A new and astonishing feature: The Friday Night Guest Editorial
“Let us put an end to Geek Pride”
by Nick Mamatas
Let us put an end to Geek Pride. It is time to be done with it. Computers may run the world and start-ups for apps may have zillion dollar market caps, but your Buffy DVD collection, your old and half-crumpled Comic-Con badge, and your antipathy toward any novel that doesn’t have an exploding spaceship on the cover has little to do with the postmodern global digital economy.
A subculture is not a counterculture. A consumer culture is not a subculture. We are not all in this together. Your social Laws (Godwin’s, etc.) are as insipid as any aphorism your grandmother might have cross-stitched and put on display two generations ago. What you think is cool is not cool. What you decide is uncool is also uncool. Your counter-snobbery is snobbery. Your snobbery is snobbery. You do not rule the world. Obama flashing a Vulcan salute does not mean that you rule the world.
Yes, a fascination with the strategies of Pokémon or Magic: the Gathering is just like someone else’s fascination with RBI averages. That doesn’t raise your interests up; that helps let us know how silly too minute an interest in professional sport is.
Your lack of a high school sex life doesn’t matter. (Nor does a prodigious high school sex life. Really, really.) The speed with which you can grab a citation from Wikipedia and pretend that you’ve actually read the source doesn’t matter. Software engineering doesn’t matter. (What the software is for may or may not matter.) Font choice certainly doesn’t matter. Fanfiction really really doesn’t matter. Whatever you hope to “escape” from will always follow you, because escape can’t be purchased, or rented, or streamed online. If you are inspired by some geek thing—wonderful! Be inspired. That doesn’t mean that every geek thing is inherently inspirational.
How much money you now make because you took the “hard” courses in school doesn’t matter either. Not to anyone else, anyway. Not everyone who likes the same TV show as you is a member of your “family.” Not everyone who likes that TV show less is a terrible person, or bland, or foolish. It’s a TV show. It exists to compel you to send a company money, or to convince you to watch an ad. When it becomes less effective at doing this, it will go away.
Geeks are not an oppressed minority. There are certainly many members of oppressed minorities who are geeks, but geeks are not an oppressed minority. The n in “N-word” does not stand for nerd, or neckbeard. You are not owed attention for the “real you”, especially if you insist that a hard drive full of scanlated manga is the real you.
You are not an employed as a publicist for a filmmaker, movie studio, toy company, or publishing company. If you find yourself working as an unofficial volunteer publicist for the same, and spending many hours a week doing so, and getting into arguments and debates over it, and pretending to commit suicide so that people will feel bad about how awful they are to you, you might wish to ask yourself why. The answer should not simply be, “I’m a geek!”
Professional geeks are no better than amateur geeks. Often, they’re quite a bit worse. You are not hacking the system. You are not a laboratory for the future. Your trivia is not superior to the trivia of others. Your canned arguments are no fresher than any other. You cannot lash your small self to some larger thing and thus enlarge yourself. Especially not when the larger thing you’ve lashed yourself to is “geekdom.” Enough, enough, enough.
Let us put an end to Geek Pride.
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© Nick Mamatas | Reposted with Permission
Image: Michael Carbonaro, ‘King of the Comics,’ New York, January 1976, © Bettmann/Corbis
NICK MAMATAS is the author of the novels Sensation, Move Under Ground, The Damned Highway (w/ Brian Keene), the collection You Might Sleep, and the nonfiction Starve Better. Follow the further adventures of this post (400+ comments and counting) at Nick’s Live Journal