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The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth 336

erick99 writes "With so many self-proclaimed geeks here at Slashdot, this particular article concerning geeks seems fitting. The article covers the gamut from science fiction to comic books to the "mainstreaming of geeks." The author seems to conclude the it is not such a good idea that the geek may inherit the earth. But, hey, what does he know. "
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The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

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  • Geek Fun (Score:3, Funny)

    by cluckshot ( 658931 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:21AM (#8847010)

    Well if the Geeks Inheirit the Earth the place should really byte

    • Well of course we'll inherit the earth...we'll all have our <a href="http://zapatopi.net/afdb.html">Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie</a> on when the brain pickers come.
  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:22AM (#8847021) Journal
    Otherwise they'd have to wait until the current owners die.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:22AM (#8847024)
    Matrix, comics, and computer, sheesh! It's Revenge of the Nerds that brought geekdom to its pinnacle!

    Everyone now realizes the difference between nerds and geeks. Geeks are the cool nerds!

    Now, if we could only get the hot women...
    • I explained to my wife the difference between nerds and geeks like this:

      Geeks are nerds who possess outstanding technical skills.

      And she replied: but they're still nerds, right?

      I replied: Absolutely!
    • by Strange Ranger ( 454494 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:41AM (#8847883)
      >Geeks are the cool nerds! (+ 1 Insightful)

      If only there were a way to metamod that mod as Funny.
  • by Moblaster ( 521614 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:23AM (#8847037)
    Geeks tend to get along with their own better than warrior-king types.
    • by millahtime ( 710421 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:29AM (#8847112) Homepage Journal
      " Geeks tend to get along with their own better than warrior-king types."

      There would still be wars. THey would not be between countries but between Windows, Linux, BSD and Mac overloards. Windows would be like the US. Big, bulky and some part of it is always screwed up. BSD and Mac would have a treaty and tag team the others.
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) *
      unfortunately power corrupts all men. Geeks would not be any different.
    • Actually, I think that's the point. So called warrior-kings get along famously with "their own", just as all men do. The problem arises when a group not of "your own" wants something you have, or has something you want. That's when wars start.
      • by chadjg ( 615827 ) <chadgessele2000@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:12PM (#8849969) Journal
        for example... Two warriors that had different religions, were sworn enemies, but they did sit down and have a nice meal with eachother. The story goes that they were comparing weapons and Saladin threw a silk scarf up into the air, held out his scimitar and the silk scarf cut itself in two, by it's own weight. Richard put an iron bar on a block and chopped it in half with one swing of his sword. That sword bit may be grossly distorted,or a total fabrication, but people believed it for a long time.

        In Euope, on the rare occasions that monarchs were captured, they were often allowed to take whole wagon trains of stuff with them and whole bunches of servants. They most certainly did not rot in a hole, and they often ate with their captors. Leaving aside the fact that the royal families of europe were a bunch of inbred freaks and that the vanquished was probably your cousin, it makes a point. But woe to the commoner that got uppity. They would be put down hard with no courtesy.

        Yeah, warrior-kings tend to take care of their own, when they aren't busy chopping eachother up. Yesterday it was a joust and a feast, today 18 holes & lunch at the Yacht club. No difference.
  • by Ckwop Johnson ( 696069 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:23AM (#8847041) Homepage
    "The internet often breeds individuation and solipsism" Yes.. let's blame the internet for every social evil! Si.
  • "Rather than being integrated into society by being forced to take people as they come, the internet allows you to preselect whom you choose to fraternise with, based upon whether or not they share your specific interests."

    That's why I browse at -1. :D
    • by squaretorus ( 459130 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:52AM (#8847355) Homepage Journal
      "Rather than being integrated into society by being forced to take people as they come, the internet allows you to preselect whom you choose to fraternise with, based upon whether or not they share your specific interests."

      This is one of the most annoying things to me, about some of my old friends. I grew up in a relatively small community, school of about 1000 students, near a city of a quarter of a million.

