Tuesday, April 20, 2010

[In The Game] Who Are You, Part II: Postgeek

I've realized recently that I'm postgeek, sort of like what postmodern is to modern.

Wikipedia lists the differences between modernism and postmodernism such that "modernism was often associated with identity, unity, authority, and certainty, postmodernism is often associated with difference, separation, textuality, skepticism."

So whereas geek is often associated with cutting edge technology, interactive video games and media, social networking and the "we're special because we're different" belief, postgeek has none of those things and as yet I don't know how to define it.

Cutting Edge Technology: I don't own the latest tech gadget. My mac is over 6 years old, most probably 8. Sure, it runs OS X but it's several, several, several versions behind. I use it to hold my iTunes, for my 30GB iPod that was a gift from a friend when he got the latest iTouch a few years ago. On a daily basis, my home computer is a PC laptop that is over 4 years old. The last two tech purchases I made in the past 6 months were a 16GB thumb drive and an $80 (on sale) digital camera.

I have a 20 inch TV from my (first) grad school days. It's 16 years old (the same age as my car, coincidentally). I have a DVD player, but I don't have cable (I have a Netflix account with a Roku box instead), I don't have a Tivo or any thing like that. I don't have a home theatre or surround sound.

I don't have a smart phone. In fact, my cell phone is the cheapest, low-tech phone I could get. It has no camera and I don't text. I have texting blocked. I do have an iPod, as I mentioned, and I use it, mostly in my car.

I don't read the latest technology news on the internet, nor do I have any subscriptions to Wired or any other tech magazine. I am like much of America when I hear of the latest device or technology that is going to hit the streets - and it's probably already in stores by that time.

Interactive Video Games and Media: I don't play video games, normally. I do have two that I'm very fond of: Curse of Monkey Island (1997) and NeverWinter Nights (2002), both of which I haven't played for 3 or more years. I like them though. I don't have an XBox 360 or Playstation 3 or Nintendo Cube, nor have I owned even the previous versions of these systems. I do have a Wii, on loan from my cousin while she's overseas for work for the next few years. She'd been in London for a month and a half before I set it up. At the prompting of a friend who came to dinner.

I don't play any games online, no MMORPGs or anything like that, nor any of the flash games available to me. I'm not aware of anything in the video game industry, short of what my friends in the VGI tell me. When they talk about the games they're playing, I let my mind wander because I don't have the context about the games or the history of games. I sometimes daydream while nodding and smiling, like they were my girlfriend telling me something about the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars. Actually, guys, I'm not that checked out. Honest.

I haven't seen Avatar, didn't see Abram's Star Trek, missed District 9, and a whole bunch of others that have come and gone in the theatres for the past four years. Since I don't have cable (and haven't had it for over 10 years) plus have limited TV reception, I haven't seen anything beyond the first 5 episodes of season 1 BSG, anything past season 3 of SG-1, only one or two episodes of 1st season Torchwood and the new Dr. Who., not to mention any of the other hit shows on regular TV like Heroes. Sure, I have them in my Netflix queue but haven't gotten around to watching them. Someday though.

Social Networking: I don't have a Facebook page, nor a MySpace page. I don't plan on getting accounts on these networking sites any time soon. I don't Twitter but sometimes I read Twitter. Don't get it, really. But I do blog. But I only blog about gaming. That's the limit.

I read gaming forums, mostly RPG.net and a few others, but post? I do, averaging 0.42 posts per day on RPG.net. That's only 1271 posts since January 2002. Not a prolific poster, that's me.

I don't go to conventions much. The last one was Gen Con in 2008. I don't think I'll go to any in the near future. I'm always tempted to go but for the past four years I've worked full time and gone to (2nd) graduate school. That has put a serious crimp on conventions for me and I've noticed recently that I haven't even noticed that I haven't missed going it's so far from my thought process.

Specialness: I've listened to podcasts where the innate specialness of geeks is extolled, but I'm just left cold about the whole thing. I watched Wil Wheaton's PAX East keynote and felt distinctly (with exception to the D&D section) not part of the group.

So what parts of me are still geeky?

I'm an engineer and a physicist, I collect and play role-playing games, I like science fiction, I read, I like the internet, I do math for fun and work.

I'm not sure if that's enough, though.

Am I postgeek?

Any thoughts on this appreciated.


  1. I don't much like the term "Geek." As you know, I'm fond of being an old school 80s Nerd.

  2. I could replicate about 90% of this post and have it apply to me verbatim, so I guess I'm postgeek too. Although, like Christian, I tend to think of myself as pregeek if anything. I think the whole geek culture thing has been done to death and is the height of uninteresting, trendy solipsism.


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