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Five Geek Social Fallacies
December 6, 2003 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Five Geek Social Fallacies "Social fallacies are particularly insidious because they tend to be exaggerated versions of notions that are themselves entirely reasonable and unobjectionable. It's difficult to debunk the pathological fallacy without seeming to argue against its reasonable form; therefore, once it establishes itself, a social fallacy is extremely difficult to dislodge. It's my hope that drawing attention to some of them may be a step in the right direction."
posted by keli (30 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
A most important one is missing:

Geek Social Fallacy #6: Anyone Who Doesn't Like Me is Jealous

I've never understood what breeds the massive ego of a Slashdot-style geek, but it seems to be inversely proportional to the amount of social skills the individual actually has.

By the time he degrades to an Anime watching, Pokemon collecting, linux evangenlizing, sports degrading Supergeek, he figures that absolutely everyone wants what he's got. Strange.
posted by Electric Jesus at 9:26 AM on December 6, 2003


This desperately needs a Warning: may induce deluge of painful high school memories preamble.
posted by nelleish at 9:41 AM on December 6, 2003


"I've never understood what breeds the massive ego of a Slashdot-style geek, but it seems to be inversely proportional to the amount of social skills the individual actually has."

"Compensating."
posted by Blue Stone at 9:52 AM on December 6, 2003


"Wouldn't it be great to get all my groups of friends into one place for one big happy party?!"

If you groaned at that last paragraph, you may be a recovering GSF4 carrier.


This is one that still gives me a hard time. I mean if I like two people, then they should like eachother, right? But time and time again it hasn't worked out and I've tried to force people together who actively loathe eachother. I do sometimes have that fantasy about the one big party though, although the older I get, the more it seems like it'd be a catastrophe waiting to happen. I can picture my high school hoodlum associates, my NYC boho freinds, retail slave cohorts, online geeks, and old school lug pals all standing in different corners sharpening their knives.
posted by jonmc at 10:06 AM on December 6, 2003


Um, yeah. That's the problem with us geeks. We value friendship too highly, and we don't ostracize anyone. All we want to do is be friends with everyone, and have all our friends love each other. Right...

How about this fallacy?
"Geeks think their social flaws come from noble intentions."
posted by kcalder at 10:22 AM on December 6, 2003


This corollary explains a lot about MetaFilter:

Less commonly, people form a sort of counter-fallacy which I call "Your Feelings, Your Problem". YFYP carriers deal with other people's fallacies by ignoring them entirely, in the process acquiring a reputation for being charmingly tactless. Carriers tend to receive a sort of exemption from the usual standards: "that's just Dana", and so on.
posted by languagehat at 10:28 AM on December 6, 2003


GSF4 is also known as "bridesmaid's hell". Bride thinks "FUN! All the women I've ever known well would just LOVE each other, so I'll put them into a situation in which they have to plan lots of events together, owe each other money, and all pretend to get along, just so I can feel special and loved" despite the fact that they've never met, listened to her bitch about the others for years, and vary radically in age, family and financial status, and interests.
posted by pomegranate at 10:35 AM on December 6, 2003 [1 favorite]


As a result... [GSF2 carriers] spend absurd amounts of time deconstructing their interpersonal dramas...

Later on, in the conclusion:

Social fallacies don't make someone a bad person; on the contrary, they usually spring from the purest motives. But I believe they are worth deconstructing; in the long run, social fallacies cost a lot of stress and drama, to no real benefit.

You can't buy that kind of irony.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:46 AM on December 6, 2003


This was great. I'm having a good time reading all the Michael Tells You what To Do articles, and I think I'll try every one of the Bachelor's Test Kitchen Thanksgiving recipes with the xmas turkey, even though I'm not a bachelor.
posted by taz at 11:26 AM on December 6, 2003


I've always found that the greatest geek falacy is fatally mistaking the false proposition "women aren't attracted to nice or smart men" for the undeniably true proposition "niceness and intelligence are necessary but not sufficient to attract a woman."
posted by MattD at 11:36 AM on December 6, 2003


MattD, isn't that a variation on the "People don't like me because they're jealous" fallacy?
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:34 PM on December 6, 2003


What the fuck is this?
This is bullshit disguising itself as crap.
The mock-academic tone is what bothers me.
Some of the generalizations rang true, some didn't.
posted by Hildago at 12:42 PM on December 6, 2003


Geek Social Fallacy #7: It's ok to live in your moms basement at the age of 27.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:09 PM on December 6, 2003


Pfeh, Pshaw, Bah.

