User Input

User Input: Culture Clash 2

Oh this is what we run on!

I refuse to believe that the Geek Culture is dead.  I didn’t know about any geek culture when I was a teenager, getting shoved around at school and laughed at for my knowledge.  Now, I am a successful geek.  I relish the culture of wearing a Star Wars t-shirt to work and making people laugh.  I play music, take pictures, fix computers, snowboard, watch Firefly/Serenity and, yes, I even go on dates and all because I embraced the geek culture that allows me to be nerdy, creative and athletic all at the same time.  We made being a geek cool, because we created a culture that people want to be a part of.  We even have cute geek-girls now (Hi Christie and Sara).  This didn’t happen when I was a young geek because now it’s cool to be geek.

Assuming that the old Geek Culture is dead, what does the new geek culture look like?

  • Geeks, nerds and dweebs these days have it easy. They have come to be respected, and even admired. In the past, they were social outcasts, left to their mothers basements, with cases of Dr. Pepper and D&D or Sega Dreamcast with their fellow geeks. Now, it's quite trendy to be a geek. Makes me kinda miss the old days. Just a little.

  • skitter

    It looks exactly the same.
    It's out on the fringes, reaching for things that are disliked or unknown.
    Dedication is measured by ease-of-use.

  • It looks like this:
    <img src="http://www.visual-voice.net/images/photos/aug05/ph_aug_mennonites.jpg"&gt;
    And I truly don't mean this as anything snarky or disrespectful towards Mennonites or the Amish. I'm saying that as our cultural obsession with technology elevates the stature of the tech-savvy from geek to demi-god, the other end of the spectrum — those who deliberately divorce themselves from the spiraling tech-race — will surely be mocked more and more, in the way that the tech dweebs were a generation ago.

    • See I look at that image and note two things… one… someone is adopted. Two… someone doesn't like Sarah on the right.

      • tonyola

        It's hard to really tell the ethnicity of the dark-haired girl in the picture, but I suggest two possibilities: 1) she's Native American; or, 2) quite a few Japanese-Americans moved up to western Canada during World War II to avoid internment. A fair number of Mennonites also live in the same areas. I don't know if the badge the girl is wearing provides a clue.

        • skitter

          I think they adopted her on the internet.

      • zsm

        I think the one with the umbrella and sneakers is a tour guide.

        • Or possibly the most unlucky exchange student ever…

          • zsm

            HA!

  • TechieInHell

    The geek culture is not dead, it's just grown to be so familiar that it is no longer the counter-culture. We are (almost) all geeks of one form or another (you don't have to be a computer super-user in order to be a geek of some sort). The ones that stand out in a crowd these days are the non-geeks. You can recognize them by the look of trepidation they have whenever they glance at their cell phone, the constant need to glance at their own muscles as if reminding themselves that they still exist, the misplaced smug sense of superiority being used to thinly mask the secret look of terror for the people around them, all covered with a slightly glazed expression that one gets when consciously having to remind oneself to breathe in then breath out.

    • tonyola

      Then again, the non-geeks can navigate themselves to the corner market without GPS and turn-by-turn instructions. They can also remove themselves from the EM fields generated by their toys without going into heroin-like withdrawal. Plus they don't need to look up instructions for how to breathe from Wiki or Answers.com.

      • TechieInHell

        The geeks can do all that too. But why would you want to?

      • zsm

        I don't really understand what sort of person Techie was describing. I like technology on the whole (electric toothbrush FTW!) but there are a certain sort of tech that bothers me and I stay away from it. I don't have cable/satellite TV, only had it for 6 months since '95 and decided it was terrible. I have never owned a cell phone or a GPS, my wife has one of each, so I know I would not like them either. Just now I've decided the sort that bothers me is the kind that interrupts or saps (seriously I think TLC, the learning channel – really, could have killed braincells of mine) my attention.

        • tonyola

          I have a fast computer with high-speed internet. I also have a roomful of synths, samplers, and other musical toys. However, my cell phone is a cheap, plain Go-Phone, I don't own a GPS, I don't text, and I still have a CRT TV with plain stereo sound. I simply do not feel the need to be connected 24/7/365. If someone wants to get a hold of me, they can call back or leave a message.

          • FuzzyPlushroom

            Your life is basically my life, although I'll probably be upgrading my phone to something that can assist my camera when it fails and my mp3 player when I don't feel like bringing it along.

    • zsm

      I've thought about your comment. I can't really get it exactly, but I think if I change your first sentence to this, I agree completely with the first sentence:

      The TECHIE culture is not dead, it's just grown to be so familiar that it is no longer the counter-culture.

      Now if my oldest son and daughter are anything to go by, those kids that latch on to things and try to devour everything that they want to about them, they're still shunned. See my oldest son is like that, he doesn't have many friends, my daughter actively tries to hide the things she's interested in from her school world vs. home world ("Don't tell Olivia I game." "Can I tell her you're our decker?" "Dad!") and she has more friends.

      So I'm seeing a distinction. When I was a kid, these glass doodads people are using everywhere now, I would have thought, "Sweet! All that information at my fingertips!" But I see what they are really used for, and it just makes me sad. People are not geeking with their PDAs or smartphones, they are just not thinking or even noticing what's around them anymore because of them.

      I went with my wife to a club to dance not too long ago. We had gone there a lot, was in a bowling alley, lots of people our age had been regulars. Divorcees really kick it up a notch in a place like that. But it had been bought my a group of younger kids. New crowd now. All these younger guys and girls, plenty of alcohol, granted some music a bit hard to dance to, and we were among the only two couples dancing. They just all kept fiddling with their electric crack. "sup" "not much" all night long I bet. That's not geeky, but that's the techie lifestyle that's accepted. It's also revolting to me.

      • tonyola

        Last night I went for a nice long walk shortly after sundown. It was a clear, coolish evening. The stars were out. I had no toys with me. It was lovely to stroll around in the dark – listening to the quiet, feeling the fresh air in my face and lungs, and just looking at the peaceful world around me. I passed a few younger people on my journey. They had headphones on and their faces were blue from the glow of the phones they were texting on. I felt like shaking them and shouting "Look what you're missing here!"

        • Deartháir

          They were busy doing Facebook updates about how they were communing with nature.

        • Mr_Biggles

          To be fair to the northern Albertans among us, the same deep breath of fresh air in the lungs you refer to would have likely frozen a significant portion of their alveolar membranes at this time of year.

    • zsm

      Sorry to reply again, but I had another thought.

      1981 person is using computer, non-geek thinks "HA NERD!"
      2011 person is using tablet, non-geek thinks "OOH SHINY!"

      The thing is that 30 years ago a person using a fancy new gadget was more likely to be a geek than today (it's not necessary of course, just more likely). That's the first point. It's just now that pop culture has embraced fiddling with electronics, but since it's the unwashed masses they never really understood what 'fiddling with electronics' was really about before. It's just consuming and using now, and that's the second point.

      So to sum-up using gadgets was only a secondary characteristic of geeks before, common but not necessary. Non-geeks have adopted some of those characteristics to the extent that they can't distinguish the difference. They think simply someone rushing-out and buying the latest $400 doodad and using it is a both accepted and geeky. It's not geeky though.

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