In recent weeks, the geek community has turned its critical lens in on itself and asked, “Are there posers amongst us?”
Have we—the once marginalized, belittled, shunned, and even shoved into lockers for being passionate about sci-fi and fantasy—possibly become so “cool” that people are now pretending to be like “us” when they actually aren’t?
People seem to be getting upset over this idea, but I’m not one of those people. To me, the geek community has always been accepting, and I’m just happy that more people are finding it. I don’t care how.
Ever see that uncomfortable person at a convention. You know, the one that looks like they were dragged against their will? When you see them, is your first instinct to yell “Burn, outsider, burn!” or do you feel compelled to mock them for their lack of passion? Do you want to ask them to leave because this is a special place just for you and the other people exactly like you? No! (At least mine isn’t.) My first instinct is to smile and show them that we’re a friendly, welcoming bunch.
Unlike sports fandom, where Ottawa Senators fans are shunned and ostracized by Toronto Maple Leafs fans and vice versa, in geek fandom, for the most part, everyone gets along. At conventions I’ve seen Darth Vader laughing right along with Captain Picard. I’ve seen guys in StarCraft 2 T-shirts browsing the anime section, while girls in anime cosplay check out the horror section, while gothic/punk-styled horror fans intently watch an e-sports match. Geek fandom is supposed to be all inclusive… that even includes posers.
Heck, we’re all posers! We enjoy sci-fi and fantasy because it transports us into the characters, settings, and situations that are only possible in these imaginary worlds. So who cares if someone is pretending to be a part of our culture in order to be a part of our culture. If that’s the way they break in and find the same kind of happiness we have, then good for them.
The most important thing those people (and all people) involved in the geek community need to learn is that it’s here for everyone to enjoy. No one person or entity is the director* or dictator, and nobody should be made to feel less important or worthy than anyone else—that is unless they’re mean or hurtful to anyone else. Let’s kick all those jerks to the curb!
Our inclusive nature is what led to our popularity in the first place. With geeks, you just get love and acceptance. So with this global popularity that’s been afforded to us with the connecting powers of the internet, we must remember that it comes with great power… and with great power comes great responsibility. So we must never forget what it’s like to be powerless.
Let’s continue to welcome newcomers with open arms, regardless of the intensity of their passions or their selected fandoms. Let’s encourage everyone to be passionate about protecting and looking after one another.
Peace, love, hugs & kisses,
* Joss Whedon could run a successful campaign for the position, so long as Stan Lee doesn't oppose him