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Geek Culture Will Never Die...or Be Popular

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-true-spocksman dept.

Sci-Fi 320

adeelarshad82 writes "Last year CNN wrote an interesting article on how geek culture is now a big part of pop culture, while Patton Oswalt gave his own opinion on how he thinks pop culture has outright co-opted and diluted it. These articles gave birth to a completely different view, which is that geek culture can never truly be part of pop culture. The movies and t-shirts might sell, and everybody might use Facebook, but there will still be a small percentage that loves comics, imports video games, and can build their own computers. In other words, true geeks are much different from the stereotypes we learn about in the movies. The geek culture is not just playing D&D or watching V for Vendetta but also having a bookshelf full of D20 system manuals as well as reading all the Alan Moore material one can find. The fact of the matter is that while geek culture is far from dead, it's not exactly a part of the pop culture either. So, no matter hard media outlets try to make the concept catch on, no matter how many studios try to capitalize on the cultural waves of comic book movies and best-selling video games, there is no such thing as pop culture geekdom."

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Well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061822)

and then ytmnd exists to uncannily crossbreed between the two with Picard... at least for the first two years before the "vader no" and the "my bike" crap attracted the baby-drop-on-head types we've come to know from Halo on XBLA.

Remarkable stability! (4, Funny)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061828)

What keeps geek culture from dying or becoming popular?

Why, it oscillates around a Lagrange point, no doubt.

Re:Remarkable stability! (1)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061922)

Really, I thought it was because geek culture is a marginally stable system. Poles right on j-omega axis/unit circle depending on your analog/digital preference.

Re:Remarkable stability! (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062126)

I would model it more accurately on a harmonic oscillator, with no anharmonic correction.

Well, yeah... (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061868)

Geek Culture will obviously never be popular. At least not as long as folks like the incorrigible Patton Oswalt are the standard bearers for it.

Re:Well, yeah... (2)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062140)

Then how do you explain the TV show "The big bang theory" being popular? I can't believe it made it through the first season.

Penny started out as a normal girl and now she is spouting geek culture just like the others and the show is still popular.

Re:Well, yeah... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062262)

That's not geek culture. It involves some sophisticated jokes, but then again that one episode results in Howard getting a robot hand stuck on his dick twice. I think that Red Dwarf being popular is a much better example, or possibly Futurama. But there again there's plenty for a mainstream audience to like.

Re:Well, yeah... (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062326)

I would describe The Big Bang Theory as being watered down though. Remember at the beginning of the first episode, when they were at a sperm donor clinic so they could raise funds for their fractional T1 line? The science-y things have been watered down, and what is left is thoroughly explained. I think it would have been better if penny stayed that hot neighbour that they couldn't talk to.

I also like my telephone to be 'Party Line" style, and I still walk to work uphill both ways too...GET OFF MY LAWN, yada yada...

Re:Well, yeah... (2)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062484)

Saying the big bang theory is about geek culture is like saying that Short Circuit 2 is a thoughtful look into the culture of India. They're mainly mocking geek culture, while doing a tired will they/won't they story. Or at least they were when I gave up on it.

Re:Well, yeah... (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062510)

Because that's the co-opted and diluted version he is talking about? I couldn't handle more than a few episodes myself.
e.g. When one of the characters takes something too literally I get the impression that the audience is not meant to laugh at the clever literal joke, but intended to laugh at the character for saying something awkward again which is closer to normal sit-com form.
(I'm not trying to say it's all about making fun of geeks - maybe they are just trying to target a wider audience.)

Can't we all just... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061882)

...be ourselves? Why the constant need to label everybody? Who cares what constitues a "real geek"?

Re:Can't we all just... (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061938)

People are social animals and thrive in groups, because it is usually easier to get shit done with more people together.

Not that us geeks will know anything about it.

Re:Can't we all just... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062084)

It's easy to observe, though it leads to some annoying behaviour.. like wars, and sport.

Re:Can't we all just... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062512)

It's easy to observe, though it leads to some annoying behaviour.. like wars, and sport.

...and SyFy.

(Yes, I'm still bitter. No, I do NOT want to talk about it. If it wasn't for the Science/HI/NatGeo and similar channels, I'd have kicked Comcast to the frickin' curb long ago.)

