An interesting fact I’ve learned from this season of AHS:Freakshow is what the word “geek” used to mean. One of the freaks is known as the Geek, and he’s a little guy who likes biting the heads off living things. Charming, I know. But apparently this was the done thing, back in the day when freakshows were a thing. They would open the show for the freaks; a warm-up act, if you will.
What I find interesting though, is the negative connotations that have always surrounded this word. According to the mighty Wikipedia, those who performed in freakshows without geeks, felt superior to those who performed with them. Translation: Even the freaks didn’t like the geeks. Flash forward to present day. What is a geek? At base level, someone with a high level of intelligence. Most often, mocked and ridiculed for this. Recently, there’s been a flurry of t-shirts and sweaters being sold on the high street with the word “GEEK” emblazoned across the chest. These are being worn ironically by the cool kids.
This has been part of a recent effort to make the term “geek” cool. I’m not so sure it’s worked myself. It certainly carries more negative connotations than the word “nerd” in my opinion. A few months ago, the Harry Potter convention LeakyCon renamed itself to GeekyCon. The idea behind it being that Potter isn’t the main theme anymore. I get the intention to celebrate “geekdom” but to be honest, I get made fun of enough for going to conventions – you can’t imagine the comments about attending something called “GeekyCon”. Sure, we shouldn’t listen to people who mock us, but we do.
Anyway. Maybe I should be embracing this new culture, and be proud to call myself a geek. But flashbacks to being mocked at high school for this very thing makes it pretty difficult. I do wish though that I had known about the Geeks at the freakshow when I was younger. It would have been funny to correct people who used the word incorrectly. Then again, that in itself would probably have warranted a wedgie or two.