Monday, January 20, 2014

Thank you, Foamy. Geek Culture

Thank you, Foamy. Geek Culture
Yes, really geeks don't get the hot chicks and we are socially awkward. When did geek culture become popular? Was it the Xbox and PS3 age? Remember when the cool kids would make fun of you for playing games all the time? Now, the guy-dude-bros play Call of Duty and Madden all day. 
Now, everyone has heard of the Final Fantasy series.
And, I actually do the Tom Baker test on new “Dr. Who” fans. I encountered an attractive girl claiming to be a Dr. Who fan and I asked her about Tom Baker. She actually passed the geek test and said she loved Baker as well. You can also do this test on Transformers fans too.
And, if a person claims to be a DBZ fan, see if they think most of the movies are in continuity with the show. (Most of them are not.) 


MC said...

I don't know if we are about to have a discussion or an argument here because we are definitely having a difference of opinion right now.

I think the catalyst for geek culture becoming more and more mainstream has to do with the spread of the internet and web culture, since as a medium, geeks have a disproportionate amount of power (especially white male geeks).

And all those dudes playing CoD, BF and Madden are subsidizing the kinds of games I want to play, and they are pushing the number of consoles out in the wild, making game development, even for indies, more attractive since there is an ever-increasing audience for whatever they do. Granted, a lot of those same people are also the kinds of guys who are pushing back against the idea of women being in games and development.

I understand being resentful that something you fought so hard to have, something you were mocked and abused for in the past is now much easier to be and has a much smaller social stigma than it once did.

I am also a little disappointed to hear that not only did you vet a potential female geek, but that you seem proud to have done so, especially in a geekdom that is 50% female, with the percentage raising as the respondents get older, so that you end up in a state where 70% of the fans of Doctor Who who were alive when the show started are women.

Because I have to wonder... was there some grand meeting that I wasn't invited to where geeks as a collective body came up with the entrance exams for being accepted into our club? If we both were held to that same standard across everything we claim to like, we would fail.

I love Dr. Doom. But if held to the standard that comic fans would hold me to based on your examples, I am a fake geek, a poseur and a hipster because I am appropriating something that belongs to their subculture. I am sure you have geekish interests that would land you in the same boat with another subculture.

I mean, I loved watching DBZ a few years ago, but because I am only familiar with what happened in the movies through Wikipedia, I would fail. And the thing is, unless you watched the series in the original Japanese, an anime geek might say you are not a real DBZ geek. Is that fair?

I'm in my late 30's. I fought hard in this war, especially as a kid (oh god, the beatings and abuse I took before high school because of video games), and the lesson I've learned is that someone else liking something doesn't take it away from me.

Semaj said...

Damn fine post/Comment

That is true that geeks eps nerds have taken over the Earth.

They're the ones with the money today. And, completely agree with you that it can be a good thing. I am looking at it from a personal POV. We were the ones considered freaks because we liked things that weren't considered “mainstream”, heck even being a SW and ST fan was being considered loser.

I had a guy in marching band that was very public with his trek fandom and I watched him get picked on forever. Today, SW and ST are considered cool, and this recently. You even have the Norms taking about the rumors of the new SW movie. I find that amusing and funny. I actually have to explain, in great detail, that the new Trek universe is comprised of influence from the old universe because I was there from the long haul when trek wasn't considered cool or sexy.

I just feel like some of the people that consider themselves geek are here after the dust has settled because it is safe to be geek. You can wear your Transformers shirt without much blow-back, except from the Go Bots fans today.

When you're on the outside looking in, it does tend to build resentment. Remember, it hasn't been that long ago that being a nerd or geek made sure you couldn't be seen a human being by the popular kids. Things got so bad for me that I didn't even bother to ask or go to my senior prom.

We went through that awkward geek period you and I. They didn't, so I kind of feel they have to earn it a bit.

I'll have more.

Semaj said...

As far a vetting the female fan-girl, I vet everyone I encounter in real life. There is a movie geek where I work and I know I could put him under the table with my useless knowledge. I even out Mass Effected a ME fanboy at work with my knowledge and facts and I didn't play the game. I've spent countless hours on the Mass Effect Wiki and even more hours watching Mass Effect videos. Because that's how I am, I spend more time studying geek and pop culture than the normal person.

