Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Geekdom is love. Geekdom is sharing.

Oh, John Scalzi, I love you!

See, a few days ago, some self-appointed arbiter of geekdom wrote a piece for CNN about how "fake geek chicks" are ruining his fandom. See below:

Click the cosplayers to see Peacock's icky piece.

This misogynistic fella hates on models hired for Comic-Con, cosplayers, and women in general, because they do not meet his geek standards. Well, thank you for playing, Mr. Peacock, but you're missing the core point of what fandom is. Scalzi says it best thus:

Many people believe geekdom is defined by a love of a thing, but I think - and my experience of geekdom bears on this thinking - that the true sign of a geek is a delight in sharing a thing. It’s the major difference between a geek and a hipster, you know: When a hipster sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “Oh, crap, now the wrong people like the thing I love.” When a geek sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “ZOMG YOU LOVE WHAT I LOVE COME WITH ME AND LET US LOVE IT TOGETHER.”

Any jerk can love a thing. It’s the sharing that makes geekdom awesome.

This statement has that kind of intuitive rightness that speaks directly to one's soul. I'm not only an SF geek, but because of my love for a multitude of things and powerful desire to share that love, I'm a geek in pretty much every aspect of life:

For example, I love building machines - and then sharing photos of said machines, taking people for rides, going to car and motorcycle shows, and so on. It's pleasurable to work on them myself, and I get great satisfaction from making an engine work better, but it's sharing the results with others is where I get my real pleasure.

Click the image to see a page about the most beautiful engine of all time - that of the Vincent Black Shadow.

I love astronomy - my favorite thing to do with a telescope is to show other people things through it; one of my favorite jobs in college was running the public-viewing nights at Hobbs Observatory. Heck, I started the science club in my high school because my greatest pleasure in doing science is sharing it with others.

Click the image to see the NASA page about lightning on Saturn.

When I get student feedback on my classes, a common comment is that my enthusiasm for the topics I teach helps them get more involved in the material, even if they didn't care for it to begin with. I'm a teaching geek!

I'm a thousand kinds of geek... like most geeks. I would argue that most likable people are geeks of some kind. Though I don't like sports (and actively dislike much of the culture), one of my best friends is a huge sports-geek, so it's always fun to watch a game with him. He's also a Marvel Comics geek, so going to superhero movies with him is fantastic, because he knows the backstory that makes the movie meaningful.

And this is the core of what it means to be a geek: Loving something (often weird, but sometimes mainstream) and sharing one's love. In his mistargeted article, Peacock forgets that. If a person's geekiness is dressing up (or taking off clothes) to get attention, well, what makes that not valid geekery? The point is to share that love of *insert fandom here* with others in a way that lets them in on what you love. If you go to a convention and see a gorgeous costume, do you look away or do you watch the costumer for a while? How about if you see a person clad only in a chainmail bikini - or even just body-paint? If you find someone attractive, does that somehow invalidate the person's geekiness? If that person's greatest pleasure comes from feeling the attention of other people, can't that also be sharing one's love? So can't even Peacock's greatest villains - models - also be geeks? I have trouble imagining none of them love doing what they do and sharing it with others, but cosplayers are some of the biggest geeks out there!

Geez. Mr. Peacock: YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.

Wanna save the world? Wanna make it a better, more accepting place? Here's how you do it: Love things deeply and share your love for those things, one person at a time. If someone wants to share their love, give them a chance. Don't exclude people, don't dismiss their love... until they've spent an hour detailing their latest D&D adventure. There are limits ;-) However, that doesn't mean that only your geekdom is a valid geekdom.


Tags: astronomy, save the world, science fiction, teaching, vehicles

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