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Geek Culture Will Never Die...or Be Popular 320

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-true-spocksman dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Last year CNN wrote an interesting article on how geek culture is now a big part of pop culture, while Patton Oswalt gave his own opinion on how he thinks pop culture has outright co-opted and diluted it. These articles gave birth to a completely different view, which is that geek culture can never truly be part of pop culture. The movies and t-shirts might sell, and everybody might use Facebook, but there will still be a small percentage that loves comics, imports video games, and can build their own computers. In other words, true geeks are much different from the stereotypes we learn about in the movies. The geek culture is not just playing D&D or watching V for Vendetta but also having a bookshelf full of D20 system manuals as well as reading all the Alan Moore material one can find. The fact of the matter is that while geek culture is far from dead, it's not exactly a part of the pop culture either. So, no matter hard media outlets try to make the concept catch on, no matter how many studios try to capitalize on the cultural waves of comic book movies and best-selling video games, there is no such thing as pop culture geekdom."
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Geek Culture Will Never Die...or Be Popular

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  • by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:41PM (#35061828) Homepage

    What keeps geek culture from dying or becoming popular?

    Why, it oscillates around a Lagrange point, no doubt.

    • by usul294 (1163169)
      Really, I thought it was because geek culture is a marginally stable system. Poles right on j-omega axis/unit circle depending on your analog/digital preference.
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      I would model it more accurately on a harmonic oscillator, with no anharmonic correction.

  • Geek Culture will obviously never be popular. At least not as long as folks like the incorrigible Patton Oswalt are the standard bearers for it.
    • Then how do you explain the TV show "The big bang theory" being popular? I can't believe it made it through the first season.

      Penny started out as a normal girl and now she is spouting geek culture just like the others and the show is still popular.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        That's not geek culture. It involves some sophisticated jokes, but then again that one episode results in Howard getting a robot hand stuck on his dick twice. I think that Red Dwarf being popular is a much better example, or possibly Futurama. But there again there's plenty for a mainstream audience to like.

      • I would describe The Big Bang Theory as being watered down though. Remember at the beginning of the first episode, when they were at a sperm donor clinic so they could raise funds for their fractional T1 line? The science-y things have been watered down, and what is left is thoroughly explained. I think it would have been better if penny stayed that hot neighbour that they couldn't talk to.

        I also like my telephone to be 'Party Line" style, and I still walk to work uphill both ways too...GET OFF MY LAWN,
        • by cHiphead (17854)

          Yeah, besides, at the price of a frac T1, they could just get multiple DSL/cable providers and setup a pfsense box to handle traffic management and have an overall bandwidth surplus, and dynamically allocate gaming across the connections based on latency.

      • by Joe Tie. (567096)

        Saying the big bang theory is about geek culture is like saying that Short Circuit 2 is a thoughtful look into the culture of India. They're mainly mocking geek culture, while doing a tired will they/won't they story. Or at least they were when I gave up on it.

      • Because that's the co-opted and diluted version he is talking about? I couldn't handle more than a few episodes myself.
        e.g. When one of the characters takes something too literally I get the impression that the audience is not meant to laugh at the clever literal joke, but intended to laugh at the character for saying something awkward again which is closer to normal sit-com form.
        (I'm not trying to say it's all about making fun of geeks - maybe they are just trying to target a wider audience.)
        • by Culture20 (968837)
          I think they do a good job of showing which characters do the "literal" stuff as a joke, and which characters are the jokes for always taking things literally.
        • by mcvos (645701)

          I laugh because I recognize it. And then I explain it to my wife.

      • by EdIII (1114411)

        Penny started out as a normal girl and now she is spouting geek culture just like the others and the show is still popular.

        Penny could read the ticker from fucking C-SPAN and it would still get at least a million viewers a show.

  • Hipsters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Admiral Frosty (919523) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:48PM (#35061892) Homepage
    I have to admit, this makes us sound an awful lot like hipsters trying to be on the edge and always being different.
    • by dosius (230542)

      Different? They're just a new kind of same.

      -uso.

