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What is a geek? What is the definition of geek? What does it mean to be a geek? Are you a geek? Am I a geek? I guess we'll find out!

The Good Stuff comes to you in playlists of videos covering many styles and topics all around a theme. This week's theme: GEEKS!

Special thanks to Hank Green and Stefen Chin

Music by Zaid Maxwell (Oscillator Bug)

Hank Green is a Geek
3 Common Scifi/Fantasy Cliches
A Street Fighter Named Desire
Everyone's a Geek

Rockstar Lifestyle

The Good Stuff elsewhere:

Produced by
Craig Benzine, Sam Grant, Matt Weber, David Wolff and Ryan Wolff
Craig: Hank Green - one of the Vlogbrothers, founder of VidCon, entrepreneur, and geek. But what does it mean to be a geek? I asked him.

Hey Hank Green!

Hank: Wow!

Craig: How are ya?

Hank: Good!

Craig: Good!

Hank: Thanks for having me on this show. It's good stuff.

Craig: Oh ho, thank you! We're uh, where are we right now?

Hank: We're right now in the set of Crash Course Chemistry where I teach chemistry to anybody who cares to learn about it.

(Snippet from Crash Course video: A gas gets dissolved in a solution the same way David Bowie and Freddie Mercury collaborate - under pressure.)

Craig: Would you say knowing a lot about chemistry would make you a geek?

Hank: I would say there aren't very many people who know a lot about chemistry who are not geeks.

Craig: Well then that leads to the next question, what is a geek?

Hank: What is a geek in my head? What does society at large think a geek is? What do I think society thinks a geek is? 

Craig: Mhm.

Hank: I think that just being able to ask those three different questions about your one question kind of makes me a geek.

Craig: [laughs]

Hank: I wanna define being a geek as being curious and curiosity and enthusiasm and interest. I think there's a certain level of like you have to be excited like unironically about stuff, but that's because, like, I want "geek" to sound like a really good thing because I've been called a geek my whole life. But others might think a geek is someone who's sort of awkward and not into things that are normal and is weird.

Craig: So you've been called a geek your whole life - do you where that label with pride?

Hank: I where that label with pride now.

Craig: Why is that? Why now?

Hank: Because I think that it's become more acceptable to be a geek when, like, comic book movies are everywhere, even though they're not that geeky anymore. 

Craig: Why do you think that geekdom has become more acceptable?

Hank: I think that a lot of the paths to be successful and have lots of money are geeky paths. Like Bill Gates is a rich dude. I think he may be the richest dude. And he got there by geekin'.

Craig: By geekin'?

Hank: By geekin'. Put up a picture of him from his early days.

Craig: Okay. Bill Gates, the geek.

Hank: Um, man. That was a geeky guy. Do a picture of him next to Steve Jobs though.

Craig: Don't they both look geeky?

Hank: But Steve Jobs is kinda, like, cool geek.

Craig: Well, it's because he wears the turtleneck.

Hank: Yeah.

Craig: Which makes him a little more mysterious seeming I guess. Or - 

Hank: He was always kind of a good looking dude though.

Craig: Yeah, I suppose. That aside, um - [laughs]

Hank: I think that "geek" is cooler because there are a lot of cool things you can do being a geek. Like Iron Man, you know, Tony Stark. He's like all engineer and building and computer programming, but he's also awesome.

Craig: Technology has become easier to use and it's worked itself into the mainstream a little bit more.

Hank: Here's another thing that might be it, geekiness is more acceptable because now technology is the one way that we see invariably changing the world, and also making it better. And so because technology springs from the minds of geeks, we see at this like, "Good on you, thanks, geek, for my desalination plant, or extra awesome smartphone that can do everything and fits in my pocket."

Craig: What do you geek out about?

Hank: Oh! I geek out about understanding the world, and like new insights, and how the universe actually works. Check the news every morning and go, "Oh man, we know a thing today that we didn't know yesterday." Being figured out right now in the lab by geeks, so I geek out about geeks. I also geek out about Star Trek.

(Video Snippet: Do go boldly! We do not split infinitives here, where no nerd has gone before! [singing])

Planning on geeking out about the new Star Wars movies, I'm nervous about it.

(Video Snippet: Disney just bought Star Wars. Nyaaa)

But I wanna geek out about it.

Craig: I'm pretty optimistic about it. I think it'll be better than the prequels.

Hank: Prequels. Yeah, yeah.

Craig: Why do you think it is though that geeks gravitate towards the weirder entertainment. [laughs]

Hank: [laughs] The weirder entertainment?

Craig: Like sci-fi or fantasy, or you know - stuff that isn't in the real world.

Hank: I think one - because it's nice to get out of this real world., because it can be kind of oppressive and annoying, and if you feel like you don't fit in it then it's nice to imagine another world where you might fit better. But I also think that there's an element of being able to step back from the world, allowing you to analyze it better. So you remove yourself a little bit from our culture, from, you know, our place in history, and you can think more about "us" contextualized within a broader universe. 

Craig: Do you think it's a good time to be a geek?

Hank: I think it is a great time to be a geek.

Craig: Was there another time in history that was a good time to be a geek? 

Hank: I know a lot about the Mongols - I could totally geek out about the Mongols. One of the things that Genghis Khan did that no previous hoard of step people had done - when he conquered places, he would take the intellectuals from those places, and he would let them live, kill everyone else, and he would use their knowledge to administrate his kingdom better. Better siege weapons and better technology for his people. They were illiterate, the Mongols, and so he would use them to adopt their written language.

Craig: Wow, what a great guy.

Hank: Yeah, and he was like - the first time this had ever happened with a nomadic step people, he actually built an empire that lasted beyond his rule. 

Craig: 'Cause he, uh, respected the geeks?

Hank: 'Cause he respected the geeks! He didn't kill us! Like he killed everyone else. 

Craig: So if you ever wanna take over a large area of the world - 

Hank: - respect the geeks.

Craig: Thanks for talking with me, Hank.

Thanks for talking with us, Hank Green, and DFTBA. Up next, Matt and I take on sci-fi and fantasy clichés - and it gets pretty ridiculous.