Being different, Good and Bad

We’re geeks, that means a lot of things. It generally means higher than average intelligence, a more active imagination, and the ability to be obsessive about getting details right. Those are the good things. Well, for some values of good. There are some bad things too and I wanted to talk about them a little.

First things most outsiders see about geek culture has usually been simple appearance. Geeks and nerds look “funny”. A portion of this is because we don’t fit in with normal society, and it affects our style choices. Don’t interrupt me with your claims of having superb sartorial taste and excellent relations with the mundane world, a few of you do and this may not apply directly to you. My guess is that you are wrong though. I come pretty close to passing as a mundane and I can still only hold the cover to an extent.

Getting back to geek appearance after being so rudely interrupted. Most of you have clothing in your closet that no one not a geek would wear. We all envy you those items, but that is why we are geeks. I love some of my wife’s geeky T-Shirts but I am aware most ‘danes don’t “get” them. And the Browncoat clothing leaves them scratching their heads.

The really odd thing about geeks is the preponderance of body dysmorphic types among us. There is a reason for the term “Gamer large” for t-shirts in the xx range. At cons most people are either very large or very thin, or have other body oddities. I for example have Gimli’s body on Aragorn’s legs. Yep, most of us look a little off.

Why am I talking about our bodies and styles being odd? Well because it drives some other factors that affect our world views and the views the world has of us. It is also the reason we have so many flakes among us. Because we are the different, the Odd as Sarah Hoyt calls us, we have always been on the outside. So we accept outsiders from society, knowing how rejection feels.

The problem is that outsiders tend towards bitterness. They have a real hatred for the ‘danes, the normal members of society. We provide them with a sanctuary, a place to hide. They use our inclusiveness for their own agendas. And we, having been outsiders, too often protect them from the consequences of their attacks. This is why we have people like Arthur Chu and PedoPhil Sandifer among us. We protect the different. This should be a good thing, somehow it isn’t. We, as a tribe, need to realize that some people can be outsiders even among us.

All tribes have taboos. We don’t yet, we are in reality too new to the scene to have developed taboos, it is time we did.

Muppet Balloon

Yep, I feel like this guy most of the time in classes.


9 comments on “Being different, Good and Bad

  1. Love my New Orleans print flowery shirt, with light blue cotton slacks. Nothing geeky about that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are things that should be wrong for all people, geek or not. The vile pedophilia of MZB and her husband count. If we’re to have any honest claim on civilization, that is (and how “civilization” seems to be turning into a dirty word is another post entirely).

    The word “taboo” implies some sort of morals. As in, if we’ve got some, then there must be things we consider beyond the pale. For some, that means shouting “racism, sexism, meanawfulbaddybadthink!” whenever someone questions, say affirmative action thought, or victim points calculus (wherein whoever has the most wins). This is how Requires Hate acquired her defenders despite the fact that she attacked them and anyone else who caught her fancy- she was “punching up,” but when she “punched” other folks in the “victim” crowd, some few decided that was Not Okay. I remain unconvinced that those “few” represent the majority opinion.

    For others of us, our morals don’t depend on skin color or sexual status. Right and wrong don’t change because of who you are. Bad behavior is bad behavior, and vice versa. We have this idea that we’re a nation of laws, not men (or we should be). However, being in the batman tee shirt wearing crowd from back when it was still tightpants campy, we’re also a bit touchy about kicking someone out of the group. And let’s face it, we’re not so large a group that we can afford to lose any members- at least that’s the thinking I’ve been hearing (and it’s false).

    As Odd people, it’s easier to discuss how we’re going to get Firefly back on tv than to admit there are predators in our group. Given the common personality types that are attracted to geekdom and their common history, it’s obvious when you think about it. Folks who’ve been misunderstood for, oh, longer than the average teenager even dreams of, who really are on the far slope of the bell curve on the football/soap opera vs. science fiction/fantasy graph tend to not have built the social skills and reflexes the average person does. Most don’t exactly hide their passion, but it isn’t as though they talk about it in grocery checkout lines (unless with each other while buying more cheese dip for the nachos at the weekly D&D game). Folks like us, who just want to be left alone to enjoy our fun? We’re the outliers in the human herd. As a predator, who would you pick, given the choice? Someone with a bunch of close social ties? Or someone with very few, who typically doesn’t interact with their fellow humans much or well at all?

    The concept of “taboo” shouldn’t be simply that it makes us uncomfortable (see above “racisss!” comment), but because it is wrong. I know, it’s hard. It’s hard when someone you like and respect does something you can’t agree with to say “stop with the personal attacks.” Is there some cognitive dissonance there, when this happens? Yep. But having those morals means having the moral courage to say those things and others when necessary. To tell the creepy guy in the group to lay off the only female nerd in the crowd, to keep your cool and not give in to the desire to attack the person and not their position, and so on…

    The moral code can be a sticky subject. But it’s worth thinking on. Someday we might have to defend those morals, and its better to be prepared than not.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe it’s not that we don’t have taboos, it’s that there’s not an over-arching group– we’re a whole bunch of loosely similar groups that all have their own baked in assumptions.

    Some of those group assumptions are not compatible with the assumptions of other groups, be it “religious people cannot be rational” or “children are not suitable sexual partners.”

    Right now, we’re in that “cultural change” thing where those groups are…impacting each other. Folks are using the tactics that worked in prior situations, with mixed success. (That “yell louder and you’ll win” thing? Works good in person– at least, anybody who’s still around you will not be inclined to tell you to go jump in a lake– but not so well when you’re going to another person’s blog to try it.)

    It’ll shake out, mostly, and there will be “taboos” that develop.


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