Re:Can't we all just... (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062060)

Agreed. I've always been a geek, but have never had any exposure to D&D other than the cartoon series. Likewise I don't collect comic books. I think those are more US geek things. I witnessed this whole "people thinking they're geeks when they're not at all" thing recently with fans of the new Dr Who series.. I got fooled into thinking a group of these folks would be like me as they called themselves geeks - but they were simply normal average to low intelligence students who occasionally made some pathetic Dr Who references and took it way too seriously. One even got offended when I pointed out how cheesy it was, despite the fact it's obviously meant to be like that (similar to Red Dwarf, but not as good). I have only seen a couple of episodes of the modern Dr Who btw, I don't watch much new TV outside of movies.

Re:Can't we all just... (1)

frieko (855745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062258)

It's funny you phrase it that way, because I've always considered "being unconcerned with labels" to be the true measure of geekiness. Which leads to an interesting paradox..

Hipsters (4, Insightful)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061892)

I have to admit, this makes us sound an awful lot like hipsters trying to be on the edge and always being different.

Re:Hipsters (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062100)

There is some overlap. People like to feel special, especially the slightly narcissistic asshats like me.

Re:Hipsters (3, Insightful)

Rylz (868268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062106)

I have to admit, this makes us sound an awful lot like hipsters trying to be on the edge and always being different.

This isn't the first time that analogy has been appropriate. Geeks are, after all, known for having huge egos and being a quite exclusive lot. Prior to mainstream acceptance of comic book movies and other aspects of geek culture, just look at how we snubbed script kiddies and noobs on our IRC channels. Much like hipsters snubbing others when outsiders adopt their music or aspects of their culture.

Re:Hipsters (2)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062110)

What's wrong with aspiring to be different? I never understood the hipster-hate that I've seen on the internet. If they want to dress weird and buy obscure products, why hate on them?

Re:Hipsters (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062222)

Aspiring to be different is basically trying to identify as not-something, which is just asinine. Your identity should be about who you are or what groups you choose to associate with, not about being different from some other. This also why I think Jesse Jackson is a tool.

Re:Hipsters (4, Interesting)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062198)

It's pretentious clap-trap, is what it is.

Geeks identified themselves (or were identified by others) by their hobbies, interests, fictions, and humour, all of which were different from what the "mainstream" people occupied themselves with. The fictions are now best-sellers, the hobbies are widely enjoyed, the interests are more generally interesting, and the humour is printed across the chest of hot women (and men) everywhere. It''s not so much that geekiness has gone mainstream- it's that the mainstream has gotten geekier.

And surely that's what all (sane) geeks have always wanted? Every time you've frustratedly tried to explain some cunning new technology breakthrough to an acquaintance, and been baffled by how bored they seem- didn't you wish they found it as fascinating as you? Didn't you always want more people to tell jokes that you found funny, and your favourite directors/authors/publishers to have more money to spend on your favourite projects? I never plan on changing myself to match the rest of society, in terms of what I like and what I'm interested in- but if the rest of the world could busy itself aligning to me, that'd be just grand.

TFA seems to be confusing "geek" with "clever". You can like football and still suck at it, or like rock and be tone-deaf; being good at something isn't pre-requisite to it being your most favourite thing.

On the other hand, once the "geekdom" of the 20th century has become the mainstream of the 21st, undoubtedly new subcultures will crop up on the fringe. Maybe you can call that "the new geekdom" if you like, but you'd be clutching at straws. It will be it's own thing, and maybe it'll catch on one day too.

Re:Hipsters (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062596)

It's pretentious clap-trap, is what it is.

Geeks identified themselves (or were identified by others) by their hobbies, interests, fictions, and humour, all of which were different from what the "mainstream" people occupied themselves with.

Well, mostly correct. 'Geeks' used to mean 'obsessively interested in a particular subject' - hence 'computer geek', 'history geek', 'chemistry geek' etc... That term was later pre-empted and perverted by the media and pop culture.

And surely that's what all (sane) geeks have always wanted? Every time you've frustratedly tried to explain some cunning new technology breakthrough to an acquaintance, and been baffled by how bored they seem- didn't you wish they found it as fascinating as you?

Nope. Because the definition of 'geek' solely as 'obsessively interested in computer technology' is one created by the mass media and pop culture in the 1980's. (See: "Sixteen Candles".)

