Monday, August 27, 2012

Geek Squad

Once again my brain has dissolved into a box of cats.

Not so much because I'm turning into a Marvel supervillian (though that would be pretty awesome, I've got to admit) or because I'm feeling mentally unsound. But more because I'm in utter denial that classes start in a week, I've got to deal with apartment turnover this week in my lovely assistant manager position and learn the names of 20+ new tenants, and I still have no idea if my directed study is going to work out for this semester as my professor hasn't emailed me back yet (I'm sure he's busy but it makes me nervous. Especially as I feel like I should have more planning done for it :P)

So basically my mind's a bit scattered with the return to university and the fact that I was out of town for a few days in Ely, Minnesota, which is a wonderful tiny town that is ridiculously far north and looks like something out of a postcard.

Also in my time racing about the state of Minnesota and trying to remember that school is a thing that is happening, I've sort of lost track of what I was planning on discussing in my next blog post. I have about twenty-seven drafts, so it's not as if I'm lacking topics. I just lost my bearings of where to start of again. So I'm just going with what came up first in my queue and going with it.

That being (once again) - appearance! Yay! Namely the trend of "the sexy geeky leading male." And how this is a bit baffling to said sexy geeky leading males.

I'm rather caught in a strange space after reading these articles. Part of me is really, really happy that actors like Andrew Garfield and Matt Smith are getting the adoration and attention they deserve. But part of me is also stuck in the "Goddammit, it's all about appearance again!" realm. But, as we know, I'd be lying if I didn't care about appearance in some respect. And so, I find myself totally caring about appearance and being happy that not all actors look like Channing Tatum while simultaneously being frustrated that this could be potentially promoting shallowness all the while thinking that maybe it gives hope for the rest of us so-called geeks that we can finally get away from stereotypes of geeks.

A quick etymology lesson here: geek is one of those bizarre words that means a multitude of things to a multitude of people. Urban Dictionary briefly describes a geek as someone who "does not have to be smart, a Geek is someone who is generally not athletic, and enjoys Video Games; Comic Books; being on the internet, and etc." and also a bit longer one:
The term "geek" originally referred to the carnival performers whose act consisted of biting the heads off chickens and eating glass. Over time it came to be applied to anyone who got paid to do work considered odd or bizarre by mainstream society.

The term now enjoys a special status within the technical community, particularly among particularly knowledgable computer programmers. To identify oneself as a "geek" indicates a recognition that most people still consider programming computers to be a bizarre act, along with a certain fierce satisfaction in being very good at their inglorious profession.

That most software geeks now easily earn twice as much as the average laborer just sweetens their defiant embrace of the term.

Note: Unlike the word "nerd," which is always pejorative, "geek" often carries a positive connotation when used by one of the group. The use of the term by outsiders is considered insulting.
My computer dictionary includes the reference to carnivals and also states that a geek is "an unfashionable or socially inept person."

Thanks, dictionary. Thanks for that.

Geek carries with it both negative and positive aspects and obviously isn't used to refer to people biting off the heads of chickens these days. However, it's also been taken by those who are called geeks and also intermixed with words like nerd and dork and picked up references to fan culture until it's really hard to know what geek really means unless it's used in context. Generally, though, it seems the word geek has come to mean someone who is very passionate about something - whether it be computers, music, books, football, what have you. As a very clever person from my Italian class said last fall, "Everyone's a geek, because everyone's passionate about something." (Or maybe he said nerd. Considering I'm still not really sure there's a difference, moot point.)

But the typical idea of geek really doesn't leave much in the way of room for female geeks. Because of its reference to the tech world and the low number of women working these jobs, it's assumed that geeks are men.

(Pretty sure I enjoy using this gif far too much.)

If being a geek is all about passion, then every woman I know is a geek. They're all passionate about something, even if you generally wouldn't call having passion towards human rights or writing geeky. And of course being a fansquee is a form of geekery (is that a word? I'm making it a word) in itself. And yet the idea of a geek still refers to someone wearing a pocket protector and thick glasses. Go figure.

Point is, I'm usually rather torn with the idea of geeks. I myself am most certainly one but I hate the connotation it tends to carry with it. So then I do what other geeks do and embrace the title, to hell with all else, and totally geek out.

But what continues to confuse me is the physical aspect that being a geek supposedly carries with it. How did certain celebrities get deemed as appearing "geeky" rather than... I don't know, however you'd describe Brad Pitt or someone. Maybe I don't see geeky as an appearance thing. Maybe I've never really noticed the difference but subconsciously knew and have always been attracted to geeky sort of guys and just never thought about it. Maybe I'm oblivious to everything and been on Tumblr too long.

Hmm, thinking the last one has some serious validity there...

Regardless, appearance does have something to do with it. Otherwise people wouldn't get so upset about the TV show New Girl and being upset that a geeky girl is "too attractive" (and people in return wouldn't get so upset that you can't be attractive and be a geek). And people wouldn't make a big deal about Benedict Cumberbatch's vocabulary. And saying things like this:

And I wouldn't be so goddamn flabbergasted by this photo:
Blue eyes and top hats; if I were a DC superhero, that'd be my Kryptonite. Good thing I'm not a DC superhero. :P

I'd like to talk more about this, but my brain has currently decided to give up on life and turn to mush. So, more on geekdom later. For now, enjoy a complimentary Martin Freeman and hedgehog photo:

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