Post-Script to What I Want From Us Geeks

Fire She-Ra Avatar

The post-script to “What I Want From Us Geeks” is that more than a few have mentioned how geeks are regular people so we can expect more behavior like this. Well, then I ask: “What makes us different?” And: “Then why the Speshul Snoflake attitude?”

That’s not the reason for this post today, however. Nope! You see, I know we’re not that different from football fans or survivalists or broom collectors or cross-stitching fanatics. . . But many of my fellow geeks believe that we are. The point behind Speak Out With Your Geek Out was to promote (shockingly enough) tolerance in a subtle way by means of respect. By listening to one another and being enthusiastic about what we were into, we really did blow down the barriers of what we thought geeks were. The “kid-in-the-corner” crap we feel, then, became a side effect to the fact that maybe, just maybe, feeling like we’re “the only one” is what causes self-labeling (or even when others use hurtful words) in the first place.

Well, obviously some people do want to feel like they’re the only one and it’s scarier not to feel special because you’re passionate about “X” and perhaps you’re the unique soul in your community who is. Good for you. The reality? Nigh seven billion people on the planet and even though we are all unique? Somebody is bound to have something in common with you. (Incidentally, this is one of the hardest lessons to learn as a writer. That the stories you tell may be yours and yours alone, but they’re not the greatest American life-changing Honey Boo Boo tales you think they are.)

I spent a lot of time trying to “fit in” and “be normal” I never, ever will. Never in a million years. Why? BECAUSE NORMAL IS A STATISTIC AND VISION OF HOW PEOPLE “SHOULD” BE/BEHAVE, BUT IT’S NOT WHO THEY REALLY ARE. But what I can do, is take comfort in the fact that there are people out there who not only get my dry humor, but who can finish my jokes. I have an SO who understands I don’t want flowers or diamonds — I’d rather get books, comic books, games and the like. (He also knows that I’m still the girliest Sephora/DSW/Macy’s addict this side of. . . Well, the Mississippi I suppose.) But the point is, that I’m with someone (and I choose to be around people like this) that want to be around me and who respect me for who I am. That’s my choice. When there wasn’t people like that? I went out and found them or learned how to be happy on my own. Self-rescuing princess. Right here.

(Isn’t that really what we all want, anyway? To feel connected to someone who genuinely and truly likes and appreciates us for who we are? Hard to find, sure. But it is possible.)

So I make no apologies for Speak Out With Your Geek Out. I am tired of defending the idea that it’s simply geek pride, because it’s not. During this time, what I saw on the ten thousand foot level, were people who didn’t know one another connecting and finding out that maybe, just maybe? There’s a little geek in ALL of us — regardless of whether you’re into cooking, bugs (true story, that), hunting, crocheting dinosaurs (also a true story), beading, games, comics, Harry Potter WHATEVER.

That’s what I want to focus on. Inspiration. Celebration. Fascination. Commendation. Not perspiration over some cosplayer walking into a con who we think doesn’t belong. Not degradation because all of a sudden geeks feel like our community is going to the shitter because it’s becoming more mainstream — and a thousand other negative ways we reinforce and defend the word “Geek.”

Huh. I wonder who we can inspire today?

    Mood: Effing Monday. ARGH!!!
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: If I don’t get more? I’m going to cry.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: I didn’t. Feeling bad about that.
    In My Ears: Clannad from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack.
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press

What I Want From Us Geeks

Mean People Suck Avatar

I should have posted this yesterday and for that I apologize. The truth: I am feeling a touch defeated as a blogger. I’m frustrated that the social media networks are shifting again; Twitter will undergo some major changes over the next year and Facebook? Well, I’m not terribly happy with the significant decline in updates that aren’t what they deem “popular.” That means that a lot of my friends aren’t seeing my blog posts come through anymore — really, I’m not seeing anybody’s feed populate, either. This is a problem for us “little authors,” who aren’t as big as the Pratchetts and LeGuins of the world, but who are still expected/required to be online and be social. This means that eventually, as I postulated several months ago, we’ll have a media-driven internet. Le sigh. It’s a consequence of money, sure, but also too much content. And sometimes, well. . . Even I will drop my sword, look at the size of the dragon, and go: “You expect me to fight that?”