    • Re:Hipsters (Score:4, Insightful)

      by somersault (912633) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:08PM (#35062100) Homepage Journal

      There is some overlap. People like to feel special, especially the slightly narcissistic asshats like me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rylz (868268)

      I have to admit, this makes us sound an awful lot like hipsters trying to be on the edge and always being different.

      This isn't the first time that analogy has been appropriate. Geeks are, after all, known for having huge egos and being a quite exclusive lot. Prior to mainstream acceptance of comic book movies and other aspects of geek culture, just look at how we snubbed script kiddies and noobs on our IRC channels. Much like hipsters snubbing others when outsiders adopt their music or aspects of their culture.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Geek culture is driven by geeks. Now on the IQ scale 100 is average and geek culture tends to 120 plus, that alone ensures an obvious lack of popularity.

        As for ego, let's be honest having to put up with all the jock straps and cheer leaders at high school and the various other sub 110 crowds, has worn down the humour of geeks when it comes dealing with them. Geeks of course as they get older mellow out and tend to be less put off by associations with the failed jock strap cheerleader crowd et al.

        As for

        • by grimdawg (954902)

          Geek culture is driven by geeks. Now on the IQ scale 100 is average and geek culture tends to 120 plus, that alone ensures an obvious lack of popularity.

          As for ego, let's be honest having to put up with all the jock straps and cheer leaders at high school and the various other sub 110 crowds, has worn down the humour of geeks when it comes dealing with them.

          I think your first sentence tells me more about the `ego' thing than any other could.

        • Re:Hipsters (Score:5, Insightful)

          by definate (876684) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @04:09AM (#35065022)

          Codswallop and bulls wool!

          I doubt that the distribution of geeks IQs is much different than that of most others. Unless you're saying geeks are defined by their IQ.

          Most of the geeks I know, myself inclusive, have very average, maybe slightly upper end of average at most, IQs. However, we have the image of being smart, by being the kind of people who will argue anything to the death, be interested in obscure topics, having reasonable analytical skills, and by associating ourselves with that sort of stuff.

          As for being above average. Not necessarily. I've got several friends who don't fit your definition, and are either on the low end of average, or are under average, yet most would describe them as geeks, merely for the over interest in certain topics they have.

          Also IQ measures are fucking retarded.

          Your definition is too rigid, back to the drawing board with you!

    • by FatSean (18753)

      What's wrong with aspiring to be different? I never understood the hipster-hate that I've seen on the internet. If they want to dress weird and buy obscure products, why hate on them?

      • Aspiring to be different is basically trying to identify as not-something, which is just asinine. Your identity should be about who you are or what groups you choose to associate with, not about being different from some other. This also why I think Jesse Jackson is a tool.
        • Aspiring to be different is basically trying to identify as not-something, which is just asinine.

          Kids these days. What's wrong with them?

          Your identity should be about who you are or what groups you choose to associate with, not about being different from some other.

          Right you are sir.

          This also why I think Jesse Jackson is a tool.

          I like his reading of Green Eggs and Ham. [youtube.com]

    • Re:Hipsters (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Patch86 (1465427) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:19PM (#35062198)

      It's pretentious clap-trap, is what it is.

      Geeks identified themselves (or were identified by others) by their hobbies, interests, fictions, and humour, all of which were different from what the "mainstream" people occupied themselves with. The fictions are now best-sellers, the hobbies are widely enjoyed, the interests are more generally interesting, and the humour is printed across the chest of hot women (and men) everywhere. It''s not so much that geekiness has gone mainstream- it's that the mainstream has gotten geekier.

      And surely that's what all (sane) geeks have always wanted? Every time you've frustratedly tried to explain some cunning new technology breakthrough to an acquaintance, and been baffled by how bored they seem- didn't you wish they found it as fascinating as you? Didn't you always want more people to tell jokes that you found funny, and your favourite directors/authors/publishers to have more money to spend on your favourite projects? I never plan on changing myself to match the rest of society, in terms of what I like and what I'm interested in- but if the rest of the world could busy itself aligning to me, that'd be just grand.