Didn't you always want more people to tell jokes that you found funny, and your favourite directors/authors/publishers to have more money to spend on your favourite projects?

On the other hand, once the "geekdom" of the 20th century has become the mainstream of the 21st, undoubtedly new subcultures will crop up on the fringe.

The idea that 'geek' was a synonym for Otaku ('obsessive fanboy') is a *much* later development, roughly contemporary with the explosion of the 'net into pop culture in the mid/late 90's. (Giving rise to saying such as "you haven't seen/read/heard $MEDIA_PRODUCT? turn in your geek card!".) *That* form of geekdom never died and never went mainstream - it was mainstream and deeply embedded in pop culture from practically Day One of it's existence.

Re:Hipsters (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062292)

Geeks don't generally try to be different. Whereas hipsters do and that's one hell of a difference. Plus you get a bunch of geeks together and chances are that the thought patterns are going to be pretty similar, in terms of associative reasoning, even if the interests aren't.

Not trying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062482)

We don't spend conscious effort on the task of being different or on the edge. We just do what we like.

THEY can try to imitate us. But they will never really be like us, because they are beneath us. Since 'pop' culture is just an aggregate of what "they" value, it logically follows that there will always be a rift between pop and geek culture.

So there you have it.

Re:Hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062590)

No, we love stuff nobody else care about that's it. No hipster analogue here.

The circle of geekdom (3, Interesting)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061898)

Geeks pick up stuff early, the best of it filters into mainstream, then geeks pick up something new.

Re:The circle of geekdom (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062114)

I think you nailed it, though it doesn't just apply to geeks. Lots of stuff starts out in fringe groups and eventually gains publicity and popularity :)

Re:The circle of geekdom (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062206)

I think you nailed it, though it doesn't just apply to geeks. Lots of stuff starts out in fringe groups and eventually gains publicity and popularity :)

So. Twitter, Facebook and Paris Hilton are our fault? I am so not believing you.

Re:The circle of geekdom (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062474)

no he never implied that, he said we pick up stuff the main stream would never touch then the "best"(marketable?) of it they steal(then water down)

Re:The circle of geekdom (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062534)

I think you nailed it, though it doesn't just apply to geeks. Lots of stuff starts out in fringe groups and eventually gains publicity and popularity :)

There is one thing that most geeks think (well, I think) would have been hella cool to see go mainstream, but it's the one thing we still pretty much still have all to ourselves:

Desktop Linux.

(and Free/OpenBSD).

Agree (4, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061900)

There is a definite line of delineation between my friends that use Facebook and my friends that code. The web may have finally gone mainstream, but I find it frustrating that now that it has, all these people using Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and other webby gidget crap all claim to be trendy IT geeks. What has happened is that the tools of the trade that we geeks have known for years finally went mainstream, and the rest of the world thinks they are now 1337 because of it. Not to sound elitist, but the dumb bimbo bitches I see in lecture hall chatting on Facebook are not geeks. They are still dumb bimbo bitches, just with a Web 2.0 platform to spew their idiocy.

At the end of the day, you should still be nice to geeks, because they will probably manage you one day. Unless your in an MBA program, where you don't actually learn anything but get all the real pay but get to pretend to when you order the latest synergy report on your desk by Monday morning. The geek shall inherit the earth!

Re:Agree (5, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061944)

Well, first of all, geeks were hardly the early adopters of facebook.

Twitter, maybe. Facebook, no.

And when "all these people" are using -- nay, customizing -- Eclipse, then they will also be geeks.

Just because they've picked up the easy stuff, which geeks engineered to be easy to pick up, doesn't make them geeky.

Re:Agree (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062142)

How is twitter any more geeky than facebook? To me it just seems like another way to waste time - and not in a good way.

Re:Agree (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062312)

you've just described /.

Re:Agree (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062158)

No. We were just early adopters of similar much older technology. ...and geeks probably did latch onto Facebook first simply because they're the sort that seek out the new rather than have it handed to them on a silver platter.

Oh, gee, here I thought geeks were uber awesome. (4, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061908)

We've bought into the mutual-delusion that geeks are cool, because we've gathered around places like Slashdot over the last fifteen years. If you're a furry and you hang around other furries all the time, you're probably going to have an inaccurate perception that being a furry is more popular and accepted than it really is. Likewise, we geeks have had a way to congregate like never before, thanks to the internet. And because we've been big on technology, we've been doing this longer than most other groups. So, in that time, our self-delusion has thrived.

