Geek Week: Tom Clempson on why we love Geeks…or do we?

The lovely (and annoying poop head) Tom Clempson has written a great piece here on not just the rise of Geek in the mainstream but if Geek today means the same as it once did.

Geek /gi:k/
An unfashionable or socially inept person.

We don’t need a dictionary to tell us what a geek is do we? We all know what a geek is! We love geeks! They’re geeky and they’re cool and they’re funny and… they’re mostly us. Which is weird. And slightly narcissistic. Do we love geeks because they’re us? Or do we love geeks because they’re the underdogs and nobody else loves them? I think the answer is this – we love a past idea of geeks. Because, if truth be told, geeks have become the coolest, biggest, most loved social minority of all time. Being a geek is now so cool that, unlike fifteen years ago, being called a geek is actually a compliment, not an insult. Everybody wants to be a geek, which raises quite an important question:

What the hell is a geek?! 

I know what a geek used to be, and I know what the dictionary definition says at the top there, but it’s wrong! How can a geek be unfashionable when there is an actual fashion named ‘Geek Chic’ in existence? How can a geek be unfashionable when rock stars actually try to look geeky? How can a geek be unfashionable when everyone claims to be one? 

^ ^ Available at Matalan incase you wanna know…. ^^

The way in which we define a geek is definitely changing. Gone are the days when you can identify a geek by the fact that they like watching Dr Who, because, today, that pretty much includes everyone. In fact, you are more likely to get ridiculed because you don’t watch Dr Who! 

Yes, it really has gotten that far – being a geek is cool, and being cool has become lame, and this topsy-turvy evolution has rendered the true meaning of ‘geek’ utterly obsolete. And you know who is to blame? 


Writers of books, of TV, of film, or comics and video games have made geeks the heroes, and writers of dictionaries have failed to keep up with the times, leaving the definition of ‘geek’ stuck in the past. So what do we do? Well, as far as I can tell, we have three options:
We petition to change the dictionary definition of geek (but in doing so we lose a bit of history, and the original meaning of ‘geek’).

We coin a new term for those jumping on the geek bandwagon (‘new age geek’ or ‘wannageek’ or something like that), but if we do that then we automatically become elitist, bullying, segregating fascists, which goes against everything that ‘geek’ stands for, therefore losing all rights to call ourselves geeks.

We get over it, and tell ourselves “the world changes, people change, words evolve and, well, the more the merrier!”

In the end, words are just words, writers cannot change who we are deep down inside, and only our massive collections of comic books, 1980s Star Wars figures, stacks of Harry Potter trading cards, shelves of original VHS Star Trek and Buffy tapes, Sci-Fi themed board games, thirty-year-old computer games, and unhealthy knowledge of all things Middle Earth can ever define who we really are.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, well, the contents of a bedroom closet is worth a million.
‘Geek’ is not a word. Geek is a state of mind.
Tom Clempson is the author of One Seriously Messed Up Week in the Otherwise Messed Up Life of Jack Samsonite and the follow up One Seriously Messed Up Weekend…. and you can find all the lovely details and social media links for Tom here

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