol, you will have a fair idea of what I’m speaking of.
Really, fuck that.
I’m not going to deny that there’s an extreme fringe among geeks who even I find creepy, but guess what folks, there are yiffs, sodomites and masochists in all of the walks of life. I’ve personally known one completely ordinary appearing person who had tastes and interests that left me feeling physically sick, but they had the gall to smirk at me because I have a deep and abiding love of vintage science fiction. Thank you.
Myth 1: We’re socially backwards.
We’re not socially inept; most of us simply prefer to interact in means that we enjoy more. Internet discussions, instant messaging, text messaging, etc. You need to understand that we don’t talk for the joy of talking; we use it to communicate. Maybe it’s why we’re seen as so dysfunctional. We’re not so much ignorant of social norms, as we are aware of them, but we simply don’t care. Get the fuck over it.
I much prefer to deal with other geeks in social situations. Pleasure for me is playing network games with them for a few hours, sitting down around a table to play a pen and paper role-playing game, reading the latest part of a length email correspondence, or talking to them on an instant message network. How is going to parties and functions, for me and us, supposed to match this?
Myth 2: We have no friends.
Rubbish. Kaede lives in Japan, Michelle, Mike and Eileen live in Ireland, Flemming lives in Denmark, Gabi lives in Oklahoma and Jennifer lives in Texas. I keep in touch with them regularly both through the phone and internet, and I’ve had as many an enjoyable evening with them as I’ve had with any friend in the flesh. Actually, our relationship goes a little bit deeper. We don’t have the inhibitions that being in person brings, and the fatigue that seeing each other every day brings. It runs deeper and truer than many flesh and blood friendships and relationships that I’ve had.
Myth 3: Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons are the be-all of our interests.
For sure, I enjoy both of these, although most people’s interests in science fiction and fantasy run past these. I’m a middlingly-successful photographer, I’m teaching myself to write lengthy pieces and I love all kinds of science fiction and fantasy more than anything else. Star Wars has flashy special effects, but how is that to compare with the Book of the New Sun, The Night Land or At the Mountains of Madness?
Myth 4: We’re fated to die virgins and never know the comforts of the opposite sex.
I’m married to a wonderful wife and have a beautiful daughter. Enough said.
So get over it already. We have a mark of strangeness upon us, but we wear it openly and proudly. Without geeks quietly beavering away you would not have computers, or the television, or the internet. We are the people who work behind the scene to make sure the trains run on time, who make sure that supermarket stocks your favourite brand of biscuts, and geeks always have been at the heart of the entertainment industry.