The fact is that society may like a few of the things that geeks like, from time to time, but that should not be misconstrued as liking geeks. They may like Kick-Ass and some may even like Catan, but that doesn't mean they like *you*. It just means they like Kick-Ass and Catan.

An overwhelming portion of the population still thinks of "geek" as a pejorative. How many times have you watched movies or television recently, where "geek" was used as a put-down? Personally, my reality-check was only a few years ago. I did something absurdly dorky and mumbled something about what a geek I am. The girl I was seeing at the time consoled me with a concerned "oh, no, you're not a geek!" the same way you'd say "oh, no, you're not a loser...!" to someone who was just berating themselves and slamming their head against a wall.

Geeks think geeks are cool. Society thinks a couple things here and there that geeks like are cool. There is no overlapping venn diagram there, where society thinks some of the things geeks like are cool *and* geeks are cool. Accept it and deal with it. Frankly, I'm about fifteen years too old to give a flying fuck who thinks I'm cool or whether or not I'm accepted by anyone. I'd hope the majority here feel the same.

Re:Oh, gee, here I thought geeks were uber awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062176)

Indeed, we Slashdot geeks do enjoy sucking our own dicks.

Re:Oh, gee, here I thought geeks were uber awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062284)

Cool. Me too!

Re:Oh, gee, here I thought geeks were uber awesome (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062288)

Yeah I don't care that much, but it's funny when people first say I'm not a geek, then eventually realise I am. Also it was funny to hear a girl recently say she wants a friend just like Sheldon from TBBT. I (and a lot of active /.ers) am a toned down versions of Sheldon, but she obviously wasn't that interested in me. In real life, know-it-all geeks are shunned, so anyone who acts like Sheldon is not accepted into society with open arms, even by those who love TBBT. Most people are too dumb to even know what he's saying apart from when he acts like a baby. Hell, I don't even get some of TBBT (the jokes around string theory - not really read much on it).

Re:Oh, gee, here I thought geeks were uber awesome (2)

kubernet3s (1954672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062556)

Well, society has always had a love affair with people who "no one thinks are cool." I'd be suspicious of the claim that the popularity of geek culture as an idea hasn't risen in the last few years. (The ghastly term "geek chic" is evidence enough of this) Of course, no one wants to actually PARTICIPATE in geek culture, they just like the idea. The younger ones among us might recall the fad among high-school girls in the early 00's to claim to like "geeky guys" or "nerds" which usually didn't mean actual geeks but guys with unkempt hair, box glasses, and keds. I absolutely agree that no one thinks actual geeks are cool, but people are certainly enamored of the "Hollywood geek;" the attractive, non-threatening intellectual with habits that derive coolness from hipsteresque retro-fetishism (Star Trek, Silver Age comics, 80's video games).

Your furry example has one problem: not even furries are ignorant of the fact that everyone hates furries.

But yeah, people use "geek" as a put down in movies, but people also use "punk" as a put down, and we all know what kind of high school THAT linguistic arc resulted in. Pretty much every teen movie from the eighties onward has a geek or other outcast as its protagonist. People like to think they like geeks because they like to think they have the specialness that comes from being, or being attracted to, social misfits or outcasts. Go to any college campus and you will find hundreds of intellectual loners: no matter how mainstream your interests, no matter how many friends you have, you can talk yourself into thinking you're totally weird and geeky and into stuff that NO ONE LIKES EVER.

I think that this attitude has been easier to conflate with "geekdom" because geeky pastimes have become socialized. Now, you can do something "nerdy" (which makes you weird and special) without having to deal with any of the social consequences of being weird and special! Most people who own an iPhone or Android phone are not developers, nor do they use these gadgets to pursue technological hobbies, but I have heard many of these people declare what a geek they are because of the time they spend modding or fiddling with said device (which they use to talk to their many friends and coordinate their non-geek interests). Video games, which used to be the province of the unathletic shut in, are increasingly being played by fratboy types, which is why the protagonist of many modern games is some variant of Dickballs McMeathead and his Elite Testicle Squad. But again: playing video games is something weird and special, even though you can now do it with all your friends. While before, being a geek (and hence, SPECIAL!) meant spending lots of time reading books or staring at a computer or other lame, unpopular activities, now we can just engage in a few, safe geeky activities. We aren't GEEKS, of course, just like Sum 41 fans were never punks, but we get to pretend and be part of a secret club for as long as we want to, without having to pay the price of admission.

