274: Geeks in the Mist

Geeks in the Mist

An intrepid anthropologist orchestrates a daring long-term study of Geeks and discovers that they are hiding among us.

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Fantastic tongue-in-cheek satire, but I think you may be discounting some successful, proud geeks. The most visible case studies would be the Penny Arcade guys, probably. I myself take pride in my geek level, most notably through my borderline obsession with Rock Band. :)

I found it wonderfully amusing to read. It's a hilarious parody of a standard documentary (obviously Gorillas in the Mist) with jokes about geeks whose tendencies become secret hobbies instead of facets of their identities. There are definitely those who don't follow this pattern, but it makes the ones that do all the more amusing. Also my Anime club is completely different from the one you described.

A very fun read. Couldn't relate that much to the case studies, since I live in a different habitat. But still, a fun read with good satire.

haha, brilliant. The Jane Goodall of geekdom.

I've hidden my geekiness for years, and I'm only 20. But its true, my friends and I have codes and phrases only we know, because they are based from geek culture (monty python, etc).

Good article!

My geekdom fully encrusts the bedroom, living room, not to mention parts of the hallway and bathroom. It includes, but is not limited to three 60 - 100 inch screens (one of which is 3d), 16 TB of storage space on two servers, four gaming PC's, 6 consoles, 4 electronic drum sets, one real drum set, and about four bookshelves full of the best games of my times.

I am married with a (lucky) nine-year-old Gmod fan and an IT career :) So, I guess I don't fit any of the observations of this article ;)

While I don't agree with some of the data you presented in this study, I'd have to say it's still a valiant effort of understanding this often misunderstood species. I solute you!

While a dedicated research of fifteen years is quite a feat, I can't help but notice that the researcher omitted to widen it's search area, opening the door to some oddities present only to the specimens of the direct habitat. Naturally, a larger scale study would have probably cost a lot more, and wouldn't have procured results in such depths of the matter. I suggest we keep this study as a reference of the future studies on the subject, and to compare each others for similarities and oddities.

I myself is near a potential herd, which, we can already see differences between your studied herd, I would speculate that the geek species are closely subject to the flow of time, to be prepared for the camouflage later on.

In seriousness, that was a pretty interesting way to put things, and I can actually see some of the phenomenons described, not all of them yet though, I suspect it's the fact I'm still at university, so all the changes still haven't manifested themselves.

THAC0 hasn't been around since Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. How long ago did you begin this study? Geek tribes, like many other primates, adapt quickly to changes and developments into their environment. More recent studies demonstrate that hitting zero, while still an underlying principle, has been substantially modified and adjusted by Geeks to enable more leisure time.

As a fellow anthropologist, I am simultaneously amused by the intended satire and cringing because I have read reports that read exactly like this. Real life, scientific reports about real people--which is pretty scary. The next time you read about some study that looked at a given group and determined something, think back to this article and question their results!

Lyndraco:
As a fellow anthropologist, I am simultaneously amused by the intended satire and cringing because I have read reports that read exactly like this. Real life, scientific reports about real people--which is pretty scary. The next time you read about some study that looked at a given group and determined something, think back to this article and question their results!

I wasn't sure whether or not this was how an anthropological article should be conducted and at about page two I was almost certain it was a satire, but nonetheless unsure if articles on actual people have been presented this way.

Quite frightening.

The best part about this article is how geeky it is.

I read this article in my head with that tone of voice that one normally reserves for those nature-show commentators. You know what I'm talking about... "See here how the honey bee dances gently this way and that, all in an elaborate dance to show her companions where the sugar is." I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the humour. Hat's off to you :)

h0wdyth3r3:
I read this article in my head with that tone of voice that one normally reserves for those nature-show commentators.

Crikey, mate?

h0wdyth3r3:
I read this article in my head with that tone of voice that one normally reserves for those nature-show commentators. You know what I'm talking about... "See here how the honey bee dances gently this way and that, all in an elaborate dance to show her companions where the sugar is." I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the humour. Hat's off to you :)

Like Leonard Nimoy in civ 4? i read it half like that and half like Look Around You.

I may have just seen my future!

image

God DAMN it. I knew someone was watching me in University! I just knew it!

