Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Geek Culture

One of the developments in our society that I think we can blame about 80% on the internet is the geek culture. You see, it used to be that if you were a geek, you were a social outcast who knew a few other geeks you met, say, at school but generally you were on the outside of things.  You had no specific uber-culture to refer to, or if you did it was such a rarified culture that very few people you met on the street would have any idea about it. You were a geek, and that meant you spent a lot of time alone.

Flash forward 30 years and geeks have grown by leaps and bounds.  They have their own TV shows (Big Band Theory, anyone), their own lingo, their own references (well, they've always had Monty Python, but they've expanded), in short, their own culture.  Again, the internet is fabulous for this because any geek, anywhere in the world, is just a click away from thousands of others with similar interests in science fiction, fantasy, gaming, math, computers, what have you.  Geeks are out of the closet!  They're geeky and they're proud.  And if they still get beat up after school from time to time, at least they can email hundreds of others to commiserate.

Now overall I'm very fond of geek culture.  I think it's awesome that Joss Whedon has an avid following of people who watch vampire TV shows and wear shirts proclaiming him to be lord over all.  I love that Lord of the Rings is now a much larger part of our day to day references and lives than ever before.  I smile when I hear even non-geeks using "w00t!" and other geekisms. Yup, overall it's a good thing to have around.  There's only one small problem.

Remember how the definition of a geek used to be someone who was on the outside of everything?  Well, what happens if all those outsiders get together and start their own little culture, their own country, so to speak? As soon as they do that, then it's possible to be on the outside of that culture.  And what do you do when you're too big of a geek to hang with the geeks?  That's gotta be an especially lonely place.  It's like getting told you're not cool enough for the wedgie-of-the-month club.  Ouch.  

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