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5 geekies

miz_geek tags me with the following meme:

List 5 reasons why you are a dork/geek. And make them good reasons. Justify them. Explain them. Be loud and proud about how big of a dork you are! Then pick the 5 biggest dorks you know and have them do the meme.

1. I am a word geek. I care about the following: In my culture, dork and geek don't mean the same thing. Geek is a descriptive and positive word that means someone who passionately cares about the details of one or more subjects, activities, or disciplines; someone who has a particular orientation toward acquiring and dispensing knowledge. It might secondarily mean someone who cares more about knowledge than appearance or social skills, but not necessarily. Dork, on the other hand, is a pejorative word meaning someone who is deficient in both social skills and intelligence. Dork is a word that the OH and I use at drivers who act like they don't know what they're doing.

I am not a dork. (I hope.)

I just looked up the definition of dork on Google, and I see that wikipedia says that dork and geek can be used synonymously, but it does seem to also suggest that dork is more often pejorative.

2. I'm poly, which might suggest to some people that I get into new relationships all the time and have lots of hot sex. My love life is pretty OK, but actually, what turns me on the most is getting excited about a new subject or hobby. I fell in love with beading and beads a year and a half ago, and knitting nine months ago. And those led to lots of research and acquiring of large stashes of supplies. But I don't only get excited about new hobbies that I participate in. I get excited about hobbies that other people participate in. So a while back I got excited by the sport of dog agility and I began researching it, joining mailing lists, going to dog agility shows (and being the only person there who wasn't running a dog, judging, or selling stuff).

3. When I get interested in something, I find myself organizing the knowledge I acquire. I make charts and lists and enormous web browser bookmark collections. A while back, I was interested in publications for short science fiction and fantasy fiction. I spent a week obsessively researching and creating a giant list of all the publications I could find, with pay rates (and a separate sublist for publications that only pay in copies), guidelines summaries, response times, and so on. I finally realized that I could just stick it on the web and it would be a resource for others. I posted a link to it, warning everyone that it was "a big ugly text file. deal." Eventually someone else took it over; it's now in html but still retains the "big ugly text file" look that I love. Unfortunately, the non-paying publications have been removed.
http://home.att.net/~p.fleming/Sfmktall.html (scroll down)

4. I can't remember what life was like before google.

5. I've made a living as an instructional designer / technical writer / technical editor for 15 years. I'm good at understanding tech stuff and translating it into English.

Tagging: If I think anyone on my flist is a dork (see item 1), I'm not admitting it. So I'm not tagging anyone. But I'd really like to see what others say in response to this meme. If you respond to it, I'd appreciate if you left a comment here.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 10th, 2005 05:03 am (UTC)
I agree with your distinction between a dork and a geek, with the addition of "nerd" as someone who is lacking in social skills but not in intelligence. Should we comment to Wikipedia?

Hmmm... now you've inspired me to make a post about this.
Jul. 10th, 2005 07:24 am (UTC)
I probably should have mentioned in my entry 1 that I have heard there may be geographical differences in the meanings of dork/geek/nerd.
Jul. 10th, 2005 05:38 am (UTC)
4. I can't remember what life was like before google.

Seriously? I would've thought otherwise since you've been online for quite a few years before Google.

I remember using archie to search for things, but for the most part, I could find things faster just going to the public ftp site or some such. (Also, archie burned up a lot of cycles.) Prior to that, I used gopher, but didn't like the UI much. Before that, I didn't really need to search for much. Sometime around 1990 there were some libraries online that you could access through special telnet ports that allowed searches in library databases.)

Jul. 10th, 2005 07:22 am (UTC)
I was online before Google. I meant that it's insinuated itself into my life so much that I can't remember what it was like to use gopher, ftp, actually have to go to the library...
Jul. 10th, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. I came somewhat late to online research and have been doing grad-school level research since 1977, so old-style library research is in my blood. I still consider online research a supplement, not a replacement, because many literary journals don't have their contents online, not to mention books. And I like having electronic, searchable versions of texts, but again I consider that a supplement, a check, rather than a substitute,
Jul. 11th, 2005 03:51 am (UTC)
I think you're right for serious research.
Jul. 11th, 2005 03:14 am (UTC)
This happens to me remarkably fast, due to my sort of "in the now" self-concept and my terrible, awful memory. I really cannot remember what my life was like when it wasn't in its current state well for most state changes. Google and the web are big on that list.
Jul. 10th, 2005 11:06 am (UTC)
4. I can't remember what life was like before google.