      TFA seems to be confusing "geek" with "clever". You can like football and still suck at it, or like rock and be tone-deaf; being good at something isn't pre-requisite to it being your most favourite thing.

      On the other hand, once the "geekdom" of the 20th century has become the mainstream of the 21st, undoubtedly new subcultures will crop up on the fringe. Maybe you can call that "the new geekdom" if you like, but you'd be clutching at straws. It will be it's own thing, and maybe it'll catch on one day too.

      • Re:Hipsters (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DerekLyons (302214) <`fairwater' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:55PM (#35062596) Homepage

        It's pretentious clap-trap, is what it is.

        Geeks identified themselves (or were identified by others) by their hobbies, interests, fictions, and humour, all of which were different from what the "mainstream" people occupied themselves with.

        Well, mostly correct. 'Geeks' used to mean 'obsessively interested in a particular subject' - hence 'computer geek', 'history geek', 'chemistry geek' etc... That term was later pre-empted and perverted by the media and pop culture.
         

        And surely that's what all (sane) geeks have always wanted? Every time you've frustratedly tried to explain some cunning new technology breakthrough to an acquaintance, and been baffled by how bored they seem- didn't you wish they found it as fascinating as you?

        Nope. Because the definition of 'geek' solely as 'obsessively interested in computer technology' is one created by the mass media and pop culture in the 1980's. (See: "Sixteen Candles".)
         

        Didn't you always want more people to tell jokes that you found funny, and your favourite directors/authors/publishers to have more money to spend on your favourite projects?

        On the other hand, once the "geekdom" of the 20th century has become the mainstream of the 21st, undoubtedly new subcultures will crop up on the fringe.

        The idea that 'geek' was a synonym for Otaku ('obsessive fanboy') is a *much* later development, roughly contemporary with the explosion of the 'net into pop culture in the mid/late 90's. (Giving rise to saying such as "you haven't seen/read/heard $MEDIA_PRODUCT? turn in your geek card!".) *That* form of geekdom never died and never went mainstream - it was mainstream and deeply embedded in pop culture from practically Day One of it's existence.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        It''s not so much that geekiness has gone mainstream- it's that the mainstream has gotten geekier.

        But they haven't. Does the average person enjoy solving problems and using their imagination more than before? No, they've just adopted the trappings of those who do.

        TFA seems to be confusing "geek" with "clever". You can like football and still suck at it, or like rock and be tone-deaf; being good at something isn't pre-requisite to it being your most favourite thing.

        Clever is a prerequesite for being a geek

        • TFA focused on geeky games, which I found a little sad, and a little beside the point. The games we choose are only a reflection of our geekiness, not the essence of it.

          I once spent a few Saturdays trying to make Catalan solids out of wood (not easy to shave just the right amount off each surface even when you get the angle correct), and then by pouring glue into paper models (much better, but doing it with one massive blob of epoxy had several problems-- it got pretty hot while it was curing, and some s

      • On the other hand, once the "geekdom" of the 20th century has become the mainstream of the 21st, undoubtedly new subcultures will crop up on the fringe. Maybe you can call that "the new geekdom" if you like, but you'd be clutching at straws. It will be it's own thing, and maybe it'll catch on one day too.

        You're on the right track, but it's really simpler than this.

        Geek Culture is not a static thing. Part of its definition includes being at least 'x' far from 'mainstream', but not further than 'y'. Obviously 'x', 'y', and 'mainstream' are different to everyone, but most important is that 'mainstream' is always changing. As it changes, different spots may move in and out of the "geek band", but there will always be something within it.

        For example, watch Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric get their geek on as

      • by zuzulo (136299)

        You bring up a key point. Despite how 'mainstream' the geek has become, if my buddies and i get fired up about something *actually technical or science related* when we are out and about with the gadfly crowd the coolness meter goes down real quick. Doesnt matter how 'cool' people think the geekery is, the evidence still suggests actually being passionate about science and technology isnt going to be your shortcut to the in crowd. Probably never will be, but *that* would be a change i could get excited abou

      • There is a definite difference between the geek, one who digs into the minutiae just for the fun of it, and technology users.

