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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.




( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)
It does seem to be the morning (or, in your case, afternoon) for discussing this business, doesn't it? I'm talking about it over in my LJ, too, with a primarily male response. Fascinating. And yeah. Scalzi rules. :-)
Jul. 27th, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm pretty much getting back online for the first time since June - catching up on news, tidbits, friends, and the typical internet stupidity. Saw Scalzi's post today, then went back to the original, then saw Peacock's post, and had to write something!
Jul. 27th, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
San Diego Comic-Con is the largest vehicle, but it's hardly the only convention populated with "hot chicks" wearing skimpy outfits simply to get a bunch of gawking geeks’ heads to turn, just to satisfy their hollow egos.

Says the man who, according to his bio on the CNN site, "tours the world, showing his extensive "Akira" art collection," and "cosplays as a six-foot-two-inch, 310lb Powerpuff Girl to fill the hollow pit that is his need for the wrong kinds of attention."

and also

Jul. 27th, 2012 06:32 pm (UTC)
That bit of irony did not pass my notice! I laughed when I read his mini-bio after reading that piece. Really, Peacock? Is this intentional irony?

Jul. 27th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
Perfect gif! <3 Oh, Penn. Nerd King 4EVR and All My Love.

I skimmed through the comments on Scalzi's site, but I didn't see anyone address the issue that Peacock's complaints are senseless (in addition to the many other ways they are senseless) because he seems to confuse the women who are paid to be there and be sexy (paid booth babes) and the women who pay to be there and be sexy. I mean...which group is he addressing? If the former, does he expect the booth owners to screen the women they hire and make sure they're geeky enough to work at nerd events? And if the latter, does he really think that there's a sizeable number of women willing to shell out the money for costumes (or time to make the costumes), tickets, hotels, and everything else involved with attending a giganto-con who have no interest at all in nerd culture? Really? Really?

This guy is just an asshat who wrote a bad article and got it published without thinking for two minutes about how it would make him sound. What he really needs to go now is go back and read Scalzi's thoughts on White Guy Privilege.
Jul. 27th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's weird that he was attacking the "fake geek booth babes" when it's the companies that hire them who should have done their due diligence - even if that simply means informing their models about the products. I mean, sheesh, if you hire someone to dress up as a character in your new game, wouldn't it be smart to tell her what that character does in the game? She might even end up a fan, herself.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 27th, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
Jul. 27th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
Ah-ha! Okay, I just figured it out. A little poking around found me this article, from May of this year about how Mr. Peacock is sick of posers in his little subculture. Well, guess what, Mr. Peacock, this shit happens to every subculture. Every subculture. I experienced it myself with rockabilly when the swing craze hit. But you know what? Just give it a couple years, and a lot of those people will disperse. Or they won't, because those posers find out just how awesome your subculture is, and stick around.

Show me the down side of that.

Okay, there is one down side in that I don't go to the rockabilly weekenders anymore because they're just too packed. This is only bad for me because I don't like to be around that many people. It's fantastic for the promoters, the artists, the vendors, and everyone else involved (who doesn't share my misanthropic tendencies).

But no, I think Mr. Peacock is just one of those people who gets all upset when too many people like something that he's liked for longer than them. And to that, I can only say:

From his May article:
"For some reason, 'geek' has become the label that the mainstream has placed on a culture that mixes comic book fandom, sci-fi and fantasy movies, and tech consumerism. And those things all together have become very popular. So the trend is to call yourself "geeky" if you like them.

But that's the problem. Those things aren't the sum total of geekdom. Geek isn't a scene. It's not a fashion. It's not a lifestyle. It's a life – my life."


Edited at 2012-07-27 07:00 pm (UTC)
Jul. 27th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
Hahahahaha! EXACTLY. And I think you've hit it right on the head re: your example about rockabillydom.

How ironic that Peacock is a geek hipster</i>. Is that ironic irony? Anyway, I believe this means we can now judge HIM and find HIM unworthy to attend geek events.

Jul. 27th, 2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
What a whiny little pompous self-important brat he is. "Peacock" is a good name for him. All strut and call, but no game.


GEEK (verb)
1.To love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to have an intense passion for.
2.To express interest in.
3.To possess a large amount of knowledge in.
4.To promote.

I'm a geek in so many ways, and proud of it.

Edited at 2012-07-27 07:21 pm (UTC)
Jul. 27th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)

Jul. 27th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
I have so much love for this post that I just want to smush your cheeks together until your lips make that fishy-face thing.

Jul. 27th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
Jul. 27th, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
Maybe his REAL complaint is that he has trouble hooking up in his PowerPuff costume whenever real women are around.
Jul. 27th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
Ya think? I love his bio, especially for this piece.
Jul. 29th, 2012 12:43 pm (UTC)
Geeks, hipsters, nerd... what English needs is a dictionary of slang, but by the time it was published it would have all changed.
Patrick Ocampo
Sep. 17th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
Peacock's Article
In his defense, Peacock tries to make a distinction between genuine fans and what I would call "hired guns".

"And be it known that I am good friends with several stunningly beautiful women who cosplay as stunningly beautiful characters from comics, sci-fi, fantasy and other genres of fandom. They are, each of them, bone fide geeks. They belong with us. Being beautiful is not a crime....What I'm talking about is the girls who have no interest or history in gaming taking nearly naked photos of themselves with game controllers draped all over their body just to play at being a 'model.'"

I don't think Peacock is slagging geek girls in general, or even beautiful geek girls, but rather what he perceives as "phonies"; girls who fake interest in geek culture in order to become famous or attract attention to themselves. Where Peacock's argument fails, in my opinion, is in its underlying assumption that any pretty girl who becomes famous in geek culture could not possibly be a genuine geek.

Peacock attempts to give credit to Felicia Day, but his compliments are somewhat backhanded. "I believe that Felicia's main drive is probably writing and acting, and that geek culture is where she chooses to exercise her talents." In effect, Peacock is saying that Day is an actor and writer who chose to focus her talents into geek culture. He is dismissive of the idea that Day may have already been a geek who simply decided to employ her talents in the genre that she enjoys.

Another problem with Peacock's argument is that it lends itself to assumption. How is he to tell between a genuine geek girl and a fake? Just because an attractive woman makes a living as a "booth babe" doesn't mean she should be dismissed as a phony out of hand.

If Peacock takes exception to the corporate policy of hiring attractive women for geek conventions, or as hosts on G4, perhaps he should go back and look at his comic book collection, or maybe even a few Frazzetta prints. There has never been a shortage of skin, especially female skin, in geek culture. Whether that is right or wrong is another issue, but until Amazon armor starts to follow function, corporations will continue to follow the genre's lead.
Sep. 17th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Peacock's Article
Excellent points, Patrick!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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