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Thread: Fantasy is for losers...
January 17th, 2005, 08:02 AM #1
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Fantasy is for losers...
Last year, The Globe and Mail ran an article entitled "The Geeks Have Won," about the commercial dominance of fantasy in a whole variety of media. As someone who purchased Terry Brooks first Shannara book when it came out, I guess I joined the 'geek team' in its hairy-palmed heyday. But does that mean I should be celebrating our victory?
I thought it might interesting to have a 'group therapy' thread where we can swap stories of fantasy and shame, from fathers hiding your d20's to mothers sitting you down an explaining that 5th level Dwarves aren't 'really real, honey.' Any knee slappers?
As well as to ask more general questions asides, like, what does it mean to grow up a geek in our contemporary culture?
For that matter, what the hell is a 'geek,' anyway?
January 17th, 2005, 09:28 AM #2
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I still have to deal with the nerd/geek stigma and I'm 31 years old! I read The Hobbit in the 6th grade and throughout the rest of my junior high/high school days I always had a book to read. During study halls I would read, instead of doing last minute homework or sleeping. Shame on me for that! I had to field questions all the time like, "What's that? For English class? NO? Then why the hell are you reading it? Because you feel like it? Forget that! Reading is for losers."
Nowadays it isn't much different. I work in the Quality Assurance department of a manufacturing company, and I still always have a book to read. People still tell me what a waste of time reading is and they ask me, "What are you 12 years old?" when they see that I read fantasy. I'd like to see these fools make sense out of The Silmarillion or Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, or the Thomas Covenant books. Hey, they should be able to do it if a 12 year old can. Yeah, right. These guys can barely make out their names when they're spelled out for them.
On a positive note, when I read The Lord of the Rings 18 years ago, my family didn't really know who Tolkien was and elves were only Santa's helpers. Now, with the release of the films, they all have read the books and they know why I was so into reading.
At least my wife doesn't think I'm a geek.
January 17th, 2005, 10:03 AM #3
I like the d20 comment, every one of my friends have dice strewn about the house! I went to a house warming party this weekend and I mused on the fact that there are certain things we all have at home:
1. Some kind of Dragon ornament
2. Some kind of Buffy Tribute (usually a poster though in the case of girly houses just the boxed sets)
3.Lord of the Rings goblets
4. Extensive collections of board games. Not just AD&D but lots and lots of board games.
I am coming up to thirty, and I think I am the only one of the lot of us who doesn't role play. The geek thing should be embraced as a lifestyle choice, as it has been by us (by which I mean my friends and I). They all go to this yearly event called the Gathering, we still all do group outings to watch the big sci fi/fantasy blockbuster film, and whenever we have a christmas pub crawl (left over from our university days) there is always a spontaneous round of 'Cthulu Carols'. I love being able to discuss my fantasy/Sci Fi interests with my friends. I can't at work although it is accepted as a valid interest
January 17th, 2005, 10:23 AM #4
What is a geek?
Usually intelligent? I'd say so.
Usually ugly? Probably not.
Usually a loner? Sometimes.
Read/Watch Sci Fi and/or Fantasy? Sometimes.
Good at School? Usually.
Roleplays? Not always.
But guess what, they are also the people who probably invented everything you like to entertain yourself with/watch/play/drive/fly and will probably cure you AND make this place a better planet to live on for your kids.
So you go Geeks, I'll watch your back.
January 17th, 2005, 02:03 PM #5
- As I type this, I am wearing a Superman neck tie and a pure silver replica of THE ONE RING from Lord of the Rings.
- I also own silver Green Lantern ring and alternate between wearing it and the ONE RING
- I own a Lord of the Rings chess set and
- I own a replica of Sting
- I own the three Green Lantern and 1 Flash porcelean statues
- I own over 4,000 comic books, and the number increases on a weekly basis to this day
- I played D&D in middle-school and High School
- I've been reading for pleasure, that is stuff outside what school told us to read and more often than not, Mystery, SF, Fantasy or Horror, since middle school
- I regularly watch G4/TechTV (a cable channel almost exclusively dedicated to Video Games
- In my younger days, I was an avid baseball card collector
- I play Fantasy Baseball
I don't think Geek has the same negative connotation as it once did. When I was younger, it generally meant social outcast. But you know what? A lot of the so called "geeky" things I did - (D&D, Comic books, baseball cards), brought my friends and I closer together.
Today, I think Geek simply means you are really into something, I hear car afficionados referred to as Car Geeks, and the like.
And while my wife may not be a "geek" she does indulge me in all of my geekery. The LOTR stuff I mention above? She bought me, as well as the hero statues.
January 17th, 2005, 03:09 PM #6
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Yes! Fitz, you are the king. I also can attest to many of the points you just made. Hey, we should do a SFFWorld fantasy baseball league for the upcoming season. You any good?
January 17th, 2005, 03:19 PM #7
I finished 3rd place two years ago, that's the best I've done.
