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July 03 2007

PopWatch contemplates the meaning of the word 'Geek.' The post talks mostly about Allyson Beatrice and her book 'Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby' but also mentions Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Tim Minear.

Ohhhh EW coverage. Very good indeed.
I was just thinking recently that I don't consider Joss a geek. (I think after a DVD Extra where he referred to his geekiness.)

The way he uses the word to describe himself, I'd say 'dork' is the better word choice. (I mean that with love, dear.)

I think of geeks (which IS a wholly positive word now, well, usually) as being either computer geeks, or science geeks.

Our boy just isn't either.

Although he's obviously able to turn the things on, and post here, and such, I gather he's not high on the geekitude scale in computers and this Internets dealy.

And, I gather (I THINK from things he's said in Extras) that he's not much the science maven. (Well, and it shows. Also said with much love, respect, and a reasonable amount of sheer terror.)

'Dork' seems to me to have had the old connotations of geek -- liking the sci-fi just a LEETLE muchly, not being the big fashion maven, and all like that.

Are my senses of these terms idiosyncratic?

Or just idiotic?

Or what?
Dunno, it used to be you had to be into science/technology to be a geek but I think the word's application is broadening as it becomes less derogatory (maybe because it is ?).

I think 'geek' has become more acceptable since the net (and computer use in general) became more widespread. Partly because 'normals' ( ;-) could finally see an actual use for all that 'geek stuff' (OK, the use was porn, but still ;) and partly because being able to connect to more people who share your interests (no matter how obscure) has maybe shown that there's a bit of geek in all of us.

(and you can totally be a 'Deadwood' geek IMO. Or a Mets geek or motorbikes geek or film geek - Joss ? - or whatever though, to me, it's more than just 'being a fan' or 'having an interest in', there's got to be an element of defining yourself, at least partly, by that interest, of self-identifying with the group. But I reckon you can be geeky about any subject that's rich enough to have arcane details to learn/memorise and/or maybe some social risk from identifying as a member of that particular group i.e. one where dedicated fannishness is repaid by the respect of, or acceptance by, other X geeks, where X is bikes, Buffy, spiders, films, computers, comics etc.)
"...and you can totally be a 'Deadwood' geek..."

**nods Sajely**
Yay, Allyson! I don't really have an opinion on the term, I am just so happy the the book is going to be reviewed by EW.
I *just* had this discussion with a friend. In our household, dork is actually an affectionate but insulting term connoting a (sorry-usually male) person who is unusually thoughtless, careless or otherwise oblivious to the needs, wants and opinions of those around him. My son's nickname is even "The Little Dork." A geek, otoh, is just someone who is very smart and often rather nerdy but it is DEFINITELY not an inuslt.

Oh yeah- yay Allyson.
OzLady,

REALLY?

Wow! I don't think I've ever encountered that usage.

Dorky was what we called people (long, long ago) that people later called nerds, sometimes geeks, before the latter two became positive.

Social-oblivious in a way, I guess, but not what you describe. Referring to the usage of my childhood, not current.

Of course, slang terms DO shift meanings over time.

I've realized since my first comment that my last job, which was with the genuine article -- computer programmers -- used geeks for that, specifically.

"Alpha Geek" being the primo title of honor, of course.

Someone at that company used to refer to "science weenies" for the really crunchy science experts.

Funny, isn't it?

Well, given your exposition of 'dork' I withdraw my original claim.

And in deference to Saje's post, too.

So I retract.

Joss be a geek, of the first order (and reverse-sort chron order).

His Geekitude.

He brimeth with geekosity.

It's not the first time my thinking has turned out to be idiosyncratic.

But let's just hope it's the last.
I guess I am used to "geek" being modified. Without a modifier, it used to mean someone who was into the books and nothing else, but then there were the theater geeks, computer geeks etc. Each being so into their thing that the rest of the world hardly existed.
I've always heard dork used as a derogatory term, much the way OzLady describes it. Geek has become a badge of honor. And yes, it needs a modifier; geeks specialize. Nerd is still somewhere in between.
According to my good friend Wiki-

GEEKS are people with an eccentric interest towards a certain category or topic.
NERDS might be identified as someone who is unusually intelligent.
DORKS or if you're Aussie, DAGS, is a term of abuse where the target is quirky, awkward, eccentric, socially inept or simply of lower status.

Therefore, JOSS is a NERD.
I am a GEEK. (Sub category- 'Buffy and Angel')
And anyone who disagrees is a DORK/DAG.

;-)

[ edited by missb on 2007-07-03 04:03 ]
Using missb's definition, I'd say Joss is a geek and a nerd. I, however, am only a geek. A Joss geek!
I pretty much agree with the Wiki definitions, but FWIW I'll add that The Collaborative International Dictionary of English (v.0.48) says:

    dork (d[^o]rk), n.
  • 1. a person who is stupid, socially inept, or ridiculous; --
    always used disparagingly. [slang.]
    Syn: nerd; jerk. [PJC]

  • 2. the penis. [vulgar slang]
    [PJC]

Although I definitely consider myself to be several species of geek (i.e. Jossverse-, sci-fi/fantasy-, music-, word-), geekdom is subject to definition by degrees. In my immediate social circle I qualify as an uber-geek, but I have farther-flung friends who easily out-geek me by several orders of magnitude.

It seems to me that geekitude these days depends more on a person self-identifying as a geek than on others identifying and agreeing that such a person is a geek. ('Course, being a geek I could hardly think otherwise. ;)
Yeah, it used to be that a person would never admit to being a geek, now we (in this instance I mean 'computer geeks') apparently rule the world and everyone wants in ;).

... Without a modifier, it used to mean someone who was into the books and nothing else ...

Hmm, US thing ? Over here that'd just be 'bookish' (even then they'd probably have to be solely into reading i.e. to an anti-social extent - otherwise it probably wouldn't even be commented on) and geek was originally (in recent, non-chicken related usage anyway) just for computer, err, enthusiasts ;). The UK term for a general science oriented smart person, especially someone who's maybe a leetle bit eccentric, is 'boffin' (or was anyway, like a lot of things the yoof are probably more likely to use 'geek' or 'nerd').

(and in computing we used to say a geek was a nerd with a marketable skill ;)

But let's just hope it's the last.

Oh, let's totally not ;).
Yay for Allyson.
Funny seeing her complete name spelled out in mainstream media.

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