Time for an attempt at a small bit of self-analysis. I’m going to use the word ‘geek’ in a narrow sense and ‘nerd’ in a wider sense and neither of them pejoratively: what I am talking about is a certain set of interests combined with a set of social norms and in-jokes and memes, and perhaps to a more limited extent a way of going about things which gets associated to the same people that these terms get associated to. BREAK To be rather more specific, a nerd is someone who finds intellectual activities and really gets into them in a very determined way; a geek is a more concrete subculture of nerds who are interested in things like computers, fantasy and scifi books, roleplaying games, computer games in general.

I am surprised at just how badly I’ve been able to characterise both these terms; I thought I’d do better than that. And of course these terms must be wide and general: if I consider my friends who my mother or sister, say, would call “Sean’s geeky friends”, we are all interested in such different things that I struggle to see the commonality. But it is definitely there. There is definitely something linking these geek activities as opposed to the many nerds around me at Oxford, even if I’m not sure what it is. Of my friends I can delineate the nerds into geeks and non-geeks. Perhaps something like The Geek Test or The Geek Code gives some idea. I’m convinced both that this is a thing and that I’ve failed to describe it here. I’m going to move on hoping that people reading this have figured out what I mean.

Now, to the self-analysis. I find myself becoming quite dramatically less interested in geek stuff, and this upsets me for several reasons: (1) my friends aren’t any less interested, in fact they are perhaps even more so, and I feel that I am missing out on something they are able to enjoy; (2) while I take issue with people identifying with subcultures,[1] and in my awareness of this I tried not to identify too strongly as a ‘geek’, I am worried that I am doing something equally bad in that I’m not really losing interest but in fact rejecting it all as “I’m too cool for that”. (1) is acceptable. (2) is what worries me more. Chances are both are going on: I’m less interested and I’m subconsciously compounding this by looking at these things in a high-and-mighty way. Basically I’m still just a hipster who was interested in these things before they were cool.

[1] Have posted about this before; can’t find link right now.