Digital Polyphony

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"Fake" is a Four Letter Word

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 12:50 AM

"Fake" is a Four Letter Word

How "fake geeks" aren't "fake" and the elitist assholes who should love them.

As with any grouping of people, "geeks" like to label and pass judgment. We all know they shouldn't, but now that being "geeky" is "cool," the labeling begins to come out. Kind of like how gamers now have "casual" and "hardcore" divisions when 15 or so years ago before videogames were as big as they are now, people just played games and thought that other people who played games were pretty neat.

The Geek culture has blown up the past ten years or so now that Hollywood has made reading comics cool, "gaming PCs" aren't as intimidating to buy and fantasy books are all over the place.

No, not that kind of fantasy.

But also not too long ago, being a "Geek"  was not only confirmed as "cool," lines started to be drawn. Suddenly there were "real" geeks and "fake" geeks, oddly focused on women though it's started to veer to just about anyone recently. Some trace back to this article as a source, though the "idiot girl" meme predates it, but really that's just a symptom of it not the source. 

That article just seems to exemplify, right there in black and white, the hostility that has festered in the geek/nerd/fandom community, and cites things such as "older" vs "newer" generation, as well as the internet allowing anyone to become "experts" of something without trying too hard as though not going through the same roads and paths or being the same age qualifies or disqualifies someone from wanting be a fan and wanting to be a part of something. The labels still stand and the lines are drawn between the "fake" and the "real" as though it's a competition..

It spread well beyond that article, with "fake geek girl" memes already cropping up by then and "fake geek guy" videos that are meant to be satirical but really just add fuel to a really shitty campfire your uncle couldn't get going because he got drunk and decided to vocalize his hate for women instead. Then people tried to explain it all, that "fake geek girls" came up because they wanted attention (from Men? I guess?) and that "fake geek guys" also came up because they also wanted attention (from...women...I guess?) with the stronger resistance going against the women for some reason - which is odd considering that for decades, it was the dream of myself and other "geeks" to have a woman even slightly aware of something nerdy or say "hi" to us.

Maybe it's's probably resentment. Men and resentment go together...well like women and resentment...the analogy got lost there, sorry. But men calling girls, especially attractive ones, "fake" is likely because of resentment for all the years of "geeky" wasn't "cool." Well they can say that, but that's not an excuse to be an asshole is it?

It's never really explained, but the fact is "geeks" began to draw the lines for whatever reasons, often being rude or insulting or sexist or just overall assholes as a result, and feel there are "fakes" who "haven't earned" the right to be a geek. Let's stop calling people "fakes" and start realizing the geek community is full of elitist hypocrites.

My theory is that the “nerds” or “geeks” who grew up that way feel they paid their dues. They grew up being made fun of, beat up, kicked around, shunned, all because they liked something that someone else didn’t. Now you got the new crop who don’t have to go through that.

And what does that "real" group of geeks and nerds do? Make fun of them, shun them, all because of...what exactly? In the end, they saw themselves live long enough to become the villains.

The judgmental attitude was around well before someone wrote an article about it or made a meme, though. It kind of "appeared" because the long-term geeks, those that were always a "geek' before it was in-vogue, felt like people were jumping on a bandwagon now that the world of all things nerdy and geeky is popular - kind of like how fair-weather sports fans suddenly will sell out an arena when all the other years a team struggled, half the seats were empty (hi Clippers fans).

What's odd is how this goes against everything "geeks" or "nerds" should stand for. I remember watching Revenge of the Nerds as a kid and actually finding a bit of happiness in knowing there were others out there that would be accepting of others and all their oddities. Or, also when I was a kid, how Data in The Goonies or Donatello of the Ninja Turtles were the ones I found more appealing because they were so different yet were not shunned for it but accepted in to a group.

That theme of "acceptance" is what Geeks and Nerds have always yearned for, and now that being geeky and nerdy is mainstream, what did all those long-term, always-geeky people do? Turn away those that maybe, just maybe, wanted to be a part of what they are and who they are. They turned in to the assholes that they used to hate. For whatever reason the "fake geeks" wanted to be a part of being in the "geek culture," the fact is the complete snobbery and overall dickish behavior makes you wonder why they wanted to be a part of that in the first place, and also makes you realize that, like any subgroup of people, "geeks" can be jerks too.

