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These troubles, of course, long predate the current scenario where "geekdom" has achieved a more tangible kind of power and privilege; with Silicon Valley as the Western World's new billionaire-factory and comic book heroes as popular culture's new money-printing icons. But one can't help but wonder how much of modern geek-culture aggravations like sexism in the games industry, verbal assaults in online spaces, sexual harassment at conventions, etc have some root in these old, pervasive dynamics of power and privilege.

Surely, can't it be said that there's at least some residue of Urkel & Laura in the scoffing of (some) male con-goers at the notion that female cosplayers have the right to exist as attractive-looking beings without being followed, catcalled or groped? Surely, a deep internalizing of the Nerd = Victim = Good Guy narrative might be at play when this or that fandom reacts violently at the notion that they or the objects of said fandom might be marginalizing somebody else ("I can't be racist! I'm a geek, and that's the same thing as being a racial minority in America!") And surely, couldn't there be just a bit of the Good Smart Nerd/Evil Dumb Jock (or Dumb Everybody Else?) mentality informing instances of, say, Google occasionally acting like the rest of San Francisco is little more than a fiefdom that should be grateful to live in the shadow of its (Tech)noble Lords?

The phrase "check your privilege" has been overused to the point of eye-rolling parody, especially on the internet, but there's worthy advice to be found at the core of it: We (as in we, humanity) are not all equal all of the time, and neither are all privileges of equal power... but all of us do have privilege, none the less. Things that we're permitted to do or say that others are not, places only we are "allowed" to go, behaviors that (rightly or wrongly) are okay for us but not for someone else. What is advisable - no, what is vital - is that we simply be aware of what we are afforded and honest of how we benefit or how others may not.

There is nothing, in most instances, "wrong" with achieving in-part through one's privilege or enjoying the benefits thereof. But there is definitely something wrong with actively using your privilege to do harm or do nothing about harm. To be a "geek," especially in the here and now, does not exactly make one a king (or queen) among men... but it does afford some a certain measure of power - a measure of, yes, privilege in certain scenarios. To "check" that is simply to consider what power you have, and how it might affect your approach and perspective versus someone else's: "Would I feel the same way about _____ if I wasn't _____?"

Surely, a "culture" and "community" that so prides itself on its intellect - and prizes its sense of moral self-righteousness - can handle that much.

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