Slashdot and SSD's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061926)


Slashdot amongst many other sites makes it hard for new people to post interesting stuff. So we're left with a biased subset of "hip" geeks.

you're exemplifying your trouble (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061932)

Geeks don't waste a lot of time on Alan Moore. He doesn't make a lot of sense and gets most of his details wrong. You might as well be an anime fan.

Geeks read books with words. Iain M. Banks. K.J.Parker. They build with Arduino, or have centrifuges in their garages. Lots of people call themselves geeks who have never improvised a mechanism more advanced than a mashed potato/fork catapult, who don't know whether they'd prefer their sexual operator to be distributive or associative. The truth is that geek culture, like any antipop culture, has to be incredibly diluted to even get on the radar. If you watch your dog playing fetch and you can't help thinking how primitive its locomotion subsystems are (she doesn't really steer with her front legs, she just flexes her torso while she keeps raising and lowering her feet; her hind legs might as well be wheels), you are a geek.

A Will Never B...or C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061934)

A Will Never B...or C

wow... see you guys at 4chan...

Surely there's a difference... (2)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061942)

between using something like Facebook, and being able to write Facebook? And surely appreciating Big Bang Theory is not the same as being one of the gang?

In short: (1)

falzer (224563) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061958)

There are those who are geeks-on-the-outside, and geeks-on-the-inside.
May this thread contain many posts about what ways we outgeek our fellows and grumble about the dilution of obscure skills and subjects by bringing them to larger audiences.

I'll start: grumble, kids these days and their Arduinos. I'd better use a DSP or FPGA in my next project. And kids these days think FFVII is the pinnacle of classic gaming. Grumble, grumble. *gets fed a mutton chop by Link*

Most Important Comment Ever (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061970)


Re:Most Important Comment Ever (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062568)


Group hug time!

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING


I like to think of myself like this... (4, Insightful)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061974)

I am a programmer and have a pretty bad programmer's ego (I try to control it at work though, but we all have weaknesses). We are like Tyler Durden during Project Mayhem where he gives the speech to the politician. Everybody uses the internet now. From 90 year old grandma getting pictures of her grand kids up to, well, people like us who eat/sleep/breath the internet (well, not everybody on /. is a web developer, but for those that are, you).

Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not... f#@k with us.

That is how us web developers are. Even how the security people are. Server people, network people, the list goes on and on.

As long as we are around setting things up for the end user, we will always have our culture. There is also this bad "feeling" of the MTV culture becoming a geek. Apparently Jersey Shore is cool to pay attention to, but being a geek is not. I know, I know. I have gotten used to it. But ask yourself this: the Jersey Shore intro, who made that happen? The editting, who made that happen on every episode.

Us geeks are right on the edge of pop culture. I mean we are right there, but the pop culture fear of not being cool keeps the masses from fully accepting all of our quirks. Like people do not understand us geeks that collect. I collect video games. I had some work people over and had my Genesis/Sega CD/32x combo hooked up, and they asked me if I had a Wii. I have a pretty decent computer, and I kid you not, this is almost word for word what a girl said, "Wow! That is a cool computer. Can I check my Facebook on it super quick?"

We are and always will be the last picked for kick ball. We will be the ones right on the outside of cool. Almost, but not quite. You know what, I like it out here.

Re:I like to think of myself like this... (3, Interesting)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062204)

Interesting comment.. I've been called a geek a long time, though I suspect I'm more of a dork than anything else.

Geeks to me are those who have passions and are not afraid to indulge them for fear of being considered weird. I know too many people who love a thing but don't want to appear fanatical so never really explore the thing. It's sort of sad, really.

We're all misfits, I think. I admire those who don't care about what others think when it comes to pursuing their passions.

Re:I like to think of myself like this... (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062232)

I don't like Geek "culture" because it's another thing telling me what I should be into.

I like what I like, and that is that. I don't want to go from one "mainstream" culture just to look for acceptance into a niche one (of there is many).

Just don't need it. Whoever decides what is geek, or mainstream, or something else: great. Now leave me out of it.

