Monday, 29 October 2012

My Geek Manifesto

Pretending to be a geek is cool now. I know this because I live in Brooklyn—the womb of the hipster movement. Hipsters wear clothes that look like they come from a thrift store but really cost $90 at Urban Outfitters. They wear throwback t-shirts with 80’s and 90’s cartoon characters ironically. They do a lot of things ironically. But one of the things that really defines a hipster, in my eyes, is an intense and abiding obsession with some obscure pop-cultural reference. Most of them pick music—the more obscure a band is, the more hipster music fans will love it. I think the ideal hipster band is one that has, like, one fan—that one hipster hip enough to recognize its brilliance. But it’s always done with this layer of cool, with this deliberate attempt to out-obscure-knowledge the other person.

 See, I am a real geek. And I am not socially cognizant enough to wear anything ironically. When I put on a Labyrinth t-shirt, I do it with a complete, total, un-ironic love of Jareth and all his epic-haired, unashamedly-jodhpur-strutting, crop-waving, muppet-hurling, bizarrely-inappropriate-for-a-kid’s-movie sexual magnetism. When I love something, I am utterly un-ironic in a way that is completely uncool—I can’t even pull off the so-nerdy-about-music-that-somehow-I’m-cooler-than-you-for-knowing-weird-bands hipster mystique, because there is always someone who knows more than me about my own chosen areas of geekiness. I don’t care. This isn’t a contest. I love uncool things.

I love romance novels, for instance. I love Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught and if you try to tell me that The Notebook is romance in the same way a romance novel is romance, I will give you a forty-five minute lecture on actual romance novel tropes and why your typical chick flick is not the same thing. I have a running list in my head of heroes I am still fully, unashamedly, drastically in love with and yes, it’s just as all my ex-boyfriends feared—I do compare them to fictional characters in my head. I have a Barrons Books and Baubles t-shirt and I wear it proudly to showcase my love of Jericho Barrons, wherever he is, just in case I meet him in a dark Shade-filled alley someday—because if that day ever comes, I want that dude on my side.

I can live with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy being fake. But dammit, Jericho Barrons is REAL.

 I’m also a fantasy nerd, but I was a fantasy nerd before it was cool. One of my big pet peeves is people who think sci-fi and fantasy are the same thing. They are not. They are, in fact, polar opposites. I was a George R. R. Martin fan girl before the TV show was a gleam in some television executive’s eye. Tolkien was my first love—I still vividly remember where I was the first time I entered the Mines of Moria and Shelob’s Lair. You don’t forget formative stuff like that. I strongly believe that somewhere, in a parallel universe, there exist the real last four books of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and someday I will go on an epic, multiverse-spanning quest to find them.

 So yeah, where was I? Something about hipsters. I forget. But I think what I was trying to say was that even though being a geek has been overlaid with this ironic patina of cool, I still haven’t figured out how to paint myself with that brush. I’m geeky, and I am so not cool about it. And that is totally fine.

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