Over the next few days, I’m going to be rephrasing an article by Scott Cairns from Regeneration Quarterly a few years back. He was talking about artists and poets, but he may as well have been talking to us geeks too. You, fellow geek, follow in a line of similarly minded geeks and you have a lot to learn. But you are never alone. No matter what your particular geekiness, you have an advantage—a repsonsibility—to find and study the geeks who came before you, defining your geeky area, determining the boundaries, making advances you would ultimately come and build on.
I get so annoyed by young geeks who don’t respect the older, established big geeks who defined much of their archetype. They don’t even realize the huge debt they owe to them. We’re geeks, but we’re not lone rangers. We’re disaffected rebels, but we still have a wider culture of geeks to relate to. We might hope to change the status quo with our intentional antagonism, but we’re bad geeks if we have no concept of the geeks whose bumbling, pigeon-toed footsteps we follow.
In support of my case, I offer, the movies Dead Poet’s Society, The Emporer’s Club, Finding Forrester, and Star Wars, the book Catcher in the Rye, and every successful geek you’ve ever met.
The first step is accepting your geek ID. The second is paying tribute where it’s due.