I, of course, am a geeky fanboy. I read superhero comics and watch science fiction television. And I read a lot of poetry. But when I like something I want to defend it from charges of geekery in situations where friends are perfectly happy embracing the term. And I find myself dismissing things as geeky, in the very same way people dismiss the things I care about. For me the dividing line is quality, but I think I am really off base doing this, and I wanted to get some feedback.
For example, while I am willing to admit its importance to the genre, I think Star Trek: The Next Generation is geeky -- so geeky it makes me embarrassed to watch it, and embarrassed for the people who made it and who enjoy it. I was once on a Popular Culture Association panel with a guy -- a good guy, but still -- who played a clip from the Star Trek movie in which the Borg queen blows on Data's new flesh arm (which unlike his old robot arm is as sensitive as a human arm is) and Data reacts like he is receiving oral sex. It was an effort not to crawl under the table. (I meet people all the time who do not understand this reaction at all, and, admittedly, I am hard pressed to properly explain it).
But I cannot imagine Battlestar Galactica as geeky, even though I know perfectly well it must be: Dwight wears a Battlestar Galactica sweatshirt on The Office, so obviously most people are happy to lump it in with Star Trek. But for me the term geeky just cannot apply to something so appallingly well written, so dramatically intense and successful, so often properly horrifying and disturbing, and something where the performances are so top notch. I watched the second episode of season three today and actually got choked up. And for me -- and I guess this is just personal -- the show avoids the big shibboleth of geekery by not fetishizing hard science: the show does not care how the robots work, or the fine points of the engine room, and thank god for that. I want to tell people that this show is not geeky at all, but friends of mine are perfectly happy to embrace it in that way.
I know that to an extent the geeks are in power now, running the world and to an extent deciding that it cool (i just converted to Mac today), and that the dividing like between geek and cool was never that clear to begin with except on bad sitcoms. I have a hunch the geek-cool divide is a one of those suspect binaries French people are always going on about. But I still find myself clinging to it, or remnants of it. Ambivalence is my feeling about the term "geek" I guess.
How do you guys feel about it?