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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Subtle Forms of Geekery

The past two weekends I took the helm of the USS Grand Caravan and headed into the unknown on an adventure to seek out strange new life and new civilizations. I discovered it. At a Renaissance Faire, and a Sci Fi convention.
I confess it: I am a nerd. The pic above is me at a Renfaire about three years ago, and yes, those are elf ears. What you, the uninitiated, may not know, is that there are subtleties in forms of geekery and, well, levels. As someone who plays roleplaying games two days a week, loves costuming and renfaires, makes chainmaille jewelry, has read the Silmarillion, and has more than a working trivia knowledge of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, I figure I am approximately a level seven geek. (I could make jokes here about my regular bathing and teeth brushing preventing further advancement, but I won't... well I guess I just did...).
Geeks have this funny way of measuring themselves against other nerds. Like, "Dude, I roleplay, but I won't LARP" (live action roleplaying, for those of you not in the know... basically, acting out the spellcasting and such). I dunno, does it make us feel like we still have one foot in the mainstream? I think that's the way most of us like it. We live in another world sometimes (literally), but we like to think we can seamlessly blend with the real one when we want to. And, we go to these events, cons and renfaires, and measure ourselves against the yardstick of the Epic Level Geek.
All of this occurred to me as I listened to a conversation (not the first one I've heard) about the relative merits of one superhero versus another, and about their supposed personal lives. I'm not a comic geek. Russ won't even send me web comics if they have panels, I don't get them. Some sort of mental block. But I guess I need to be standing on the outside of one of these subtleties of geekness to see what all of it looks like to the rest of you.
On the other hand, I suspect there are a whole lot of closet geeks (just past character creation, a n00b, a geekling) out there. Based on the number of people playing World of Warcraft. And the fact that Big Bang Theory seems to be such a huge hit -- could it be you're measuring your level of geekness as you're watching this show, too, the same way those of us who are out of the closet do at cons and faires?
If that's the case, I recommend you give in a little and enjoy it. Oh, I know if you show up at the next Renfaire and I'm standing there in costume, you'll probably do that little mental calculation and figure you're still mostly normal compared to me, and that's cool, cause we all do it (come on nerds, you KNOW you do...). But if we chat about the circlet I'm selling that you're thinking of buying to accessorize your new Renaissance dress, or we discuss the feasibility of time travel, or warp versus hyperdrives, or CG Yoda versus puppet Yoda (we are getting into higher levels here).... well, there's a moment of solidarity there, and it's good. There have been way too many fanboy movies over the past few years for you to deny the little geek in you. We know our own.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a new steampunk costume to plan.

1 comments:

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