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Josh-D. S. Davis

Xaminmo / Omnimax / Max Omni / Mad Scientist / Midnight Shadow / Radiation Master

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Josh 201604 KWP
I think that one major aspect of geekdom involves the intensely neurotic belief that in most circumstances it is an order of magnitude more important to figure out how to do something, or to do it "The Right Way", than it is to actually accomplish something at all.

Something like that.

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I cringe everytime I read or hear someone referring to himself as a geek or using terms like "geekdom" or "geekiness." If I could, no questions asked, change one thing about the circle of techno-literacy the bulk of my friends centers itself around, it would be to remove the word geek from our vocabulary.

To me, the word geek has never been at all a term of endearment. In fact, until very recently, I was under the impression that the entire world shared my view of the difference between geeks, nerds, and dorks. I know I'm not alone, and I know I didn't make this shit up, but this is the breakdown I've always been taught and will always abide by:

Nerds - These are the superheroes. The engineers, the dudes in the garage blowing shit up and knowing exactly how and why it happened. You, me, Daniel, the guys who run Linux on things not because it's hip or defiant, but because it works and we truly prefer it in some or all cases. The folks with the gadgets that do the things to the stuff. ThinkGeek pisses me off. Cool stuff, but misnamed.

Geeks - The self-made outcasts. The people who would be nerds if they had the talent or the drive or the noble cause. The emo asshats. The people who read books on Wicca because they're books on Wicca and lots of people think Wicca is stupid and that's SOOO cool. The people who wear the shirts and bumperstickers that say "You laugh at me because I'm different. I laugh at you because you're all the same." The cutters, the ankle-slicers, the people proud of their trendy eating disorders.

Dorks - Dweebs, snots and morons. The people with bad skin due to hygiene and not genes or communicable conditions. Social outcasts who want to be cool, but go about it the wrong way and don't understand why people ignore them or laugh at them. The ones who don't actually study things to learn about them but think they're nerds because they're into computers and graphing calculators and "nuking" people's Win95 boxes with the nifty little WinNuke app they found on their cousin's BBS.

I know there's no way for me to change how some people use these terms, but at the same time (and I know I'll lose points with some more "progressive" folks here) I know I'm right and won't change my own vocabulary.

So, when friends say "geek" and they really mean "nerd", I just pretend they used the "correct" term and move on. But I just felt like mentioning it, this once, because you mentioned "The Right Way", a noble goal I will always associate with Real Nerds, not real geeks.

Re: Geek and Nerd terminology

Your definitions really don't match what I experienced as a kid, nor what I can find in the dictionary/wikipedia.

Nerds, Geeks, Dweebs and Dorks all existed before home computers.

Nerds were almost exactly as defined by "Revenge of the Nerds". Prior to that, they were just little fuzzy guys from Dr Seuss, destined for the zoo.

Geeks were circus workers who would do freaky things, like, say, bite the heads off of chickens. This term was old... 1800s I think.

In popular usage for the 80s and early 90s, both Nerd and Geek had an implication of some aptitude which was unusual and roughly equal to their negative light from being socially inept.

Dweebs were bookworms, or other intellectuals, but there wasn't a direct connection of them being technically aligned. The implication was someone who got picked on for being smart, but usually knew well enough to stay out of harm's way and not to interact with jocks.

Dork means "whale penis", and it was used for exactly that definition. These were pretty much the bottom rung and included people with zero technical aptitude. Eventually it became less harsh, and would be used for even the silliest of mistakes. "I spilled my lunch." "You dork."

Nerds and Geeks became "Computer Nerds" and "Computer Geeks" where applicable. Nerds fell out of fashion as one-eighthundred-be-a-geek took over. After that, most of the negative connotation of "geek" was lost, while Nerd still has some negativity.

I claim correctness of my definitions since I was called all of these routinely through Jr. High and Highschool, and also because I'm older than you. nyah.

Regardless of whether either of us is more or less right than the other, we ultimately have to go with the popular definitions of these words.

"Gasp, No! Fuck the public!" you say.

Let's try another example. One of the major defining terms for my technical aptitude is "Hacker." In some sense, I could even be declared as some level of "computer savant".

How much time would I have to spend redefining "Hacker" and "Savant" to the average person? How much effort should I exert to maintain separation among the groups of people who would and would not make distinctions as I see them?

"No, not H4XX0R!" "No, I'm not going to steal payroll or hack your password."

So, please understand that when I choose the slur "Geek", I am catering to a wider audience.

Re: Geek and Nerd terminology

I'm sticking by what I said.

Re: Geek and Nerd terminology

/me applies adhesive solvent.

SO anyway, on a lighter note, I think erica said she saw you on caller-id but no message. Is all well?

Guess I fall under dweeb. And here I thought I was just me. :)

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