Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"I Was Trekkie When Trekkie Wasn't Cool"

The current echochamber on the blogosphere appears to be the validity of geek culture in an age where smartphones are a real thing. As I'd been reading a lot about it, I figured I'd pitch my two cents in, which is probably best summed up as:

Don't be snobby, don't let the snobbery of others keep you from what you love.

People keep doing this thing where they build an identity around a hobby or some other bit of ephemera, and I'm not sure that's healthy in general, but I think it's especially unhealthy when they start erecting fences to keep out people who like the same things, but just not as much as they do. I get that we all want to feel elite within our own spheres, that's a natural thing, and when we earn the respect of other like minded people in our peer group through our mastery of our particular subject, no matter how inconsequential or obscure, it feels awesome.

But having the highest level dwarf ranger of anyone we know doesn't mean everyone who comes along automatically owes us respect for that achievement. It makes us happy. It's something we can share with our friends. It's great, but it's not necessarily important.

It annoys me to see people trying to establish Geek Cred, fight for Alpha Nerd, or build this little inner circle where you don't have to talk to anyone who likes Firefly but hasn't read Heinlein. Push The Moon is a Harsh Mistress at people if you must, but don't give people guff for not having read it yet. Everybody was a newbie at some point, and it's perfectly okay for people never to actually be grand master nerds. It doesn't mean they won't laugh at your Star Wars jokes.

It's hard to say adult geeks are justified in feeling a sense of persecution at the moment. We're kind of the cultural shock troops. We'll decide a thing is good or bad, build a fan base or a meme for it, and in a few years it'll be a movie, a TV series, or TV sitcom. At that point it's not just for us anymore, but we brought it there, and more and more movies especially have been getting the message that cleaving close to the heart of the original is a marketable strategy. Sure the adaptations are still adaptations, but they're good ones, and in some cases, better than the original.

Seriously, if you're a geek you've probably been picked on at some point about your dorky hobbies. Don't turn that around and pick on people for not being dorky enough. That just makes you hipsters without the fun scarves.


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