Wil Wheaton, best known for his role as Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, has become somewhat of a beloved personality in the geek world, and as the tides begin to turn in favour of that very subculture, the actor has given some insight into what he thinks it means to be a geek.
“I use “nerd” and “geek” interchangeably—I don’t make a distinction. I’ve said that being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about the way that you love it,” said Wheton in an interview with GQ. “So you can be a nerd for football, and obsessively follow stats and player trades and figure out things that give you an advantage in, like, sports betting and things like that.”
“Someone who I would describe as a “geek” or “nerd” is a person who loves something to its greatest extent, and then looks for other people who love it the same way, so they can celebrate loving it together.”
Wheaton also recalls his time in school, and how it took years before he found his comfort zone among his interests.
“When I was in elementary school, it was really hurtful when kids called me that. Because I knew that I was different. I knew that I was awkward. It probably wasn’t until I was a freshman in high school and I met the people who became my gaming group that I finally found people who were weird like I was, that loved reading and playing games and not just watching a science fiction or fantasy movie, but talking all about it.”
The 42-year-old actor was also asked what it’s like being a ‘veteran’ geek now and how the culture is still perceived by the mainstream these days.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s cool. I would say that it’s accepted. And it feels accepted. But I’m basically a professional nerd and I’m still not cool. I’m around people who are cool sometimes, and I know I’m not them. But that’s OK; I don’t care.”