Postmodern geekdom as simulated ethnicity
Wow. Fascinating breakdown of the origin, development, and nature of the “geek” in popular culture, from R. Crumb to Frank Miller to The Dude. Go read it.
The tl;dr is that the “geek” is a “simulated ethnicity”, assumed to tell a melodramatic story of triumph over adversity that lends credibility and moral authority to an otherwise unremarkable and unsympathetic member of the privileged class, who still vies for success within a traditional misogynistic, patriarchal, homophobic paradigm.
Absolutely love this bit at the end:
What of the female geek? For the geek conceit to play out in its most misogynistic form, she must be missing. … [The female non-geek character] is elevated for her lack of geekiness because she is required to act as the reward the geek or “nice guy” feels entitled to in traditional patriarchal narratives. There is a missing character: the true geek female counterpart … who is loved for her brains and not for looks … This missing character lays bare the misogyny of geek melodrama.
Yep. “Laid bare” is right.
Go read it.