Thursday 15 September 2011

I'm a Geek and I'm proud

This week is Speak Out with your Geek Out week. It's an online initiative to share our collective enthusiasm and love of our geeky hobbies. It's a chance for us to say we are proud of of our interests and that far from being anti-social or negative our hobby interests are a positive thing.

I've written several times [Here, here and here] about my conscious decision not to hide my hobby interests from friends and colleges. Far from thinking of my hobbies as a stigma I have been able to turn them into an asset and something to be proud of. I have a keen interest in history, science, politics and art and have developed skills in photography, computing, painting and writing; all directly related to my so called 'geeky' hobbies.

As Gaming writer Jess Hartley wrote on her blog...
"...This is about sharing with the world that geekery is awesome, that it transcends the common definition, and that we are not ashamed of who and what we are. Every person who participates is amplifying that message and adding their own unique voice to it."
However for me this campaign has highlighted another very relevant and topical subject; that of internet bullying. Most gamers, painters or hobby enthusiasts will have either accessed or contributed to an online forum or Blog at one time or another and will recognise the sense of 'community' that one feels taking part. But we will also all recognise the 'troll' who's main enjoyment seems to come from ridiculing or insulting other commentators in an apparent quest to start a 'flame war'. Sadly this isn't restricted to the geek-o-sphere and as a recent BBC News article shows it can have distressing consequences.

Even amongst the non-troll gaming community its not uncommon for one sub-group or another to be ridiculed by another group. This is a shameful self inflicted wound in my humble opinion, as if we don't have enough stigma to overturn without fighting amongst ourselves as well. I think we - the nebulous and varied 'gaming community' - should take on board the words of Monica Valentinelli  (Author, Game Designer and Founder of Speak Out):
"I feel this is our chance to prove that - once and for all - to each other,  that we can inspire and uplift. That tolerance is possible, provided we remember to be tolerant of other people. That our emotions are what bind us together and labels are what keep us apart."
Regardless if you're a roleplayer, a wargamer, a computer gamer, a trekkie, a larper, sci-fi buff, a comic book fan, a reenactor, or anything in between, then its time to stand up and be counted. I don't care if you can speak Klingon or can recite the first edition DnD rules by heart. It doesn't matter if you own a Jeep, collect star wars figures or have every set of Magic the Gathering cards. So-what if you paint miniatures, write a hobby Blog and battle across a tabletop with toy soldiers. It doesn't matter whether you're a geek, a nerd or a dork. You're cool, you're hobbies are awesome and I guarantee that you are a more interesting and rounded individual than you would be without them.


  1. Here, here!! Not quite sure which one I am, geek, nerd or dork, my wife says all of them!! I think she may be right!

  2. I read that BBC article just last night, pretty sad reading in parts.

    Great post, some excellent points.

  3. I think Ray´s wife is right :-D
    Geek is the name given to people who from the outside seem obsessed with a particular hobby..but not fishing I notice...

  4. There is no reason to hide it! I talk about it like it's the coolest thing in the world (which, it is) and that frames the way people think about it a good amount of the time. Not that I am gonna convince the people I work with to play Flames of War or anything, and I'm sure they think it's a little bit nerdy, but it's amazing how often people ask about it with genuine enthusiasm and curiosity!

  5. Agree 100%, Proud to be a history geek!

  6. Ray is an ugly slow geek but well said fellow geek.

  7. I personally prefer to maintain a reasonable low profile on this.

  8. I own a Segway and ride it around the college campus I work at. All the kids think I'm a geek. They're right and I don't care that everyone knows.

  9. Forgot to mention, my car has a vanity plate: "Wargame"....beat that for geekdom!

  10. My wife just calls me an anorak.

    I mentioned to a bloke at work about me being a wargamer and he couldn't stop laughing. I mentioned my 6 mill tanks and he had to leave the room!

    Still, I love the hobby and can stand the slings and arrows (except when aimed at my Mid Republican Romans).

  11. Thanks for the post, glad to see the pride in our hobby.

  12. When I get in an Anthropological mood and step back to look at it, I find it really odd that there is a 'stigma' about wargaming or any kind of gaming really. It's like adult society is clinging to the schoolyard attitude of "cool" and "dork" and it is entirely arbitrary.

    When I compare it to sports fanatics and their hobby I see:
    * Both spend long hours in 'gaming'though sports fans watch while gamers participate.
    * Both spend a good deal of money collecting objects related to the past time. Both tend to have 'collections' though gamers tend to *play* with their collection.
    * Both can recite numerous statistics and past information, whether its batting averages, running yards & salaries or charge distances, armor penetration & point values.

    I really don't see the difference except that gaming is less of a passive hobby. Maybe it is because of this, 'playing' that is the root of people looking down at it, from some misguided idea that adults shouldn't 'play', but I think it's more likely a holdover from the juvenile culture of 'cool'/'not cool'.

    I often call myself a dork ;) My fiance hates that word, but loves that I enjoy this hobby so much and thinks there's nothing odd about it.

  13. I couldn't agree more ... with one single exception, WWII re-enactors of the SS variety... :o))

  14. Fine post Lee. Some terrific thoughts there.

  15. I am very open in telling what my hobby's are and if someone has a problem with it or doesn't like it, it is his or her problem not mine! It tells more about that person then about me.
    But it is sad that people can not openly tell what their hobby is without being laughed at or being bullied.

  16. The Dear Leader is no longer a geek.

    She has purloined a week for every year now the rest of her leaderly life, and despite her fine words about labels, her actions show that she depends upon the label for us to answer to it.

    The US is full of self-appointed media leaders like this for many groups, and these 'leaders' themselves depend on their separateness to have any meaning at all. They must perpetuate it, despite the fine words. The words are empty, but few can see it, especially with constant compliant media support.

    While everything you said is agreeable, the Leader has now become cool, and is herself no longer a geek on the inside.

    She is a Oreo, cool and successful capitalist with a winning marketing formula and logo on the inside, and a geek on the outside to attract us to her dynamism. There we must continue to answer to the labels to be a part of her empire.

    We will be better off using our own armour, against the slings and arrows, and leadership qualities, and our advanced communication equipment, to lead ourselves to the promised land.

    After all, we already had all those advantages over the hoi polloi, before she pointed it out explicitly.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always try to reply as soon as I can, so why not pop back later and continue the conversation. In the meantime, check out my YouTube channel Miniature Adventures TV