        Society is made better due to more communication, even if it is just chat. But being able to post on FB, even on /. using tags, is not geeky.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Geeks don't generally try to be different. Whereas hipsters do and that's one hell of a difference. Plus you get a bunch of geeks together and chances are that the thought patterns are going to be pretty similar, in terms of associative reasoning, even if the interests aren't.

  • by usul294 (1163169) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:48PM (#35061898)
    Geeks pick up stuff early, the best of it filters into mainstream, then geeks pick up something new.
    • I think you nailed it, though it doesn't just apply to geeks. Lots of stuff starts out in fringe groups and eventually gains publicity and popularity :)

      • I think you nailed it, though it doesn't just apply to geeks. Lots of stuff starts out in fringe groups and eventually gains publicity and popularity :)

        So. Twitter, Facebook and Paris Hilton are our fault? I am so not believing you.

        • by russotto (537200)

          So. Twitter, Facebook and Paris Hilton are our fault? I am so not believing you.

          Twitter and Facebook are both the results of geeks figuring out a way of exploiting the mainstream for cash.

      • I think you nailed it, though it doesn't just apply to geeks. Lots of stuff starts out in fringe groups and eventually gains publicity and popularity :)

        There is one thing that most geeks think (well, I think) would have been hella cool to see go mainstream, but it's the one thing we still pretty much still have all to ourselves:

        Desktop Linux.

        (and Free/OpenBSD).

        • by Gilmoure (18428)

          Damn it! Why does everyone forget about NetBSD?

          • Err, well, you have Captain Kirk*, You have Luke Skywalker*, and you have Buck Rogers (err, NetBSD).

            All of 'em cool, all of 'em worthy of youthful adoration as space heroes... but one of 'em just isn't as popular.

            * Note that I'd rather eat live coals than to assign either of these two guys to Linux or FreeBSD.

  • Agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:48PM (#35061900)
    There is a definite line of delineation between my friends that use Facebook and my friends that code. The web may have finally gone mainstream, but I find it frustrating that now that it has, all these people using Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and other webby gidget crap all claim to be trendy IT geeks. What has happened is that the tools of the trade that we geeks have known for years finally went mainstream, and the rest of the world thinks they are now 1337 because of it. Not to sound elitist, but the dumb bimbo bitches I see in lecture hall chatting on Facebook are not geeks. They are still dumb bimbo bitches, just with a Web 2.0 platform to spew their idiocy.

    At the end of the day, you should still be nice to geeks, because they will probably manage you one day. Unless your in an MBA program, where you don't actually learn anything but get all the real pay but get to pretend to when you order the latest synergy report on your desk by Monday morning. The geek shall inherit the earth!
    • Re:Agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by blair1q (305137) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:53PM (#35061944) Journal

      Well, first of all, geeks were hardly the early adopters of facebook.

      Twitter, maybe. Facebook, no.

      And when "all these people" are using -- nay, customizing -- Eclipse, then they will also be geeks.

      Just because they've picked up the easy stuff, which geeks engineered to be easy to pick up, doesn't make them geeky.

      • How is twitter any more geeky than facebook? To me it just seems like another way to waste time - and not in a good way.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        No. We were just early adopters of similar much older technology. ...and geeks probably did latch onto Facebook first simply because they're the sort that seek out the new rather than have it handed to them on a silver platter.

      • by LurkerXXX (667952)

        Twitter, maybe. Facebook, no.

        SMSing makes you a geek? Not!

        • SMSing makes you a geek? Not!

          A few years ago I forwarded my friends email to hisnumber@txt.att.net when he didn't have internet so he could still get his emails. Not my geekiest moment, but still no points?

    • Re:Agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by node 3 (115640) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:57PM (#35062616)

      At the end of the day, you should still be nice to geeks, because they will probably manage you one day.

      That's the geek equivalent of the jocks who think it's ok to do poorly in school, because they'll just go pro. The odds are stacked against you, but it makes for a compelling fantasy.

    • by Opie812 (582663)
      Here's a tip.

