Category Archives: Geek 501

Expect a page, sorting and organizing these posts. This is our primer on Geekdom – a Geek 101 if you will. Except we both have Master’s degrees. So it’s Geek 501.


Geek 501 – Geek Where You Are

geek 501

I feel like the massive explosion of geek culture in recent years – to the point that it doesn’t feel like a counter-culture anymore – is due in large part to the Internet. The Internet allows geeks to find each other, allows fans and fandoms to find each other. It allows for our expressions of geekiness to be found by others, for us to be creators as well and to have an audience. It allows niche and obscure things to have a large following, because the whole following can potentially connect together.

However, I’m also frequently reminded of how important it is to have a local focus, even as we geek. Let’s go with an example.

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Consuming Comics – Geek 501

After checking out a whole bunch of comics and graphic novels from our local library it got me thinking of all the forms that comics take. There is the comic strip in the newspaper that so many of us grew up reading. Now we have online web comics that for many of us have probably replaced reading any newspaper comics. Then there are the serial comics that come out monthly with longer stories that can happen over years. These are the typical superhero comics, such as Batman and X-Men. They might be released on a regular schedule, but then the stories will get compiled into a trade paperback. On top of that there are graphic novels that are single releases of a story. Often times they are fictional, but they have also been used for memoir or other non-fictional stories. This has even gone so far as to be used to help explain concepts such as copyright and media consumption.

Using drawings to help tell a story means that the visuals of the story can be shown through the pictures instead of explained and interpreted. The interesting thing is that even though all the elements are the same there seems to be a class difference between the various comic types. Graphic novels definitely seemed to be treated as a higher form than the regular weekly / daily comics. Even though there is an art to being able to get out so much content every week. Continue reading

What Does it Mean to be Smart?

geek 501

This is a topic that has been coming to mind for a while. There are a number of reasons, and it’s a post that could go really long. However, instead of exploring each alternative, I’ll just try to touch on them and let you weigh in.

It ties in with questions of Geek versus Nerd. Geeks are defined by their passions and engagement, while the only main difference I can see for the use of the term “Nerd” is there is some assumption then of being “smart.” It’s the nerds who get forced to do others’ homework in the media. Although again, I feel there’s a lot of overlap between these two groups and definitions thereof, if not total overlap.

However, I’ve also been thinking about this a lot with the Geek Baby. There’s so much talk of all these things you can and should do to help with a baby’s development, from breastfeeding to tummy time to reading and music. And so, preoccupied with doing these things, we’re preoccupied with wanting to make sure our baby is smart.

Still – what is smart? Intelligence, with the IQ test behind it and all, has a much more precise sort of meaning. Intelligence is about “getting” things. However, at points just about anyone can be smart. Often it just takes making a “right” decision or observation. And it can be really relative, depending on others and on the situation. And hindsight. So what is smart?

Being right seems like a good starting answer, but it also requires hindsight in general to judge. So generally, in decision-making moments, it’s an educated or intuitive guess being made, which time will show as good or bad. Is the person who is good at decision making the smart person?

Of course, educated guesses open up another possible definition. Knowing things. Being smart might be knowing things, maybe about a specific thing, maybe about everything. In this way, we can all be smart by specializing. By knowing about our specialties. And really, anyone can, with enough time and dedication, learn and know things. So are we smart after we do so?

Or are we smart by making the decision to study and learn in the first place?

Of course, with studying and learning comes remembering. With memory, with recall of the things we do know, we are being smart in the moment. We can sound smart by memorizing and remembering really sophisticated things. We can probably be smart by remembering really pertinent or important things. But memory is a fickle thing: does it really define being smart?

There are other alternatives as well, being intuitive, or being persuasive, or being good at things… Surely other definitions that you could supply. In fact, please do so in the comments below!

Geek 501 – Gatekeeping

Before we dive into the A to Z Challenge, I wanted to get in another Geek 501 post. So it’s time to take on one of the bigger things in all of geek culture. Something that crops up in basically all fandoms. Gatekeeping.

I could define Gatekeeping. Or, I could let comic writers and artist Noelle Stevenson do it for me.

As I’ve talked about previously, much of the joy and point of being a geek is finding others like us, finding those who share our loves and joining together. However, in group forming, in identity forming, in self-defining, one of the problems is that we inherently exclude others.

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Geek Versus Nerd via Sports Analogy

I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve broached this subject, and since then we have picked up followers and commenters. In other words, we’ve picked up some folks who might like to weigh in on the discussion. It’s kind of an obvious question for us, because we chose Geek in our name: the Comparative Geeks. But what does it mean to be a Geek? And how is that different from a Nerd?

Indeed, defining Geek in terms of what Geek means versus what Nerd means might be easier and more meaningful than trying to define Geek in a vacuum. As has been said to me, we don’t Geek in a vacuum. When you try to take either of these terms on their own, you get the definitions that we talked about in one of our very first posts.

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It’s kind of like this, only not.
I used this on

We’ve shared things like the Geek vs. Nerd Rap Battle before. We’ve talked about King of the Nerds. And we’ve explored geekdom from other angles in our Geek 501 posts. But today I want to talk about Geeks and Nerds in terms of an activity that is not normally thought of as Geeky or Nerdy, but is instead for some reason “mainstream” or “popular” or “normal” or whatever the opposite would be.


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