Growing up, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I wanted to fit in. I’m pretty sure there are whole television shows, songs and movies that lament how hard it is to be a teenager growing up in high school. Fortunately I was lucky enough to have such an irregular schooling that there wasn’t much time to worry about cliques or groups.
However, if there was any one group I wanted to fit into it was the geeks. Odd, I know. I hear that being “cool” is often what people aspire to be. But I knew I wasn’t cool. I guess I knew before the rest of the world that geek would be the new cool but, eh, what can you do?
I got my fixes in various ways but no one I knew was really into the same type of thing so I always felt a little weird and the lack of information was a little frustrating. I didn’t have those boys in my life to show me where the comic book stores were, I didn’t have a DnD group as a kid and the only reason I really watched Star Trek was my mother. I didn’t roleplay much and it wasn’t until high school and the internet that I was really exposed to any of that culture.
However, as I grew older and met new people--people I wasn’t forced to hang out with because they were in the same class or same work place, I got to expand my horizons. Sure, I was incredibly behind on the geek culture--some what? At least 15 years behind most people but hey, I learn fast. I was eager to soak it up. I wanted to experience all of it.
I’d say within the last... two years, my geekiness has really shown. Hell, even in the one year that C has known me, he says I’ve changed in the fact that I’m more willing to show my geeky side. Sure, I don’t know much about 80s cartoons but I was only 3 at the most back then. I may need a bit of coddling in gaming terminology but at least I’m willing to learn. I don’t have the reflexes and generally button mash but I’m competent enough in RPGs and on my little lap top. I will never be at the top of the game but I never wanted to be. This is what I’ve always thought I wanted. People to give me the run down of the Phoenix saga, someone to debate the quality of seasons 6 and 7 of Buffy verses the previous 5, people to discuss what the best gear is for a level 80 Shadow Priest.
So it’s funny that lately I’ve felt like perhaps this isn’t my calling at all. Maybe the geek world just looks a lot more shiny from the outside. It’s been a feeling that’s been building over the last couple of months. The more comic book stores I go to, the more “geek” related events I end up around the less I want to hang out with these people.
I guess this thought really came to me when I was reading a friend’s blog post saying that “nerds and geeks don’t judge you” and inside all I could do was snort (yes, I do snort) and shake my head.
Yes, they do judge.
Possibly more than any other clique out there--although not being included in some of those I can’t really say for sure, geeks judge. There’s always some game you don’t know about, an opinion you disagree with and if there’s one thing you can say about geek culture as a whole is that the fans are loyal and rabid.
The fact that there are so many different types of geeks and nerds out there doesn’t help matters either. Gaming nerds, cosplay geeks, pop culture dorks. The list goes on and I think there’s a bit of a division in regards to that. As an outsider I can’t report much on the matter but there’s still that subdivision that manages to separate people more. And with the rise of the popularity of being a geek, it seems to be getting even more of a wider division.
I thought we were just happy to have other people to discuss the latest Batman cartoon with and not get metaphorically beaten up in stereotypical fashion. Now if I don’t like Starcraft II* or prefer single person shooters to co-op I’m not cool enough for you? If I prefer edition 4 over 3.5 I’m not welcome in your club? If I actually enjoy Vampire Diaries I’m suddenly a loser?
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that geeks are no better than anyone else. While I thought there’d be more of an acceptance and a more welcoming atmosphere they are just as bad as any clique and any clique worth it’s salt is really about being able to snub other people. I mean, isn’t that why you want to be part a group at the end of the day? And how else are you going to be able to regulate that? What is the human culture without their labels and their categories.
Sadly, geeks are people too.
*having never played Starcraft, I cannot form an opinion. This is simply an example. Don’t kill me! :P