      If you call people "dumb bimbo bitches" do not use the incorrect version of 'your' later in your post. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
    • Not to sound elitist, but the dumb bimbo bitches I see in lecture hall chatting on Facebook are not geeks. They are still dumb bimbo bitches, just with a Web 2.0 platform to spew their idiocy.

      Misogynist [urbandictionary.com]

      3. An adjective describing a person who takes a dislike to females. Usually losers. Pokes at them, makes derogatory remarks about them, and really don't connect to females on a mental level. Misogynist [urbandictionary.com]

      • He did not make a derogatory comments toward females. He made derogatory comments towards stupid females, who are a subset of females. This is no different than him making a comment about stupid people in general. It's quite worrying that you're not only unable to understand this (hence why he said "dumb bimbo bitch"), but that you were actually modded up for your asinine comment.
  • by Seumas (6865) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:50PM (#35061908)

    We've bought into the mutual-delusion that geeks are cool, because we've gathered around places like Slashdot over the last fifteen years. If you're a furry and you hang around other furries all the time, you're probably going to have an inaccurate perception that being a furry is more popular and accepted than it really is. Likewise, we geeks have had a way to congregate like never before, thanks to the internet. And because we've been big on technology, we've been doing this longer than most other groups. So, in that time, our self-delusion has thrived.

    The fact is that society may like a few of the things that geeks like, from time to time, but that should not be misconstrued as liking geeks. They may like Kick-Ass and some may even like Catan, but that doesn't mean they like *you*. It just means they like Kick-Ass and Catan.

    An overwhelming portion of the population still thinks of "geek" as a pejorative. How many times have you watched movies or television recently, where "geek" was used as a put-down? Personally, my reality-check was only a few years ago. I did something absurdly dorky and mumbled something about what a geek I am. The girl I was seeing at the time consoled me with a concerned "oh, no, you're not a geek!" the same way you'd say "oh, no, you're not a loser...!" to someone who was just berating themselves and slamming their head against a wall.

    Geeks think geeks are cool. Society thinks a couple things here and there that geeks like are cool. There is no overlapping venn diagram there, where society thinks some of the things geeks like are cool *and* geeks are cool. Accept it and deal with it. Frankly, I'm about fifteen years too old to give a flying fuck who thinks I'm cool or whether or not I'm accepted by anyone. I'd hope the majority here feel the same.

    • Yeah I don't care that much, but it's funny when people first say I'm not a geek, then eventually realise I am. Also it was funny to hear a girl recently say she wants a friend just like Sheldon from TBBT. I (and a lot of active /.ers) am a toned down versions of Sheldon, but she obviously wasn't that interested in me. In real life, know-it-all geeks are shunned, so anyone who acts like Sheldon is not accepted into society with open arms, even by those who love TBBT. Most people are too dumb to even know wh

    • Well, society has always had a love affair with people who "no one thinks are cool." I'd be suspicious of the claim that the popularity of geek culture as an idea hasn't risen in the last few years. (The ghastly term "geek chic" is evidence enough of this) Of course, no one wants to actually PARTICIPATE in geek culture, they just like the idea. The younger ones among us might recall the fad among high-school girls in the early 00's to claim to like "geeky guys" or "nerds" which usually didn't mean actual ge
    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      I gave up on the idea I'd ever be cool shortly after high school. I totally dropped off the radar and moved cross country. Figured in a new town where no one knew me, i could renvent myself Turns out, whoever you go, there you are. A geek born, a geek I'll be until I die.

  • by LordNacho (1909280) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:53PM (#35061942)

    between using something like Facebook, and being able to write Facebook? And surely appreciating Big Bang Theory is not the same as being one of the gang?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:55PM (#35061970)

    NOBODY FUCKING CARES

  • by Stregano (1285764) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:55PM (#35061974)
    I am a programmer and have a pretty bad programmer's ego (I try to control it at work though, but we all have weaknesses). We are like Tyler Durden during Project Mayhem where he gives the speech to the politician. Everybody uses the internet now. From 90 year old grandma getting pictures of her grand kids up to, well, people like us who eat/sleep/breath the internet (well, not everybody on /. is a web developer, but for those that are, you).

    Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not... f#@k with us.

    That is how us web developers are. Even how the security people are. Server people, network people, the list goes on and on.

    As long as we are around setting things up for the end user, we will always have our culture. There is also this bad "feeling" of the MTV culture becoming a geek. Apparently Jersey Shore is cool to pay attention to, but being a geek is not. I know, I know. I have gotten used to it. But ask yourself this: the Jersey Shore intro, who made that happen? The editting, who made that happen on every episode.

    Us geeks are right on the edge of pop culture. I mean we are right there, but the pop culture fear of not being cool keeps the masses from fully accepting all of our quirks. Like people do not understand us geeks that collect. I collect video games. I had some work people over and had my Genesis/Sega CD/32x combo hooked up, and they asked me if I had a Wii. I have a pretty decent computer, and I kid you not, this is almost word for word what a girl said, "Wow! That is a cool computer. Can I check my Facebook on it super quick?"

    We are and always will be the last picked for kick ball. We will be the ones right on the outside of cool. Almost, but not quite. You know what, I like it out here.

    • the question is did you let her?
      • by spydum (828400)

        Come on man, don't you know that was a parable? He doesn't work with actual women, nor would they come over to play video games.

    • by digitalhermit (113459) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:20PM (#35062204) Homepage

      Interesting comment.. I've been called a geek a long time, though I suspect I'm more of a dork than anything else.

      Geeks to me are those who have passions and are not afraid to indulge them for fear of being considered weird. I know too many people who love a thing but don't want to appear fanatical so never really explore the thing. It's sort of sad, really.

      We're all misfits, I think. I admire those who don't care about what others think when it comes to pursuing their passions.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      I don't like Geek "culture" because it's another thing telling me what I should be into.

      I like what I like, and that is that. I don't want to go from one "mainstream" culture just to look for acceptance into a niche one (of there is many).

      Just don't need it. Whoever decides what is geek, or mainstream, or something else: great. Now leave me out of it.

      • by Stregano (1285764)
        You are on /. saying that, now you are a geek. The ability to jump into your passion and not care about what happens because of it. That is why I gave some of the examples I did. The person that made the intro movie is right there. I mean right there. It is not like there is some definitive line. Yeah, I am video game collector. I don't play D&D, I don't read comics, the movie lore I consider myself expert at is The Matrix. I have never seen Blade Runner. Star Trek is boring as hell to me. I kn
    • Apparently Jersey Shore is cool to pay attention to, but being a geek is not.

      One of the two features morally loose women with over-developed mammary glands and tight clothing. The other involves using one's mind in some fashion or another, at sustained levels above that spent by most ordinary human beings.

      You're seriously not perplexed at what the masses tend to choose, are you?

  • It is not that being a geek or a nerd is cool. It is that we are needed now, more than ever.

    When I was in high school, my aunt told me that computers are just a passing fad and only rich people had them at home for toys. Now, when her connection is down, or she needs help with Word, she calls me.

    You get asked to help when something is broken, or which new computer/phone/tv to get, or which service to buy.

    Do you think if we were not so needed, we'd be so accepted today?

    • by NekSnappa (803141)

      Oh get over yourself. Anyone who has a speciality gets asked questions, or for advice.

      That goes for plumbers, and electricians. As well as doctors, and lawyers.

      Just because you know about something that Aunt Edna doesn't, doesn't mean that you're the key to society.

  • Ostensibly I'm a member of this culture, albeit a fringe one. I'm a software developer. I have a math degree. I'm an introvert. I read sci-fi and fantasy literature, but not exclusively. I build my own computers. I frequently don't shave, and I'm not especially fashionable (though not especially unfashionable either). I don't play many graphical computer games, but, unbelievably, I still play a text-based MUD. That said, I find that those who really "embrace" and identify with "geek culture" get on

  • Alert, "Goth" is nothing like gothic, "punk" isn't a bunch of punks who got together, and "Nerds" is a candy.
  • because labels are oh so important, and vital to life, I've always put forth that nerds are into computers, anything tech, education of all sorts, math, science etc. whereas geeks are into D&D, star trek, Monty Python, etc. obviously a lot of people are both, to varying degrees. Personally im about 95% nerd, 5% geek. Welcome any input on this hypothesis.
  • by schnikies79 (788746) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:20PM (#35062210)

    Be yourself and stop with the labels. I build computers and I code in my spare time, I have a degree in chemistry and love science. I don't like anime, comic books, sci-fi, fantasty and have never played D&D. I played sports in high school.

