10 "Geeky" Things That Are Not Geeky, So Quit Acting Like They're Geeky

Posted at 5:00 AM Feb 01, 2010

By Andrea Grimes

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New York Times
This is Michael Cera in the NEW YORK TIMES, for chrissake.
Can we pinpoint the moment at which dorkiness became the new coolness? Nowadays, it seems like anyone with a pair of glasses and a couple of vinyl records can call themselves geeky--often, in fact almost always, with pride. And those of us who have been actively and persistently mocked throughout our youth and beyond for being genuinely deemed uncool by the Cool Kids, well, we don't take kindly to this whole "dork is the new black" or whateverthefuck.

Geeky, dorky, nerdy--yes, there are distinctions to be made between these words. But for the sake of today's list, let us merely draw a couple of lines: there are things that are cool, and then there are things that are not. And then there are things that are "not cool" that are actually "cool" because somebody decided they were "not cool."

I'm prepared to call bullshit on anyone who claims geekiness based on the ownership of, affinity for or collection containing anything on this list. Because this is a list of "geeky" things that are not geeky, so quit acting like they're geeky. If you like this shit, you are cool. Full stop.

(This list is by no means exhaustive--please add your own "geeky" items in the comments.)

10. Michael Cera

Michael Cera is a fucking movie star who dicks around with the guys from Jersey Shore for fun. Yes, he may play an awkward, pseudo-adorable dork in every last one of his pictures, and he may even act like one in "real life" when he is being interviewed on television and on the internet. But I am here to tell you that Michael Fucking Cera is a Fucking Movie Star, and there is nothing geeky about being a fucking movie star, so quit acting like Michael Fucking Cera is geeky, and that goes for the shit he does, too.

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9. Glasses

American Hipster Fucking Apparel sells fake eyeglasses. The next person who tells me they are dorky because they wear glasses gets a swirlie, and their books knocked out of their hands, and their lunch money stolen, and a swift damned kick to their stupid, cool face.

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8. Harper's, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, McSweeney's, The Believer, etc.

If you have a better than 20 percent chance you're going to run into Dave Eggers or someone that dude parties with in the pages of a given publication, that publication is full of self-congratulatory literary wunderkinds who spend their evenings jacking off onto said publications with a single-malt whiskey in one hand. People who do that are cool, and so are the people who want to read what those people have to say. (Editors at these publications: I trust this tiny paragraph on this tiny corner of the internet won't affect my repeated pleas for employment. I really want to jack off with a single malt whiskey in one hand.)

7. Robots, zombies, unicorns, ligers and ninjas

These things are simultaneously adorable and potentially deadly. They may have a hard time making friends because of the deadly part, but that doesn't have anything to do with them being smelly, socially awkward or avid D&D players. Not geeky. Insanely popular and mostly well-liked. Not. Geeky.

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6. National Public Radio

NPR is just good journalism. It's not geeky to like good journalism. It's smart. And smart != geeky, any more than stupid = cool.

Comments

Susan said:

I am a big fan of the massive number of F-Bombs dropped in this post.

1punkmom said:

Thank you for this definitive list of non-geeky things; I would be lost without it. /sarcasm. Is D&D still geeky? Thxbye.

ebony said:

regarding point 9 on your list:
as a former optician and victim of mole-eyesight, i wouldn't be caught dead in that sorry excuse AA calls glasses. those frames are ugly! they were fifty years ago. and they still will be ugly in fifty years. AA won't be able to change that merely by sticking their lable onto them. whenever i see someone walking the streets in such 'things' (for lack of a better word), they only spell the words fashion victim to me.
end of rant. :D

Paul said:

For what it matters, I got my glasses because they reminded me of the Ben Franklin style of frames. I consider that validly geeky.

Kiala said:

This reminds me of when the red Hot Chili Peppers ruined "alternative" music in the nineties.

Diana G said:

andrea. this was a delight. and i think i know which "trendy Austin bar" you're talking about. unless these precious knitters have begun to colonize... yikes.

Graham said:

This is why I gave up on being geeky or nerdy about 10 years ago. The dot-com boom ruined it for all the nerds.

Mrs. Micah said:

This is probably why my boss tells me I take geeky to a new level and I have to insist that in the hierarchy I'm only, say, a level 4 geek. But in comparison with these "geeky" things I guess I'm a major geek.

BorgQueen said:

If you have to purchase things or follow a trend to convince yourselves or others that you are a geek, well... you have your answer right there.

Ben Hamill said:

I think Chucks got confused for geeky when they were associated with punk rock before punk (or "punk", if you prefer) was cool. You can kind of see how a cool person might make that mistake if they're thinking "all you uncool people look the same".

That being said, is the fact that I wear no other kind of shoe besides flip flops actively ruin my geek cred or is it neutral? ;)

katie said:

i think the word you are looking for is actually 'hipster douchebag'... they are pervasive and they live in my town and their knitting is dreadful.

Jenna Jaguar said:

I'm amused.

