Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) wrote,
Dave Van Domelen

A geek culture revelation

Okay, before I hit y'all with the revelation, I should define what I think defines a geek culture.

  • The focus can be just about anything. It's just easier to be considered a geek if the focus is obscure (i.e. just remembering Spiral Zone is probably enough to join that geek culture, but you need to be a pretty hardcore NCIS fan to be considered a geek).
  • Members of the geek culture are looked at somewhat askance by most people, when they're noticed at all. The interest is considered somehow unhealthy, weird, or downright wrong.
  • Members of the geek culture tend to return the favor, with disdain for outsiders and mere casual followers of the focus. They're mundanes, muggles, casual gamers, etc.
  • The geek culture has a disproportionate influence on any companies that make stuff for the focus of the culture. Partly it's because they're loud, partly it's because they're a guaranteed market so a product launch that caters to them has a nice safe minimum sales level.
  • Conversely, the companies try to influence the geek culture, with varying degrees of success. They may simply wish to get those safe minimum sales levels for products with a more mainstream appeal, or they might want to actually use the geek culture to help them advocate for something (i.e. the gaming industry leveraging its hardcore fans to fight laws that might cut into their bottom line).
  • Members of the geek culture tend to congregate in the largest spaces they can manage to fill, in order to socialize with other geeks and buy stuff that might be hard to get otherwise. The biggest of these meetings can have major economic impact on the hosting city (SDCC, PAX, etc).
  • Areas with enough members of the geek culture will tend to have stores dedicated to them, and which often operate at a minor loss because the owner is a member of the culture as well and just wants to provide a place to serve the culture. A comic store or baseball card shop can remain open indefinitely without ever turning a profit, unlike a mundane business, so long as it bleeds money slowly enough.
  • Members of the geek culture live with the fear that their focus will be taken away. The show will end, the sport will suffer a labor dispute, etc.

All that said, I realized this morning something scary but in retrospect pretty obvious: the National Rifle Association has become a geek culture. Sure, most of its dues-paying members are still in the casual fan mode, but the leadership and the gun industry have bred a strain of geekdom at the core of the membership until it came to dominate the organization.

So, there you have it. If you look at the actions of the NRA as those of defensive geeks trying to deal with mundanes who Just Don't Get It, they make a lot more sense. :)
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