January 17th, 2005, 03:47 PM #8
I suffered from closet geekdom in my high school years. I was Joe-Jock Closet Geek. Football, Baseball, cheerleader girlfriend, the whole nine-yards. But when I was home I was buried in a book.
I would play Intellivision, Atari, the Commodore 64, early PC games with my elementary school friends but ONLY in the off-season and NEVER when there was a victory party at some dudes house. (Ya see, I didn't go to the local high school with all my other geek friends from grammar school, I HAD to go the big private, exclusive, Co-Ed, "we are Football City Champs for the last 72 years" school - yup I was a mook).
I was under the illusion that high school was such a great time in my life. Until I got to college. I realized everybody was as screwed up as me and finally was able to be myself. My best friends to this day, I am 32, are from grammar school and college. I regret not sharing my true passions with anyone in high school. I keep thinking of all the real relationships and close bonds I could have formed in high school if I wasn't so worried about how much I bench pressed! Bench pressed for christ sake! I mean who cares what a 15 year old bench presses! Like I said I was a mook.
PS Glelas is my name, fantasy baseball is my game.
It doesn't get any campier than that!
January 17th, 2005, 04:12 PM #9
First: my outing. And maybe one day I will come back to tell one or two anecdotes.
My husband thinks I am a geek - well, I think he is right. He is one himself.
(We met 12 years ago because of role-playing - and we still play twice a month. ) Actually, a lot of our friends think we are geeks - but we know something they don't: they are geeks too! *muahahahar* Just not so high-level.
I am reading SF and F - I love movies, I love video games, I live for role-playing, I am an internet junkie. And I tend to collect stuff that relates to these interests. And I share these interests with my husband (who reads much less, but is very much into creating rpg systems ...)
Oh, and I think my mom is a geek, too. Since last year she spents every evening in chat rooms and she called her two dogs Xena and Kira - fortunately she is not really into either 'Xena' nor 'Deep Space Nine' but she liked it a bit at least and she loved me and my early developed geekdom enough to go with me to some Star Trek conventions. And she was having a great time there even though she understood nothing of our special fan language. She is sooo cool.
Do I have a list of stupid incidents due to my interests (like READING!)? You can bet. Does it hinder me or frustrate me? Not for long.
Did I have problems in school? Sure, but hey, that was puberty and than I met real friends.
Btw, cool thread!
January 17th, 2005, 06:13 PM #10
Hey, I'm not a geek, sorry folks. I am a loner, always have been and definetly prefer to be one. I was an academic for many years, a hippie forever, a nature lover, but I am still scared of the dark (well, sometimes). I have been a reader since I was old enough to read, but I am not conservative, not conventional at all, and because of the business that I am in (not the writing business) I have learned to appreciate the elements of style. I was a geek as a young kid, with big golashes on my feet and hats with the ear muffs that pulled down out of them, and particularly with a mother who worried about every step that I took. I was too tall and too skinny and I was too smart then to be cool. Now my kids think smart is very cool, and I run, teach yoga and work out everyday, so I am not skinny anymore.
I go to World Fantasy and other Cons, and all the geeks seem so cool and in the know, they flock together and have this very superior attitude, while I hang out by myself and read. In the fantasy world, geekdom is the norm and I am the outsider. I don' think there is a situation where I would be the 'insider'.
January 18th, 2005, 06:41 AM #11
I'm detecting a real cultural divide here. Much American Geekness which my only real understanding of comes from movies. Not sure what the differences are. Except perhaps the sports stuff....
January 18th, 2005, 06:46 AM #12
I'm sure there was a geek test posted here a while ago, I was surprised by how geeky I am. But the I have worked in computers, hosted a LAN party, role played for many years, been involved in Historical re-enactment and such like so maybe I shouldn't have been...
January 18th, 2005, 07:26 AM #13
Hello, my name is Sheepie, and I'm a geek...
... I'm a really bad geek since I play sport, and jog, and go to the gym... but I do my best.
Commodore 64! Glelas, get any really wild games of Pong going?
Last edited by Rocket Sheep; January 18th, 2005 at 07:30 AM.
January 18th, 2005, 09:18 AM #14Originally Posted by Rocket Sheep
Ok, I always knew I was a geek, but my dad positively encouraged my delves into the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy.
But that's about it.
Like Ms Sheep I play a lot of sport, go to the gym, etc... but against geekiness I was an old school raver, expelled twice from school, been to court more times than a 18 year old chav, and was the father of twins when I was 20.
Just goes to show, you never can tell, huh?
a reformed character now
January 18th, 2005, 12:51 PM #15Originally Posted by Jacquin
I think that there is a general accepted understanding of Geeks in the western world. Computers, studying and intelligence, escapism, an appreciation of historical machoism, an uncanny understanding of science, I therefore nominate you Jacquin as the ultimate geek.
But on a slightly more serious note, when it comes to looking at backgrounds, cultures, gender etc, I have to say that my perception of the majority of geeks being a white middle class male has never really been challenged. I guess I must be the exception that proves the rule. Oh, and Rocket Sheep obviously, being a different species altogether.