Editorial – September 2016: The Geek Credential – what is it??

September 4, 2016 | By | Reply More

The Geek Credential

It’s all geek to me.


Being geeky means being able to defend an argument adequately.


Hello everyone

What makes us be true geek rather than those who only think they are or those wannabes who want to make the connection to us and not realising how badly they might be doing it?

This is a subject that can always run and run, simply because there are so many aspects that can be discussed but I’ll point out a few common denominators and then on those who think they can connect to us.

Is it a geek thing that we don’t really have much interest in sports and with so much of it going on over the summer months, we find other things to keep ourselves occupied? I know my film watching has gone up a lot for instance. It isn’t so much no interest but lack of interest in absorbing every last detail. That doesn’t mean some of us don’t have some sort of sports interest but the sports geeks who attends such things or watch religiously tend not to let anything else into this aspect of their lives. Us genre geeks might be specialised but we have large numbers who have an interest across the board of what it can offer. ‘Normal’ sports activities like that don’t tend to enter our radar unless its use deprives us of our normal viewing interest.

Even so, the geek attitude means that if sports dominate on the box, we’re less likely to fret but use it as a time of catching up or doing other things so the time isn’t wasted. Then I had a thought as to just why we aren’t that interested in sport and that could do with a little analysis why we’re all in the same mood. After all, a little mutual understanding will ensure we’re on the same song sheet for what is truly geek.

For me, the biggest thing against any form of competitive sport is that it never ends. The faces might change but what is achieved is always the same and they go back for another go next season. In that perspective, there are no winners or losers and if the world ended tomorrow, it probably wouldn’t make much difference. I think we like to see significant finite differences before moving onto the next stage. Science works like that, sports doesn’t.

Part of being geeky is that we also tend to have been lousy at sports, especially as school. Shall I go a little further and say specifically at group sports. When young, we’re either physically clumsy, afraid to get hurt, rather have intellectual problems to solve or just waiting at the back of the pitch and never seeing the ball. Chances are, we’re probably more than a few of these options but foremost is we have other interests and tend to be individualistic to the point of or being bullied over them. I presume there’s something similar to people outside of the UK with whatever your school’s most popular sport.

We’re outsiders to any group and although I suspect there are more geeks in schools and out these days, I doubt if the situation has changed that much. I suspect wearing a super-hero tee-shirts around these days doesn’t arouse anything unusual these days but is better camouflage. It also means that these people have the geek obsession only that our interest is now seen as popular culture. After all, a trend or fad is supposed to last a couple years before moving on to something else. These days, it can be seen as, say, the time between major SF or super-hero films so there is a rekindling moment. For us, it can be more like icing on the cake, assuming you eat such things. Even so, we can be swayed as to whether a film is worth a look than just watch everything, so we can be discriminating. I still like to find something for myself and wonder how it got missed and that has to be far more geeky than being caught on whatever is being pushed this season.

The only reason we get the last laugh at school is because we’re also the type to get the better exam results and jobs. Well, mostly. Like any group, it follows a Gaussian bell curve or we would all be intellectual equals so it isn’t a purely being smart that makes us geeky. We do have a tendency to keep our individualism and are not herd animals tends to speak louder.

Unlike our younger years, contact between the various groups we are associated with is a lot easier since the Internet. However, do we do see other geeks as potential friends or collection rivals? After all, we like our individuality. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether that increases personal as opposed to digital contact. As a group, we can also be singularly unique in not creating our own geeks. We or they just happen. We’re just part of the bell curve that happens whether we like it or not.

An additional question to pose is whether we are more watchers than players in whatever we do. Granted, the role-playing gamers probably are, by nature, players but they’ve always been that way and tend to be a sub-section whose games just tend to be fantasy orientated.

You might consider yourself more a player. After all, there is a certain amount of competition in getting the better collection until you start doing the sums as to how much time you spend watching genre films and TV series and realise you probably watch a lot as well. There is probably a balance between the two which means we aren’t as totally obsessive as it might appear to be to outsiders. Compared to us, sports fanatics are far more singularly obsessive than we ever are. Our edge is our debates are more metaphysical and cover a wider area. Some, like me, can even spread the discussion, even if I have to make a tiny mistake occasionally to get some response. Mind you, I do tend to look at both sides of an argument so tend to cover all options but that’s just me.

Even so, we now have a situation where it’s good to be geek now, helped along by the sit-com ‘The Big Bang Theory’, although reviewing one of the books this month, I couldn’t help wondering if the author was trying to give a geek credential that way or at least to show informed he was. Thing was, he made some errors we wouldn’t make tended to make me think that we can spot the wannabes too easily. It isn’t as though we can’t tell the difference between good and bad SF material, even if we watch both, it just gives room to manoeuvre in discussing where they went wrong than what they did right.

