What makes me a geek? BuzzFeed gets it wrong

It doesn't make you more or less of geek to have your hands in multiple cookie jars of fandom.

Internet Culture

Published Apr 15, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 11:42 am CDT


Typically, I’m a sucker for Buzzfeed quizzes and enjoy them quite a bit. I was delighted to find out my personality matched the Joker in the “Which Batman Character Are You” quiz. I was stoked when I got Harry Potter in his “Which Character” quiz. I was even proud enough to post when I got Tina Fey in the “What Actress Would Play You In A Movie?” because I think she could legitimately genderbend me. So of course when I saw the quiz “What Level Geek Are You?” you know I was down to clown because who doesn’t want affirmation of something they already know?

I got 99 out of 300. Guess what? I have the makings of a geek, but I’m not quite there. I’m not quite there? I’M NOT QUITE THERE?! In my lifetime I cannot recall a day past age 5 when I haven’t played a video game. I have a life-size replica Dragon Ball sitting atop my mantle, proudly on display. My Netflix queue is almost exclusively Marvel cartoons, and MY WARDROBE OF T-SHIRTS ARE ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY DC! But I’m not a geek because I haven’t professionally LARP’d?

Am I overreacting? Yeah, I’m more than a little aware, but I thought we evolved past the stigma of what a “geek” is in 2014. I didn’t know seeing Avengers more than once in theaters equated to being a Brony, nor did I know that reading the Days of Future Past series also meant I’m a chemist. Who the hell is coming up with this asinine set of 300 questions that all involve a combination of things that no one could possibly juggle?!

It gave me the realization that geeks have evolved into something well beyond the current umbrella we share. Table-top gamers may have no interest in Firefly, and the Browncoats could not give a flip less about Manga readers. PC gamers may log hundreds of hours in DOTA and never watch an actual episode of the original Star Trek, and that’s completely fine. It doesn’t make you more or less of geek to have your hands in multiple cookie jars of fandom, and it’s that kind of pissing contest of “who’s more popular” that drove many people into the less mainstream interests we share today.

I think the questions that get me the most are the programming, chemistry, and “having a Ph.D.” Don’t get me wrong, there is crossover between the worlds, as our programmer on the site has many interests within the culture. Even so, I know a lot of geeks who don’t work in the science field, who didn’t learn CSS in school, and are only called “doctor” ironically. Is it possible that this is a blending of the term “nerd” and “geek”? How is it this is still happening when Milhouse Van Houten was able to make the distinction quite clear many years ago.

Out of the 300 questions on “What Level Geek Are Youl?” almost 20 ask the equivalent of “do you own this?” It’s ridiculous, albeit sometimes true, to think that we as a community are guilty of using materialism to flaunt our geek tendencies. Sure, I would love to adorn my wall with the Sword of Omens so that I could fake achieve sight beyond sight (BTW, no ’80s cartoon trivia, BuzzFeed?!), but life gets in the way. So while this quiz was flawed, it was also a bit eye-opening to some truths and biases that I as a geek hold against others. For that, I thank you, Buzzfeed, but that isn’t an excuse for a whack quiz that has some gaping holes in geek culture. Also I’m sure you’re aware of most of this because I stalked you on Twitter and found your score.

I got 184 out of 300, which seems ludicrous. What’s Your Geek Number? https://t.co/25tl3oLyq5 via @buzzfeed

— Tanner Ringerud (@AwesomeRingerud) April 10, 2014

Mick Joest is an editor at geektyrant.com, where he writes about television, movies, and the best of geek culture. This story is republished with permission. 

Photo by Ben K Adams/Flickr (CC by ND 2.0)

Share this article
*First Published: Apr 15, 2014, 9:00 am CDT