A few days ago Nick Mamatas posted Let us put an end to Geek Pride on his Livejournal. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with him and I’m not saying anything about the merits of his post. But it got me thinking that maybe it is time to put an end to Geek Pride.
And replace it with something better. Geek Enthusiasm.
The thing about pride as it pertains to a subculture, or the perception of a subculture, is that it’s separating. It starts with a default position of “I’m different and different is good.” And pretty soon, if you don’t watch it, it turns into “I’m different and different is better than you.”
I’m not saying don’t be proud of your accomplishments, or the things you enjoy, or even that you’re a geek of whatever flavor. Fuck no. But don’t take that pride and turn it into your own personal jingoism. All that’s going to do is alienate you from other people and that shit stops flying once your balls drop.
I went to high school with two guys big into death metal. Remember how in high school music was a Big Fucking Deal? Well, one of these guys was an asshole. You know the kind of guy I’m talking about. He’d go off on your choice in music and tell you you were an idiot for liking whatever band wasn’t his.
But the other one? He didn’t give a flying fuck, it was all cool. He just wanted to share what he liked with you and he wanted you to share what you liked with him. If it wasn’t your thing, okay. But you get him talking about some band and by the end of the conversation you wanted to be a fucking roadie.
The difference, besides one guy being an asshole and the other one not, was his enthusiasm. He was passionate about what he loved and that passion was infectious.
I mean, mostly. I’m still not a fan of death metal.
Anyway, my point is that you can hole up in your basement and scowl at the world or you can take your passions and share them with everybody else.
I don’t know who half these people are, so it’s kind of like watching Celebrity Poker with a bunch of happy hobos they pulled off the street. I’m not, as they say, “plugged in”.
But this is like the guy in high school who could talk your ear off about some death metal band and make you want to go on tour for three years in the hopes that you can watch them make it big in Belgium.
Then there’s this thing by Penn Jillette that’s been floating around.
Excellent point that. It’s easy to dismiss the things you don’t know just because you don’t know them. Folks who do that? They’re the asshole in high school who shits all over your taste in music.
So you have a choice. Whether it’s about your passion for video games, role playing games, obscure crime novels, knitting, jai alai, vintage spanking porn or whatever, you can push everyone away and wear it as a badge of honor that, frankly, nobody gives a fuck about.
Or you can let your enthusiasm shine through and share it. If it’s not somebody else’s bag that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be. But maybe it is and they just don’t know it, yet.
So, yeah, I think it’s time to set aside Geek Pride. Replace it with Geek Enthusiasm. It’s more useful.
I invite you to try it. What are the things you’re passionate about? What gets your engine revving?
Let your geek flag fly in the comments below.
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