Sword is now back in my hand. And the writing is at my fingertips, too. FORTUNATELY, that is taken care of. I kicked of The Thirteen this week (likely do a longer blog post about that) and I have set deadlines for a novella and novel. (One sold, one not.) My convention schedule is a lot lighter next year so we can go overseas; work with The Muskrat and Flames Rising Press is going swimmingly. In short, my head is back where it needs to be. I got a reprieve, purged some things out of my system, and am moving forward. Only, there is one thing that I haven’t gotten rid of. Hence, my blog post today.

As evident by how many times I’ve felt obligated to write about these issues on Speak Out With Your Geek Out, I am tired of defending our community and it’s so-called geek elitism. In fact, I have come to understand that geek elitism is so bad, it’s worse than the bullying that comes from outside our community. This, more than anything, makes me incredibly sad. You see, I don’t care that we have formed alliances/groups etc. around commercial properties or that we exchange mis-quotes, dress up in costumes, or believe we can bend spoons with our minds. I don’t care that we get into fights over whether or not you’re Ravenclaw and I’m (OBVIOUSLY) Gryffindor or that I’ve been a Star Wars fan longer than you.

Those disagreements, while they can get heated, I can leave alone. Once they’re done, they’re done. What I can’t? Is when we attack one another saying shit like: “Hey you! You in the fake costume! You who can’t wear it well! YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!”

Or:

“You’re not a real fan! You’ll never feel the same way I do about Gandalf/Spiderman/Liz that I do.”

Or:

“I have a right to treat you like crap because someone treated me like shit for liking the Powerpuff Girls.”

Or:

“I have a bigger collection than you and almost went bankrupt. You don’t have a right to bitch about Marvel/Disney/WotC/Paizo/etc. I DO.”

Or:

“This is my corner of the sandbox. Only the cool kids are allowed in here.”

Sadly, that is what geek elitism is saying. It’s exactly like football elitism or knitting elitism or classical music elitism or choco-litism. We, who were all too often bullied in school for whatever reason, are telling other people that they don’t belong. That they’re not “good enough.” That their money isn’t as good as ours. That they can’t possibly feel as persecuted and blah, blah, blah as we do.

And that, my dear readers, is fucking bullshit. For a community of people who were once so willing to embrace everyone — with the caveat that often we had to identify them as “one of us” — to shit on those who want to party with us BEFORE we even get to know or talk to them? We’re not doing a very good job of explaining WHY we love what we do or sharing HOW MUCH FUN we can have.

So what do I want from us geeks. I want my fucking party back. I don’t care if this is “just the internet” or not. We were supposed to be different. We said we’d never turn into a bully, that we’d never be like them.

What happened?

I’ll tell you what I “think” happened. I think many who feel threatened by non-geeks or whatever think you’ve lost your edge, your cooly-cool cool, because now someone else can be just like you — even though that’ll never, ever happen. So a lot of folks have gotten defensive. Maybe even stood up for that asshole in your group that everyone else can’t stand, but he’s been there a while so what’s the harm? Maybe defended that girl who you know reads into everything and is pretty unhealthy, but you’ll go to bat anyway because she’s a long-standing geek and she’s earned her cred.

Being a geek has never been about doing the right thing. It’s ALWAYS been about passion. About enjoying Xena so much you want to be her. (That’s why I fell in love with Star Wars and Hellboy and Death Note and all the other crap I admire. Because I loved the stories; those tales often made me feel like even ordinary people can be heroes.) You know what I see when I look at people who dress up in costume? Brave men and women willing to throw themselves out there, regardless of what everybody else thinks. That’s what I see when I look at anyone who is so, so, so geeky about whatever it is they’re into — someone who isn’t threatened to do their thang.

Maybe being a geek should be more than a costume or a role we play or our fandom. And if it’s not? Bring on the fun, I say! Get down with your bad self. Smoke that Longbottom Leaf. Usher in the geeks, because the more of us there are? The less bullies there will be.

Or so I desperately hope, but I know won’t be the case unless we recognize we’re just as guilty as them. Love what/who you gotta love, be who you gotta be. That’s what I say. I just hope one day we’ll celebrate that instead of acting like those douchebags on the playground.

Isn’t that why we were called geeks in the first place? Because we’re not just like “them?”

Wow, what happened?

    Mood: Questionable and mercurial with a side of some other -ial word.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: ERROR. ERROR. NEED BADLY.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Walk
    In My Ears: I should be listening to Metallica, but I’m not.
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press




Monica Valentinelli > geek elitism

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