I’m writing to rant about something that’s been bothering me for a long time. I hate it when hot guys say that they’re into geeky stuff just to get in on what’s popular, or to get attention. Take China Mieville for instance.
Right. You expect me to believe that someone that hot has the foggiest notion of what it’s like to be picked on as a kid? You expect me to believe that someone who looks like this:
…knows anything about alienation or the need to hide in fantasy? I suppose you expect me to believe that a hot guy like that is also smart, right?
What annoys me most is the earrings. I mean, it’s clear that he’s doing that to make himself look “non-conformist” and “alienated.” Check out this picture of him in glasses:
It’s as if he’s trying to say “Hey, look at me! I’m a nerd just like you!”
Or how about this one?
Like, “Look! I write about squid. I’m totally down with geeks and steampunk and all that stuff!”
Oh, please. Why don’t you go back to the GQ photo spread you crawled out of, and leave geekery to those who know what they’re talking about.
See how stupid that sounds?
From Patton Oswalt’s ridiculous Wired article about “the death of geek culture” to posts like this one at The Flickcast (enjoy the web hits I’m giving you. I hope people go there only to see how wrong your article is first-hand), we’ve been bombarded lately with “real” geeks criticizing other geeks for not being geeky enough.
For the love of God (or the Wormhole aliens), stop it.
I am sick of women needing to jump through hoops in order to prove their geek cred in a way men hardly ever have to. As Kristen McHugh points out in her eloquent blog post on the subject, an attractive male celebrity can simply say he likes Star Wars, and people fill in the blanks, assuming a knowledge that may or may not be there. Meanwhile, an attractive female celebrity who says she likes Star Wars has to take three written tests and a driving exam to “prove it.”
I am sick of geekiness being determined by how attractive one is/isn’t according to the mainstream media. A male friend of mine recently said that he doesn’t consider Chris Hardwick a “real geek”, because he’s so attractive and is an actor, so his nerdiness doesn’t count, because it doesn’t come from a “real place.” Um, I’m sorry, but anyone who was at the recent Doctor Who screening in NYC, at which Hardwick moderated the Q&A with the cast and crew, knows how much of a geek he is. His geekiness is palpable.
The fact is, if you are a geek, and you’re segregating yourself from others based on what they look like, you are not only doing the stories you love a grave disservice, but you are being a hypocrite, because you felt slighted in high school, and now want to treat the world the same way. Just stop.
Like Ghandi said, “Be the geek-friendliness you want to see in the world.” OK, maybe Ghandi wasn’t talking about geekery at all, but the point is still valid. You don’t want people judging your geekiness? Don’t judge someone else’s. Sounds pretty simple. Isn’t, apparently.
I’ve never read China Mieville before, though I’ve heard his name all over the place. I reluctantly decided to look him up one day a couple of months ago, because I kept hearing that he was someone I should be reading. I say reluctantly, because I’m not really a squid/Lovecraft/steampunk kind of a girl, and that’s the impression I got of his work. I’m more of a spaceships/other planets/alien civilizations kind of a girl.
Then, I saw that he was hot. Suddenly, I was interested.
So, while I don’t judge a book by its cover, I sometimes judge a book by its author photo. I don’t know what that says or doesn’t say about me, but I will say that my interest in Mieville’s work started because of people’s recommendations. The fact that he’s hot just makes me really excited about going to his readings. Also, while his other work seemed not to be my thing (though The City and The City seems pretty close), his latest novel, Embassytown, has aliens, an alien language, a female protagonist, space travel…
It’s as if he was saying, “OK, Teresa, if you agree to read something of mine, I promise to write something you’ll like.”
I guess the moral of this story is, judging something by its looks is only cool if it makes you love something. Not if it makes you tear something (or someone) down. And certainly not if that’s all you’re doing. Mieville is brilliant and political, in addition to being ridiculously tappable, and these are all good things.
I guess I’m waiting for a time when people can look at a beautiful woman in the same way, realizing that beauty and substance aren’t mutually exclusive.