So let's get down to brass tacks.

First off, if you ever call someone a "fake geek girl/guy" or whathaveyou, you're an awful person. No, no arguments. You just are, so deal with it in your little judgmental bubble of preconceptions you've created for yourself. If you don't know whether or not you're in that little bubble, just stop, think back if you've ever tried to "test" someone on what they know or do not know by your own impossible-criteria and then realize you're in that bubble. Want to know the source of those symptoms? Look in a mirror, I feel most just don't realize it.

Secondly, isn't someone that is trying to be geeky or nerdy kind of geeky and nerdy to begin with? I mean, there are some people who wouldn't be caught dead at a comic convention or lining up for a nerdy movie or buying Doctor Who T-shirts or even dressing up as a character. That's cool. That's not their bag. But those so-called "fake" geeks that are doing that...well that's pretty geeky, isn't it? Even thinking "you know, I've only seen Black Widow from the movie and have no idea who she is in the comics, but I'm going to dress up as her" is geeky, folks. Damn Geeky. Hell, I'm pretty Geeky and I still don't have the balls to dress up as a character.

One day, Lebowski-Doctor Who Mashup. One day.

Thirdly, I know fans of all shapes and sizes, across sports or movies or comics, tend to put labels on people. They shouldn't, but they do. That's why you'll have debates about Star Trek amongst Star Trek fans - one insisting he or she knows more than the other person and serious discussions about Kirk-girdle-tension. Or when a fan of the Lord of the Rings books argues with a fan of the films. It can be found all over the place.

But what fandom and geeky people and nerds or whatever you want to call them shouldn't do is try to exclude people. Sure, those people are arguing and they like to consider themselves "superfans" or "fanboys," and hey, that's fine. You're passionate. You're fanatical. But don't you want to share that passion with others no matter how little or how much they know or are aware of the stuff you know? Don't you want to welcome them and accept them and teach them? No, not berate and "call them out" but say things like: "Hey, I know you think Doctor Who is great, but I'd love to recommend some older episodes." Or "Hey, if you liked Final Fantasy VII, you should really check out Xenogears." Or "Hey, here's some other Ray Bradbury novellas you might like that aren't Fahrenheit 451." Or "Hey, if you want a great place to start with Batman, here's some great Trade Paperbacks."

Here's an example of my own. I love Mystery Science Theatre 3000. It's a goofy geeky show from the 90s that riffed bad movies. I'm never surprised if people haven't heard of it, but if they haven't heard of it, I make damn sure they have and tell them to go check it out. If they have heard of it, I don't sit there and "test" them on some host segment or their favorite episode. I say "Oh, you have to see Pumaman, he flies like a moron!" and then I'll say "cool, thanks. I'm gonna do that" and I'll be overjoyed or they'll say "You know, I can't get in to it" and then I'll say "That's fine, I'm glad I could at least tell you about it even if a little."

Know why? Because that's how decent human beings interact with each other.

Imagine it...people having conversations and expressing their love of stuff together and expanding each others' knowledge and appreciation and maybe even finding friendship in the process because that's what both are searching for...oh imagine it, children. Imagine it.

I feel a lot of the people yelling "fake" this or "fake" that really haven't even talked to the people they're labeling, and if they have they likely didn't bother to really have a conversation to begin with. They poke and prod to find out how "fake" they are or what they know as they try to find someone who likes what they like in exactly the same way that they like it as though that means something. The idea of just having a conversation, and maybe stepping outside their own judgmental bubble, is lost.

At some point, the snake will eat its own tail. If it hasn't already, actually. I worry the geek world of comic cons and cosplay and LARP or whathaveyou will turn more on itself as it fractures more through divisive in-fighting than it already has. Women, especially, will feel shunned and just turn away from it as so much of the vitriol is focused on them for no good reason whatsoever. Then people will start blaming others for "ruining" their fandom or their "geekiness" and then all you have left aren't "geeks" but just assholes who happen to read comic books and dress in outfits. All it would take is just an open arm and acceptance of others. You know: the stuff geeks have always yearned for but never got...and it looks like they never will at this rate.

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