Sunday, May 6, 2012

Geeks: speaking a different language

Geeks aren’t anti-social – we just love talking about stuff we know most people have absolutely no opinion about. While the majority of society seems constantly ready to launch into a Romney vs. Obama compare/contrast (or death match, depending on who’s talking), we want to discuss the finer points of the Mary Jane Watson vs. Gwen Stacy question renewed by the upcoming “Spider Man’ movie (but started long, long ago in the comic books). Not that geeks don’t have political opinions – we love a good argument, if nothing else – but the “Spider Man” question just seems so much more interesting. (Or the corollary – is Toby Maguire or Andrew Garfield the better Peter Parker? Movie geeks can get involved in this one.)

One of a geek’s greatest joys is acquiring a huge knowledge base about something that interests them (sort of like a serious football fan, but that’s a discussion for another day). Part of the fun of having such a deep knowledge base, however, is using it to analyze the show, movie or game you spend so much time thinking about with someone who knows it as well as you do. The blank looks most people give you just aren’t enough.

In fact, it could be argued that we seek out social companionship more than the non-geeks out there. For most people, a decent conversational partner can be found almost anywhere – if the person in the cubicle next to yours doesn’t want to talk about “American Idol,” the person sitting next to you in the carpool probably will. Someone who can intelligently discuss the possible implications of the Observers in “Fringe,” however, can probably only be hunted down on the Internet.

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