Jeff over at alert.nerd posits that geeks are naturally distrustful of authority, particularly government. And, as usual, it’s our beloved geek media that is to blame:
“Superheroes exist to do the job that the government cannot or will not do. … No matter whether it’s action, sci-fi or fantasy, the idea that the system doesn’t work is at the very foundation of the genre. Star Wars, our ultimate sacred cow, is a six movie fable about the consequences of bad governance.”
So, in your experience, are geeks disproportionately anti-government, anti-authority, or simply anti-voting? I tend to dislike these sorts of sweeping generalizations. I mean, I’d characterize myself as a serious geek — I get paid to do geeky things, after all — and I’m seriously invested in current events and my civic duty. (Yes, I voted today.)
TechRepublic forum readers are famously political and that’s an audience of tech geeks, if not sci-fi geeks. (Though, given how much we like sci-fi around here, there’s bound to be some overlap.) So who, exactly, is Jeff talking about?
There is a certain subset of geekdom that I would characterize not so much as anti-political or even apolitical but anti-participatory. They not only don’t keep up with current events, they don’t follow anything outside their narrow niche of geekery — video games, comic books, and/or sci-fi TV and movies. These folks — who are far more rare than mainstream media would care to admit — aren’t explicitly removed from politics, they’re removed from reality. They’re escapists, with little interest in or aptitude towards the conduct of life outside their hobbies.
I see these guys at my comic shop every few visits, but they usually leave quietly or fidget uncomfortably when the conversation shifts — as it almost inevitably does — away from whether Thor could beat up Superman (my vote: no) and towards sports, politics, or whether a giant asteroid is going to smash the Earth in 2036. In most geek gatherings I attend, you’re just as likely to get an Obama vs. McCain or Titans vs. Giants debate as you are a Star Wars vs. Star Trek argument. I think that’s the real geek norm, but I don’t know if most of my fellow geeks would agree.
There’s this whole comments area below to offer you’re take on things. Please do, unless you’re too geeky to participate.