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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just Wanting to Belong

I am a Geek. I have known it for years. I have revelled in it for years. To me, a Geek is an enthusiast who is able to enjoy their interest, even if it is not mainstream. In the past, we have been in the minority, enjoying our Geekdom and the small groups of like-minded friends we have met along the way. We had a uniqueness that was all our own. And we liked it that way. 

Now our world has been invaded by the mainstream. There has been an embrace of Geekdom by many of those who used to tease us for our hobby and entertainment choices. While some have delved into our lifestyle with fervour, some are happy just to flirt with it. Reading the many blogs, spruking Geekdom, that have now become popular there is a mixed feeling on this invasion. Some die-hard Geeks resent that their world has been changed, possibly irrevokably. They resent the intrusion into their exclusive world where they united, safe from the popular set who sometimes vilified them. Now they feel they are being vilified from within the ranks.

Harsh words but it cannot be denied that united, Geeks were safer in numbers. At school, I was part of the smart kids circle. We got top marks, we loved books, science fiction and were considered the Geek set. There were about a dozen of us, creating safety in numbers. Though we did not hang with the popular kids, we were not ostracized excessively. As a group, we were invited to occasional popular parties. With one or two of the popular set, we would feel like the pet puppy who was useful as we could help out with the homework but, as a general rule, most of the A Crowd  treated us as individuals with a strange hobby. So for me, high school was not as traumatic as some of my new Geek friends. I was lucky.

Maybe this is why I don't hold the view of some of the blogs I have read on the internet. Compared to some Geeks, of my generation, I have had a sheltered life. Still, I feel that the influx of those who now identify, even in some small way, with the rest of us Geeks is a good thing. Without new blood, we will become a small incestuous group with our thoughts narrowing as we get older. Maybe this is what we are seeing in some of the essays on why Geekdom should stay pure? 

I have admitted that I did not bare the full brunt of the Geek-hate that some of the authors may have had but I had friends who did and I have still had my fair share of harrassment. The biggest issue my friends and I had were that of belonging and the need not to be excluded. There is a human need to belong and we, as Geeks should understand that need. In the past, we have embraced those who were sometimes considered outsiders, why can't we now accept the more mainstream and revel in the knowledge that we have now been vindicated? If we remain exclusive, we have the danger that we will then become the bullies, vilifying those who now want to fit in us. We no longer have to work hard to fit in with them...

We do run the risk of our niche being taken over, becoming mainstream and then the popular, gorgeous set ostracizing us anew. That is a risk we may have to take.  Maybe they now want to be part of our culture because they have seen how much fun we have? Maybe they did not wish to take it over? Here, I must  also admit, there is a little bit of me that envies the attention the new, gorgeous fans attract. It used to be skill that was deified. Now the beautiful are glorified, yet again.  But if it is just a fad, it too shall pass and they will grow bored and move on to their next fancy. But those who stay will be part of us.   And with that inclusion, we have been accepted more by outsiders and the media.

What makes a Geek anyway? The definition is fluid. Maybe some of the popular set have envied us and want to belong as well?

Be excellent to one another!

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