Beware the Rise of the Geekster
We all know about the current Geek phenomenon, it’s cool to wear dorky t-shirts professing your love of comic book heroes/villains, or some late 70’s, anytime during the 80’s TV Show/Movie or some other Geeky thing. Big thick glasses are cool, I’m still not sure about pocket protectors.
While everything Geek becomes more mainstream, we’re beset with a problem. A rising tide, the Geeksters. Who are they? They’re the people who were in their tweens/teens during the heyday of all things considered Geek. From D&D , Star Wars, Voltron, the rise of Gaming Consoles, you name it. For one reason or another, they felt that they were picked on, left out, or brutalized because of their love for these things. So now, as these people advance into their 40’s they see the wave that is the things they grew up with, and they don’t like it. These are the Geek snobs who wrap themselves in a shroud that whatever facet of the geek community that they embrace it is “theirs”. These are the people who shout the loudest at every remake, reboot, rekindling or anything that deviates from a perspective that isn’t their own. They may embrace some things, but utterly shun another. The rise of the Geekster and their snobbery isn’t anything to snuff at, since they are usually people deep in their careers and typically have money to spend on their passions. They are not fat slobs sitting in their parents basement, they are educated individuals with deep seeded, unrelenting passions that lash out when some “wrong” is created.
As much as they embrace the new the comes along with the old, I’m getting tired of listening to some Geekster who refuses to accept anything new about the things they love, from D&D to Star Wars to Cartoons. Everything that deviates in any way from what they originally remember I find them resorting to that it’s “Taking a crap on their childhood”. Regardless of the fact that whatever reiteration comes along, only helps to bring more fans and people into the things that they love, people who have a new energy and don’t just sit around complaining about some 30 year grudge they are holding.
I used to respect guys like Patton Oswalt, he’s got phenominal geek cred, but after reading an opt ed he did for Wired magazine anything Patton related that I come across just doesn’t register with my brain, he’s become a non entity, he became a Geekster. All I saw was a grown man whining. Whining that because he supposedly got beat up or picked on for loving the things he does, he felt like the current Geek Revolution was akin to taking a crap on his passions. I remember him writing that guys who wear their geek shirts as they work out in the gym somehow belittle the culture. I’m one of those guys. I wear and buy my geeky shirts specifically for working out, I’m not ashamed of it, nor do I think that by doing so I’m making all things Geek less meaningful. Ever since reading his words, I know for a fact that some of my Geek friends have stopped paying attention to him, especially so as I heard the cheers rising from all the old guys who claimed that because they were there when the Geek World began, they somehow have ownership over it. They were first. We just don’t “get” how they supposedly sacrificed to make things what they are today. When what I see is a bunch of babies whining at every corner, when everyone else in the room seems to be just having a great time.
For every gang of Geeksters, you can find the Cool Geeks (cool, not in necessary the status way, but in the emotional sense). People that are humble and still know that being a Geek is all just about enjoying our passions and trying to express them to others, they rally people because when their love spills out, it’s hard to not want to be a part of it. Guys like Wil Wheaton, who was the envy of kid that dreamed of being on the Enterprise. Nathan Fillion who still displays a love for the cult following of Browncoats from his work on Firefly. Or the guys at Penny Arcade, who’ve pushed so hard to change misconceptions about the Gaming Community with incredibly honest and more importantly humble approaches. If you look past the red in the face Geeksters, finding these people are easier than you would think. True Geeks know that every tiny aspect of the culture should be embraced in one form or another, whether young, middle aged, or old, everyone deserves to have a chance to be a Geek. Yes, displaying your passions may not be a threat to some kind of social conventions or church like they hayday of Dungeons and Dragons. Whether people know it or not, D&D provided a nice template for what we witness in most Role Playing Games today. We should be pushing the younger generation to embrace things like Pen and Paper gaming and the tremendous social aspects it can bear. The more we come together as a Geek community to shut out the loud and overbearing, the more those Geekster voices have less of an impact on the things we love.
So, the next time you find yourself adding to some wanting to start a heated argument because of a differing opinion, remember this; That person has a passion too, it just isn’t in line with yours. In no way does it make their passion less than yours, or greater, we are all equals. We are all Geeks, whether the Geeksters like it or not. It’s time that being a Geek is no longer some kind of fad, but an aspect of life. It is time that people who are passionate about what mainstream labels as obscure be accepted without thought. We all have our passions, we all have our means of expressing them, some might be in your face, but that passion is no different than the silent one observing from the background. The community needs to check itself, and in doing so, we’ll only find a way to enjoy the things we love together that much better.