    Am I a geek? No. Am I a jock? No. I'm me. Fuck off with the labels.

    • by denzacar (181829) on Monday January 31, 2011 @09:35PM (#35062902) Journal

      The whole "This is geek, but that is not..." or "Nerd is that, that and that but certainly not THAT" results from all those being labels imposed by others.
      Geek, nerd, dork, four-eyes... those were all insults thrown at those who were... well... different.

      Those who were "barking" them didn't bother to clearly define them no more than they would define how exactly to accommodate the suggestion to "go fuck yourself". I mean, couple of ideas do come to mind, but is that really what they were suggesting? And where would I get that much strawberry jello?

      It was a fucking insult. With time it got turned into a badge of distinction. Even honor to some.
      There was no "7th council of nerd, geeks, dorks and other rejects". No rules were defined.
      Whoever wants to define themselves as any of those labels is fine by me - as long as they don't expect of me to like everything else they like because we share one or two points of mutual preference.

      And as long as we are listing preferences - I to build and fix computers (and other stuff) and love science. Any preference I had for chemistry was killed by my high-school teacher.
      Never was any good at sports. I like some anime (mostly on the SF side), some comic books (actually, I prefer some comic books writers), most sci-fi, some fantasy and I too haven't ever played D&D (no local players).

      Does all that make me more or less of a nerd than you? Don't know, don't really care.
      But I do have a lower Slashdot ID. And more importantly, mine is prettier.

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:31PM (#35062314)

    I didn't slog through a future ruled by mutant-hating Sentinels, storm the beaches of Klendathu and brave the Three Terrors of the Fire Swamp so that some kid could pick up Halo and call himself a geek.

    When my party came back from the Temple of Elemental Evil, they spat on me.

    • by styrotech (136124)

      ... and brave the Three Terrors of the Fire Swamp ...

      At first glance I thought you wrote the Three Tenors of the Fire Swamp, and was trying to figure out if that was a reference to some new initiation test for downloading Opera.

  • by dave562 (969951) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:42PM (#35062472) Journal

    Pop culture has co-opted nearly everything worth while from geek culture and moved on. That is what pop culture does once a sub-culture achieves critical mass. In my life time it has happened twice. The first was with raves/electronica/underground dance music. The second was with computers/internet/geeks. In both cases the sub-cultures went from being isolated, to being referenced in 'popular' ways (techno music in commercials, "rave" fashion on television, companies deciding employees need email, grandma wanting to be on AOL).

    The acceptance of computers in popular culture was the biggest change. For raves, even when they were "big" it was still very much a sub-culture. There are only so many people who are ever going to get into heavy bass and recreational drug use. On the other hand computers have leapt from the point where "nobody" (from a pop-culture perspective) wanted to use them, to the point where "everybody" has at least one. Of those who have computers, only a small percentage actually care how they work. The rest just have them because they need one to function in society. That is the co-opting that took place.

    In a more subtle way, society's perspective of IT has shifted. In the late 1990s and early 21st century (before the tech bubble exploded), I used to get recognition from strangers for being in IT. It was one of those jobs where people didn't know much about it, but it sounded cutting edge and cool. Society knew they needed to know how to use computers, so being out ahead of the curve was an advantage. Now IT people are just the work place bitches, a rung or two above the mailroom guys (unless you work for a technology company).

    • There are only so many people who are ever going to get into heavy bass and recreational drug use.

      You're right about the first part at least - I'm a bass player and I can't get into bass as heavy as a synth can put out in the "really LF" range (just doesn't sound or feel "musical" to me).

