Editorial – Sept 2020: A geek is for life not a passing trend.

August 30, 2020 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone

Looking up the definitions of geek and nerd and the cross-connections between the two, if they aren’t related then they are at least closely connected.

A geek is considered to be unfashionable expert or enthusiast.

A nerd is considered to be socially awkward with an obsessive hobby.

Can’t see much difference between the two definitions myself and I doubt if the words can be merged into one. I mean a gerd or nerek or neek is hardly as pronounceable or memorable. As with any definition, nothing is an absolute fit. A geek is thought to be a useful person and a nerd wanted only when you need hm and, if anything, meant to be a tad rude. Being a geek sounds a bit more respectable and something you would want to belong to if you have the associated talents. Being called a nerd just sounds like you get in the way.

What is most common is attributes that most of us here share in common. A need to collect, interest in odd things and supposedly high IQs and knowledge, depending on how they are measured. Mix into that various artistic and scientific or both talents. As with all Gaussian curves, we all the full range from lesser, mid-range to high end. Hopefully, those in the centre are the marrying kind or we aren’t propagating.

They also come in all types of life. Our interest in Science Fiction and its grey brothers, fantasy and horror, not to mention the sciences makes us a bit unique compared to the more general geeks with what even we regard as standard hobbies like in sports. I’ve covered some aspects of geekidom before and how they appear in most hobbies so is a lot more common than many people believe. Our tastes just seem a little different from what is considered ‘regular’ or ‘normal’ everyday hobbies. We really are at the top end of geekihood but also more useful when it comes to technology and understanding in the subject.

Humans seem to have obsessive behaviour as a means to relax from day-to-day activities. As with all such things, an obsessive behaviour is just a specialised interest in the order of distraction. We like to know more about the subjects we’re interested in and that can put anyone in a geek category. Writing on the subject puts an extra notch on the graph but only as much as articulation goes. The Internet has opened has opened that aspect up although there’s a great deal of difference between chat and article writing. The meaningful analysis aspect is something that is really geek stuff. Even so, it just means another Gaussian curve of different levels.

As I said, there are geeks in every subject, although I doubt if many with say, an obsessive interest in sport, would see themselves as geeks, mostly because they see lots of people with the same hobby and are probably at the same level. Although the number of people with an interest in Science Fiction is growing, the medium is more likely to be film of TV show than written fiction. A continuous run in these mediums has allowed for a continuing trend with no demonstration of where or what this current number of apparent ‘non-geeks’ will do when there is an absence of new material. Just because you might like these things isn’t a credential to being an absolute geek. Well, until now with the covid-19 virus which has frozen the film and TV industry for new material.

With concerns more focused in social distancing, people at home have been concentrating more on keeping up with their families than their hobbies. This makes it harder to work out whether their interest is in remission waiting for the spark to flow again or examine what other people are doing with their interest. Are you analysing, nit-picking the details, glorifying the details, looking for merchandise, multiple rewatching, cosplay or whatever then you might be showing your newly developed geek credential or just a passing phase. The usual stuff we take for granted and how to tell a geek from a non-geek.

This doesn’t mean new geeks can’t be grown but they tend to be rather specialised. With my multiple interests across the board in Science Fiction, I’d probably be classed as an even rarer breed and you’d hate or love the size of my various collections with no specific specialisations but knowledgeable in all I’ve been privy to , helped along by living through the original releases. There’s far too many TV series and films, not all easily available, for anyone to say they’ve seen and studied all of them anymore. There simply isn’t that many hours in the day to watch or read and analyse everything.

Even so, there is still a feeling of geeks becoming a dying breed, especially in our subject matter where space events and even elements of Science Fiction are coming true. Mostly because the circumstances of our own development, usually being loners and/or bullied when young driving us to our hobby as a safety blanket is being lost in the communication level of the Internet. Mind you, the way the current isolation is going, you do have to wonder whether it might cultivate a new breed of geek, although maybe not with the same interest level as our own.

Oddly, that still depends on obsession beating trends. Although I don’t use social media, it does tend to cultivate not being focused on one subject for too long and that can get ingrained or bring out different types of obsession. It needs a strong mind not to be so subject to that aspect of brainwashing. I use that word advisedly as society has proven that we are all subject to some form of brainwashing, whether it is selecting by advertising or finding an attraction in some subject to the nth degree.

In many respects, space age geeks have come of age even more so as they can see there is a future for such pursuits. A cheaper way to the International Space Station is likely to change that and certainly either extend its life or build more habitats in orbit. More countries sending spacecraft to Mars looking for life. We are clearly looking forward than back, even in our current circumstances. Our type of geek is becoming of age and just a shame that there aren’t more of us out there. Prove me wrong on that one.

It would be interesting to speculate what would happen should we have our first meetings with visiting extra-terrestrials and see if any of our number would be invited to any committees to discuss the situation at governmental level. After all, we are the experts in unusual thinking and I doubt if any alien species would think conventionally, even if we would like to think they would. Of course, as a potentially dying breed of geek, there might not be any new geeks coming up to fill our role in society. I doubt if people like us aren’t here for a reason.

It’s problematic that reading is going down when visual SF in film and TV is going up. As great as these mediums are, the ability to visualise from words alone is a key factor in geek development. Think back to your own childhood and what spurred you on. We need to encourage imagination in our heads as much as share other people’s imaginary. To think. To visualise. To draw. To paint. To write their own visions than copy others. That is pure creative geek. All the phases we go through to become our own geeks. If we don’t develop and find our own paths, then how will any new generation hope to develop?

Thank you, take care, good night and keep your eye out for any future geek and remind them, they might only be alone for a while.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: I only look obsessive to other people as I carry out my normal life.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: The ability to learn intently from anything.

The Reveal: Should anyone be surprised of crazy behaviour developing from isolation. Welcome to your world.

Observation: For fans of ‘Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy’, the answer 42 is actually an error message: Error 42 is caused by a faulty or incompatible device driver on your system. It will typically show when you are trying to either use a particular program, or feature, inside Windows, and generally means that your system is not able to correctly process the settings that it requires to run the hardware.

Observation: With the ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ TV series, there is a lot of emphasis on safety and yet to board Thunderbird 1, Scott Tracy is on a moving platform at least 70 feet up with no safety bars. No wonder Gordon Tracy was nervous on the platform when he flew TB1 on a single occasion in ‘SOS Part 1.

Feeling Stressed: Don’t go on holiday, it’ll only make things worse.




Category: Culture

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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