Honestly, you literally just described my post-secondary years. Bravo.

I get that this had good-natured intentions, but unlike most people I found this piece sounding a little degrading at times. But maybe it had something to do with this:

Amanda Yesilbas:
After the viewing of films, much to this researcher's surprise and delight, the herd retired to a private lair to participate in an arcane and somewhat mysterious game involving dice and mathematical calculations.
The goal of the game was to hit an imaginary number called zero.

Oh dear lord, could you have chosen a worse adjective to describe the number zero? An imaginary number is i, as in the square root of -1. Zero is a real number. Especially in an article for geeks about geeks presumably written by a geek... how could you have messed that up?!

Wait.....that was you hiding in the bushes with the binoculars? I thought I was seeing things for a moment >.>

Btw really enjoyed reading this and found it funny as one who is also a geek (or partial geek)

Ah...no female geeks? Or was the researcher working with a university grant that assumes none such exist?

Excellent article and nice bit of satire. It even has a message about being yourself at the end there. I can't help but feel the noted behaviors might be antiquated though or maybe its just deviation due to local climate. I did get the distinct bubbling notion in my gut of the ethnocentric anthropologist of yore though and that ticked me off but that's what you were going for so kudos at replicating it.

Well written indeed. I find myself in the same position as the researcher, trusted by, but not fully a part of, the geek herd at my university. I can put a name to each example of person the researcher gave. Extremely accurate by my accounts

Great article. Probably your best at the Escapist. Keep them coming!

I like this article. The only difference for me is that I am the typical geek. I work with computer and I don't hide that I've been playing World of Warcraft about 5 years. LoL The guy in the cubical next to me is a player as well. I've been a geek all my life and I am sure I am going to die that way. =P I was wondering, did any of the 'test subjects' live where people know they were a geek? Did all of them hide the fact they like D&D/manga/video games?

**EDIT**
I had a laugh when I noticed I changed my badges to show the geek one. Win :)

This was a depressing read.

Keep perpetuating those stereotypes, girl.

The Geek phenotypes have proliferated to individuals and groups not traditionally defined as Geeks.

Is the middle-aged mother of three who plays Farmville, Peggle, and Bejewelled on a regular basis a Geek? She plays video games, probably more than you do. Is she not a Geek?
Is the former high school running back who actively and enthusiastically participates in a Fantasy Football pool with coworkers a Geek? He plays the football equivalent of Dungeons and Dragons. Is he not a Geek?

A person identified as a Geek back when some of us were in high school or college may not be defined as such as they grow older. Geek seems to be socially-accepted term for what were once known as Nerds, and nowadays seems parallel to the Japanese term "Otaku" (Obsessive Enthusiast) rather than socially inept Shadowrun-playing, Mountain Dew-swilling, Cheetos and Dorito-dust covered shut-ins who play video and computer games or read comic books almost every free hour of their day.

But such behaviors are in-vogue because they are a considerable market demographic (Translation: they got money, they spend money, companies market to them). To quote the article:

"In conclusion, the report finds that for self-preservation, many Geeks approaching middle age have taken on adaptations to disguise themselves in the larger and more hostile climes outside of the university. These misunderstood Geeks have not been destroyed as originally speculated, but instead thrive hidden in plain sight. Their lives are a precarious balance. It saddens me to see such a noble creature living in fear and shame, as if its existence alone was cause for ridicule and scorn."

Was it not always this way? The Geek was never noble; lions of the societal food chain they were not. Not ever. Geeks don't disguise themselves, they are merely more open about their interests than before since those interests are somewhat socially acceptable in current times. Your former high school varsity quarterback who spends the hours after work playing Modern Warfare 2 is now a Geek. Your new girlfriend who loves playing Disgaea because she thinks the art style is cute is now a Geek. Your mom is probably now a Geek. You may proudly proclaim yourself to be a Geek. But were you ever a Nerd?

h0wdyth3r3:
I read this article in my head with that tone of voice that one normally reserves for those nature-show commentators. You know what I'm talking about... "See here how the honey bee dances gently this way and that, all in an elaborate dance to show her companions where the sugar is." I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the humour. Hat's off to you :)

Personally I heard Sir David Attenborough's voice.

