Lessons from Game Of Thrones – Geeks don’t get no respect

In the world of Game of Thrones where the sword is mightier than the pen, it comes as no surprise that geeks, dweebs, intellectuals of any stripe, get almost no respect.

Tales of the two biggest (and smallest) GOT geeks….

Samwell Tarly,  though high-born and bookish was neither brave nor athletic so his farther abandoned him to the Night’s Watch which was generally a dumping ground for bastards, rapists and murderers.  Actually  Samwell  was given a (cough…) choice, he could die in an “accident” in a hunt or he could take a life oath to serve in the night’s watch.  Ok that’s not a choice, but you get the picture.

For those who watch the series the reason that Tyrion Lannister is an underdog is pretty obvious.  A dwarf, no matter how highborn, must rely on brains rather than brawn.  In a place where brains mean very little, Tyrion is thought of as less than nothing.  After masterminding the successful defense of King’s Landing, his father swoops and takes all the credit giving his dwarf son with no acknowledgement for his effort or striking ingenuity.  In the series, Tyrion is currently in exile because he was found guilty of murdering the King  (which he didn’t) and for murdering his father (which he did).

Latter day geeks…

We live in the “real”world.  Not a fantasy world.  A modern world crammed with technology. Yet for all our dependence on  technical and intellectual know-how, the geeks of the 21st century still don’t get much respect.  Those with the inventive minds, the voracious readers, the engineers who can plan cities,  the biomedical scientists who spend years getting doctoral degrees, are still marginalized.  As dependent as we are on technology,  those who create and intellectual heavy lifting are treated in a very condescending way.  They are the geeks, dweebs, fools who don’t know how the “real world” works or how to make “real money.”

The lack of respect for innovation was brought home to me when I spent real time on comment thread a LinkedIn blog post entitles “Ideas are worth nothing.”  The post was nothing short of insulting towards innovators.  The people piling on?  The suits and the sales people all claiming that these people were “nothing” without them and that THEY were the true heros of technology.  Beyond from being wildly arrogant, they were totally dismissive of the creative and intellectual talent required to break new ground.

Latter day jocks…

Today’s knights in shining armor don’t hold a Ph.D. or a degree in engineering.  Instead of brandishing Valerian steel blades as in Game of Thrones, they wear suits, work on Wall Street or in some area of finance or sales.  They do this because they have supposedly have a “passion” for finance.  (And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.)  They are long on style, short on substance and have egos that match their inflated salaries.

Who says we’ve advanced beyond the middle ages?

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