Re:I like to think of myself like this... (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062520)

You are on /. saying that, now you are a geek. The ability to jump into your passion and not care about what happens because of it. That is why I gave some of the examples I did. The person that made the intro movie is right there. I mean right there. It is not like there is some definitive line. Yeah, I am video game collector. I don't play D&D, I don't read comics, the movie lore I consider myself expert at is The Matrix. I have never seen Blade Runner. Star Trek is boring as hell to me. I know, all of this is borderline marking this as troll, but hear my out /.'ers. The joy of being a geek is that we are so wide spread to where you do what you want. It is that passion that drives us. We all know what it is. We have all felt it as geeks. You can practically see your future and that is because you don't dream of it happening, you plan on it happening. You can say geek, dork, nerd, it is all the same to me. You can say, "well, I am more of a dork then a geek". Now, you are a geek in my eyes. No difference in the words in my eyes at all.
Yes, I have read the breakdowns of the words, but I don't care. We are the ones willing to sit there and watch the Jersey Shore crew act retarded while they get paid $50k per episode (some really do, google it) while we sit there making sure that the edit job we do is amazing even if nobody notices but us.

We are always there right with the other people, but we are just not quite there. Many of us are the ones that will refuse to assimilate into the culture presented to us, and we will want to be ourselves. When we find out we are not like anybody, it is others that label us.

I got sick of being labelled, so I just labelled myself. I am completely proud of who I am. I would not change myself for the world, but I would change myself for myself.

Re:I like to think of myself like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062252)

You're a web developer and call yourself a programmer? Bwahahaha

Re:I like to think of myself like this... (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062586)

Apparently Jersey Shore is cool to pay attention to, but being a geek is not.

One of the two features morally loose women with over-developed mammary glands and tight clothing. The other involves using one's mind in some fashion or another, at sustained levels above that spent by most ordinary human beings.

You're seriously not perplexed at what the masses tend to choose, are you?

Kids these days... (1)

end15 (607595) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062000)

They think they're geeks just because they like Joss Whedon, or Happy Tree Friends... I remember when to be a real geek we had to bite the heads off chickens!!! pbft!

lölölö i speak latin ^^ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062006)

oh man, when i was 12, it was enough to build a pc, when i got 16, i was mainstream and could speak leet, now i am a trekkie and still, i am mainstream :D what the fuck?
retro will always be cool, thus geeky stuff will never be outdated nor just pop.

Geeks getting geeked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062010)

I will geek your geek up your geek with a geek that geeking geeks.

geek != smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062020)

I know plenty of people who self identify as geeks and aren't that smart...they do, however, seem to have an aversion to showers and moving out of their parents' place.

Nerds are the smart ones.

Nerdy geeks are the smart ones that have an aversion to showers and moving out of their parents' basements.

Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062034)

NOW i know this is really "News for Nerds" !!!!

ahh c'mon... just bring back good old user tags for stories and some golden Redcode news and we're forgetting the rest of the decadent process you're at ;-)

I was a geek back when it was underground! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062036)

Literally. Just ask my mom *Taps ceiling*

Because We are Needed. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062038)

It is not that being a geek or a nerd is cool. It is that we are needed now, more than ever.

When I was in high school, my aunt told me that computers are just a passing fad and only rich people had them at home for toys. Now, when her connection is down, or she needs help with Word, she calls me.

You get asked to help when something is broken, or which new computer/phone/tv to get, or which service to buy.

Do you think if we were not so needed, we'd be so accepted today?

Re:Because We are Needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062154)

Since your aunt is obviously a rich person with a computer at home, I'm sure you are handsomely rewarded for your services.

Re:Because We are Needed. (2)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062522)

Oh get over yourself. Anyone who has a speciality gets asked questions, or for advice.

That goes for plumbers, and electricians. As well as doctors, and lawyers.

Just because you know about something that Aunt Edna doesn't, doesn't mean that you're the key to society.

geek culture (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062044)

Ostensibly I'm a member of this culture, albeit a fringe one. I'm a software developer. I have a math degree. I'm an introvert. I read sci-fi and fantasy literature, but not exclusively. I build my own computers. I frequently don't shave, and I'm not especially fashionable (though not especially unfashionable either). I don't play many graphical computer games, but, unbelievably, I still play a text-based MUD. That said, I find that those who really "embrace" and identify with "geek culture" get on my nerves to a phenomenal degree. Folks who go to ComicCon. Folks who answer "yes" when asked "Are you a 'gamer'?" People who look so stereotypically "nerdy" one wonders if it's intentional. The guy who incessantly quotes Monty Python (or some other geek cult film, e.g. Princess Bride, Firefly, etc.) because he thinks it's funny every dang time. Basically there's a lot of overlap between my interests and those of many "geeks", but I despise "geek culture".

