Are you a geek? Are you seeking enlightenment? Supposedly, this is where you’ll find it… well, sort of. Geek Wisdom doesn’t actually bill itself as the Geek Bible, but it does sort of claim itself as everything but, with the subtitle “The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture.”
It’s an easy read, with each of 200 important “teachings” (or quotes from TV, movies, games, etc) on its own page, classified into a different type of “wisdom” (self, relationships, humankind, you get the idea.)
Why is this on our bookshelf?
Come on, it’s The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture. Why would it NOT be on our bookshelf? In reality though, it does a good job of encompassing a whole bunch of bite-size facets of geekdom in one place.
Full disclosure: We received this review copy in exchange for an honest review. And we do mean honest.
Rating (1 stars)
On the outset, Geek Wisdom sounds like an easy, laughable coffee table sort of book, and it is. It’s good if you skim it, pick it up, read one or two pages, and put it down. It’s amusing in places but cringeworthy in others.
For those of you not aware, I have the distinction of being not just a geek, but a lady geek.
And not just a lady geek, but a feminist, activist, fight-for-your-rights-sort of lady geek who hosts panels about fat activism in fandom at lady geek conventions.I’m fully aware that I come to any and all fandom with a specific viewpoint.
That being said, what annoyed me most (and took the book’s rating from a solid 3.5 stars to 1) was that the whole thing was written from such a position of male-geek-privilege that even the pro-female passages seemed like an afterthought.
For every one page painting a female favorably, there are two to three that wildly miss the mark. Buffy’s page is good, but accompanying a passage from Dune, the author spins out a wild tangent about not being able to talk to girls. Catwoman is portrayed as a strong female (behind all the camp,) but in a passage from Spiderman, we spend a page being subjected to breathless exclamations over Mary Jane Watson’s bombshell status.
He claims that women love The Princess Bride because Westley “is able to simultaneously fill the roles of dashing romantic adventurer and seriously devoted (maybe even borderline henpecked) fiance.” In a passage from Snow Crash, our esteemed author goes as far as to say “Nerd or not, men dream of inspiring awe in those around them-and by ‘awe’ we mean ‘adoration’ and by ‘those around them’ we mean ‘mostly women'”
And by one star, I mean GAG ME.
Read this book:
If you’ve ever uttered the words “fake geek girl”
Don't Read this book:
If you want to slap anyone who’s ever uttered the words “fake geek girl”
Once you're done, do this:
Watch some Firefly and remind yourself that women can be well rounded, interesting, effective characters too, when viewed through the right lens.