Pledging-Geek.com @pledgeek

What the Devil?

What is ‘pledging geek?’

This site ultimately is a sort of blog, but that’s not really the right answer.  At least, I think of it more as a quasi-documentary where the subject and director are the same person.  Also there’s no actual movie at the end.  

That’s some pretentious-sounding crap, I realize, but this isn’t an open diary of my feels or what I like to eat.  Nor is it a journalistic blog of news and rumors, nor is it yet another collection of reviews of whatever, though it will occasionally stray into both of those realms.  I go into more detail over here, but I’ll keep this front page short as I try to explain.  First, understand that I have come to something of a crossroads in my life.

B&W...or Grayscale? The choices!

Not this kind.

I’m troubled by a not-at-all-Earth-shattering question:  How many geeky things can someone like before they are, in fact, a geek?

See, I’ve always had an interest in a few such things, but I’ve mostly kept it to myself.  I don’t usually list them when someone asks about my hobbies, and I rarely give a true account of my favorite movies or books.  I don’t bring such things up to co-workers, old classmates, or acquaintances.  As tame as my interests run, I keep them under my hat.

Oh, I don’t feign complete ignorance of things that trend geek.  I’ll own up to liking Lord of the Rings, for example, but I’ll leave off how many times I’ve read The Silmarillion.  Sure, I like Star Wars, but I won’t mention that I can still put my hands on the AT-AT I got for Christmas when I was 3.   And yeah, I own an Xbox. A lot of people do.  No one needs to know that I have a Skyrim game-save that’s past the 300-hour mark.  Who would be interested, anyway?

Because there’s a line. Some geeky things are socially tolerated in the mainstream, if maybe not quite embraced. Some IPs are their own all-demographic-encompassing phenomena, the Harry Potters and Star Wars and Avengers of the world.

But then there’s the other side of that line, a social no-fly zone where people will openly wonder if you only go outside by mistake . And I’ve been staying on my side of the line, thanks.  I’m certainly not going to attend Sci-Fi conventions, or hang out in comic book stores, or dress in costume for movie premieres.  I’m not going to learn a fictional language, or build scale models of robots, or spend an afternoon pretending to be a freakin’ elf. Why would I? I don’t want to be one of THOSE people.

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But a thought occurs.

You see, people are lazy. That stuff I don’t want to do or be associated with? It takes effort, interest, money, time.  It knowingly invites the ridicule of others.  So surely people wouldn’t do these seemingly extreme things for no reason, right?. They must get something out of it. Is it possible that they might enjoy it?

Thought-provoking, isn’t it? They enjoy it. Are they freakin’ crazy? Comically lacking self-awareness? Or is there the barest possibility that this ‘extreme’ stuff is, perchance, fun? Maybe even a lot of fun? That this whole geek thing looks much different from the inside, and they’ve been in there all along saying “Why aren’t you coming in?  Are you freakin’ crazy?”

So this leads me to this site’s name and ‘theme’ (or whatever). Strangely enough, this whole line of thought reminds me of my fraternity experience in college.

But the bathroom's so faaaar!

Of course, so does this.

I had some strong preconceived notions about what it meant to be a Greek and I wanted no part of it. But, well, a few of my new friends were going to give it a shot, and it didn’t seem quite as awful up close, so I tried it out. And then I rushed and pledged and joined up. And it was entirely different than my expectations; indeed, it was one of the most positive things about my college experience. Everything I knew—thought I knew—was wrong, once I could see it from the inside.

I already like some geeky things anyway. What was stopping me from being out in the open about it, or pursuing other, related things? That someone might point and laugh at me? That I might be judged and summed up by my pastimes rather than my character? That I would cross that mysterious line and be one of THOSE people? Maybe it’s a result of getting older, but my ability to care has eroded near to zero. I don’t even remember why I cared.

So I’ve made a decision, at this crossroads of no consequence (but much fretting). As in my youth I will once again be a pledge—a neophyte seeking admittance to a venerable order, to learn their mysteries and their raison d’etre, to meet their members and—in time—become one of them. Except this time I won’t be pledging Greek, I’ll be pledging Geek.

Yes, that is the entire empty joke behind the site’s title. But a bad pun and an available URL are the stuff that names are made of these days! The constant reminder of my analogous fraternity experience will also help me maintain an open mind about the whole affair, so there’s always that.

This site then will be my ongoing documentation of my exploration of all things geek, from someone who is part outsider, part fringe member. I know that people enjoy this geek stuff, down to every little sub-genre that exists, and I intend to find out why: the good, the fun, and the bizarre in all corners. I want to find the appeal, and I want to share it. And sharing it will keep me honest, and will be a tenuous step toward becoming a part of the larger ‘geekdom’ that exists.

So that’s the site, and the answer to our original question.  I outline exactly what I mean by ‘geek’ in this article, and you can read the full version of this introductory article on its page here. I also have some long-term goals for the site, and a variety of social media outlets for my articles, content curation, and interesting links and images I collect. Follow my RSSTwitterFacebook, Google+Pinterest, and/or Instagram.

And I promise—no more puns.

photo credit: aha42 | tehaha via photopin cc
photo credit: sanberdoo via photopin cc


About This Site

Pledging-Geek.com/Pledgeek.com is the ongoing journal of an outsider discovering all that is geek. He reports on all the good, funny, and weird he finds. Occasionally he adds his own thoughts, too.