The Geeky Cliché: When Everyone Calls Themselves a Geek

Fake geek

Nowadays on the internet, everyone, regardless of their gender, sexuality, fandom, age, nationality, is calling his or herself a “geek”. Everyone. Just type the word “geek” on Google, and you will get about 61,300,000 results within 0.25 seconds. And when you skim through the countless pages of search results, you will find tons, numerous, or perhaps countless, blogs that claim to be related to “geek”. You play video games/PC games/tabletop games? You can name yourself a geek. You love gadgets/cell phones/the latest cliché of “wearable tech”? Oh of course you’re a geek, even if you are only browsing through online catalogues and have never actually laid your hands on a fancy gadget. You’re a fan of the oh-so-famous Game of Thrones? Yes sure you’re a geek who lives in the Westeros and Tyrion would definitely want you, as you belong to the geeeeeeeeeeky land of cripples, bastards and broken things. Just don’t forget to make sure there aren’t any White Walkers lurking around the borders because winter is coming (yet another cliché here).

tyrion loves you
Ros: I’m a geek.
Tyrion: OH! I’ll have you!

You see, I’m really annoyed by the word “geek”. Yes I know it’s 2014. And I know it’s perfectly fine and normal and acceptable for people to label themselves as a golden VIP member of the smart and trendy community of GEEKS. But it just seems to me that now that everybody is calling themselves a geek, the word itself is no longer intriguing or incredible. No, not any more. It has become a common and vulgar cliché that even the most naïve internet users can call themselves a geek, as long as they are connected to the virtual reality. And, congratulations, you can immediately start to create your website which is “dedicated to geeks” and carries the most glorious mission of “reporting the latest geek news” to everyone else on the planet, as if there aren’t enough repetitive platforms or blogs about geek stuff out there. As Forbes contributor Tara Tiger Brown mentioned in her 2012 article “Dear Fake Geek Girls: Please Go Away”, the term “geek” has already evolved into “a marketing gimmick”, and those who truly deserve the label are, unfortunately, “lost in the noise”. The article is more than 2 years old now, but the statement stands true. If you don’t get the seriousness, just imagine a room fully packed with designer clothes, or video games, or whatever you love, and there are just too many fake pieces to the point the authentic ones are drowned. Isn’t it pathetic?

So what makes a true geek then? According to the definition on Wikipedia, a geek should be someone who is “interested in a subject (often intellectual or complex) for its own sake”. And as Brown stated in her Forbes article, one should be extremely passionate and obsessive about the interested subjects, to the extent that other people would love to be informed of the insights and knowledge regarding the subjects. She further interpreted the definition of geek by quoting a venn diagram from Great White Snark (see below), where Intelligence + Obsession = Geek, while Intelligence + Social Ineptitude = Dweeb, Social Ineptitude + Obsession = Dork, and adding all three quotients = Nerd.

Nerd Dork Geek Venn Diagram
The only way to avoid being a poor Dweeb is to infuse Obsession into any subject matter.

And obsession, as Brown points out, is not something pretend-able or fake-able, while earning the Geek title is not something that can be achieved intentionally, but rather a milestone that is marked along the course of digging deep into a certain subject matter. So if your ambition is to become a true geek, instead of a “casual hobbyist”, an “exhibitionist”, or even an attention seeker who only brags about a subject for the sake of being heard and seen, find a subject that you truly love (if you haven’t yet), then spend as much time and effort as you can to discover and learn about the subject, and most importantly, you should be really passionate about it.

Last word:
Take the Geek Test by innergeek to see how geeky you really are.


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