      The VAST majority of my old schoolmates still hang out together and shag each other and bitch about each other and steal each others partners and generally stay in the same old pond.

      They put up with the same shit from the same shits for year after year because they dont want to get out there and find people with common interests.

      Geeks, nerdy boys and the like are oft criticised for being anti-social / a-social but from my experience are WAY more adventurous in building social circles which, while relativly small are created from a very wide geographical pool.

      Long live the geek for spreading what genes they CAN exchange with further flung chicks that your average small town wanker obsessed with tribalism and football.

      Ok - rant over - Im off for a coffee!
      • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:21AM (#8847676) Homepage Journal
        Excellent point.

        The author seems mainly concerned that the spreading of geek values will result in a mass retreat from the "real world." Well, the "real world" is whatever we choose to make it. I live a pretty geeky life -- I work as a DBA, study computational biology in school, read (and occasionally write) science fiction, listen to obscure music, and hang out primarily with other people who have similar interests. But guess what? There are a lot of those people -- and yes, half of them are women, and some pretty good-looking women at that. My academic studies may be incomprehensible to the monkeys who think an MBA constitutes higher education, but my research has the potential to change lives while they're shuffling papers. And my job is interesting, challenging, and pays me enough for a comfortable life. You don't get much more real than that.
      • So you are a nomad as opposed to them being tribalists and this makes you better somehow?

        You are no better than them, nor they you. There's just a lot of diversity in the way humans live their lives. If everyone did what you do then there would be no communities and that would really suck.
    • by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:10AM (#8847570)
      I fraternise with people who share my specific interests in my social life in generally. It tends to be the case that the only people who come along to my dance lessons are people who are interested in dancing, the only people I see at games evening are people who enjoy gaming, and the only people who come to my church are Christians and people interested in finding out about Christianity. I didn't find out about the dance club, the games evening, or the church from the Internet.
  • obl quote (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xxdinkxx ( 560434 )
    If geek becomes mainstream, then what becomes the new geek?

    " you sold us out , you sold us out! ... the cheat tell hem you sold us out, you sold us out (mumble in the bg) you sould us out.."
    --Strongbad in strong bad goes to jail, homestarrunner.com
    • If geek becomes mainstream, then what becomes the new geek?

      Football players.

      Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?
    • When I was younger, my mum would always say.."don't sweat it if someone beats you at something...chances are there is *always* going to be someone better than you at *everything*" and this has held true, especially when it comes to being a geek.

      I sometimes think *I'm* a geek..then I'll overhear someone discussing the relative pros and cons of a particular train, or quoting entire Star Trek episodes and I think to myself "frickin' geek"..and I know all is right in the world...
  • In short, there has never been a better time to be an anorak - a word that now has affectionate, rather than pejorative, connotations. The word 'geek' has also lost its stigma, having been promoted from a noun to verb, as in to 'geek out'.

    Call me crazy, but I thought an 'anorak' was a puffy coat? Maybe this is some obtuse slang that I don't know about...

    • by r4bb1t ( 663244 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:29AM (#8847100)

      Courtesy of UrbanDictionary.com:

      1. Cagoul; or a hooded zip-up jacket.
      2. Trainspotters.
      3. IT people in general, computer geeks.

      Beware of couples wearing matching anoraks.
      Often spotted at LAN parties.

      I'm still trying to figure out whether or not being compared to a warm, puffy coat is a good thing.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        When we were kids in Britain, the lame kids who let their Mums dress them would always come to school kitted out in a parka, or anorak, with a fun-fur hood. Every single one of them. So an "anorak" is a dweeb, or a dork.
      • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:50AM (#8847335)

        As I understand it:

        there is a hobby called 'trainspotting' where people hang about at railway stations, noting the comings and goings of trains (e.g. the 4723 to Wembley left the station at 0914).

        since these trainspotters are often outside in inclement weather, they wear large puffy winter coats

        being geeks and having no fashion sense, they choose the same sort of large puffy coats that your mother made you wear when you were a kid. (Think of the big coat George Costanza wore in that episode of 'Seinfeld' if that helps.)

        in the UK, the puffy coat is called an anorak

        the garment became synonymous with the sad trainspotting git who wears it.

