Wednesday, May 13, 2009

True Measure of Geeks - What does it take to be a Geek?

Most of you know that I am HUGE fan of Wil Wheaton, not only because of his early movies and television appearances (hello, people - Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation), but because he is almost the unofficial spokesperson for GEEKS everywhere.  Not one of the NEO-GEEKS who have recently embraced technologies like Twitter and Facebook who now think they are part of the mainstream group of geeks, but a tried-and-true geek from the old days.  Ostracized as children and teens by their peers only to find they were part of a sub-culture of people struggling against the Bolsheviks of teen-hood.

Wil recently partook in a video on being GEEKS that unfortunately took a turn for the worse from conception to development and the end product was less than what Wil expected. 

Anyway, here is the video.

Here is Wil's blog on the video.

Here is my response to Wil's blog:

Good article Wil,

I agree with you on all parts. I am 37, spent most of my childhood and teen life being ostracized for my culture, my personality, my likings. I was not a jock, nor one of the cool kids. At a point in life when being a GEEK or NERD was a counter-culture you were thrust into un-willingly but came to accept and embrace as your own as you found that it worked for you.

To embrace the other side and fit in with the Ken and Barbies of the world meant to conform and become part of the mainstream. This is not the definition of GEEK.

Before we had a real definition and embracing, we were mocked and bullied for our ideals. I, thankfully, stood at 6' 2" during high school and was a very tall GEEK who because of my stature, thankfully, had something going for me in the realm of intimidation which kept my harassment down to mostly verbal and very little physical.

Nonetheless, I seriously doubt the likes of Shaquille O. and most of those other 'stars' within the video had to endure such dissings growing up.

I also like what Wyldfire42 said about (and I paraphrase) not deciding or passing judgment on these individuals because then we create this exclusionary group.

But we should also maintain and protect our identity to a degree. We earned our badges of honor with harassment and humiliation. While the cool kids were invited to drinking parties and after football game events, I spent my Saturday nights, holed up at a friends house, planning adventures and campaigns or rolling characters and developing skills. We traded comic books and talked about super powers and some of us (this author not withstanding) played with G.I. Joe well into the 8th grade (sad, I know).

I think we should embrace those who want to join and become part of our culture and educate them on what it means to truly be a geek. They may or may not find this culture to their liking and the wave of neo-geeks will pass us by and we will be left with our culture again. Then again - maybe this is where everyone gravitates towards. *SIGH*

My two cents.
Bill Teeple
San Jose, CA

My Blog, My Two Cents.


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