Am I the only one?

Re:geek culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062268)

Yoda spoke of another.

Re:geek culture (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062386)

Sounds like you are a hacker - in the old sense of the word we gave up defending on /. :)
Check out the portrait of J Random hacker:
http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/appendixb.html [catb.org]
The entry on geek makes an interesting observation on the distinction between hacker and geek:
http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/G/geek.html [catb.org]

This fits in with the distinction the original story seems to be about - separating watered-down pop geek culture from geek culture.

Nothing to see here, move along. (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062048)

Alert, "Goth" is nothing like gothic, "punk" isn't a bunch of punks who got together, and "Nerds" is a candy.

While geek culture may never die.... (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062070)

.....studio executives, Uwe Boll, marketing, EA, hipsters, Comic Con and it's army of bored but attractive spokesmodels are taking it's retainer and giving it a fierce kicking.

Maybe - just maybe - it will graduate and end up employing all these douchebags as Janitors.

Nerd Vs Geek (1)

markass530 (870112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062124)

because labels are oh so important, and vital to life, I've always put forth that nerds are into computers, anything tech, education of all sorts, math, science etc. whereas geeks are into D&D, star trek, Monty Python, etc. obviously a lot of people are both, to varying degrees. Personally im about 95% nerd, 5% geek. Welcome any input on this hypothesis.

Re:Nerd Vs Geek (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062212)

What about dorks?

Re:Nerd Vs Geek (1)

mhotchin (791085) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062328)

I thought it had to do with self-awareness.

A geek doesn't particularly *care* what people think of him/her.

A nerd is *unaware* of what people think of him/her.


Re:Nerd Vs Geek (1)

markass530 (870112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062530)

nah, cuz in Revenge of the nerds, they knew what the deal was. Maybe use Dork (as someone else wondered where they fit in) as the Unaware?

Re:Nerd Vs Geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062372)

Nerds are smart. Geeks are strange. Hence their origins (wiki "Geek shows").

Ya know what used to be great about geek culture? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062130)

What used to be great about geeks in general, really, was that they didn't really get into this am-I-or-am-I-not bullpocky. Who cares where the culture lives? There are more and better geek outlets out there than ever. Enjoy the damn moment.


Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062188)

Face it. We're all hipsters. We enjoy being geeks because it isn't cool and we have our own (intelligent 'inside' jokes). It's what makes us Geeks. Well that and suspenders and glasses and pocket protectors....

Labeling is the problem. (5, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062210)

Be yourself and stop with the labels. I build computers and I code in my spare time, I have a degree in chemistry and love science. I don't like anime, comic books, sci-fi, fantasty and have never played D&D. I played sports in high school.

Am I a geek? No. Am I a jock? No. I'm me. Fuck off with the labels.

Re:Labeling is the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062340)

dumb jock

What culture? (1)

justaguylikeme (963377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062286)

I think the whole premise is wrong. True "geeks" aren't doing the things they do because they're trying to be in a specific culture or a niche. I think that generally the type of people who are generally considered to be geeky (myself included) happen to have similar interests and views on life. I haven't ever tried to seek out a culture, per se. Rather, the things that I happen to enjoy (computers, trivia, meticulous detail to esoteric things) tend to lead me to things that are considered geeky. As long as people continue to have a drive to do or participate in those kinds of things, there will always be a culture (whether it be mainstream or a subculture) of geekdom. This, though, like any other culture can still have poseurs. And, just like anyone trying to fit into a given role without feeling truly a part of the heart of it, those are the people who will try to overanalyze the ebb and flow of the culture's status vs. the mainstream.

I earned the title, thank you. (5, Insightful)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062314)

I didn't slog through a future ruled by mutant-hating Sentinels, storm the beaches of Klendathu and brave the Three Terrors of the Fire Swamp so that some kid could pick up Halo and call himself a geek.

