I know, I know, geeks are those guys who breathe through their mouths all the time and live in their parents' basements, right? Uh, no, wrong. Quit reinforcing stereotypes. It's an unfair stereotype, and is just as hateful and obnoxious as any other ugly stereotype. Just because it's true for some does not mean it's true for all. Geeks come in all shapes and colors, genders and orientations. I once bought a Star Trek phaser at ThinkGeek for a transgendered (MTF) friend for her birthday. She is one of the biggest science fiction geeks I know, and she is also an amazing person, and I am a better person for becoming her friend.
My fellow geeks, I hope to set you free, and to make you feel welcome in talking about what may have been your "secret shame", at least in your own minds, in that you are obsessed with video games and Star Trek trivia and action figures and Tolkien and 20 sided dice. I am here to bring you out into the light, and to help people see that geeks are not someone to be kicked around and made fun of all the time. Those days are over. Think of me as the Ethan Gilsdorf of DK. I am here to help. I am an ambassador between you and the rest of the world.
So continue reading, if you like. And all of you who are getting to know me, well, this is a big part of who I am, although I admittedly was pretty secretive about it myself until just a few years ago.
I have gotten a lot of inspiration in recent years from people like Ethan Gilsdorf (whom I had the pleasure and honor of meeting in person and talking with a fair bit), Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Vin Diesel, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kal Penn, and Kevin Smith. I love to see how characters like Tim McGee on NCIS and Penelope Garcia and Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds are making geek culture more mainstream (even if they do occasionally continue to feed some of the stereotypes on occasion). It means that we are no longer invisible. With no disrespect intended for my GLBTQ friends, we are coming out of the closet.
Maybe some of you out there are thinking I am full of shit. Maybe some of you are thinking I am overblowing things, or making myself out to be a bigger geek than I really am. Uh, no. I am a big fucking geek. No, I don't have any Star Trek or Star Wars costumes hanging up in the closet, but I did dress up as a knight of Gondor for Halloween years ago, and I also dressed up as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead more than once. So yeah, its real, fuckers. I have played D&D games where every person in the room was either a defense contractor or in the military. I have played with married couples that hold down extremely well-paying jobs. I once played a campaign with a room full of people with CISSP certifications. We are not all video store clerks (although I will admit that I worked at a video store in my twenties for a while, so eat me).
You have to understand, even now I have a tendency to view the world through my geek glasses. You think I am kidding? Allow me to quote myself from a political rant I wrote recently in which I tried to describe American politics using some common geek terminology. Alignments from D&D, to be specific.
Let me put it in D&D terms for all my fellow gamers out there.
Republicans these days are generally Neutral Evil, as they generally are going to take whatever position benefits them the most and fuck everyone else. Their position on pretty much anything will change when they suddenly realize that they can benefit from the change, and principles be damned (and yes, some Dems fall into this category as well, but not remotely on the same scale). Sometimes laws are good (DOMA), and sometimes laws are bad (regulations on banks). Sometimes states' rights are good (keep Washington out of our business) and sometimes states' rights are bad (those hippies in California and Oregon can't be allowed to legalize marijuana or assisted suicide). Sometimes the teachings of Jesus are good (He died for our sins) and sometimes the teachings are bad (all that stuff about helping poor people and that bit about camels and needles). Sometimes science is good (we CAN make Star Wars work!) but sometimes science is bad (global warming, evolution, etc.). Sometimes entertainers are morons who should stay out of politics (Barbara Streisand, Matt Damon, Bono), and sometimes entertainers are goddamn political geniuses (Victoria Jackson, Ted Nugent, Jon Voight). You get the idea. But an increasingly larger portion is Chaotic Evil, such as the Tea Party. They will vote for policies that actually harm themselves as well as other people. They cheer when people die, and they cheer at the prospect of people suffering. They love wars and rumors of wars. They believe violence is a perfectly acceptable means of solving any and all problems, and thus they care more about the Second Amendment than anything else in the Bill of Rights. They hate pretty much everyone - ethnic minorities, religious minorities, immigrants, foreigners, liberals, intellectuals, gays, the poor, journalists (real ones anyway), even people in their own party who aren't Evil (or Chaotic Evil) enough. Hell, a good portion of them are literally excited about the prospect of the End of the World and they hope it comes sooner rather than later. What is more Chaotic Evil than that?
Democrats these days are a little more complicated. We keep voting for them because we think they as a whole are Lawful Good and believe their big tent includes all of the other shades of Good: Neutral Good folks like Nancy Pelosi, Dennis Kucinich, Keith Olbermann, and Anthony Weiner (before he put his wang on the Internet) or Chaotic Good people like Ralph Nader, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, and a lot of people in Hollywood. The problem is that a lot of the party leadership has steadily moved towards a Neutral alignment and yet people still think they are all in the Good camp. Oh really? I think the President has made a compelling case to plant himself firmly in the Lawful Neutral camp, as have Harry Reid and a lot of other Democratic members of Congress. If they were really still Lawful Good do you think they would have allowed Guantanamo to stay open? Do you think that they would have remained so lukewarm on corporate reform after all of the economic shenanigans and debacles of the last decade? Do you think they would remain so wishy-washy on the outright destructive policies of their Evil counterparts in the GOP? Hell no. They would be wading into those motherfuckers in righteous anger like a Paladin in a cemetery full of undead. And yet they aren't. Actions speak louder than words, people.
I am VERY glad that the President seems to be coming around on some of the economic issues, at least in his speeches, and that he has come so far in support of the GLBTQ community. But that doesn't change the fact that he recently had an American citizen killed without trial. Hell, the guy hadn't even charged with anything. And yet they killed him. Although I see its many flaws, I generally believe in the system, and I think that once we start disregarding laws and the Constitution with callous disregard, we are in real trouble.
My point is, I am a vet, yes, but I am also a geek, and I think geeks should not be afraid to make themselves known, because if you are smart enough to memorize made-up languages, you should be smart enough to get more involved in politics. I am no longer afraid to talk about who I am. Join me.