Thursday, May 22, 2014

Geek Culture

I could have bought a Warhammer 40k army with the
amount of hockey gear I own.
  Geek culture is by far one of the most unique ones in existence; however, that does not make it flawless. Geek, by definition, means: a person who is very interested in and knows a lot about a particular field or activity. In other words, nearly anyone walking the face of this earth is a geek! 

  I, personally, have a myriad of interests. I am a: video game, car, art, film, and hockey geek just to name a few. Through all walks of life there are many geeks among us. In this post, I’d like to explain a few negatives that geeks should all work to improve. On the other hand, I aim to shed some light on fantastic features of the geek community. 

  As with any culture, it has its share of imperfections, although I will focus on a select few. Ethnocentrism ( judging another solely by the values and standards of one's own culture) remains a hindrance in the acceptance of new geeks. A demonstration of Ethnocentric behavior would be the judgement of another player of an MMO because they did not play since Beta or long time Doctor Who fans treating newer fans differently because they have started with the Ninth doctor as a opposed to the First. While a common interest is present, the person who has dedicated more time perceives themselves as a ‘true geek’.

  Elitism (a person having, thought to have, or professing superior intellect or talent, power, wealth, or membership in the upper echelons of society) runs along the similar lines.I have, as many of you as well, have faced elitism first hand. My experience began in high school for theater in my freshman year. My naive mind lead me to believe that I would be accepted with open arms. This was not the case. No matter the acting prowess any underclassmen had shown, they were merely cast as extras and smaller speaking parts. While freshmen tried to integrate themselves into the the group that they finally felt they belonged within, seniors wanted nothing to do with them. The notion being that the freshmen weren't worth a moment of their time.

  Additionally, an issue I am personally knowledgeable on is sexism (prejudice or discrimination based on a person's sex or gender). For example, “Your boyfriend must be playing the game for you” for women to “You've probably never even been on a date” for guys. Countless jabs have been taken at many geek’s intelligence, skill, or life experience based purely upon gender. Finding enjoyment in both prancing around in pumps and lacerating locusts on Gears of War is possible. Likewise, your local Dungeon Master may go home to his long-term girl(or boy)friend after a long day of placing players in turmoil. 

  Switching gears, an abundance of wonderful traits exist to contrast the negatives. Camaraderie blossoms in geek culture unlike any other. A simple common interests sparks some of the most intense and intriguing conversation. Likewise, geeking out over a subject can subsequently lead into obtaining a new friend or more. 

The day after I learned Magic The Gathering, I
destroyed my teacher.

  Ever wonder what it’s like to play Dungeons & Dragons? Or if Wolverine’s adamantium claws would pierce the Hulk’s skin? (They would, by the way.) Find someone who’s passionate about it! Geeks find gratification in teaching or explaining things to an interested party. Rambling on about a passion is an absolute delight. Let them teach you how to play a new tabletop game, or explain the inaccuracies in the latest blockbuster hit from it’s source. Furthermore, incredible creativity emanates from geeks. Fan art, cosplay, and fanfiction are prime examples. 

  Fan fiction takes a story beyond the author’s intent. Harry Potter continues on beyond book seven; however, not written by J.K. Rowling. Devoted and imaginative fans envision a continuation and invite fellow Potter lovers to take a peek into the possibilities. Meanwhile, those who fell in love with the characters of their favorite anime or video game, show tribute by creating costumes. 

  Cosplay has blossomed into an art form of it’s own. Traditional versions of the a character are shown in meticulous detail, or original and inventive ideas are displayed. With examples of steampunk Link from Legend of Zelda to gender-swapped Han Solo it goes to show the creatives minds that lie inside of geeks. 

  In conclusion, geeks are an extraordinary and unique bunch. A post such as this is not meant to serve as a blanket list of traits that all geeks possess, but instead look at the culture as a whole. My advice to any of you who know fellow geeks or you yourself participate in any of the negative traits is this: Instead of condemning the person who adores the Eleventh Doctor because they have yet to watch Nine or his predecessors, hear them out or accept their opinion. Take enjoyment in the fact that other Whovians exist and then decide who will be the companion. A healthy debate is always an option as well, as long as it doesn't evolve into cheap insults. 

Hippy time.

Let’s just all get along, and live side by side in harmony with thy fellow geek.

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