I am not ashamed

Somebody called Mark left this comment on the below post about Doctor Who:

You are of course free to post about Doctor Who on your own blog.
However, my concern as with lots of otherposts on blogs listed on “bloggers for Labour” is the impression this gives to passing possible Labour voters and how it makes us look to our opponents.
At present it makes us look like sad geeks, our opponents must be pissing themselves.

I was unaware that passing possible Labour voters, as well as opponents, still think in moronic playground cliché.

When I was seven or so, somebody bought me The Ali Bongo Book of Magic. It was full of easy magic tricks using everyday objects. I loved it. Magic became my main interest. I’d practice card tricks and card sleights until I had them perfect. I discovered Davenports magic shop in London, and spent most of my spare money picking up wonderful little illusions. In hindsight, I wasn’t bad. I performed annual shows at my secondary school. I won awards at the borough talent show. I was on stage at the Midlands Arts Centre. I won the British Magical Society’s Young Magician of the Year award (not as prestigious as it sounds, but not bad), and performed for the BMS senior section. I really enjoyed being on stage and delighted in entertaining. Then, I hit puberty.

There’d always been people who made fun. That’s what happens at school. For a good number of years it didn’t bother me, but once puberty kicked in I began to care what people thought. I realised that people weren’t poking good natured fun, they were genuinely being spiteful. For anybody who said they liked the magic, there’d be two popular jocks who’d hurl insults as all their friends laughed. I began to take it to heart. It didn’t matter what anybody else said – these were the people everybody liked, the cool crowd, and they hated me.

It happened very slowly, such that I didn’t really notice it, but I began to associate the magic with being ‘sad’, or ‘pathetic’. I stopped caring about it so much. I think my parents realised what was going on, but peer pressure is almost impossible to fight. My school magic shows in years 7 and 8 (when I was 13 and 14) were, in hindsight, pretty good. But years 9 and 10 were dodgy. I hadn’t put in the practice. On the final day of school I cut my least favourite teacher’s head off with a guillotine, and I entirely relied upon the illusion – the surrounding act wasn’t up to much. I remember hearing the abuse as I carried the guillotine across the playground after the show, and thinking that it just wasn’t worth it. After secondary school I dropped out of my fortnightly magic club, and never really took it up again.

It was odd. All through school I wanted to keep doing the magic, as I enjoyed it, but I became ashamed of myself for doing so. Even now when I pick up a pack of cards there’s a behind-sense of shame, that people will justifiably laugh at me, that I’m a bad example of how to be.

Sad geeks? For liking Doctor Who? Screw you. It’s seven years since I left school and I can see this attitude for what it is. The implication is that normal, intelligent people do not like Doctor Who, nor anything else that may be ‘geeky’. I should rid myself of my likes and dislikes and conform to some dreary grey gob of nothingness. But it’s not normal, intelligent people who think this. It’s people too brainless to see beyond their own perspective, or who are so afraid they might be missing something that they resort to I’m-more-popular-than-you insults. I let people rip the joy from being a magician, but now I’m older, wiser and stronger. I’m not going to pander to this miserable short-sighted crap, whether it’s from passing Labour voters, opposition readers, or Guardian columnists – and I strongly suspect that most of these people do not, in fact, think in the way suggested. You think my liking Doctor Who gives the Labour party a bad name? I think it’s that kind of attitude that belittles politics in general.

I like Superman, Star Trek, Doctor Who and Firefly. I like sci-fi novels, comics and fantasy. I like toys. I like cartoons and superheroics. I like computers, technology and science. If you think these are unworthy and something that should be mocked, the problem lies with you. Anybody who uses ‘geek’ as a term of abuse demonstrates their lack of thought. I revel in my geekery, and good-natured ribbing is fun, but cross the line and you reveal your own ignorance. To call such an attitude childish is an insult to children. It’s just stupid.

Perhaps Mark was genuinely trying to offer advice, but the last sentence sounds spiteful, to me. You want to criticise me for my political opinions? Go ahead. Want to argue religion? Fine. But attacking me for taking pleasure in that which I enjoy is pathetic.