There are many different categories of Geekdom out there, many of which I can count myself a member. But with so many different varieties out there, how is one to know which is more socially acceptable than the other? How are geeks to know which other geeks to shun and which to look up to? It can all be a bit confusing, which is why I've put together this handy dandy "Geek Hierarchy" for you, illustrating which geekdoms are more socially acceptable than others. Hopefully, after reading this list, you'll know which geeks to tip your hat to and which to turn your nose up at, and you can thus avoid any embarrassing faux pas. Please note that this is based on years of scientific research and can in no way be factually incorrect. You've seen lists like this before, but never one this detailed, or right.
The Music Geek
Undisputed King of the Geek World, the Music Geek is without a doubt the most socially acceptable. For some reason you can be totally obsessed with going to music store after music store looking for that rare Australian-only single release by your third favorite indie band, and nobody's going to think you're weird or "eccentric" for doing so. This geekdom is the "coolest" because it does not repel women, and many of these geeks actually go out in public regularly to see bands perform, so they tend not to be socially awkward hermits.
The Film Geek
This is another geekdom that most people are comfortable with (unless you are Harry J. Knowles), because nearly everybody likes to watch movies. Even if you like movies so much that you own over 1,000 DVDs and you get so excited you hyper-ventilate when you talk about movie trivia, odds are you're still cooler than many of the other geeks on this list. Movies tend to be a social activity you can enjoy with friends, and true film geeks are always in the theater on opening night for whatever next big blockbuster is hitting the big screen (they will never wait for DVD), so at least it gets them out of the house. They can talk about the new Indiana Jones flick and most people will understand (and possibly even be interested) in what they're talking about. TV geeks (i.e. people who obsessively talk about "LOST") also fall into this category.
The Video Gamer
You've come a long way, baby. Video games went from being cool to nerdy and back around to cool again, what with the last several generations of game consoles with realistic graphics and ultra-violent games. These days everyone likes video games, from cro-mag frat boys to stuttering, sweaty middle-aged nerds who have never known the touch of a woman outside of "accidentally" brushing up against them at the mall, to thirteen-year-old girls who have communicated more words via cell phone texting than they have actually spoken aloud. Hell, even older generations are now getting into the video game craze with developers like Nintendo making titles that appeal to all ages. Video games have never been cooler.
The Sports Geek
If I had my druthers, these guys would be closer to the bottom of the list, but society apparently still thinks it's okay to paint your nipples blue and dress like a chicken, cow, or some other beast of the animal kingdom to show support for your favorite team. These are the guys who speak mostly in grunts and can't add together the change in their pocket, and yet somehow can rattle off scores and statistics of their favorite players like they actually know what numbers are used for. TV cameramen love to show these guys during televised sporting events, and somehow most people seem to overlook the fact that they look and act like idiots, just so long as they support the team. It's one of the great mysteries of life.
The Comic Geek
Hey, I'm not just ranking them this high on the list because I am one (hell, I fall into the next three categories too), but comic books have become far more acceptable over the past decade or so. It could be that the San Diego Comic-Con gets exponentially bigger every year and threatens to devour the planet like Galactus, or it could be the past decade of mostly decent comic book blockbuster movies that have put comic book characters back into the collective consciousness. Maybe it's mainstream shows like "Heroes" that have sparked up interest, or cool, mature books like "Preacher" and "Y â€“ The Last Man" that have brought people into the fold. One way or the other, the Comic Book Guy on "The Simpsons" doesn't seem nearly as relevant as he used to. Sure, there are still plenty of guys like that in the fandom who threaten to give comic readers a bad name, but they make up a far smaller percentage than they used to.
The Sci-Fi Geek
Nearly neck-and-neck with the comic geek is the Sci-Fi Geek. At one time composed primarily of embarrassing Star Trek and Dr. Who fans, in the early 80s it suddenly became cool to like sci-fi after a little group of movies called the Star Wars trilogy came out. Fast forward twenty years and add some horribly stupid decisions by George Lucas, and suddenly it's an embarrassment to be a Star Wars fan but now considered cool to be into Star Trek and Dr. Who. With other great shows like Battlestar Galactica and Firefly, science fiction is no longer the sole province of male virgins, having attracted quite a few nerdy women as well. It's still really really dorky however to like Babylon 5 (and I do).
The Toy Geek
Most people still think that toys are just for kids, even though the toy companies realized a while ago that they can make far more money by producing unarticulated toys that amount to little more than plastic statues of the most obscure characters imaginable and market them to "collectors". Few outside other geekdoms can understand why a thirty-year-old man obsessively collects every cool looking classic Optimus Prime figure he can get his hands on, to fulfill some deep-seated need to honor his childhood hero, the toy of whom he asked for every single Christmas and birthday year after year, but somehow never received and had to make Grimlock the Autobot leader instead when he played with his Transformers because he was the highest ranking Autobot he owned, or at least the pushiest. So, um, yeah. Toy geeks.
The Role-Playing Geek
There's a certain type of role-playing geek that embarrasses most other role-playing geeks, and those types can be found actually playing inside stores that primarily sell role-playing games. When you walk into such a place and your glasses fog up from the miasma of hot B.O., when you hear the hooting, staccato laughter that sounds like a baboon being anally violated with a boulder, and when you notice a cloak draped over the chair behind someone excitedly standing to make a big production out of rolling dice, you will know you have encountered the type of geek I am talking about. They give all of us a bad name. I firmly believe (hope) that most tabletop RPG experiences mirror my own: a group of friends gets together to bullshit about various things and eat snacks, and oh, maybe roll a few dice along the way and not take things too seriously.