Seriously, though, how many of us haven't had to put away our "childish things" to some extent because of the demands of everyday adult life? Sure, I'd love to veg out at my computer and play games all day, but I have that pesky full-time job, food shopping, and all other kinds of self-maintenence chores to handle. And while the whole Geek thing may be more socially acceptable than it was in the past- I was chatting about FPS games with a couple of co-workers outside the office during a fire drill recently, for example- it's still not something we go around bragging about.

Why? Because games- a whole and distinct other area from sports- are still labled as "childish things", something grown adults are no longer supposed to hold an interest in. And that ties into the greater pressure to "keep up appearances", to show the world that you are a Mature Adult and a Contributing Member of Society. Games are still considered a waste of time, when you could be doing something more valuable, like getting drunk with friends at a sports bar, or shopping. Older people, of course, are given a pass on this, because they've already done all they can for society and are entitled to their leisure time. That's why people think it's cute when Grandma bowls a perfect game on the Wii, but shake their heads in disgust when a 30-year-old man talks about being in a Modern Warfare 2 clan. Why isn't he putting in overtime for a promotion so he can buy his wife better clothes and his kids more expensive toys? And doesn't the lawn need mowing?

Tee hee! I just received my "Geek to the core" badge.

I loved The Rogue Wolf's "Games are still considered a waste of time, when you could be doing something more valuable, like getting drunk with friends in a bar, or shopping". Strange to see how ruining your health over alcohol and spending money you don't have are more acceptable than playing games. If you balance your activities and responsibilities properly, what is the problem in spending your "me-time" playing games?

I've always thought the terms geek, nerd, especially in modern times act as quantifiers of preceding words, because of the huge number of nerd or geek subtypes (anime-nerd, comic-geek, etc). Looking at the label that we have either adopted or had applied to us from external agents (bullies, friends, online quizzes), from this perspective I believe adds a huge new dimension to the description and definition of nerd and geek tribes and subcultures. For instance, I am a nerd but specifically, I am a music and subcultures-nerd, a bit of a language-nerd and I exhibit video game-geek tendencies (I rarely get a chance to actually play any videogames these days but still consume great amounts of gaming related news and discourse, so I should qualify my gamer geek term as, video game culture-geek.

My theory is that nerds/geeks consume and become highly literate with specific forms of media, cultural artefacts, styles, tropes etc. and appropriate them for their socialisation, development and identification. For example, I play with language, I create my own terms and phrases within social situations which would be almost impenetrable to outsiders, most of the time this language-play is completely divested from my other interests, and simply there for my own amusement. With music subcultures, I discern and appropriate ideals, and styles from the mid to late 20th century British subcultures, the stylish visual acuity of the mods, the stubborn hard-nosed grit of the (original non-racist late-1960s) skinheads, open-mindedness and inclusiveness of the rudeboys and general criticism of dogma and authority of the punks, all mildly informed by the gamer-geek aspect (gaming tattoos, a 1-up mushroom belt buckle on a spiked, beaten up old punk-rock style leather belt). All of this comes together to inform my own worldviews and construct my social self.

In that sense I guess what I am saying is, Amanda, for writing what is ostensibly (at least in the way I read it) a satirised version of an Anthropological ethnography, you are the first satirist who is an Anthropology-nerd I have ever encountered.

And-that-is-frickin-awesome!

ranger19:
I get that this had good-natured intentions, but unlike most people I found this piece sounding a little degrading at times. But maybe it had something to do with this:

Amanda Yesilbas:
After the viewing of films, much to this researcher's surprise and delight, the herd retired to a private lair to participate in an arcane and somewhat mysterious game involving dice and mathematical calculations.
The goal of the game was to hit an imaginary number called zero.

Oh dear lord, could you have chosen a worse adjective to describe the number zero? An imaginary number is i, as in the square root of -1. Zero is a real number. Especially in an article for geeks about geeks presumably written by a geek... how could you have messed that up?!

I can only imagine you are being sarcastic?

Anyway I really enjoyed this bit of tongue in cheek satire. Well done!

 

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