Geek, not Greek. When I’m not paying attention, those words look remarkably similar. It gets especially interesting when reading regencies, where ‘greeking’ was a term associated with cheating at cards.
Merriam-Webster is not overly positive on the subject of geeks, defining it as 1) a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked, or, 2) an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity.
The second one isn’t too bad, at least, and there’s a note at the bottom explaining that geek has increasingly positive connotations nowadays. Phew. For a moment, I thought we were back in the fifties, or what Hollywood thinks is the fifties.
And of course, because geeks are often intellectuals, there’s a lot of nosing around the subject, ‘what about X?’ and testing the limits of the English language to sort out what a geek really is, and wondering if the dictionary is compiled by a bunch of normies who wouldn’t know geekery if they fell over it. Hell hath no fury like a geek defending his latest enthusiasm.
I don’t think of myself as a geek, as some of you discovered in a separate discussion yesterday. The closest I get is geek-adjacent. I’m mildly interested in a lot of things, but not obsessive; I don’t talk enough to fulfill the ‘passionately but awkwardly holding forth on a subject until the listener’s eyes glaze over’ requirement; I’m unfortunately allergic to numbers and technology; most of the usual fandoms, hobbies, and interests commonly associated with geeks are a blank to me. And so on. And I don’t believe that merely having hobbies (of any sort) is enough to qualify a person as a geek; that would make the term so broad as to be useless.
What does the term ‘geek’ mean to you? How is it different from that related category, ‘nerd’? What does a ‘normie’ or non-geek look like? Is geekery purely a state of mind, or does it include specific interests, hobbies, or fandoms? Is it a social classification? How has the increasing popularity of certain geek-associated fandoms, for example, Lord of the Rings, the Marvel Comics Universe, et cetera, altered the way individuals and society think of geeks and geekdom?
Play nice in the comments section, ladies and gents. I’m going to have a nap and see if I can’t kick this cold that won’t go away.