Monday, May 22, 2006

The Geek Discussion

I'm going to brave what may be something of a touchy subject. I don't want to offend anyone, please bear this in mind; I only want to start a friendly argument/discussion. I want to be clear here, and I want to start with a bit of personal background. When I got to high school, with a class more than twice the size of the one I'd just left (from a whopping 16 to a staggering 35 girls), not one of whom was from my former class, and only one of whom I was actually friendly with, I found myself immediately drawn into a group of girls, many new to each other that yr, yet all instinctively pulled together, like objects being sucked into a black hole. over the course of the ninth grade, a grace period where the social patterns were at their most fluid as ppl were still getting to know each other, it became clear that these girls were not only the nicest and brightest of my grade, but quite simply the most interesting to talk to. They actually had thoughts abt stuff and liked to get into heated arguments over silly things like politics, philosophy, science, or literature. they were the ones who made all the horrible chemistry jokes that you had to laugh at bc, well, they were funny. they even argued abt math. I don't know how or why, but they did. I could not partake of that particular pastime mostly, but they did it with such spirit that it was fun just to watch.
Now these girls, my close core group of friends throughout high school, were also slightly oblivious to social cues and accepted structures. to a few of them, the idea of a geek was something new. to others of them, it was something negative and stigmatic. it took some time (and I wasn't fully successful with everyone) to explain to them all that being a geek was a truly wonderful thing, a banner they should fly proudly, and flaunt for all to see with trumpets and confetti. Thank G-d, I was able to show some of the unconvinced that geek pride was an essential thing to all geeks, and we skipped happily through our high school days officially calling each other "the geeks" and nicknaming our ritual hang-outs as "geek-fests." (we still do, come to think of it.)
I have since given the matter a great deal of thought and come up with the following definitions, or rather categories, to help one figure out what exactly does or does not qualify one as a geek. I am aware that not even all geeks agree with me on this, and that is why I am putting this in a forum that is open to discussion and a free and friendly exchange of opinions.
Geeks may fall into one, usually more than one, of the following categories, and please beware that many of the categories overlap each other: 1) ppl overly interested in/good at math or science. 2)ppl who are into scifi/fantasy almost anything.(includes but not limited to Trekkies, Star WArs fanatics, Lord of the Rings Fanatics, DandDers.) 3)ppl overly into/good at computers/cell phones/ any or every kind of funky new technological toy. 4)anyone overly into anything animation related; including computer graphics, comic books, cartoons, comic strips, graphic novels, anime - also overlaps with fantasy. sub-categories include a)music geeks- usually mainly interested in jazz or classical, and frequently play music themselves. b)chess fanatics. c)gamers of any kind, which includes computer games, arcade games, video games, DDR, and DandD; also heavy overlap with fantasy and computer obsession. this is the basic breakdown. Nerds have a somewhat different breakdown, being a more or less seperate category, although again, with a lot of overlap. Nerds can fall into one (or more) of the following categories: 1)history/literature obsessed. 2)politically obsessed or 3)philosophy obsessed. there are a lot of these in the artsy area of life, too, but it's only some of them. you have to be on the watch-out for those. again, there's a lot of overlap; many geeks are also literature and politics obsessed, frequently philosophy also; and many nerds are also into fantasy or animation related topics. Cultural earmarks of a geek/nerd (not necessarily universal to all geek/nrds, nor are they limited to geeks/ nerds): Princess Bride, Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the works of Tom Lear, Monty Python.
Dorks are ppl who are socially inept without any redeeming qualities whatsoever. they're kind of rare, and usually have issues of some kind.
again, this is my basic breakdown, and I know there are many who disagree with me. I may have left some stuff off, for limited amt of time and space, and also bc I just had my wisdom teeth removed and am still on painkillers. let me know what you think.


Blogger Tobie said...

First of all, refuah shleimah. Are you still coming for shabbat?

Second of all, don't you think that there is anyone one else who was instrumental in the geek pride movement? Ahem, ahem.

Thirdly, I still think that your definition is too fractured. You're describing symptoms instead of going back to some root commonalities. Which is why I think it's all about one common thing- being too intellectual, for fun. Or thinking about things too much, for fun. Or some variation on that?

You have a lot of the traits down, but I think you need something more overarching here.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

you could be right. abt the lack of overarching commonality. I could analyze it further, but head still unclear at the moment. yes, still coming for shabbat, as far as I know. might run into some complications of transportation if still on painkillers.

4:19 PM  
Blogger rivqa said...

bold, very bold. i congradulate you. and i take credit for at least part of it :). by the way my blog is check it out :)

7:57 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

The only objects that fall into a black hole are the ones that pass the event horizon. Just because some massive object collapses to become infinitely dense doesn't mean that it suddenly has more mass. It still exerts the same gravitational pull -- if our sun suddenly became a black hole, the only difference on Earth would be the daytime darkness.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

thank you, Richard. however, anythig within the gravitational pull of the black hole would still be pulled into it, so imagine that all my geeks were within the gravitational pull of my metaphorical black hole, and the analogy still works. and yes, Tobie was also quite instrumental in the spreading of the geek pride; for me to take sole credit would be grossly innaccurate.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

so imagine that all my geeks were within the gravitational pull of my metaphorical black hole,

It's true. We'd be walking down the hallway, all ignoring her, and then suddenly we would wander too close and boom! We would careem off path towards her. It was awful...daily concussions, having to follow her to class, having all of our internal organs implode from the metaphorical gravitational force...

1:47 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

I didn't say I was the black hole. I wasn't. as I recall, I sort of forced myself upon you all in the beginning, until you learned to be amused by me too. and the reason you followed me to class was bc you were in all the same ones. the intestinal imploding however, well, yes that did happen.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

really? I guess it was harder because you came from a different elementry school...I remember you in the chevra from the beginning, but my memory is poor, so I'd take your word for it.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

well, from that day of testing, anyway. remember all the pre-frosh events? 8th grade fair, etc? Sachs introduced us. I guess from those things on.

9:54 PM  
Blogger rokky said...

don't ask me how ur blog keeps popping up (i guess i dont' fall into the computer geek stereotype) i think it may be b/c i clicked on mattisyahu on my profile page. but who knows? i luv ur blog. it's quite obsorbing. keep jotting! (how much nerdy can that get??) and remember gro.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

my blog keeps popping up places? that is so cool! sorry; I guess maybe I am kind of a geek.

10:58 PM  

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