        British slang is fun. :-)

    • Well, Webster's Ninth New Collegiate says anorak is a "parka" and nothing else...

      BUT search search Google... interesting results.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      In the 1980s an anorak was used as slang in the UK for a certain type of person who would wear an anorak whether or not they were indoors or outdoors.

      They tended to be male (99%), individualistic and not try to wear fashionable or nice clothes. This was due to poverty and also a greater interest in "anoraki" hobbies, like computing, chess, games like DnD, trainspotting.

      Part of the reason for the popularity of the anorak was they were quite warm, and if you put one on in the morning, you could wear one al
    • I had anorak armor once, and then some Level 89 asswipe named =*DRAZIW*= with two *Last Blades* killed me and stole it. Bastard.

      Those old door games were great. I used to register a bunch of accounts to play Usurper, then transferred all my money to one keeper account, committed suicide on all the now broke ones, recreated a character in each, and repeated. An effective way to start with around 200k gold (or more if you're the patient type).

  • Remember! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wingchild ( 212447 ) <brian.kern@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:25AM (#8847056)
    The original longer-form of the quote is,

    "The meek shall inherit what's left of the Earth after we're done with it." :)
  • by cyranoVR ( 518628 ) * <cyranoVR@gmaiELIOTl.com minus poet> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:27AM (#8847080) Homepage Journal
    Oh yeah? Well, *I* was a geek before it was cool to be a geek! Ermm...
  • From the article:

    "As something of an anorak/geek/nerd myself, I must confess to deriving pleasure from our move to the mainstream."

    According to this at [reference.com], an anorak is a hooded jacket. Why would he call himself that? Weird. ;)
  • Yeah! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) *
    He says that the internet is a big factor in the movement of geekness becoming mainstream... Let's kick all those wanna-be nerds from the internet. Let them go back to playing sports or reading books, or whatever they did before.

    I want my pre-september-that-never-ended internet back! ;-)

  • scary... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spangineer ( 764167 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:29AM (#8847103) Homepage
    That's pretty scary considering Merriam Webster's first definition of "geek":

    "a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake"
    "Geek" [m-w.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:29AM (#8847106)
    As geek contains within in a notion of separateness and awkwardsness, the whole notion of a mainstream geek is an oxymoron.

    I suspect the author was just out to get a bit of cash or notorioty.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Lets start a flamewar, shall we?

      It's generally accepted that a geek or a nerd is someone somewhat obsessed with technology/science/etc. The difference between the two varies a lot. Often one is attributed with the separateness and awkwardness, while the other is allowed to be a normal person that likes technology. The author of this article says that "geek" is good but "nerd" is bad.

      Personally, I go with the view that a geek is more social. They get stigmatized more because they're out in public acting we
  • Both society as a whole, and science fiction/fantasy, would benefit if the latter were put back in its proper place - that is, as a satisfying diversion, rather than as life's raison d'être.

    Coming from a guy with not one, but two planned sci-fi conventions coming up. I think he's lost any rights to be casting the first stone at someone because they liked lord of the rings.
    • Sounds as though the author of the article has a love/hate relationship with himself as well as a pessimistic view of the world in general.

      This shows just how upbeat he isn't,

      No, the broader reason why mainstream society has become more disposed to immerse itself in fantasy is because of a general cultural stagnation that exists today. At a time when we feel less certain of our ability to impact on the world around us, we tend to retreat into fantasy worlds instead. One consequence of this is that we ar

  • by Hekatchu ( 684465 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:31AM (#8847133)
    No, I don't think so, geekyness is a subculture ... and if the mainstream comes towards us, we shall step aside. Not to rule the world, but to change it!
  • by lotsofno ( 733224 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:31AM (#8847134)
    The mainstreaming of my beloved geek subculture depresses me.

