3 September 2011

Post-Geek?

First of all, the compulsory reminder that my geeky webcomic Escape from Lowresia is in fact in existence, and new strips are added twice weekly, most recently today. (Of course you'll want to start from the beginning if you're just discovering it...)

So, I'm currently sitting in the dark, listening to God Is an Astronaut. Over the last few days I've been listening to music labelled as things like 'post-rock' or 'post-metal'. (Questionable Content with its indie music themes might be partially to blame for this...) Well, just for the heck of it, I decided to look up if such a concept as 'post-geek' exists, geekdom being one of the few subcultures I actually identify with.

As far as I can tell from just looking at the first page of a Google search, it doesn't look like any particularly well defined culture by that name exists, but the term has been occasionally used. (Of course I'm usually not that well in the loop with things like this, so who knows, maybe it's really a huge thing...) At the top of the Google results were some articles like this and this. The cultures they describe aren't necessarily quite identical, but they're not completely contradictory either. In a nutshell, they describe a kind of fusion of geek/indie/mainstream cultures, and, at least in the case of the first link, emphasise the role of the modern borderless Internet society.

Indeed, we live in a world where genre distinctions are, arguably, becoming more and more meaningless. New genres and subgenres are popping up all the time. They spread easily through the global community, sometimes persisting, sometimes soon forgotten. Meanwhile, traditional 'geek' stuff permeates the world. Video games and sci-fi movies are more a fact of life for many young people than a specialised hobby.

So I was wondering how I might define a 'post-geek' culture, if I were coining such term (which, of course, I'm not, as evidenced by the links above). Perhaps it could describe the way that geekness can now easily be an integral part of our everyday existence, not distinct from it. Not so much an interest or even lifestyle, but simply life. And simultaneously it might describe the growing fuzziness of genre borders, even beyond what might traditionally be regarded as 'geeky' (which is kinda obvious, really, if geekness is intermingled with other aspects of our lives).

Of course I was also thinking about this in the more specific context of music. The term 'geek rock' isn't, to my knowledge, in particularly common usage, although I've run into it on occasion. In particular, I was thinking about how to describe my own musical style. I write a lot of songs with geeky themes. But then again, I've also written a lot of songs that aren't really geeky. There's no particular difference between the two musically speaking. It would also seem foolish to limit my creativity to one or the other, nor is one or the other somehow better or more important, both are equally a part of my life.

(Of course if one used the term 'post-geek' in the context of music, some people might think of 'post-rock' due to the similarity of the terms. That genre description, however, is more about sound than subject matter, whereas 'post-geek' would of course be more about the latter. Of course the limited resources I have at my disposal recording-wise might bring elements of minimalism/rawness to my music that might be reminiscent of some forms of indie music, but I'm not sure that is my actual aim as such...)

People seem to have an inherent need to identify with various cultures. But when you realise that we are all, in fact, individuals (geeky allusion not intended), that what other people think doesn't really matter at all... it's easy to become lost. Who am I? What am I? I describe myself as a 'geek', but that definition leaves something to desire. Why is it so damned important that I identify with something? There's no easy answer to this, I guess. In a way, I guess all these 'post-' genres, starting with postmodernism, are at least a little bit about this, things to identify with while simultaneously realising, at least in name, the pointlessness of culture and genre distinctions...

Or I might just be talking complete gibberish, which is quite possible, since I have really no idea what I'm talking about. I'm no academic. Such theoretical ideas are hardly my forte.

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