Sunday, November 30, 2008


geek  Slang.
1. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
2. a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.

I think having "geeky" interests absorbed by the popular culture has been a strangely mixed blessing.

It's been especially really, really good for borderline geeks. Borderline geeks could have had reasonably normal social lives starting out. Previous to the slow build of interest in geeky interests, their only social issue would have been those interests themselves. These people seem largely to crossover and back with reasonable ease at this point.

Their only potential problem with socializing among those outside geekdom is that some of them think that because they have chosen this position in a group outside of the mainstream, then it must be cool, like joining a motorcycle gang or something. If they can avoid that silly temptation, they manage just fine.

Which puts those of us who were actually "peculiar or otherwise dislikable" people in kind of weird position. Those of us whose interest in geeky things is at least in part built on the fact that we didn't make friends very well so spent a lot of time reading and watching things that interested us alone outside of the influence of other people. We were socially retarded in the first place, so only learned to socialize with the occasional person who was able to put up with our talk of all things we're interested in, which traditionally meant the rare other socially retarded soul who would cross our path.

Now, with groups of people who consider themselves geeks are no longer filled with the maladjusted. Our interests no longer mark us to the general public as social morons. Those things were good before. It was easy to fit ones social ineptitude in with others whose ineptitudes were similar. Now, the borderline geeks rule our social groups with their moderate social abilities, which tend to appeal as much to us as they do to those who share them. They also set unrealistic expectations for us among others outside our circles, they've now experienced friendship with a "geek" and expect the rest of us to be able to live up to those standards.

Now, we live with the possibility of not even fitting in among our own. We're even more puzzling to the rest of the world.

We're just invited in to be humiliated just a little bit more.

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