Don’t Exclude, Embrace!

I just read an excellent article on author John Scalzi’s blog after being linked to it via a Facebook friend. To preface: one of the things I love about being a geek is my ability to just love what I love without justifying it, and instead, as Scalzi points out, sharing it with others. The sharing is the best part of fandom, and it’s what makes a community out of many otherwise disparate people. The thing I like least is the idea of some hierarchy, which is what Scalzi condemns in his blog post. The idea that someone isn’t worthy for X reason, or having some sort of checklist or application process to be a geek goes against the entire lifestyle. To meet standards for being a geek means you’re creating an elitist community, and the whole great thing about being a geek is that it doesn’t have to be elitist. Sure, there are some groups like that, but so what? Let them do their thing. Let another group do their thing. Share the joy of sharing and not feeling the need to justify.

Here’s the link to Scalzi’s post:

Who Gets To Be a Geek? Anyone Who Wants to Be.

And a link to the post to which he’s responding, condescendingly titled Booth Babes Need Not Apply.

Being a geek is about not needing to fit in. In a society that encourages cookie-cutter sameness, having geeky outlets that allow us to display and embrace our differences is refreshing. We should embrace rather than exclude, because that can make all the difference for some people.  Without this attitude of acceptance and sharing and the love of sharing I know I, for one, wouldn’t have met some of the people who are most important in my life–including my best friend and my fiance (oh yeah, Bard and I got engaged!), or the awesome MLHawke.

And that’s just me.  So many other people have found niches and friends and even family through being a geek; to exclude on the basis of “not geek enough” just doesn’t work.

My Love/Hate Relationship with “Frankenstein”

I came to a literary epiphany yesterday.  I’m attending this year’s Readercon, which deals with science fiction and fantasy.  There are panels and discussions about the genre, looking at it from an academic and analytical perspective.  Now I love literature and particularly love analyzing it and seeing why it works the way it does.  It’s one of the reasons I love being an English teacher, and would love to be a professor someday.  In a sense, Readercon feels like a weekend of classes just on the literature I love.  Yesterday I went to a panel about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  I’ve spent the last fifteen years of my life in a love/hate relationship with the novel.

I love the book; the story is interesting, the structure of the frame narrative is well-done, and the themes and motifs are timeless.  Shelley’s discussion of pushing scientific boundaries and the ethical issues that then arise are as pertinent today as they were in 1818, if not more so.  But I realized a few years back that I hate the characters with a fiery, burning passion.  This dichotomy of feeling doesn’t confuse or trouble me at all; I find it really interesting and a tad amusing that I can love a story so much, but hate its characters equally much.  I usually tend toward stories (in books, games, and movies alike) that are driven by characters.  Most of the characters who drive stories, I find I like.  But Frankenstein is driven by characters whom I intensely and profoundly dislike, which is why I think I enjoy the story so much.

Continue reading