Another Sunday, another episode of the Sunday G&T Show, hosted by friends Nick Minecci and Terry Lynn Shull, right?
Well, not really.
Despite their best efforts, fate chose today to emerge from the depths of hell and bite the show right on its juicy ass, leaving the listeners in the stream’s accompanying chat room to fend for themselves. At last report, at least two listeners remain missing in action.
The technical difficulties forced Nick and Terry to call the show early, since nobody could hear what the heck they were saying (though I have an unnamed source on the inside who tells me that Nick dominated the conversation describing the lust he holds in his heart for Felicia Day). Before they packed up the show and went home, Mike was able to post my answer to this week’s “Ask Dayton” query to the show’s website. So, I guess it’s okay for me to post it here:
Not too long ago it was geeky to be, well, a geek. Now, somehow it’s cool. Can you explain what this means, and why you think this came about? Do you think it will last?
Why did being geek become cool? Simple, really: While you weren’t looking, all the guys who helped you with your math homework so you could spend more time lusting after the jocks, or the girls who helped you write your term paper before you left them at the library to go finger-bang the sorority sluts, got out of school, got jobs, and took over everything. That’s right, you ungrateful, myopic, “too cool to ever go out with us” mother fuckers: We own it all now, we’re your bosses, and you’re cordially invited to go and suck long and hard on that.
Okay, not really.
I mean, I’m sure there might be some kernel of truth buried in the midst of the rather overlong and under-edited sentences comprising the first paragraph of this answer. What do I think actually might have happened? Shit, people. I don’t know. To be perfectly honest, my answer to your query is that I don’t have the first damned clue.
Therefore, I shall answer, anyway.
For whatever my opinion’s worth, I believe there are several factors which, over time, have contributed to the various degrees of “geek mainstreaming.” First, one of the earliest bastions of geekery, the computer, lost a lot of its mystery and was made available to the masses. There was a time, not all that long ago, that the realm of computers was inhabited only by those select few who understood the enigmatic machines and the odd languages with which they communicated. Such information age necromancers often were looked upon with varying degrees of awe, confusion, and scorn, but holy shit could they make those boxes sit up and talk.
Of course, nowadays, everybody has a computer. There’s an entire generation of people who’ve never known what it was like not to have at least one computer in their house or classroom. Most of us now carry gadgets in our pocket which possess greater processing power than the onboard computer used by astronauts to land on the moon. Can you believe that shit? And we use these wondrous devices not to travel to other worlds, but instead to announce to the other inhabitants of this world what we’re eating for lunch, or to share porn along with pictures of cats that can’t spell. So, you know…wow.
Second: I have to think there’s something to movies, games, and television programs which used to be the purview of the more “nerdly” among us having now become accepted forms of entertainment far beyond that little outcast clique. Big-budget science fiction and fantasy movies and films based on comic books and video games are marketed as huge summer blockbusters designed to entice as many people as possible to plant their Milk Dud-snarfing asses into theater seats. Even franchises which used to be dismissed as being “too nerdy” have gotten EXTREME MAKEOVERS in order to appeal to the traditionally “non geek” crowd. Lookin’ at you, Star Trek. Regardless of anyone’s personal opinions on that flick, there’s no denying that the last Trek movie made more money than the three which came before it…combined. Some of those people have now discovered the fun to be had at Star Trek and other conventions, bringing some much-needed new blood to fandom.
Third, and again, this is just what I’m seeing, but in my mind it may well be one of the biggest contributing factors: THE WOMEN! That’s right, the ladies, with increasing frequency and ever-greater verve, have been asserting their rights to be geeks, too. The days of standing quietly next to their boyfriend or husband while he digs through the discount bins at a comic shop or convention are long gone. Or, if they’re not gone, then their end can’t come soon enough. Ladies are stepping out on their own, playing the games they want to play, buying (and writing!) the books and comics they want to read, dressing up in the costumes they want to wear, and fandom is all the better and richer for it. I say Vive la Femme!
In truth, there is no one kind of geek. The stereotype of the pimply-faced kid with ill-fitting clothes and horn-rimmed glasses who sits at home all day watching Star Trek reruns is gone, replaced by pretty much anybody with a nerd-on for something they really, really dig. In truth, the word “geek,” while often used only to label and scorn the “genre crowds,” really can be used to describe anyone who’s passionate about a hobby or other pastime.
We’ve got internet and computer geeks, gaming geeks, movie and TV and music geeks, history geeks, food geeks, scrap-booking geeks, and even wine geeks. The rabid followers of the TV show Glee even call themselves “Gleeks” and nobody bats an eye. Sports fans who memorize all manner of statistics and other minutiae, or who wear jerseys and other paraphernalia or just paint themselves in team colors when they go to games are definitely geeks of another persuasion. Hell, as was most recently pointed out by Steve McGarrett on an episode of Hawaii Five-0, “Fantasy Football is Dungeons & Dragons for sports geeks.”
Hell, we’re all one flavor of geek or another, when you think about it. The question now, is what do we do about it? I say embrace that shit. Hug it out, hard.
There’s a great quote from Simon Pegg (Scotty in the new Trek flicks, for those of you who’ve banished that film from your tortured memory), that goes like this:
“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”
So, listen to Scotty: Go forth and be geeky.
This question and its answer was supposed to be read during G&T Show Episode #83 on March 3rd, 2013, but for the aforementioned technical difficulties. Ordinarily, you can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The Sunday G&T Show. Listeners to the show are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.
Thanks as always to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to make me a part of their show.