The Geek Shall Inherit
May 25, 2011 Leave a comment
I was all kinds of grumbly back on May 4th. That’s the so-called Star Wars Day — “May the Fourth be with you,” get it? — and had a burr in my geek ass over how, beyond the cheap pun, the day had nothing to do with Star Wars, and that May 25th, the film’s original release date, would be much more appropriate.
Well, here it is May 25th, and I’m grumbly all over again.
Turns out May 25th has been designated as Geek Pride Day. According to Wikipedia, it’s also Towel Day for the Douglas Adams fans and the Glorious 25 May for the Terry Pratchett fans, so the geek flag has been pretty firmly planted on this date.
There’s even a list of basic rights for a geek, and this is where I begin to get my grumble on. As you can expect, they reinforce every geek stereotype out there. I get that “geek” is now worn as a badge of honor rather than a mark of shame, but do we really want to embrace the right “to have few friends (or none at all)”? Or “to not leave your house”? Aren’t the days of geek as social outcast pretty much dead anyway? I mean, once you have a top-rated network sitcom based around your culture, it seems to me you’ve lost the right to play the outsider card.
But the one right that ultimately struck me was the final one: “The right to take over the world.” Because the geeks have pretty much already done this.
The item that was once the hallmark of the geek — the computer — is now so ubiquitous a piece of equipment that we’ve gone around to making fun of people who don’t have one. You can’t throw a rock at a movie marquee without hitting a comic book movie title (and without repercussions from management, trust me on that one). You can now make a living as a professional video game player. Two geeks started a company that now has such fierce loyalty, they could announce a white iPad today and there’d be block-long lines waiting for it tomorrow. And what was once a modest collection of geeks who liked comic books has now turned into the largest and most anticipated pop culture event of the year, with studios fighting to get their casts and films in front of geek eyeballs, almost to the exclusion of the very thing the event is named after.
I get the idea of taking all the geek stereotypes and turning them on their heads by embracing them, and I understand taking pride in who you are. But you sort of have to understand who you are before you go off taking pride in it, and geeks are most certainly not the rejects they were when I was a kid. Now we’re the ones with all the cool toys. Or the ones whose friends all ask how the cool new toys they bought work. Geeks are now a market sector, and a pretty powerful one. The time for hiding in Mom and Dad’s basement is over.
So the idea of a Geek Pride Day seems about as necessary as that of The Sun Is In the Sky Day. If you want to make it a day where you let your geek flag fly a little higher, to bond with other geeks, to celebrate what we love, hey, have fun. I’ll probably be right there with you. But let’s not hoist it up as if it’s the one day a year where the geeks can timidly emerge from the shadows and run the show for a little while. We’re pretty much running it the other 364 days as well.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find my towel.