The War Reenactor
For some reason, there is some unknowable thing that compels certain people to get together, dress in old war uniforms, and stand on a grassy hill for hours, only to have all this waiting culminate in their falling over and playing dead. I have never understood this, and I never will. Everybody already knows how it's going to turn out, so I fail to see where the enjoyment comes from. What's really scary is when whole families get together and reenact a war (because I'm sure that's historically accurate). In the southern states I'm quite certain there are many Civil War Reenactors on the Rebel side who are hoping to pull out a surprise victory this time in their little fake war.
I enjoy some anime. I've even been to a few cons, which is one of the main reasons why I haven't actually bothered to check any new anime in the better part of a decade. Because of the Otaku. Also, because I haven't had the time, but that's not nearly so interesting. The anime con has already been dealt with in far more detail than I'm prepared to cover here. If you've been to an anime convention, you understand what it's like to be bowled over by the stench as soon as you set foot in the venue; you know all too well that you will see lots of rather abundantly large people trying to squeeze into skimpy, form-fitting costumes. You know the pain of hearing a guy with heaving, sweaty breasts and a shrill, girly voice who knows all of three Japanese words trying to speak like he's fluent in the language, and the guy who does not let his lumberjack beard deter him from dressing up like a sailor scout. You know how most of the cosplayers at such a con make the geeks at comic conventions look like the Cool Kids whose table in the cafeteria you dared not approach, even the guy with the paunchy belly wearing the homemade Metamorpho costume.
The MMORPG Player
A relatively new phenomenon, the Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Gamer came on the scene and suddenly bumped the tabletop Dungeons & Dragons geeks up a few notches. I have never played one of these games, nor do I intend to, because I have seen too many people have their entire lives sucked away, packing on the pounds as their life becomes more and more sedentary, and the only news they have to share with me involves virtual quests. I have heard the hushed rumors of "poopsocking" and I know that someone out there must have tried it, sure as I know that any fucked up thing you can conceive of has been tried before and there's probably a pay site somewhere on the internet about it. At least D&D involves a group of friends getting together in person and actually socially interacting with one another, while MMORPGs have forty-year old guys getting into online arguments with fifth graders over how they're going to split their virtual treasure.
The Band Geek
Has there ever been an instance in all of history where a marching band did not sound like shit? I've never understood what compels some people who want to learn an instrument to dress like a goober and march around at sporting events. I mean, hell, I've got nothing against brass instruments at all, but in this context they sound like the sad, pitiful wails of the dead. Some people really get into this kind of thing. Maybe they had a choice between taking Band or Home Ec and they figured this was a better choice? Well, it's not.
The Ren Faire Geek
I've been to a Ren Faire and there's nothing inherently wrong with them, I suppose, but there's a certain type of person they attract who will embarrass everyone within a 50-yard radius of them, with their sad medieval garb and practiced "milady" faux British accent that suggests they probably act like this under normal circumstances. These people have a little too much trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy, yet still have no problem incorporating modern conveniences like indoor plumbing into their delusion. I've no problem with people who work at these Faires and have to get into "character" to do so, but there's a certain type of Faire-goer who simply takes things too far.
Even sadder than the MMORPGers are the LARPers, or Live-Action Role Players. These are the imagination-impaired geeks for whom sitting at a table and rolling dice just isn't enough. No, they're only satisfied if they can don a wizard robe over their pudgy frame and run around shouting "lightning bolt", throwing nerf darts at guys wearing orc masks that look like they were picked up at Wal-Mart. I think the worst part about LARPers is that many of them strike poses indicating that in their own delusional minds, they feel that they must somehow appear to be "badass". Unfortunately the message these poses actually seem to be conveying is "Please take my lunch money".
One pastime that society will perhaps never understand is dressing up in animal suits and not going to work your shift at a theme park or sporting event, but rather getting together with a bunch of other people in animal suits and hanging out. Maybe there's sex involved, and maybe there isn't. I've known some furries, and hell, I've been friends with a few, but they're not the type who dress up in ridiculous costumes or think that their soul is actually a fox's trapped in the body of a human. Even they think the people who dress up like this are fucking crazy. And if the above picture is any indication, for some people dressing up in animal suits is apparently not enough, no, they have to strap on swords and go hunt orcs and goblins with their nerf arrows, combining two bottom-barrel geekdoms into something new that I'd rather not even think about.
The Fanfic Writer
The lowest form of geek, the Fanfic Writer saves the Enterprise, defeats Darth Vader, and beds Buffy the Vampire Slayer on a weekly basis. Many of them "uncover" the true homosexual relationship between two male characters, but the worst offenders are the ones who insert themselves into the story, living vicariously through their characters because they have absolutely no life whatsoever. Ubiquitous on the internet, they have no real social grouping outside of its "tubes", so there is no way to actually identify them in public. Anyone you meet could be a potential fan fiction writer. Perhaps even you could be a fanfic writer and not even know it! (If I had scary music this is where it would be playing).
So that pretty much sums up the geek list. Maybe you don't agree with all of it. Hell, I don't agree with all of it, but society makes the calls, not me. There's no shame in recognizing yourself on this list. After all, there's bound to be somebody on it worse off than you. Unless you're a fanfic writer, in which case, nothing I can say will console you, but maybe you could work me in as a villain and kill me off in your next story.