What is Geek Philosophy? Part #5 Geekiness

Our series of posts on the principles of Geek Philosophy continues with an important, though often overlooked principle that comes right from the name: Geekiness. Why do we call it Geek Philosophy?


First, a disclaimer: Here at Grey Havens, we use the terms geek and nerd interchangeably. We’re not as concerned about the distinctions between the terms as we are about how being geeky and nerdy influences our lives.

eustaceIn our young adult chapter, Grey Havens YA, there’s a particular sentence we say at the beginning and end of every meeting. We call it a slogo. It’s a paraphrase of a quote from Wil Wheaton: “Being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about how you love it!” We do this because we are excited about being nerds, and we want to create a culture of enthusiasm and inclusiveness. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen every episode of Doctor Who, or if you only like the Harry Potter books and not the movies, or if you agree on whether or not Han shot first– we all arrive at the table on equal footing. We acknowledge each other’s geekiness (or nerdiness) and encourage each other to share what we love and think philosophically about it. We don’t judge or try to one-up each other; there is no “Geek Cred” or “Nerd Card,” because it’s not about what you love, it’s about how you love it.

In a Geek Philosophy discussion, this idea helps us to stay whole-heartedly committed to the notion that nothing is trivial. We make no distinction between low and high art. In the midst of talking about a novel, a participant may be reminded of a web-comic or a YouTube video, and we welcome this interruption. Geek Philosophy can be full of tangents, and sometimes you just have to be open to twisting vines of nerdy thoughts and allow the strange new ideas to bloom.

To us, Shakespeare is on the same cultural level as Harry Potter; J.R.R. Tolkien is no less than Sir Thomas Mallory; George Lucas no less than H.G. Wells. A discussion about Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles can lead us into a breakdown of Baudrillard’s Signs and Simulacra, which then morphs into a discussion about Doctor Who, robots, and even the mobile game, Pokemon GO. It’s like the concentric circles we talked about in our Wholeness post, nothing is trivial and everything connects. Philosophy is for everyone, and we can find that base for philosophical discourse in all forms of texts – literature, film, television shows; the classics and the post-modern; the scholarly reads and the guilty-pleasures.

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Popular Culture helps us make sense of our world, even if we don’t quite realize it. Everyone engages in some way with popular culture. It gives many of us a significant part of the language with which we understand and speak about our world. (How many of you would know what I meant if I said that someone can be as logical as a Vulcan but as passionate as Anakin Skywalker?) It is the job of a Geek Philosophy facilitator to help us to better engage with the texts we love so much by allowing us to discover why we feel such a connection in the first place. What is it about a war in a galaxy far far away that pierces our hearts? Why do we feel the need to cuddle with our pets after we watch a wizard care for magical creatures? What could a time-traveling alien teach us about being human in the 21st century?

This is why it’s great to be a geek, and why we’ve built our whole facilitation technique around it.star-trek-laughs

We hope that you will join us in sharing your geekiness in community and taking what you love seriously. Visit our Community menu, check out our Philosophy in Public Spaces calendar, and follow us on Facebook to find the Geek Philosophy discussions that are right for you. May the Force be with you!

To Geek Fair and Beyond!

Podcasts have become an essential part of geek culture. For most geeks, it is not enough to read the book, watch the movie or watch the latest episode. We must talk about it! We relive the best moments, laugh and worry over the problematic ones, analyse, speculate, conjure up history and context, evaluate artistry and tease out philosophy. In short, we take the media we are given and we go beyond! A single episode of Star Trek: TOS  or Classic Doctor Who still regularly generates hundreds of podcasts. Geeks are rarely content to skim the surface of the world. Thanks goodness for that!

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This is the story of one of those podcasts. In the words of its creators:

“Once upon a time, three friends started a podcast to explore the deeper side of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and romance, along with popular art and culture. We were tired of literary snobs telling us that our writing and reading preferences didn’t count as art. Our podcast style is casual, and we love to geek out about the things we love! We’re readers, writers, and consumers of culture who believe mass-market writing has something for everyone, not just ‘those nerds.'”
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Beyond the Trope is hosted by Michelle Graham, Giles Hash, and Emily Singer. Michelle is a copywriter, proofreader, and blogger by day and, well, pretty much the same thing by night.  Her head is full of fairy tales and shiny things, which is especially useful for writing YA fantasy. Giles is an aspiring YA Sci-Fi author with a passion for stories that entertain first and make readers think second. His career has taken many turns, but Beyond the Trope is by far one of the best paths he’s chosen on the road to publication. Emily is a speculative fiction author-in-training who loves diverse stories and totally unique premises. When she’s not reading, writing, or podcasting, she’s haunting the local comic store, brushing up on Doctor Who trivia, or gushing about other super-nerdy things.”

Continue reading “To Geek Fair and Beyond!”

The Geeks Are Taking Over the Museum!

Wait!! Don't go to Geek Fair without me!
Wait!! Don’t go to Geek Fair without me!

The Longmont Museum and Cultural Center and Grey Havens YA bring you the Cultural Resources and Geek Fair 2015!

On Sunday, September 20, 2015 from 1:30-4:30 p.m., the Longmont Museum and Grey Havens YA will bring out the geeky side of Longmont’s teachers, students and their families with the first annual Geek Fair, part of Longmont Museum’s Cultural Resources Fair. The Cultural Resources Fair is a fun way for Longmont to honor its teachers and introduce them to the many resources that can make their jobs easier. The geeky part, well, that’s for everyone!

Geek Fair will feature cosplayers from Jedi knights to medieval knights, free make-and-take miniatures, a host of geeky organizations from throughout the region, a Geeky Educators panel and a roundtable discussion aimed at creating a supportive, local geek network.

How do YOU geek? You will probably find it at Geek Fair! All ages are welcome. Admission to the museum’s inspiring “Robots Rising” exhibit is free to all teachers and their families. Geek Fair is free to all! Cosplay is strongly encouraged for all in attendance.

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