They're not even fallacies, as the author is at great pains to point out. If you promise me enumerated goddam fallacies, that's what I expect.

Certainly not over-analyzed rationalizations of why I'm too good for the world and expect too much from people.
posted by freebird at 1:38 PM on December 6, 2003


When I say geeks, I'm using the term in its non-pejorative sense as a blanket term for all those good folks who dig various forms of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, comics, roleplaying games, genre movies, etc.);

Egads, do words mean nothing anymore? May we simply cast wide our nets of meaning without regard for ontological trenchancy? When I was a kid, geek carried an implication of the possesion of and interest in at least a modicum of technical knowledge and prowess - preferably esoteric. Now I just need to like genre movies?

Kids these days.
posted by freebird at 1:52 PM on December 6, 2003


the undeniably true proposition "niceness and intelligence are necessary but not sufficient to attract a woman."

Should maybe be ammended to read "niceness and intelligence are necessary but not sufficient to attract a nice and intelligent woman. Otherwise wads of cash will work."

Geek Social Fallacy # 8
The application of my superior intellect to enumerate endless lists of social fallacies can compensate for me having no clue how to get along with people and understand these "emotion" things.
posted by tcskeptic at 2:07 PM on December 6, 2003


Geek Social Fallacy #7: It's ok to live in your moms basement at the age of 27.
Oh, crap, Keyser, does that apply to moving into your retired dad's one-room apartment at 48? (And no matter how hard I try, I can't explain MetaFilter to him!!!)
posted by wendell at 2:13 PM on December 6, 2003


Geek Social Fallacy #42: If I just think long enough and hard enough, eventually I can understand other people.
posted by kindall at 2:33 PM on December 6, 2003


GEEK! I thought it said Greek while I read the whole article!
posted by mischief at 5:14 PM on December 6, 2003


Less commonly, people form a sort of counter-fallacy which I call "Your Feelings, Your Problem".

Does anyone know where I can get YFYP cross-stitched on a pillow?
posted by Gary at 5:27 PM on December 6, 2003


Now I'm left to wonder what breeds the massive ego of a MetaFilter-style geek.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:30 PM on December 6, 2003


I don't think Metafilterans have egos.
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:49 PM on December 6, 2003


I'd tend to think they had the ego on enrolling, Space Coyote. We don't create trolls, we just tickle their tummies.
posted by orange swan at 5:50 PM on December 6, 2003


Geek Social Fallacy #6: Anyone Who Doesn't Like Me is Jealous

That's a good call, Electric_Jesus. I'd say that's the only one of these that actually is real a problem in the geek world. But then, the most popular people in my high school were actually the drama geeks, so perhaps I come from a special case.
posted by Laugh_track at 5:59 PM on December 6, 2003


Does anyone know where I can get YFYP cross-stitched on a pillow?

Try these guys.
posted by funkbrain at 6:07 PM on December 6, 2003


MetaFilter: We don't ostracize anyone.
MetaFilter: Your feelings, your problem.


Which one sounds more accurate? Thank you.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 7:48 PM on December 6, 2003


Non-Geek Fallacy # 0:
Geeks actually care what you, or anyone else for that matter, think of them.

posted by spazzm at 8:52 PM on December 6, 2003


Non-Geek Fallacy # 1:
Geeks are a homogenous group and they all share certain characteristics.
posted by spazzm at 9:00 PM on December 6, 2003


Such as being geeky?
posted by NortonDC at 4:45 PM on December 7, 2003


Every carrier of GSF4 has, at some point, said:

"Wouldn't it be great to get all my groups of friends into one place for one big happy party?!"


Oddly enough, I seem to be a carrier of anti-GS4. ("GS minus 4"?) I try hard to avoid getting my different circles of friends together, and am distinctly uncomfortable when it does happen. Perhaps because I act differently with one group of friends than with another. Not polar opposites, mind you, but I may allow one facet of myself to express itself more with one group of friends, and suppress that facet to some extent with another. Thus, I don't know how to act when my different social groups mix.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:43 AM on December 8, 2003


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