Unh-hunh. I'm a habitual researcher like that too. Hence, my recent comment "You don't know her phone number? Did I google your poing before you did?"
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 10th, 2005 10:30 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's as good a definition as any.
Jul. 10th, 2005 11:25 am (UTC)
I agree that the two words don't mean the same thing. I pretty much just assumed the "geek" usage and ignored the fact that it said "dork".

To me "dork" implies some sort of clumsiness or lack of coordination more than a lack of intelligence (which sadly *does* fit me, but I didn't give any examples of).

In my world, "geek" has always meant something very similar to what you said, but since I've started on LJ this past year, I've been hearing it used in a much narrower sense of science, math, computers, etc. I've always been a bit of both, but I've been letting the larger community define that word for me in the past few months. *Sigh* Hate it when that happens.

Anyway, thanks for playing :D
Jul. 11th, 2005 03:52 am (UTC)
I pretty much just assumed the "geek" usage and ignored the fact that it said "dork".

That's fine - not everyone is a word geek! :-)

I never come out very geeky on all the "geek tests," which tend to define it in terms of science / math / computers.
Jul. 10th, 2005 01:10 pm (UTC)
Jul. 11th, 2005 03:53 am (UTC)
Hahaha! Those are great.
Jul. 10th, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC)
1. I'm used to "nerd" having the meaning you give for "geak", with "geek" having the additional connotation of awkwardness (physical or social).

2. I think poly is symptomatic about being willing to question some major cultural assumptions, and consider viable alternatives.

4. There are a whole lot of questions which it never used to be possible to ASK, which can now be answered in minutes or less. Why are there still unanswerable questions? And no, I don't just mean rhetorical ones.

Jul. 11th, 2005 03:58 am (UTC)
penngwyn is on LJ!! (*adds you to my friend list*)

Your connotations for geek and nerd are reversed from mine, to a certain extent.

4.: Indeed.

3.: ?
Jul. 10th, 2005 09:16 pm (UTC)
See, to me "geek" has the old-style meaning, from carnival sideshows and Nightmare Alley, of someone who bites the heads off chickens, snakes, etc. in a pit for the amusements of an audience, a/k/a rubes.

It is amusing to me that geek (new meaning), dork, and nerd have a certain convergence of meaning. Many people do assume that intellectual meticulousness (or pedantry), social clumsiness (or rudeness), and physical clumsiness have to go together.
Jul. 11th, 2005 03:55 am (UTC)
Many people do assume that intellectual meticulousness (or pedantry), social clumsiness (or rudeness), and physical clumsiness have to go together.

And I don't think they HAVE to go together, but I've noticed that they seem to go together somewhat more often than pure chance might suggest. I wonder why.
Jul. 11th, 2005 03:12 pm (UTC)
From the vicinity of my ass comes the following thought: maybe the three have been associated so long in certain cultures that people who are branded with one aspect tend to live down to the expectation of the others?
Jul. 11th, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC)
In Real Life: I see it partly as a function of the fact that there is only so much time (so developing one area very, very much can take away from developing in another), partly because people who are strong in one area but not others seem naturally to outnumber the Renaissance people, and partly because developing a lot of strength in one area can be a response to being weak in others. Then, once there are a number of lopsidedly-developed people in a job or social area, others have less pressure to be well rounded instead of lopsided.

In Stereotypes: I think a lot of these stereotypes are based int he idea that life is fair, so being gifted in one area means being shorted in another. The flip side of the sterotype that blondes are dumb.
Jul. 11th, 2005 03:27 pm (UTC)
Another data point:

In some American dialects, "dork" is one of the multitudinous slang words for "penis" -- and frequently used metonymically, with connotations of "a clumsy, impetuous, and inepty wielded penis."

Hmmm, that could be an interesting thing to look into: connotations of various slang terms for "penis" when used for metonymy.

But then, I'm a geek. ;)
Jul. 11th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
"Schmuck" and "dork" both seem to combine social ineptness and being mean, or at least self-centered unto thoughtlessness, in a way I find interesting. "Dick" or "dickhead" is more just the latter.

Just last night I was thinking that no one uses "peter" for the penis anymore. "Dick" is firmly entrenched, and "John Thomas" is so old it's having a renewal, but I don't see "peter" anymore.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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