11
Oct

Geeks vs hippies

The duel to end them all. Who shall prevail?

The duel to end them all. Who shall prevail?

Geeks. The socially awkward, oft-misunderstood tech wizzes that are taking over the world. And hippies. The tree-huggin', peace-n-lovin' ragtags that are trying to save the world, one spliff at a time.

I've long considered myself to be a member of both these particular minority groups, to some extent. I'm undoubtedly quite a serious case of geek; and I also possess strong hippie leanings, at the least. And I don't believe I'm alone, either. Nay — the Geekius Hippius is, in fact, a more common species than you might at first think.

I present here a light-hearted comparison of these two breeds. Needless to say, readers be warned: this article contains high level stereotyping.

Demographics

Gender balance. Geeks have long been smitten with the curse of the sausage-fest. In my undergrad IT program, there were two girls and 23 guys; this is pretty well on par, in my experience. I estimate that 90-95% male, 5-10% female, is a not uncommon gender ratio in geek circles. With hippies, on the other hand, it's all much more balanced, with my estimate being 40-50% male, 50-60% female, being a common gender ratio amongst a given group of hippies. So, yes, male geeks should consider hanging out with hippies more, as there are opportunities to meet actual real-life females.

Occupation / wealth. Geeks are typically engaged in professional full-time work; and while they're not always paid as much as they deserve (being oft exploited by less tech-savvy but more ruthless business types), they're generally comfortable, and can even expect to acquire some financial investments in life. Hippies are frequently unemployed and penniless, with many engaged in work for NGOs and other struggling outfits that can barely afford to remunerate them. Many hippies truly do possess almost no financial wealth, although there are plenty of exceptions.

Socio-economic background. A large number of geeks hail from white, middle-class homes. Asian geeks also make up a sizable contingent (with Korean StarCraft fanatics alone enjoying a massive representation); and the infamous "Russian hackers" are more than just a myth. Hippies are perhaps even more predominantly white and middle-class, despite their typical rejection of said heritage. Some upper-class folk enjoy going undercover and slumming it as hippies. Migrant groups are less likely to identify as hippies, although they have a presence in the movement too.

Habits

Fashion. The geek is easily identifiable by his/her conference t-shirt or geek humour t-shirt (or possibly a faeces-coloured formal shirt), accompanied with nondescript jeans, and a practical pair of runners. A rather oversized pair of glasses is a geek hallmark, and a tad bit of facial hair doesn't go astray either. The hippie can be spotted in his/her head-to-toe outfit of thoroughly worn-out and faded vestments, including: a festival t-shirt, stripey pants, and thongs (or he/she may simply go barefoot). On the hair and accessories front, the hippie is typically equipped with: dreads, tats, bandanas, artesanal jewellery, and hair in all parts (ladies not excluded).

Preferred hangouts. The native habitat of the geek is an air-conditioned environment, equipped with fast, reliable Internet. Common hibernation spots include libraries, office spaces, and Internet cafes. Geeks are averse to lingering in public spaces for extended periods, on account of the overwhelming presence of normal people engaged in healthy socialising. The hippie's preferred urban hangout is a dilapidated run-down venue, sporting some blaring alternate music, Che Guevara posters, and coffee tables constructed from used nappies. Hippies are also accustomed to central public spaces, on account of the demonstrations that they stage in them. Additionally, they enjoy hanging out in the bush, naked near a river, with a pleasant campfire crackling nearby.

Diet. The geek subsists on a staple diet of pizza, coke, and cheap beer. Other fast food such as Asian, Mexican, and Italian take-away is also a source of nourishment. Nevertheless, more health- or consumer-conscious geek diets do exist. The hippie diet is significantly different, in that it's… well, far more hippie. A vegetarian or even vegan regime is standard fare. The hippie is quite likely to cook most of his/her own cuisine, and will often religiously enforce a devotion to organic ingredients.

Drug use. Geeks are typically averse to most drugs, although there are exceptions. Hippies, on the other hand, are massive consumers of a plethora of drugs across the board. In particular, the concept of a non-weed-smoking hippie is virtually an oxymoron.

Interests

Musical abilities. Both geeks and hippies are often musical types. Geeks are more likely to wield an old-school instrument (e.g. piano, trumpet, violin), to possess a formal musical education, and to sport experience in choirs or ensembles. Jazz is a preferred geek genre; and synth music composition, along with DJ'ing, are all the geek rage. Hippies are more likely proponents of a percussion or woodwind instrument (e.g. bongos, didgeridoo). Possession and strumming of a guitar is considered valid ID in most hippie circles. Hippies are commonly self-taught musicians, and are very likely to participate in a small band or a musical clan.

Sport. Not the strong point of the geek, who will generally struggle to name the most popular sport of his/her country, without the aid of Wikipedia. However, geeks are often fans of recreational or adventure sport. Similarly, hippies seldom concern themselves with the sports of the Bourgeoisie "masses" (although many are at least somewhat skilled in playing them). They too enjoy recreational sport, all the more if practised in a pristine wilderness environment. Many hippies are also skilled in performance or "circus" sports, such as tightrope and juggling.

Preferred books and movies. The geek species enjoys an intimate relationship with the science fiction and fantasy genres. A geek lacking at least a rudimentary mastery of Jedi mind control, Sindarin Elvish, or Klingon, is at risk of banishment from geekdom. The hippie is fond of such revered authors as Karl Marx and Mahatma Gandhi, and enjoys the (free) screening of documentaries (preferably leftist opinionated ones). The hippie also commonly nurtures an affection for the science fiction and fantasy genres.

World views

Political views. The geek is a left-leaning creature, but is also sceptical of the extreme left (as he/she is of most anything). The geek is an environmentally conscious being, but is generally reluctant to support socialist and other movements. To call the hippie a left-leaning creature is an understatement at best. The hippie is a creature of causes, diving head-first into socialism, along with feminist / gay / indigenous / migrant advocacy groups. The hippie can be relied on to provide a highly opinionated, and reasonably well-educated, opinion on most any sphere of world affairs.

Religious views. Most geeks are quite conservative on this front, sticking to old-school religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam; although few geeks are strongly religious. Atheist geeks are not uncommon either. Hippies almost unanimously share a vehement rejection of traditional religion. Many alternatives appeal to them, including Eastern religion, Paganism, mysticism, meditation and Yoga. Many hippies are also vocal atheists or nihilists.

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