Saturday, December 14, 2013

GEEKDOM - Pt 1

Some of the GEEKS Among us
The other day my son told me that a girl in school called him a "Geek." Obviously, this was rather upsetting to him as it would be to any 4th grader. Now, allow me to say this: he comes by it honestly as
both my ex-wife and I qualified for the title throughout most of our lives. In fact, I often proudly proclaim that I've been representing 'Geeks With Swag' since 1982; the year after I realized that the "Cool Kids" don't define me, and I began to develop and brand my own style. Geek is an inherited trait.

Yes, by standard definition, he is a geek. Unfortunately, it's hard for a child to understand that there is nothing wrong with being a geek. The world moves forward because of geeks and always has. My poor son is a kid with a highly advanced vocabulary, wears glasses, possess a very sophisticated sense of humor, likes to read, prefers pretend games in the school yard to sports, is somewhat socially awkward, and often leaves adults in shock or stitches after engaging in conversations with him. At the age of seven, he set his sites on attending Harvard.

I explained to him that the mediocre are the superficial leaders of the social order, especially in school. They are the ones who create the social categories, of which there are generally 3 or 4:

"Daria" MTV's '90's Champion of Geeks. 
Popular Kids - Often earn good grades, part of honor societies, dress well and are liked by the cool kids. Often, popular kids are really geeks with a cloaking devise. Our political types generally come from this pool.
Cool Kids - Alpha types who are not the best grade earners. In fact they are often at the bottom of the grade barrel, but they often excel at sports or have been able to effect an image and social skills that make them popular. Their glory years are usually over by their late teens or early twenties.
Beta Kids - The followers of the Cool kids. They dress and act according to the standards set by the Popular and Cool kids; and are often the enforcers of the social order.
Geeks - Ironically, these kids are often Alpha types, have a different way of socializing and have interests that are outside of those of the 'norm', which makes them threatening to the social order and therefore targets for the (remarkably insecure) Cool and Beta kids. Ironically, they often have friends (even if occasionally clandestine) among the Popular kids.

Cool Kids and their Beta minions often get agitated when the Geeks begin to organize into their own social groups and are insulated from the influence of the Cool kids. When the cools and the betas realized that not only are they not being envied and admired, but they are meaningless and rebuked by the Geeks, the reactions range from shock to anger; thus deepening their senses of insecurity. One such cliche of geeks coined the popular Geek motto "Olim Mihi Faciet" which loosely translates to, "One day you will work for me."

Reppin' Geeks With Swag Since 1982
Intellect has never really been something that has been valued or admired in American society, as it has
been culturally set into the American psyche that intellectualism is less favorable. Intellectuals bear such tags as "dweebs," "nerds," "geeks," "spazoids," and a host of other names that made my middle school years such a treat. Americans are culturally taught to favor mediocrity, saving the competitive or ambitious senses for sports, careers, and a myriad of minor achievements. When children do well in school, we call them smart; without recognizing the irony of standardized exams and the preparations for them are akin to a mouse running through a maze for a piece of cheese. The Pavlovian- like conditioning to response to stimuli promotes in the box thinking and approaches. The child who remains unchallenged or un-engaged by traditional efforts at education are left to fall by the way-side unless they have a parent sharp enough to recognize that the goal is for their child to receive an education that will ultimately serve them; not simply for them to do well in school. Ironically, your natural intellectuals often fall into two categories: the ones who can thrive in the maze and rise to the ranks of A.P. and honors classes; and the majority of untapped genius who hang in the "B-" quadrant of the pool.

Intellectualism in America had about a 30 year window. Due to neglect on the part of the social guardians, We began to see it surface under President Eisenhower; where the counter-culture began to grow in size and stature. Under President Kennedy, we saw it actively encouraged and expand; continuing under President Johnson's watch. Nixon tried to push it back into the underground; Ford was ill equipped to address it at all, Carter tried to give it a boosts, and the Reagan administration should receive their proper place in history as the administration that ushered in the dumbing down of America. Let us remember: it was under Reagan's administration that school lunch changed drastically and a hamburger with relish and ketchup, fries and a non-dairy milkshake constituted a fully nutritious meal of the four food groups (Meat, vegetables, dairy and grains).

In short, if I were going to pin-point a year that the "Dumbing Down of America" was put into effect, I would have to say it was 1981 and through careful cultivation and patience, took 20 years to really start to kick in. This however, leaves the up and coming generations of Geeks to basically become a loosely associated guerrilla force to combat their detractors.

Meanwhile the advice I gave my son about the next time somebody calls him a Geek? "I'm not a Geek, you're just a pathetic bottom feeder trying to feel like you matter." I admit: it's a Geeky answer, but what else could you expect?

To Be Continued...

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