    "When did it become cool to be a dork? You know that shifty-acting guy or libertine-looking gal who's always all, "I'm captain punk-rock-opolis," crying "culture-stealer" whenever the opportunity makes itself available? That's me, except with geeks."

    "Am I not justified though? Am I to idly watch the tyrants streamline my identity for mass consumption; our folklore exploited and assimilated by wannabe societies? Eccentricaly-dressed girls using their cuteness to conceal their embarassing ignorance, actually thinking that Wolverine's mutant powers are those metal claw thingies? People who haven't paid their dues; who couldn't tell you the difference between a D6 and DOS? Guys who've never carried out torrid--though imaginary--love affairs with Ensign McKnight, trading knowing smirks and grins across the Ten Forward lounge?"

    The standards for geek initiation have been lowered too far. Too many times have I seen my dork friends embrace a cute girl as their own, just because she has a mild familiarity with Magic: The Gathering [inthegray.com] cards.
    • by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:38AM (#8847188) Journal

      Too many times have I seen my dork friends embrace a cute girl as their own, just because she has a mild familiarity with Magic: The Gathering cards.

      Hell, I'd embrace a cute girl any day, Magic: The Gathering or no Magic: The Gathering!

    • When did it become cool to be a dork?

      I know it is not your question, but to answer it: it became cool to be a dork/geek when Bill Gates topped the Forbes 500 list and married a hot chick. He proved any dork/geek could do it.

    • by Jaywalk ( 94910 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:05AM (#8847517) Homepage
      Eccentricaly-dressed girls using their cuteness to conceal their embarassing ignorance, actually thinking that Wolverine's mutant powers are those metal claw thingies?
      Yes, but now she might talk to you. I know most on Slashdot aren't aware of the fact, but there are advantages to this. You know those pictures you download? Believe it or not, they actually exist in the real world. My wife explained it to me after the first time I fixed her computer. It took a lot of explaining and a couple of demonstrations, but once I figured it out it turned out to be a lot better.

  • People still look at me funny when I tell them I've read LOTR thrice.

    Or when I carry around a book by Heinlein, or maybe Clarke, or Gibson.

    Even though its becoming more accepted, I still wouldn't call it mainstream.
    • by Chewie ( 24912 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:38AM (#8847189)
      I would guess that people still look at you funny when you say "thrice". I understand that it's a lot more efficient than saying "three times", but it's a touch archaic.

      Although, I have been trying to bring back the expression "Ods bodkins!" so I don't have much room to talk.
    • ...Or reading Asimov on my PDA
    • Re:I never noticed (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SEWilco ( 27983 )
      Remember that whatever the word, the meaning shifts to be different from the mainstream.

      Fifty years ago, what is now mainstream would have been geeky. Color TV, more than one TV, more than five TV channels, more than two radios, media other than plastic audio records, remote controlled anything, microwave oven, dishwasher, identical potato chips, non-aspirin painkiller, pocket tissue, velcro, airbags, seat belts, FM radio, cupholders, fuel injected engine, anything near steering wheel other than turn sig

    • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <kombat@kombat.org> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:20AM (#8847655) Homepage

      People still look at me funny when I tell them I've read LOTR thrice.

      Even though its becoming more accepted, I still wouldn't call it mainstream.

      All-time worldwide box-office rankings:

      2. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
      4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
      8. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

      Tell me again how the trilogy that dominates the top-10 all-time worldwide box office rankings isn't "mainstream?"

      Source. [boxofficemojo.com]
      • All-time worldwide box-office rankings:

        2. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
        4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
        8. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

        Tell me again how the trilogy that dominates the top-10 all-time worldwide box office rankings isn't "mainstream?"