I'm going to go put on my chucks and my glasses and do some dorkalicious stuff like knit - you in?

JK i can't knit but I will work hard on your box

RB said:

1, 3, and 6-8 will still get you a punch in the face from a high school bully, so I'm thinking they still belong on the geek list. These items may be tolerated, accepted, or even deemed cool by intellectuals and hipsters, but you have to remember that "intellectuals" and "hipsters" are just terms for geeks in their 20s and 30s.

Sara said:

I really like this article, although I have to disagree with the previous commenter that the term "Hipster" is just geeks in their 20s and 30s....as a geek in her 20s I certainly would never, ever classify myself as a hipster. In fact I shudder at the mere thought. In fact I only classify myself as a geek because those around me have called me one for so long. My own father once joked that he was going to buy me a pocket protector for Christmas (and he's a computer programmer). I've just always been the one answering tech questions, always been the one with the most up to date info on new and upcoming technology and being a 27 year old girl who still collects comics, plays D&D, still enjoys a good Buffy marathon and can use math not for real world applications...but really only to calculate stat bonuses for items in World of Warcraft.

That being said...love the site, long time lurker...first time commenter. Keep up the good work, and I swear if a hipster knitting club ever opens by me, I will begin preparations for the end of the world *shudder*

Sara said:

I really like this article, although I have to disagree with the previous commenter that the term "Hipster" is just geeks in their 20s and 30s....as a geek in her 20s I certainly would never, ever classify myself as a hipster. In fact I shudder at the mere thought. In fact I only classify myself as a geek because those around me have called me one for so long. My own father once joked that he was going to buy me a pocket protector for Christmas (and he's a computer programmer). I've just always been the one answering tech questions, always been the one with the most up to date info on new and upcoming technology and being a 27 year old girl who still collects comics, plays D&D, still enjoys a good Buffy marathon and can use math not for real world applications...but really only to calculate stat bonuses for items in World of Warcraft.

That being said...love the site, long time lurker...first time commenter. Keep up the good work, and I swear if a hipster knitting club ever opens by me, I will begin preparations for the end of the world *shudder*

Michelle Mathews said:

Ha ha, No. 5. I thrift on a weekly basis, and the customers there are hilarious. 60% working-class moms with three children in tow, 35% Ira Glass wannabes, 4% crazy people, 1% other.

Donovan said:

I have about 80 transformers posed on shelves around my apartment, am I cool yet? Guys?

Jill aka The Nerdy Bird said:

I'm comforted in the fact that I'm still considered a geek.

Dan said:

Now it's time for the psuedo-geeks and people with no personalities to find another bandwagon.
I recommend trying out the Amish way of life. Have fun with it

boldmatter said:

I will add Star Wars and Nu Trek to this list. My only caveat is if you pull out extensive knowledge of the expanded universe for Star Wars. Do not roll up and talk about how much you loved a movie EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD loves and how that makes you "omg such a geek" unless you're also going to tell me about your collection of EU books and comics, Atton Rand, Mara Jade or how much you wish 4-LOM had had a larger role in Empire, you need to step off with expecting people to call you a geek. Star Wars is Americana, everyone loves it.

Lo said:

What about an all-consuming love of books/libraries? I say I'm a dork because of those things, but secretly I feel kind of smug, like when I buy a t-shirt at Goodwill haha

Rachel said:

i think that geeky vs. hip is the same as the debate between the "right" and "wrong" kind of white people, as "stuff white people like" puts it. i knit in austin dive bars. i get made fun of by drunk girls in ed hardy shirts for it. i'm not saying that crafting isnt "hip" right now,but there's a sizable group that still scorns public crafting. and you know, anything that might have a squid on it or wearing dead people's clothes.

Spark said:

If someone's really buying things or liking things in order to be a geek, doesn't that invalidate them from the start?

This is brilliant.

Although one really should be anything bought at Hot Topic. Yeah, I like Labyrinth, but that doesn't mean I'm a geek. It just means I'm reminiscent for a childhood where David Bowie's eyebrows were not so scary.

Marie said:

I pose that knitting has never been geeky or nerdy, just something your grandma does, which is possibly dorky for a young person to do. Now, knitting purports to be hip, so it sounds like annoying and precious groups meeting in trendy bars fit right in.

Stick said:

Paul, I started wearing All Stars in fifth grade because they reminded me of Opie's shoes on Andy Griffith. (Even though, looking back, I think those were PF Flyers.) I thought he was cool....

Saturn said:

I remember buying Chucks/All-Stars/Buddies/whatever back before Nike bought them out in 2003 and they were still super-cheap. The "poor kids" (including me) wore them because they were what we could afford. Therefore if you were wearing a pair you were immediately looked down upon. Then "uncool" became "cool" for some damn reason and now everyone has a set. I still wear them because they're damn comfortable to me.

FreeMsPointsGuy said:

Ah. Great post! Number 9 I see all the time with people, I mean really? They look dumb and its just pathetic really.

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