      As far as recreational drug use - well, I haven't found many people who are really "straight-edge" (as they used to call them in the punk era) outside the Christian fundie communities. It's just that the drugs they use ch

  • I love Patton, but he seems to just be having trouble with getting old. If you did a good job with your little subculture when you were young, it winds up bleeding into the mainstream. And, while it's sad, it's just the nature of things that your brain isn't going to be able to keep up with what that subculture you were in has evolved into. Even if it could, you couldn't because you'd be busy raising kids. And if you didn't have kids, then you couldn't because all your friends do and as a result are going t

  • The author could have saved himself a lot of talk by just saying:

    There will always be a 1-2% on either side of a gaussian curve. :P

  • When the number of Ham Radio operators exceed the number of cell phone users, I'll consider geek culture mainstream.

    When there are more modified plug in Priuses than unmod'ed, I'll consider geek culture mainstream.

    When there are more people using Slashdot than Facebook, I'll consider geek culture mainstream.

    When the Science Channel has higher ratings than the Superbowl, I'll consider geek culture mainstream.

  • Geek culture can't really die or be popular, because what makes geeks will never go away, nor will it become the norm (unless evolution takes over here, or perhaps there's a monumental societal shift). What makes geeks is a confluence of intelligence, inquisitiveness, and an affinity for certain topics. Not many people will have these traits, but some always will.

    People aren't going to care about things like Open Source software for the same reasons geeks do, for example. Whenever OSS has become popular, it

  • Going by this [slashdot.org] argument, the crucial key to popularizing geek culture would be getting geeks to reproduce, which may pose a slight difficulty...
  • These articles are so dumb. Something like geek culture can't be clearly made sense of in an essay. Non-fiction is a horrible medium for explaining social phenomenon, just look at sociology, the saddest excuse for a 'science' in academia. A documentary might work, but essay. . .probably not. Because an essay seeks to be conclusive and there's not much conclusive about social behavior. It's always tendencies and trends. People are individuals, so describing group behavior is a fool's errand because there wil

  • by bronney (638318)

    What makes anyone think the geeks want to be a part of the filthy pop culture. Argh.

  • I'm shocked, shocked, to hear that reality and Hollywood's depiction of it may not be congruent. Be still my heart.

  • by FoolishOwl (1698506) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:22AM (#35065564) Journal

    Being a nerd or a geek, to me, was not in the first place about liking Dungeons & Dragons or computers. It was about getting the shit beaten out of me, every day, by popular kids. It was about my parents telling me I deserved to be beaten up, because I was weak and effeminate. It was about the first-grade teacher angrily sending me back to the classroom on my first day in a new school because I didn't know what "offsides" or "first down" meant. (I'm still not sure what "first down" means.) It was about school administrators calling me in to the office and asking me what I was doing to provoke other kids into beating me up, and how I could change so that I would stop provoking them.

    Being a geek was about enjoying reading because it was my own private pleasure that no one could take from me, except that one time another kid took my book and tore it up. It was about spending hours in the safety of the library. It was about spending hours alone at the creek, watching the aquatic insects, and identifying them from a guidebook. It was about learning to fly a plane via Flight Simulator II, even though I never got a driver's license and could barely handle a bicycle. It was about teaching myself to program in BASIC, years before I knew anyone else with a computer.

    Dungeons & Dragons was about being in a forest or a cave, finding secrets, finding out that you mattered because you had potential. My first encounter with it, and still my lasting image of it, was seeing the title page illustration from the First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook, of a wise old gnome, sitting on a giant die beneath a tree, peacefully smoking a pipe and reading a book. Why was he smiling? What did he know? Could I ask him, somehow?

    So I'm married and have stepsons now. The older is fourteen, plays volleyball and tennis, skateboards, plays World of Warcraft and Halo III with his friends, and is constantly exchanging text messages with his girlfriend. Once, he said he and his friends were "cool geeks." Lucky for him, he'll never fully understand what an oxymoron that is.

    There was some sickness in children's culture in the 1980s, and I can't entirely account for it. The good parts, the semi-popular culture that has gradually become more popular, is not the full story.

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