August 2, 2010

Geek History Month & Geek Awards

Just a few days ago, declared that it's Geek History Month.  Okay, I'll go with it.  I like to celebrate things like Bilbo's Birthday and National Bacon Day as much as the next gal.

As they point out in their post, geeks have sometimes been an oppressed group.  Other groups that have struggled and fought stereotyping have their own months - Hispanic Heritage and Women's History month.  Why August?  Well, some say the first web page was launched in August.  Though remember, geeks do like to debate.  And as another reason to choose August as Geek History Month, the first Geek Awards are apparently taking place on August 18th.  They are hosted by AOL.

Geek Awards?  Huh?

I like to think I am sorta in the loop with geek news.  At least I hope all those hours on Twitter and the internet aren't for naught.  But I haven't heard about these Geek Awards.  My brain instantly went to awards about science, gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, tech... the topics I think of when the word geek floats past.  I think that's a reasonable jump.  I got excited and felt an eensy bit of geek empowerment bubbling up.  But then I clicked on the website.  Their definition of geek is not my definition of geek.

As soon as I skimmed and saw that Justin Timberlake would be getting an award, those feelings of geek empowerment coiled back up inside my soul and withered.

I quote from the introduction post:
"Geeks have come a long way from being shunned like circus freaks and picked on in high school. Now geekdom is a badge of honor worn by the hardcore lovers of pop culture."

You see, they mean pop culture geeks.  Have pop culture geeks ever really been shunned like circus freaks?  I think that in some circles being knowledgeable about pop culture actually makes you the cool kid (though being an IT geek can put you there too).  But I'm guessing they don't mean getting shunned like my high school days of gripping my Robert Jordan books in the corner of the classroom while getting weird looks.  I bet those kids are still getting weird looks.

I'm not gonna lie.  My kneejerk response was to feel entitled and violated.  How dare they take my geek and make it about Lady Gaga?!  But geek is flexible word.  It's not like say The Sherpa Awards.  Sherpa's pretty defined.

So they can have their awards.  There are lots of types of geeks; I've encountered pop culture ones and camera geeks.  I know no one group owns the word.  But still.  I think I'm going to allow myself a moment of unrighteous indignation that they are doing the word geek wrong.

And I don't get the hunch that follows the Geek Awards defintion either.  Maybe they should use something else to back up August for Geek History Month.


  1. I am SOOO anal about the geek and nerd words.

    To me they have different meanings.
    I use "Geek" for hobbies and "Nerd" for hard areas of study.

    I would never call anyone a photography nerd. Even though it falls under areas of study category it doesn't belong with things like engineering or science or computers.

    I'm less strict with the word geek. Although when I generally think of geeks, they do not include people like Justin Timberlake or Lady Gaga. Even then, to be a pop culture geek would mean the person possess a vast knowledge about pop culture.

  2. I'm with you. They are misusing the word because these days it's so "hip" to be a geek. Ugh.

  3. I agree. Thanks for this post.

    These people can get back to me when they spend a childhood and teenage years being beaten up, spit on, and ridiculed for looking and being different.

  4. i say boo to those geek awards. it's just the mtv awards with a new name in hopes that AOL can be relevant again. i won't be tuning in to that nonsense :p

  5. Yeah, this is not the right kind of geek, definitely not. I mean, pop culture can be an aspect of geekdom, but Justin Timberlake? Ack. We need to get our own awards and categories going on here, you know, real geek stuff!

    Girls Are Geeks

  6. Agreed :S

    I imagine there's a me in my school right now, hiding in the corner with Lord of the Rings and hoping not to get kicked by passers by...

  7. Fabgeekling - I try to be loose with the word geek, but a tiny part of me wants to keep it away from folks like Lady Gaga.

    xocc - That was definitely my reaction. :/

    Chronic Geek - Yeah, I think for me the word geek comes with a lot of history and stereotype. And I don't think these "geeks" get it.

    Michelle - I can only hope that awards are created for you know... not pop stars. That would be neat.

    Rosaline - It did not make me happy. I want awards for Best Thrower of a D20, Best WoW player, King/Queen of all Star Wars Trivia, etc.

    Mary - Right? I'm trying to be fair to their idea of geek... but I don't wanna. *kicks them in the shins*

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