Five Reasons Geek Culture Should Go Away - My Two Cents


Geek culture. It certainly is not new, but heck, I am still sometimes not sure what it is really supposed to be. I think it’s one of those things that can’t be easily pinned down.

So I found this article titled “Five Reasons Geek Culture Should Go Away”, and quite understandably, it immediately caught my attention. ((Source)) Peter Smith, the author outlines his reasons as follows.

  1. Geek culture is escapist.
  2. It’s simplistic.
  3. It’s dogmatic.
  4. It’s sexist.
  5. All of this stuff was better when it was cheap.

After having read the article several times – and going through a roller coaster ride of thoughts ranging from “WTF?” to “Indeed!” to “I couldn’t care less.” – I feel like putting these reasons plus my two cents on the table and inviting you to share your own thoughts. So let’s take them one by one.

Geek culture is escapist.

Peter’s premise: geeks want to mentally and emotionally live in some fictional world and never want to leave. I have no arguments against the escapist attitude. Assuming I can be considered a geek, then yes, when I get lost in the world of Westeros or Middle Earth, then I have a temporary escape from the mundane. Sure, I may want to never leave those worlds, but that doesn’t mean I won’t return to reality, does it? The idea of fictional worlds may be escapist but who does not need an escape every now and then?

It’s simplistic.

Peter hits out at stories like The Dark Knight, Star Wars, The Lord of The Rings, and Harry Potter. His main point: they only see things in black and white. The worldview is of good and evil, no in betweens. He could be right, but I think he is being too limited in his view of geek culture if he highlights these things alone. Sure, there is the ultimate battle between good and evil (as in many other stories and in real life), but let me point out George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire as the prime example of fantasy being a mirror of real life. There is good. There is evil. And there are so many shades in between. There are good people who have their horrible sides. And there are bad people who have their moral attributes.

It’s dogmatic.

Peter might just be right. We all know fans of whatever book/movie/character who go up in arms at the slightest criticism. I might even be guilty of this every now and then.

It’s sexist.

Sigh. It’s the “s” word again. It always comes up, and he might have a point about Marvel Studios having only one female lead in their movies. As I read the lines “You could say this reflects the culture at large, but in geek culture it’s often a little worse, because it’s more fetishistic. And don’t get me started on the ass-kicking-lady-elf-in-a-plate-mail-bikini thing; that’s almost more patronizing than the standard Mary Jane”, images of anime ladies came to mind. Then again, these things have their fair share of women fans. Does that matter one bit?

Personally, I think that there may be sexist undertones in many stories considered as part of geek culture, but with the number of women being active in this arena, I question the statement that geek culture is sexist. To be fair, Peter said “not all of it, but a lot of it”. Then again, can’t the same thing be said about the real world?

All of this stuff was better when it was cheap.

I couldn’t agree more!

All I can say is that I will continue watching/reading what I enjoy, whether or not it’s considered to be part of geek culture. What do you think about Peter’s reasons why geek culture should go away?

Oh, and here’s another interesting piece about geek culture from our own archives.

Photo via Pillowhead Designs

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