Monday, August 01, 2005
But They're Saying It With Love . . . .
I've seen articles about this year's San Diego Comic-Con in the LA Times, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, and now TV Guide. All the articles have two things in common (1) extensive gushing about the Hollywood types who attended and (2) reporters who believe they are the acme of cleverness because they have come up with a new use for the word "geek." "Geekapalooza!" raves the headline on this TV Guide article; reporters Ethan Alter and Rich Sands assert, "The message was loud and clear . . . The geeks have all the power."
If these "geeks" indeed had "all the power," would they really wish to be referred to as "geeks?" Here's how the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines this affectionate term:
Etymology: probably from English dialect geek, geck fool, from Low German geck, from Middle Low German
1 : a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake
2 : a person often of an intellectual bent who is disapproved of
In other words, call someone a "geek" on the mean streets of LA and he may hand you your liver (or bite your head off, if the word really fits). Call someone a "geek" in a national magazine and he'll supposedly genuflect at your feet for glancing in his direction, like -- well -- like a person of an intellectual bent who is disapproved of . . . .