I am a second generation geek. My parents are geeks. My mom is a huge Trekkie and has been since the original series aired when she was in elementary school. She’s had a framed, signed picture of Kirk and Spock for my entire life. The night Star Trek episodes aired was the one night a week she was allowed to stay up late as a kid. My dad grew up watching classic Doctor Who and reading all the big fantasy authors of the seventies.
Because my parents are geeks, there are many geeky things I can’t remember my first exposure to, like Terminator, Star Trek, and Star Wars. I often joke that as soon as I was born my parents sat me in front of the TV to watch these shows. My mother read to me A Wrinkle in Time when I was five years old. When I hit the fourth grade, I was handed A Wrinkle in Time to read for myself plus The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia. Everyone in my family was required to read these books when they hit the fourth grade. I grew up watching Star Trek: Voyager, The X-Files, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Stargate: SG-1, The Outer Limits, and so many other great science fiction shows—watching them with my parents and siblings, as a family. My uncle gave me my first Star Wars book. He let me borrow The Thrawn Trilogy. I tell you all of this so you know geek is in my blood. I was born a geek. I was raised by geeks and raised as a geek. If there is anyone who is not a poser, it is me.
I tell you this so you’ll know I seriously mean my next words, because if there is anyone who should feel they have the right to judge others, it’s me—who has been a geek for all twenty-five years of my life.
Now listen close.
There is no such thing as a geek poser.
All you need to be a geek is a deep-seated love and enthusiasm for something. Anything really. People seem to confuse “love” and “enthusiasm” with “knowledge” and “longevity” thus corrupting the simple truth of geekiness. Knowledge certainly comes when you discover a deep love for something, because you often search for everything you can find about it. You consume the thing you love, as much as you can find. And eventually, if your search deepens your love, time will do its thing and you will find you’ve been a fan for years instead of months.
I’ve been a geek all my life, but not a geek in all things. My first, true geek love was Star Wars. I have all six movies memorized. SIX. Not just the original trilogy, but the new ones too. I’ve read every Extended Universe book between the Truce at Bakura and The New Jedi Order, plus a smattering of the new stuff that takes place during the new trilogy as well. I can tell you things about the Star Wars galaxy that you probably didn’t even know someone thought or cared about. I can pulverize people in Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. I love Star Wars.
But through the years I have acquired other areas I love to geek out in: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Dragonriders of Pern, The Wheel of Time, Doctor Who, anything by Brandon Sanderson or Isaac Asimov, Stargate, Batman, and so many other things.
Despite all of this, there have been times I’ve worried people would think I’m just a poser. Me.
The first time I really felt this was with Doctor Who. I didn’t get into Doctor Who until the fourth season of the new series. That’s right, the Donna Noble season. So you could say I was way late to the game. And at the time, I confused the truth of being a geek, and I thought I had to have knowledge and longevity instead of love and enthusiasm. I didn’t go to Doctor Who panels at cons because I was worried people would judge me. I thought I had to wait until I’d seen all of the new series plus as much as the old as I could. And eventually, I did do that—but it wasn’t necessary.
The next time I went to a con I had maybe two full seasons of Doctor Who under my belt and smatterings of a couple of episodes. I went to a panel. And it was amazing. People accepted me. The people who had been fans longer wanted to share their knowledge with me and tell me what the best episodes were to watch. They wanted to relive those first moments when they saw Doctor Who for the first time through me, by asking me what I—a fresh pair of eyes--thought. I wasn’t a poser. I was just new.
And being new doesn’t make you a poser.
Now my newest geek is comics. You all know how Thor and The Avengers affected me; how the character Loki changed how I viewed the world. I want to get into comics, but it’s an amazingly hard world to just break into—which I’m sure I’ll talk about in a future post. And part of me is worried that people will think I’m just a poser, just a fair-weather fan, or that I only like it because it’s now popular. And you know what? It doesn’t matter.
If you’re just a fair-weather fan, if you only like it because it’s cool and popular right now, that’s ok. Because the more people giving money to the things I love, the more likely things I like will continue to be made. So why should I hate on you? And what may start as fair-weather-ness may turn into a deeper love, which just expands my community, my culture further.
Because geek is my culture, and the more people I can expose to it the better, the more people who share my joy and enthusiasm, the better.
There is no reason for hate in geek circles, no reason to exclude. Being a geek isn’t about that. It’s about love and enthusiasm. And that’s it.
That’s what being a geek means.
You are not a poser, even if you just discovered Star Wars or Sailor Moon or Batman two minutes ago. You are a geek. Welcome. If you need help finding your way around, just let me know. I would love nothing more than to share my culture with you.