        Because the same 10,000 people saw it 1,000,000 times.

        -Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • by Byzandula ( 83077 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:33AM (#8847147)
    Why should we settle for earth when there are many other planets waiting for geek colonization!

    I'm aiming for Mars myself...

    - Byzandula
  • by kbahey ( 102895 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:33AM (#8847151) Homepage

    It is the Greek who will inherit the Earth.

    (Obligatory Brian quote)

  • "As something of an anorak/geek/nerd myself."
    Since when has anorak become synonymous with geek? This is the first time I've seen it.
    • It used to be synonymous with nerd, in the UK at least. Mind you, "anorak/geek/nerd" implies that all three are synonymous, which is nonsense. Maybe the author doesn't know whether or not he has a social life?
  • by Viceice ( 462967 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:38AM (#8847190)
    I for one welcome our Slashdot reading overlords..

    Sorry, I just had to.

  • YES!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by RealityMogul ( 663835 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:38AM (#8847195)
    Move over giant ants!! Now everyone can welcome ME as their new overlord!!!!
  • A socially inept geek has a published story? Infantile, escapist geeks are mainstream?

    Are we sure this isn't a bitter jock turned gym teacher who is upset that the guy he bullied in high school is Bill Gates?

  • What happens to us semi geeks? Im no under brain like some of you guys here, I can hold my own but god help me what will i do!?! Oh god i dont beleive in god! For i am screwed!
  • by Mateito ( 746185 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:42AM (#8847236) Homepage
    The author seems to conclude the it is not such a good idea that the geek may inherit the earth.

    This guy obviously didn't get the universal truth as portrayed in "Revenge of the Nerds".. that inside every geek is an automaton of burning passion powering a pile-driving love machine.

    So why the fuck shouldn't we rule the earth?

  • Lets see, first we have lots of tech IPOs on the schedule. Second we have an overheated stock market, especially in tech. So way not a comeback for geek worship?
  • by wobblie ( 191824 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:43AM (#8847244)
    This "geek" crap has long gotten on my nerves. The only stereotype even more BORING than a DnD playing, emasculated, Buffy the Vampire Slayer watching, socially crippled dweeb is the "business/entrepenur" dork.

    Want proof? Bloggers. Give even a cursory look at the personal "blogs" out there and you realize none of these people have even a semblance of a life.

  • It's mentioned in the article, I know a guy who's like this. It's like a Geek disease or something. He used to come hang out but now he NEVER leaves his bedroom. He's been like that for the past 3-4 years. Last year it got even worse, he doesn't even socialize on IRC anymore! Anyone else know someone like that?
    • It's mentioned in the article, I know a guy who's like this. It's like a Geek disease or something. He used to come hang out but now he NEVER leaves his bedroom. He's been like that for the past 3-4 years. Last year it got even worse, he doesn't even socialize on IRC anymore! Anyone else know someone like that?

      I think, to a certain extent, we all go through phases like that, although not so extreme in the majority of cases. For me, this period was 1994-1995, two of the worst years of my life. My grades s

    • This is an interesting concept. I never heard this term before today, but it roughly resembles the path I've been headed down lately.

      Ever since I broke up with my last g/f two years ago, I've buried myself in online games and virtual worlds, cutting off nearly everyone who I couldn't contact through those environments.

      I still have to leave home occasionally to work to pay my share of the bills, but I spend nearly the whole day thinking about getting back to my seclusion, and back in-world and away from t
  • Trendy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Triv ( 181010 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:48AM (#8847302) Journal

    See, here in NYC, geekdom has become...trendy. It's now cool to know tons about comic books, to be an IP wizard, to be able to pull odd things from teh intarweb. If you're a mac geek, you're even better off.

