Friday, April 12, 2013

What Does It Mean To You?

I figured I had better put this post up before it becomes irrelevant, although talking about what a word means to ones self can't really become irrelevant.  A couple of weeks ago, Felicia Day posted an update to her Youtube channel, Geek & Sundry, she rhetorically asked what "geek" meant to her.  There she listed off a few descriptive words like "Outsider, Dreamer, Creator, Rebel, Fighter" versus what she feels the word Geek has taken on in the larger media, such as "Cliche, Monetize, Brand, Exploit."

I liked a lot of what she had to say, but I kept in mind that she was saying what geek meant to her.  I didn't feel like she was saying that "This is what Geek means and this is how the world should see it.  Now!"  That point of view would go against the whole point of her video, that "it's a person who dares to love something that isn't conventional" and that "your judgement is not my problem."  That I like, and that's as a whole is what I took away from her two and-a-half minutes.

This brings me to my next point, although it's less of a point and more like a "bullet point."  A lot of people have their own definition of what a geek is and what constitutes that that person sitting by themselves over there is a geek.  Or how about a nerd?  Earlier this year, Portlandia made a mock PSA that was about the word and association of "Nerd."  This type of "thing" could be made for just about any group who feels that their moniker has either been used incorrectly or abused by any other group.  I'm not saying that such corrections are unwarranted, I guess, something, I don't know.  And what makes someone a geek and not a nerd or vice versa?  Likewise, what makes one person a gamer and someone accusing someone else that they aren't because of X, Y and R?

And now I've tread into very dangerous and accusatory ground.

I feel it all comes down to labeling.  One person's labels may not coincide with another person's and that person may already have negative connotations towards any one of labels you throw at them.  Hippie?  Metalhead?  Hipster?  Gamer? Golfer?  Secretary?  Tea Bagger?  Chances are you formed what you personally feel is a stereotypical image of what that person looks and possibly acts like. Is it the right or wrong view of that person?  Is your view politically correct?  Does your view of any of the above possibly conflict with someone else' view?

And you know what, I'm guilty of it too.  I've said, "Fucking hipster" to myself while driving and have been cut off by a person riding a fixed gear bike on the 33rd block of Hawthorne.  In a very similar light, I'm as guilty as the girl scoffing at the guy sitting on a bus playing a game on his PSP Vita and thinks "stupid nerd" when he doesn't move allowing her to sit in the last open seat on the bus.  This idea of visual perceptions of people reminds me that I want to talk a little bit more about this, but I will save that for it's own post.

But going back to what "geek" means to Felicia Day, myself or you the reader, it's a potentially touchy topic. I could say, let it mean whatever you want it to mean for you, then someone else could say that "you can't just assign any meaning you want to geek, that's not how language works!  You can't say that "bacon" now means "french fries covered in cheese curds and brown sauce" because that's it's own thing already."

So where does that leave us?  This discussion isn't going to be solved in a single article or blog post, or youtube video and I don't think it really needs to be "solved."  It just is.  And who am I to come to such ambiguous conclusions?

I'm a person who loves video games (RPG, FPS, Survival Horror, Puzzle, Racing, Action, Flight Simulators, Adventure, Platformers, Point-And-Click, Simulation), music {Metal [Gothic Doom, Progressive, Doom, Death, Battle, Epic Heathen, Melodic Death, Black, Symphonic Black, Blackened Death, Meloic Black, Power, Folk (Scandinavian, Russian, Celtic), Pirate, Viking], Rock, Hard Rock, Movie Soundtracks, Video Game Soundtracks, Broadway Musicals (not a fan of Cats or Rent), Classical, Baroque, Folk [Irish, Scottish, Russian], Klezmer, Parodies, Classic Rock, Indie Rock, Latin Pop, Punk, Alternative Rock, Grunge Rock}, reading [Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Apocalyptic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Mythology (Celtic, Norse)], painting (Miniatures, Ceramic Figurines), watching movies [Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian, Comedy. . .

Under what category would I be placed?

The Likes Of Us All



    Having this post about identity next to a post about military recruitment reminded me of this song by propagandhi - it's dedicated to 'punks' in indonesia and 'emos' in afghanistan.

    It sounds like its from the perspective of a front-line worker at a re-education camp.

  2. Okay. I've been wanting to post that video for ages. Sorry. It would probably go better on the military post. Or not at all. Anyway, love that song.

    Okay, so, back on topic. Read post, watched videos. If I were between the ages of... let's say 5 and 18, I would WORSHIP Felicia Day. Wor-ship. Without a doubt. Pretty girl like that, saying its okay to like nerdy things, and then actually performing nerdy stuff? That didn't exist when I was young. So I appreciate Felicia Day for that. I want to see her succeed.

    I also appreciate the Portlandia bit. I'm a bit more in line with that one. That is to say, I've had similar frustrations. However, that bit also reminds me that no matter how bad I've had it, there were always those who had it worse. In terms of social rejection. Which is why the 'nerd' thing (in quotes) bothers me - there was a social cost to being nerdy when I was young, and it is grating to see someone jump on it as a bandwagon.

    Okay, maybe I should just do a full response post. In the meantime, I'll just say that to me, 'Geek' or 'Nerd' are labels that were placed on me, and some of my friends when we were children and adolescents. They were mostly used with derision, though occasionally with affection. So on its base level, I see those terms as social insults for children. Adults aren't nerds, and adults who call others nerds have their own special label: Assholes.

    Yeah, I think I may have to do a full post.