You know, I am quite proud to be a geek. I grew up a geek, with my glasses and my Star Trek novelizations tucked under one arm, and yeah, I got bullied for it, but it didn’t stop me. And these days being labelled a geek isn’t the insult it once was – we rule the cinema listings and reading comics is cool now – and yes, I am proud to be a geek.
I see being a geek as being filled with enthusiasm for something. Loving a thing so much – loving a story, essentially – that you want to know all the details of it, that you spend time discussing it and pondering the history of that story and its future. You surround yourself with stuff that takes you to that story in an instant; this is why my desk currently features action figures of Garrus, Marcus Fenix, Duncan from Dragon Age, and The Chamberlain from The Dark Crystal. It’s why above my desk there is artwork from Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and the Discworld books.
I love being a geek, and I consider other geeks to be an extended family. My people, if you will.
Which is why I’m filled with dismay when fandom seems to tip over into trolling. Yes, we’ve all had our moments of being horribly disappointed with where the story you love is going. Anyone who knew me a few years ago knows all about my extreme upset over the end of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I threw the book across the room, I wrote essays on how outraged I was. I had, in short, a tantrum of silly proportions. I didn’t like Prometheus either, and spent days afterwards listing all the many ways in which it didn’t make sense. But...
But at no point did I seek out the creators of those things to hurl abuse at them. Why not? Because that’s not what being a geek is about. If I can have a moment to be a little bit soft? Being a geek is about love, not hate.
Currently we have a situation where Steven Moffat has left twitter, due, apparently, to the amount of angry abuse hurled at him over the Dinosaurs on a Spaceship episode of Doctor Who. And this isn’t the first incident of fandom throwing its toys out of the pram in an unpleasant manner. If you follow Bioware on facebook (and I’ve mentioned this before) then you will know that any post is blanketed in comments about how fucking shitty the end of Mass Effect 3 was, and how Bioware are shit, and how they should all die in a fire because of it. Or the weird section of Supernatural fandom that reserves a special kind of hatred for the actor’s wives. I mean, come on. If we’re adult enough to operate a keyboard and enjoy the nuances of fiction, then we’re too adult for this nonsense.
There’s nothing wrong with being disappointed or even angry. Of course not. Rant about it all you like. Sometimes we get angry because we love something so much - my anger over the end of the Dark Tower was all about how much love I'd put into the series. But there is a line that once crossed means you are actually behaving like a pissy little child with poopy pants. A pissy little brat that enjoys bitching about something and spreading misery, more than they ever enjoyed the story. I didn’t spend secondary school being bullied for that to be part of being a geek, thank you very much.
So, you know what? To me, these people aren’t geeks. I take that label, the label that means so much to me, away from them, and instead give them the title of Tiresome Assclowns. Geekdom is better than that.