    The problem with this is the fucking hipsters of the geek wannabe persuasion. They manage to effectively mimic geek behavior but are much smoother (excuse me - smoover), much nicer looking and infinitely better at getting laid. So now all the look-alike "hey look, I can setup iTunes networking. I'm awesome and lovable and single! Bed me!" are stealing the small portion of women endowed by god with a geek-love gene. JUST when we're acceptable to the outside world, we get screwed by the trendiest people on EARTH. AGAIN.

    But the worst part of it is, you turn into, like, that guy. You know, that guy who always grumbles about being ahead of the trend. The "I was listening to them when they were indie and they suck now" guy and everyone thinks YOU'RE the poser.

    Please. Take me back to obscurity. At least I was getting laid when I was on the fringe.


    • When people talk about traditional "geeks", a lot of people think a lot of different things. People think of computer programming, for one thing. But are all programmers geeks? Cobol programmers, or SAP programmers, or other "corporate" programmers, including to a large extent many of the modern-day "business app" programmers (Java, Delphi, VB, Clarion, etc), for example have been around for a long time, and typically they don't have all of the same qualities traditional geeks are supposed to have: they don

  • What's the matter with this self-loathing geek?

    Society will be poorer if it goes geek? Talk to billg buddy.

    It's not like geekdom will replace Da Vinci, Michelangelo or Picasso. Geek culture will take over the WWF, soap operas and budget-busting hollywood films most of which end up losing money because nobody likes them in the first place. Society won't be poorer or richer if we replace the rock with aragorn. gimme a break.

    Now wipe your nose and go finish your homework.

    • Geek culture will take over the WWF,
      So far it looks like it's still going the other way.

      Didya happen to notice who was hosting the americanized Robot Wars? Some wrestler guy! (no I have no idea what his name is)
      Just when something suitably geeky and new comes on TV, they dumb it down and add some trash-talk^H^H^H^H yelling jock.

      If they had to have a host with no 'funny accent' why not stay with the theme and get someone likeBrent Spiner or John DeLancie?

      And Junkyard Wars too. In the more recent s
  • by Jaywalk ( 94910 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:54AM (#8847387) Homepage
    The mainstreaming of geekdom means the mainstreaming of the geeks as well. If the only person who shares your interests is on the other side of the world, of course you are going to spend more time on your computer communicating with that one other person. But if there is someone you can talk to next door, you're more likely to walk over for a beer.

    Computer geeks are now in the same position automobile geeks were when the auto was coming into its own. Automobiles used to be considered an oddity at best and a nuisance at worst. Few owned them and the majority didn't understand the attraction for the noisy smelly things. Horses required little maintenance and performed the same functions better. Motoring enthusiasts formed clubs in order to be with others who understood their peculiar hobby.

    Fast forward to today. A knowledgeable mechanic is virtually guaranteed an audience when discussing his profession. Everyone has a car and everyone has a story or a problem for which a mechanic's expertise provides a welcome addition to the conversation. Nobody thinks of auto mechanics as isolated geeks.

    It makes all the difference in the world when the others in a party are interested in hearing what you have to say, whether it's the details of automatic transmissions, the pros and cons of DSL versus broadband or the differences between the movie and the comic.

  • iChick told me she's tall, blonde with blue eyes, works as a top model and wouldn't mind dating ugly guys.

    So mine is not escapism, I'm investing my time on a possible (hot and sexy) future.

  • by SlashDread ( 38969 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:55AM (#8847406)
    - Geeks are science fiction fans
    - Geeks are fantasy fans
    - Geeks are socially inapt
    - Geeks are a consistent subculture
    - Intarwebby will make you less social

    None of these are true -whatsoever-.

    c'mon guys, dont let some markedroids push you over in a stubborn prejudice label.

  • Outside of a fairly hermetic subculture, comic books used to be dismissed as children's fare.

    That is really only true in the US... comics/graphic novels are considered to be art just like literature and the cinema in most of the rest of the world; they are particularly popular and respected in Japan and France. The attitude of many Americans towards comics is rather similar to what people first thought of movies, that they are not "Serious Art." Of course most of the people who think that know rather litt

  • What a crock. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsg ( 262138 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:00AM (#8847465)
    Obsession with anything is bad if it interferes with your life. Sci-Fi/Fantasy is no different.

