There are days when I feel insufficiently geek.
Don’t get me wrong – I do plenty of things that are geeky as hell – I play, on average, 1.5 face-to-face RPG sessions a week, have a semi-regular influx of graphic novels appearing in my mailbox, and the staff at my local Fantasy, SF, and Crime bookstore know me on sight. I can just about make it through an entire week of wearing shirts with pictures of C’Thulhu on them without having to do laundry. When I run out of Lovecraft inspired T’s, I’ll move on to my collection of web-comic shirts without missing a beat. That should keep me going for a month or so before it’s time to hit the washing machine.
Two of my favourite TV shows are Justice League: Unlimited and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I just dropped a whole buttload of cash on the reprints of Larry Hama’s classic GI JOE series from Marvel in the 80s and 90s, and should you feel the need to question *why* I did that, I will fucking school you on why that shit is awesome beyond belief (hint: it’s so not the series you’d expect after seeing the words GI Joe).
The fact that I cannot find volume 7 of said GI JOE reprint series still bugs the hell out of me.
Plus, you know, there’s that thing where I write science fiction and fantasy short stories. And over 200,000 words of imaginary pro-wrestling fan storytelling that’s related to my only real computer game addiction.
By the standards of the rest of the world, I’m pretty damn geeky. I just…don’t feel it.
Now, sure, the list of geek things I *utterly fail to understand* is probably just as long as the things I’m a fan of. I don’t, for example, understand the appeal of CosPlay or Star Trek or, let’s be honest, the vast majority of hard SF. Stargate fans make my teeth hurt. Battlestar Galactica fans too (seriously, people, I’m glad you enjoyed it, but you’ll never convince me that it’s worth giving it another try. Please stop trying). Geeks who don’t play D&D bewilder me. Hardcore anime fans? Look, I enjoyed a handful of movies in the early nineties, but don’t expect me to be conversant with anything newer than Astro Boy and the original version of Macross that got released into the US.
I can almost wrap my head around collecting figurines – almost – but the sole figurines I’ve got display in my house were either gifts or remnants of my childhood that I’ve kept around for sentimental reasons. Or, you know, gaming miniatures that came pre-painted. The original sculpt of the Huge D&D Miniature’s Behir was frickin’ sweet. I named mine Gomez and he spent years living on top of my CD cabinet.
Now, back to my point. All those things I don’t get? The people who do get it are slightly weird to me. As in, I know that they enjoy what they’re doing and I accept that they’re also a part of the geek subculture, but I don’t feel a bond with them, you know? They’re just people, doing their thing, same as I am.
And that’s cool.
Geek Culture is not a homogeneous thing. People who try to tell me otherwise are usually regarded with a strange mix of pity and bewilderment.
People who try to tell me it’s homogeneous while simultaneously perpetuating the stereotype of geeks as sexually-frustrated losers who are threatened by others get treated with outright fucking contempt.
If people are going to perpetuate the dialogue regarding “fake geek girls” and believe there is truly is such a thing, I hereby asks that I be included in the ranks of the “fake geeks.” I may not be a girl, but I’m totally down with being a member of the Fake Geek army. I mean, I’m okay with sharing a subculture with a bunch of people who don’t share all my enthusiasm. I’m okay with sharing a subculture with people whose enthusiasms leave me cold. I don’t demand that everyone I know understand the history of D&D and know how to translate words like THAC0 into intelligible English.
And I just can’t wrap my head around sharing a subculture whose primary modus operandi seems to be being an unbearable, sexist fuckwit. I mean, seriously, could we just not? I’m a white, university educated, middle class, middle-aged man – the veritable poster-child for privilege and rocking through life on the “easy” setting – and even I’m seriously fucking weary of the inherent sexism some branches of geek culture trot out on a semi-regular basis of late.
So I’m choosing to defect to the ranks of Fake Geeks.
At this point, it looks like Fake Geekery more my speed. I get to enjoy stuff I like without having to devote my entire life to it, plus I no longer have to swing around my geek cred like a club in order to prove my masculinity. This seems like a pretty good deal. Plus – bonus – it seems like I’d get to hang out with a better class of human being.
Now if only someone would offer a Fake Geek and Proud t-shirt of some kind…