While geek culture and fandom is still relatively niche to the mainstream, a lot of people are slowly embracing it. We’ve seen it with the recent popularity of superhero movies as well as television adaptions of geeky literary works such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. People like the late Steve Jobs are now considered visionaries to everyone instead of just some nerd who made a computer. To a lesser extent, the reimagining of popular 80’s cartoons like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their mainstream success is also a testament to the geek lifestyle’s acceptance.
Because of this, I feel there are a few things we should change, especially how we think and how we interact with the more mainstream society. We are due for an upgrade anyway.
First of all, we should be proud of what we are. I know before geeks were pretty much outcasts to society and mainstream media painted images of geeks huddled around a table in our parent’s basement playing Dungeons and Dragons. Or donning ridiculous costumes and acting out scenes from our favorite movies or cartoons. Heck, remember Star Wars Kid?
Well, okay. Honestly, we did do all of those things and it may have been embarrassing then and it may be kind of embarrassing now. But now, people are more accepting of these behaviors now. There should be no need to hide the fact that we love RPGs, video games, comics, cartoons, anime, cosplay and other geek pastimes. We are who we are and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. Just keep it down a notch, maybe?
Second, we should be willing to accept “new members” to our society. At the least, we should tolerate it. With our hobbies becoming popular and more mainstream, there is now more people becoming interested in them. Instead of turning them away or shunning them, we actually should be helping them. After all, we’ve been at it longer.
The best example why we need to accept new blood would be Kevin Smith’s panel during the 2009 Comic-Con. This was the year when the 2nd Twilight film, New Moon, was previewed during the event. And a lot of nerds and geeks were pissed. The general consensus was Twilight fans aren’t fans of what we like and they shouldn’t be a part of the event. Well, Kevin Smith thinks otherwise.
We need to acknowledge that, while it may be something we don’t like, we can’t live in our own little world. We have to let others in since understanding is a two way street.
Finally, in line with my second point, we have to not act superior. Like I said, we’ve been at the geek game longer and people who do show an interest are just getting into it. We can’t laud our knowledge over them and then treat them like idiots. Remember: a lot of us were probably bullied or teased about our love for geeky stuff. Now that the shoes on the other foot, we shouldn’t retaliate. Rather, we should help them in getting to know geeky stuff.
We have to be parental figures in a sense. A parent guides their children through the path in life. What do you call a parent who makes fun of their children when they do something stupid? We call them bad parents.
This is probably the most difficult thing to do. I know I’ve been guilty of acting superior at times but I know it’s wrong. We need to be the bigger men (or women) and guide them properly. Not laugh at them when they make mistakes about geek fandom. Even if we are tempted to do so.
It took a while but geekdom is slowly being accepted into the mainstream. We shouldn’t hold on to the thought that we’re still outcasts of mainstream society. It’s time to bring our enlightened thoughts and wisdom to them.
And, in the immortal words of Spock:
Have any other ideas or thoughts on how we can upgrade to version 2.0? Please leave them in the comments section below!