    But the criticism of science fiction and fantasy fans - that we are infantile and escapist people, and socially inept to boot - sadly has a little more truth to it.

    Yeah, and people who are obsessed with Survivor, American Idol or any of a dozen soap operas are less escapist then fantasy fans.

    As long as science fiction and fantasy fandom remained a fairly marginal subculture, then while certain fans may have pursued their passion to an unhealthy degree, the existence of the subculture was harmless. But when society as a whole starts to become obsessed with the otherworldly, then society as a whole threatens to go hikikomori - to become more interested in whiling away its time dreaming, than in addressing the real problems that confront it.

    When society as a whole becomes obessed with anything, it becomes a problem. The existence of a few people obsessed with the genre does not imply that society as a whole will become obesessed with it if if becomes popular. Yes, there are some very obsessive fantasy fans, but the majority are quite capable of functioning in a normal society. And to suppose that all society will become obsessive fantasy fans because a few are is ridiculous.

    Nothing quite like taking an exaggerated stereotype and applying it to everyone.
  • Nerd and proud (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Standmic ( 769361 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:03AM (#8847498) Homepage
    If you want to insult somebody today for being obsessive about fantasy or sci-fi, you have to resort to calling them a 'nerd', which in polite society has become almost tantamount to using a racist slur.

    I don't know about you, but my heart swells up and I brim with pride when someone calls me a nerd (okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration...). But seriously, I enjoy being recognized for my mental abilities in a world where you can get paid hundreds of millions of dollars for hitting a ball with a stick or throwing a dead pig 70 yards. Who would you rather be, the all brawn no brains guy jacked up on designer steroids hitting 75 homeruns a season, or the mastermind that designed the drug and made it all possible?

    Personally, I feel to doing quality research and being published in a scientific journal or writing code for a new program is much more of an accomplishment than throwing a 95 mile an hour strike. Call me a nerd all you want.

    • Re:Nerd and proud (Score:3, Interesting)

      Who will they remember, 400 years from now? Well, who do we remember from 400 years ago? Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Cassini etc. We don't remember the actors, or most of the politicians. Geeks are the ones who push things forward, and while we don't remember all of them, we interact with their inventions on a daily basis. While the angel-whores, pig-throwers, and edgy-boys get the spotlight, geeks will be remembered throughout history.
  • Geek, Defined (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:05AM (#8847525) Homepage Journal
    Maybe I'm all wet, but I remember the times where "geek" was more synonymous with "freak" (as in a deformity) and the term bookworm was used to describe me by sneering kids in my elementary school.

    It's easy to throw out the term "geek" to describe anyone who plays video games or understands what a computer is. However, for any definition to have meaning, there has to be a limitation. We can't all be geeks, per se...some of us may just be geek-compatible, or geek-like.

    I think geekness changes with the times, of course. In my youth, I experimented with making my own batteries, assembling logic circuits, signal amps, lightwave communicators, and oscillators on breadboards. I launched model rockets, and gazed at the stars, and could tell you anything about the space program and its history.

    So, a geek, in my mind, is a person with a deep fascination in the technological aspects of life and his world, and whose social nature and recreation frequently revolves around such aspects of science and technology.

    Frequently, geeks are so involved with their interests that it supplants their social life--but this is common to anyone who gets too wrapped up in something, foregoing sex just to enjoy more of the diversion. Drug addicts do this all the time--doesn't make them a geek just because they are antisocial due to their addictions.

    Gamers, for instance, can be geeks, but not all gamers are geeks. They're just kids who obsess over game playing. Now, you find me a guy who not only can play games AND assemble his own computer (an ability that was geek-elite, but now commonplace), but is also so knowledgeable in a scientific or technical topic or two to the point where you just know this guy could get a job in it someday (despite the fact that he learned all the stuff just for fun), then you have, in my mind a True Geek.