It does raise an interesting question we now have more wannabes than natural geeks, although I assume you’re in the latter category. Unlike a lot of things people want to be, it’s not something that can be faked. There’s a certain amount of raw enthusiasm that can’t be missed. It’s often more than knowledge but understanding and our discussion points often centre on errors than what is right. If anything, we’re trying to make sense of a chaotic reality, no matter which one it is. As such, Science Fiction challenges us more than other genres and our subject base is far larger than we can draw information from.

I should point out that this doesn’t mean I want to deter the apprentice geeks. After all, knowledge has to grow over time and wannabes have a habit of stopping when they think they know enough. From my own experience, we never know enough.

As funny as ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is and shows we can laugh at ourselves, you do have to wonder if this will set up the stereotypes as to how outsiders see geeks. Mind you, that would go along with the belief that all geeks are scientists, socially inept, die-hard games players, comicbook and SF film and TV fans. Even those subjects aren’t totally accurate for everyone, cos there is little emphasis on any of them reading SF novels and their collections are tiny compared to the rest of us and I’ve yet to see any of them model kit-making. Saying that, I love the contents of Stuart Bloom’s ‘The Comic Center’ media shop. Who wouldn’t want to be able to afford that Legion Of Super-Heroes Giftset although I doubt a small comicbook shop could afford not to sell it, having looked up the current price. I’m still catching up on earlier seasons of the show, mostly because I was originally cautious because I thought that it was probably on the attack than loving us. Mind you, I find I’m dotting the i’s more these days and making sure films are given with their release years.

One thing I have wondered upon is if the show was remade for different countries, then the geek attitude would be different for each and none would look the same. From a British perspective, absolute geeks tend to be a little more solitary and specialised rather than encompass it all. Socialising geeks tend to be more like rivals than friends and there are boundaries where its wiser not to cross. I could go on but you should get the drift. There’s areas of common ground and then like the English language, geek vary across the world.

Overall, no geek is ever the same but we do recognise our own obsessions and acknowledge a central common ground even when the interests diverge a little or a lot. Yet, it is also an intellectual level where the sports geeks cannot go so we can at least put claim to us not being that kind of obsessive.

Intellectualism is obviously the key and have a common ground in understanding what we’re talking about makes for stimulating conversation. At least, I hope it is or you wouldn’t be here reading this far down. However, the interest has to be ingrained from an early age and becomes part of our lives than just something that is toyed with. It has a different language to the way others see us. It’s also rare that any of us grow out of. We might change our MO a little. Maybe move from comics or combine with hard-line Science Fiction or its grey cousins, horror and fantasy, but we have a wide subject matter to choose from. Add to that, is we bother to care about our subject. We are never stopped being stimulated by our subject matter, even if only to point out the inaccuracies or mistakes. Then again, that is like a lot of human behaviour. It is easy to accept success but need to show when things don’t work right. Oddly, the non-geeks don’t really understand that which is probably why we can so easily spot the wannabes. At least, I hope we can as our current reality is getting crazier than us.

It’s rather weird thinking we’re now seen as a cultural phenomenon until the next fad comes along. Equally, we’ve always seen our fair share of wannabes as well although you have to wonder how long before it becomes a proper plague and we have to work out which is which. At least, until the next ‘big thing’ comes along. Oh for the days when ‘eccentric’ stood in for ‘geek’ and not a misspelt ‘greek’.


Thank you, take care, good night and be glad you’re a natural geek.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk


A Zen thought: You’re only as smart as the smartest person in the room.


Observation: Not that I want to throw aspersions, but turn your spell-checker on the word ‘wannabee’ and then get worried about what it is associated with. Apparently, it’s a word connection not the actual thesaurus link.


Observation: This could make for an interesting story, but I doubt there are any regulations as to what species is used in Olympics, so why aren’t dolphins used in the swimming events? Then again, I’m confused why there is no singing in a medley relay.


Observation: Maybe I don’t under American apartment rates but how in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ can Penny afford a single apartment when Leonard and Sheldon share off physicist wages? It can’t be bigger than that of a waitress with tips and from a second season episode, it looks like $500 (about £300) a month. All right, so their collecting hobby might dig into their bank accounts but seeing what’s in Sheldon’s bedroom, it’s hardly a big or even that much of a select collection after so many years.

I was going to delete this after watching two missed early episodes and discovering that Penny earns double what Leonard earns, even if she was in debt in season 2. It doesn’t say much about how much a science degree and working at a university is worth, does it?


Observation: With DC Comics looking for a more acceptable face of modern super-heroism for today’s children, should we expect to see Lobo getting more exposure? In many ways, he does have a lot in common with Superman. They are both the last survivors of their planets, although granted Lobo caused the destruction of Cizarnia, but then so did in Mano in the 30th century with his home planet Angtu and he was part of a team that fought against the sun-eater.


Things I Might Have To Give Up: Reading in the shower is OK but I had to stop when the shampoo kept getting in my eyes.



Category: World getting weirder

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About UncleGeoff

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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