When my party came back from the Temple of Elemental Evil, they spat on me.

Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062380)

I purposely avoid the kinds of things that will get me pigeonholed as a geek. I know of, and care for, very little about the pop culture driven side of geek. Comic books, sci-fi films, anime and the kinds of crap that end up on G4 not only bore me to death but also, IMHO, give geeks a bad name.

I also do as much as I can to avoid those who embrace that side of geek culture. I think if you have to stand on your mountain top and scream that you're a geek then you've got issues. Either you're as dumb as a bag of hammers or your as needy as a 4 year old child. The dumb ones really think they are smart. They think they're geniuses, in fact. Tedious to deal with and they're slow to learn when you try to be good enough to correct them on a false assumption. Once they gain your friendship they'll use you as a crutch to support their weak ideas among peers and it comes back to make you look like an idiot.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Chicken heads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062394)

The community at large will just never accept that biting the heads off chickens at the circus is acceptable behavior.

What is it that makes something geeky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062426)

What makes something geeky?

Is it paying too much attention to minute details? One of the characters on Jersey Shore spends 25 minutes doing his hair. That's not perceived as geeky. Spending 25 minutes tweaking your gdm.conf is.

Is it doing something that's not in the mainstream? Raving wasn't considered mainstream, but it also wasn't considered geeky. Model shipbuilding? Not in the mainstream, but geeky.

Is it doing something with a technological focus? Like the article points to, messing with a computer is no longer geeky, but messing with a TI calculator is.

So far, the only conclusion I can draw about what makes something geeky is that it's taking part in an activity that doesn't have getting laid as a main focus or as a pleasant side effect. I'd like to find an example of something that is considered geeky but also involves potentially seeing some action.

Co-opted is the perfect term (5, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062472)

Pop culture has co-opted nearly everything worth while from geek culture and moved on. That is what pop culture does once a sub-culture achieves critical mass. In my life time it has happened twice. The first was with raves/electronica/underground dance music. The second was with computers/internet/geeks. In both cases the sub-cultures went from being isolated, to being referenced in 'popular' ways (techno music in commercials, "rave" fashion on television, companies deciding employees need email, grandma wanting to be on AOL).

The acceptance of computers in popular culture was the biggest change. For raves, even when they were "big" it was still very much a sub-culture. There are only so many people who are ever going to get into heavy bass and recreational drug use. On the other hand computers have leapt from the point where "nobody" (from a pop-culture perspective) wanted to use them, to the point where "everybody" has at least one. Of those who have computers, only a small percentage actually care how they work. The rest just have them because they need one to function in society. That is the co-opting that took place.

In a more subtle way, society's perspective of IT has shifted. In the late 1990s and early 21st century (before the tech bubble exploded), I used to get recognition from strangers for being in IT. It was one of those jobs where people didn't know much about it, but it sounded cutting edge and cool. Society knew they needed to know how to use computers, so being out ahead of the curve was an advantage. Now IT people are just the work place bitches, a rung or two above the mailroom guys (unless you work for a technology company).

Yes, it's called getting old (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062544)

I love Patton, but he seems to just be having trouble with getting old. If you did a good job with your little subculture when you were young, it winds up bleeding into the mainstream. And, while it's sad, it's just the nature of things that your brain isn't going to be able to keep up with what that subculture you were in has evolved into. Even if it could, you couldn't because you'd be busy raising kids. And if you didn't have kids, then you couldn't because all your friends do and as a result are going to be stagnant. And you can't hang out with the youth, because then you're creepy old dude hanging out with kids. It's just how our species and culture works, no mystery there.

Gaussian? (1)

alexandre (53) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062574)

The author could have saved himself a lot of talk by just saying:

There will always be a 1-2% on either side of a gaussian curve. :P

Mainstream? So what? (1)

SilkBD (533537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062582)

I pose this response: Who gives a crap?

I'm a geek, i'm a programmer who loves sci-fi, quantum physics, learning as much about everything as possible (especially anything related to science), I was there when l33t speak was invented by my geek "friends".... and, godamnit, I love Tron.

And once again, I ask, who gives a crap. What I like is not influenced by what the mainstream like other than the fact that usually the mainstream destroys the integrity of what I used to like...

I'm a geek and i always will be until I upload my consciousness to the internet hive brain and merge with the source.
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