It is something I do to everyone. It probably has to do with my random pop culture comments. (I don't remember people's names at work because I can't) so I place them in pop culture references. I had to explain to my boss last night that I called a girl at work a juggalo because she is one. I then had to spend a minute explaining to him what a juggalo was.

I vet comic book fans at work. When someone stated they play the DC online game, they liked the Flash character. I tested him by asking “which Flash?” Mainly, it had to do with the fact he was a cool person.

He said “Wally West” He passed because he knew there were multiple Flashes. I test everyone with random questions. I will ask random people if they can name two Axis Powers from WWII. Honestly, I do this all the time to get a gauge on how much knowledge a person contains. (I even give them a pass if they put Russia in there, because Russia played on both sides.)

I've actually preached, in my VG story class, to my professor that Xenogears was sort of dropped midway through its develop and it was the reason the second disk is such a disappoint.

For me, it is a age thing with Dr. Who fans less to do with gender in this aspect. I remember spending Saturday nights alone watching Tom Baker episodes on PBS. It wasn't cool back then to do that in North America.

You are not a fake geek, because you're well rounded on subjects across the board. I think a well rounded geek gets more credit in my book because he knows the knowledge of everything. “You're the Dark Knight or Blue Mage of geekdom”.

For me, because I have a “I don't give a crap about what you think of me” attitude at work, I test everyone with random-geek/nerd questions. I will say and do things randomly with people just to get a rise out of them.

Semaj said...

The Guy-Dude-Bro COD thing is a whole subject in itself. Probably a post for itself.

MC said...

You could clearly see that I had some anxiety in posting that too, because on some level, it felt like I might be calling you out.

The reason this kind of thing is increasingly important to me is that core of white male geeks are pushing back very hard on segments of the population that by default have been deemed not geeks... especially women and people of color. When I made the decision to just blog about video games, I started follow a lot of prominent women in the industry on Twitter, and I've been hearing a lot more stories and seeing geeks trying to push obvious women geeks out of community.

After seeing what happened to Zoe Quinn when she submitted her game for Steam Greenlight, I made a resolution that me being silent was helping those who bully my fellow geeks. I was bullied, and let me tell you and I am sure you agree... I hate that crap. We got enough of that stuff when we were kids, and we shouldn't be doing that to other people who share our interests, and we shouldn't be making it easier for the kind of people who do. It is like if at the end of Revenge of the Nerds, the Trilambs, having won control of the Greek council, start acting exactly like the Alpha Betas to everyone, because they are merely doing what was done upon them.

So when you mentioned that you had vetted that girl, I was thinking of all those stories of girls going to conventions and having to vet themselves again and again because they do not conform with this image of what a geek is... and being told that they are fake if they screw up. Imaging myself in that scenario, I would hate that. That is why I took issue with it.

Knowing that you do that to everybody actually makes me feel better about it in truth.

I'm more comfortable with being part of an inclusive rather than exclusive group, one where I feel comfortable sharing interests with a wider variety of people. I know that not all my interests will be appealing to that wider audience, but it makes me feel better knowing that on a lot of topics, I can have a conversation with someone random and they can actually share my interest at least somewhat.

Think about the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe... non-geeks get to have them because of us (because of the community's long term support of the properties), and we get to have them because of them (because their contribution to ticket sales make investing the necessary money into making good movies viable). And with RPGs, we in the west are just catching up with Japan in terms of the breadth of society that plays them.

It is win-win really... both sides get something awesome in the end.

Semaj said...

I can see your point. Many fanboys and gamers are suspicious of girls getting into the all boys club, and they do come across as being d-bags when they question a girl getting into a group. I feel ya. There is the flip side to that with the overreaction like dongle-gate story. But, overall fanboys and geeks do feel threatened by having a female in their wheel-house.

This partly has to do with being shunned by women their whole lives and being mistreated.

I think we as a group have to bad blood we've had with the mainstream group, but it is a hard thing to change, myself included.

This was a good discussion

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