CultureWorld getting weirder

Editorial – September 2018: Geek on my sleeve.



Hello everyone

When I was young, I often wore something that would give away my interest in comics, whether it was a painted Phoenix design on the back of my white windcheater or the odd badge. These days I’m quite sedate in my choice of clothes whereas now it would less likely to be out of place with so many people wearing genre-orientated clothes To dress normally appears the way to be geek as we get older. We don’t need to broadcast who we are.

As things get more mainstream, it seems the natural geek tends to do the reverse of everyone else. Mind you, I’ve always though it’s the inner me that’s geek, not what I’m wearing. It was my interests that gave me away and, even back in the day, that got me regarded as eccentric even when I said nothing about them. Maybe it’s the way my eyes out-glowed the ‘Children Of The Damned’ or my intensity. The world has caught up…sort of. Well, not with glowing eyes. I mean, the people wearing a super-hero tee-shirt might know the character but do they know who drew it or even identify the comic it probably came from? It works wonderfully looking at super-hero wallpaper. Interestingly, the concentration is more on the 1960s-70s than anything much later. That must tell its own story. That’s the difference between them and we geeks. We’re less about style and more about knowledge. That doesn’t mean we all don’t all have different levels of knowledge. These days it’s impossible to be expert at everything and I imagine my general knowledge across the board would still make me formidable. There’s always likely to be something I know that you didn’t but it’s also possible for the reverse to be true as well but I bet we both learn from it. That can be a great equaliser although I doubt if knowledge debates comes up often.

Even so, either we’re getting more geeks out of the woodwork or we need a different grading system but, really, does it matter that much? It’s just important that we’re all geeks, unique to this world and we don’t have to wear our geekiness on our sleeves to know or prove what we are. It’s our knowledge, how we pay attention to the world and, maybe, our collections that often tell us apart from normal people who don’t view them as useful attributes. But does everyone have collections now and there is so much merchandise out there. So then it becomes a question of quality over quantity or maybe rarity over mass market. Even that can be confusing. It’s all right for people like me who bought things when they were first available and suddenly discover their price escalation makes jewels pale in comparison. Playing in that kind of market needs an infinite balance to play with and few buy with to make a profit. Hence my comments years ago that it’s impossible for any one person to have everything. You’d need a warehouse than a mansion. Our geekiness is in choosing what we like to have and afford.

There’s still a matter of what makes us geek and how we can tell ourselves apart from other people. To be described as being eccentric isn’t enough. Border-line eccentrics would also be defined as being, how shall we say it politely, mad in some way. Oddly, the more I learn, the more I realise that geeks aren’t just confined to our genre. It can be obsessive knowledgables on any subject to the point that we might actually share some traits with autistic people. Not so much with unsocial behaviour but in knowledge retention of the trivia. If you apply the standard Gaussian curve, then we are the extremes living among the averages.

Paradoxically, I do suspect some people would like to be pure geek or have some of our qualities. Mind you, mine does include being able to draw, paint and write and problem-solve. From my own experience, I’m know I’m unsocial which isn’t the same as anti-social, just happy with my own company. We’re used to such things but I tend to think people are born geek, they don’t tend to turn that way as part of a trend. Of course, I could be wrong. I suspect some level of geek actually wants to be part of a herd instinct. Geek covers a wide range so we could have extreme to minor geeks and we’d all be somewhere on the curve. You, the reader, are probably taking a deep sigh of relief at that point if you show social awareness.

I suspect the Boolean curve displays a wide range of talents but doesn’t really define any outstanding quality that we can say that is what defines us as geeks. Maybe it’s our ability to recall endless trivia or spotting continuity errors because we really pay attention to what we watch and read. We’re alert and often powered with knowledge that makes us often more right than wrong, although I suspect that irritates some people. It would be easier to recognise the anti-geeks simply because they can’t do what we can do than spot people more like ourselves whom we might see as rivals.

You’ll note that I haven’t called ourselves ‘fanatical’ or ‘obsessive’ and that’s for a very good reason, sports fans make us look ‘normal’ in comparison. Quite how it’s seen as ‘normal’ behaviour to buy expensive player shirts that gets changed on a seasonal basis, expensive seats at games or rarely bat an eyebrow at the outrageous wages players get beats me. The distinction that our sometimes outlandish clothes choices looks different is oddly going away, mostly because we’re now seen as a ‘normal’. That is, in part, mostly because films get everywhere compared to fiction and comicbooks.

As such, I suspect because we are geeks we might have a blind eye to what makes us geek in the first place. Certainly in the old days, a lot of it was down to lack of social contact, often through illness. Today, because of the Internet and social media, people are less alone. Does this mean there is likely to be less geeks or are they simply going to be harder to recognise? After all, we most of us don’t have the herd instinct so, other than work, the Net makes it easier for people to stay at home and harder to spot.

So I’ll leave it you and ask the question: what makes you think you’re a geek and how easy is it for you to spot it in others?


Thank you, take care, good night and wear your geek on your sleeve.


Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info


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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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