    Does being able to recite lines from "Star Trek" or know the nuances between the Lord of the Rings book and movie characters count? Not really, in my mind. That's just a variation of appreciating fantasy. We used to call that "being a nerd." Girls and their imaginations of fairy tales and castles have been doing that for quite a while. But if you can attach a real-world component to that fantasy (such as research into the ability to, say, build a lightsaber replica that simulates the "real thing", then you approach the criteria of the Geek.

    Being a Geek is not a passive activity, like gaming. Geeks explore, conquer, criticize, and hang out on /. dissing each other about topics few others care about, including dissing one of the richest men on the world. Did we forget that Bill Gates [systemsbysteve.com] is the archetypical geek?

    A Geek is a nerd with applied application of his knowledge in the real world.
  • would like to welcome our new geek overlords...
  • There is one field of endeavour which I think is still devoid of geeks:


    If there is one thing I havent seen yet, it's geek-looking geeks starring in pr0n movies. There's plenty of home made ones with mullets though.
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:12AM (#8847588)
    To me, geeks are now people who are obsessed with a particular field or endeavor because they like being obsessed with it. Like people who drool over 2% increases in benchmarks, or make crazy case mods, or overclock their PCs, or fantically advocate open source.

    Other people aren't geeks. People who own and use a digital camera or PC or scanner or keychain drive...those are every day people! They have tools, then use them. It's when you get obsessed with your tools that you're a geek.
  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:23AM (#8847698) Journal
    All I can say is:

    Beware of geeks bearing GIFs.
  • This is a state of affairs that not only speaks ill of society, but actually demeans science fiction and fantasy as well, by putting them in the impossible position of having to provide us with the answers to life, the universe and everything.

    Sci-fi has already provided us with the answer to life, the universe and everything. It's 42. So much for this guy.
  • Being a geek working in Huntington, WV, it kinda sucks. The geek population is very thin here, and I don't think there is a female IT professional in the entire city. At least, I've never met one here...

    Not to mentiion that around here, you are expected to know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and get paid nothing for it. But working that way is good for expanding your capabilities.

    I need to get back to Raleigh... Sigh, the good old days, before the dot-bomb, when lived somewhere where my Linux fish on th
  • I think the author uses a crappy definition of geek.

    The definition of geek that I employ is more "technological elite" than "nose stuck in a fantasy book". In fact, with very few exceptions, I can't stand science-fiction/fantasy. I even go so far as to define the sci-fi/fantasy kids as "nerds" (shock and awe!).

    Actually, my definition of geek is essentially "someone who knows a lot about a subject." For example, I fall into the following categories:

    • Computer Geek
    • Beer Geek
    • Football Geek
    • Semi-Car Geek
  • That will be the Earth after its been strip mined and destroyed by everyone else. Personally I want first cuts on the new planet!

  • "You hand in your ticket,
    And go watch the geek,
    Who immediately comes up to you,
    When he hears you speak,
    And says, 'How does it feel to be such a freak?'
  • by hak1du ( 761835 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:00AM (#8848161) Journal
    But the criticism of science fiction and fantasy fans - that we are infantile and escapist people, and socially inept to boot - sadly has a little more truth to it.

    I don't see the problem. What is socially inept is defined by the prevailing culture. By 1950's standards, almost all of today's socially respectable, well-adapted individuals are "socially inept" as well--they know none of the behavioral norms, dress norms, or skills that any respectable member of society was expected to know back then; culture and social standards have already shifted radically.

    Will social norms shift even further? Who knows. But which set of social norms we get depends on the norms we prefer, and to the degree that those preferences are subject to change, the norms can change. If enough people find a geek lifestyle acceptable for others and maybe for themselves, then that lifestyle will become more mainstream.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.