GEEK MADNESS: Geek 16, Part 1

Now it really starts to get cruel.

After eight grueling weeks, sixteen remain to tussle it out for the title of Secretary of Geek Affairs. All results to-date are on the main Geek Madness page.

Yes, we’re well aware that many of you will find it impossible to decide. But you must. Be brave! Review all the matchups and go vote, after the break.

Geek 16 Part I
click for larger image


Simon Pegg Simon Pegg vs. Randall Munroe Randall Munroe

Comedy or comics?

Simon Pegg: Actor/writer; co-creator/star, “Spaced“, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz.
Portraying “Scotty” in upcoming Star Trek reboot; staunch opponent of Star Wars prequel trilogy; no danger of influence from powerful zombie special interest groups. Defeated Peter Parker in Round 1 and Linus Torvalds in Round 2.

Randall Munroe: Creator of webcomic xkcd.
Has graduate degree in physics; captures the nuances of geek life by investing his rudimentary stick figures with keen and often poignant observations; occasional stick figure sex. Defeated Kevin Smith in Round 1 and Patton Oswalt in Round 2.

[poll id=73]


Kaylee Frye Kaylee Frye vs. Steve Jobs Steve Jobs

Scrappy, adorable mechanical genius or tenacious, temperamental captain of industry?

Kaylee Frye: Character, Joss Whedon’s TV series “Firefly” and film Serenity; ship’s mechanic.
Notes: Prototypical geek girl who has a great love of and intuitive talent with technology; feminine without being entirely “girly;” only partially aware of how stupefyingly attractive she is. Defeated The Professor and was top vote-getter of Do’Urden Round 1 and Tricia “Trillian” McMillan in Round 2.

Steve Jobs: Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Apple Computer; former CEO, Pixar Animation Studios.
Notes: Fearless competitor, constantly leading market in technology and design innovation; don’t know what he was thinking with the whole NeXT thing; allegedly kind of a dick in person. Defeated Cast of Revenge of the Nerds in Round 1 and RMS in Round 2.

[poll id=74]


John Hodgman John Hodgman vs. They Might Be Giants They Might Be Giants

John or Johns?

John Hodgman: Author (The Areas of My Expertise; More Information Than You Require); actor/TV personality (“PC” in long-running Apple Computer Mac ads; “The Daily Show“).
Bookish, likable manner and quirky, tweedy humor have made him a major breakout minor celebrity, crossing over beyond geek circles; near-ubiquity in 2007 and 2008 could lead to “Dude, you’re getting a Dell”-style backlash. Defeated Ben Stein in Round 1 and Spock in Round 2.

They Might Be Giants: Grammy Award-winning alt-pop duo John Flansburgh and John Linnell.
Notes: Extremely popular in geek circles for their catchy, melodic, humorous and intelligent music; frequent collaborators on TV, movie, literature and other projects (geek and non-geek); probably most widely known for “The Boss of Me”, theme song to Fox Television’s “Malcolm in the Middle“. Recent Dunkin’ Donuts commercial work may provoke cries from hardcore fans of “selling out.” Defeated Ponder Stibbons in Round 1 and Tom Lehrer in Round 2.

[poll id=75]


Gabe & Tycho (Penny Arcade) Gabe & Tycho vs. Douglas Adams Douglas Adams

Heroes of today or legend of all time?

Gabe & Tycho: Webcomic alter egos of Penny Arcade writers/creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
Notes: Multiple weekly strips are a touchstone of gaming and gamer culture. Characters also help promote the PAX gaming festival and Child’s Play charitable effort. Defeated Sarah Vowell in Round 1 and Alton Brown in Round 2.

Douglas Adams: Author best known for his The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.
Notes: Tremendous champion of technology; wrote several “Doctor Who” episodes; appeared briefly in two episodes of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus“; 42. Defeated Bill Gates in Round 1 and “Weird Al” Yankovic in Round 2.

[poll id=76]


  1. Robin
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Sweet Tinkerbell Jeebus, that was hard! I love them all. How could you make me choose? (You magnificent bastards.)

  2. Jeffy
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Randall Munroe is the incarnation of all that is right with the world. I do not see why he is not the unanimous choice.
    Steve Jobs is awesome in my eyes, so he had my vote, but unlike Randall, I can see reasons why people might dislike him, so I’m less frustrated that he is losing.
    Hodgman of course. No contest at all. That list of hobo names was long, but worthwhile.
    The first three were easy choices. The last was incredibly tough. I’ve known Gabe and Tycho longer (though I own the exact same number of books from both options, five)and I check Penny Arcade whenever it is up, so they win my vote.

  3. Tzeentch
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    everyone who voted against Douglas Adams is RETARDED
    penny arcade is stupid, Douglas Adams is a genus

  4. Andrew
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    xkcd is awful, what is wrong with you people

  5. Dr.Funk
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Stop saying dumb things Tzeentch

  6. Slammu
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Everyone who voted for the XKCD guy is a bad person and should feel bad

  7. SirToasty
    Posted February 12, 2009 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    If you voted for Randall, go to Youtube and look up 50,000 Zombies with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and then hang your head in shame for the terrible thing you have done.

  8. Posted February 12, 2009 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    Douglas Adams is a genus?

    Man, I wish I were a Douglasadams sapiens. Yes, Man, I’m talking to you.

    (Now trying to figure out what the tune is that I’m singing ‘Oh, I wish I were a Douglasadams sapiens’ to in my head. Argh, I think it’s the Oscar Mayer wiener song. And I’ve never even heard that except from imitations in movies.)

  9. Matt Pritchard
    Posted February 12, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    WT fuck is going on this week?!?
    Simon Pegg is awesome and funny but there is no way in this or any other universe that he should beat Randall to the title of Secretary of Geek Affairs!!

    Kaylee is the right choice for the second one, although I suspect a lot of people are voting with their penis (how very dexterous).

    Match 3 I don’t really think matters because either should lose in the next round.

    and Finally Douglas Adams… Again I love Gabe and Tycho but I think even they would have to admit that even in non-corporeal form Douglas would be a shoo-in. If you voted against him you probably don’t even realise how much of geek-culture just wouldn’t exist without him. As for the guy who said he is a Genus, that may have been a typo, but it’s probably still true. He was a breed all his own and sorely missed.

  10. three08
    Posted February 13, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    i weep for a world that puts penny arcade ahead of the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.

  11. The Wanderer
    Posted February 14, 2009 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Oh, I do have an idea of just how much of “geek culture” (as you put it) wouldn’t exist without Adams. I just don’t think that that factor is nearly enough to outweigh the fact that he would be unable to serve in the position.

    No fictional or dead people should ever have been included in the list of candidates in the first place, unless there is some way to arrange for them to be able to serve if chosen; the fact that any were included means that no one is even pretending to take this seriously. I think it’s interesting enough to take part in anyway, but at least one of my brothers (who happens to be arguably significantly geekier than I am) is refusing to even look at the site because of that flaw.

    (For the record, I much prefer Hitchhiker’s to Penny Arcade – I don’t even read the latter, and haven’t been greatly impressed by what I’ve seen over other people’s shoulders. It’s just that living, potentially-real people get an automatic pass when up against dead or definitely-fictional people – that also being a major part of the reason I voted for Jobs.)

  12. Posted February 14, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Oh, are we supposed to be pretending to take this seriously?

    I’d really have to know more about what the position entailed and how much time it would take away from the activities we like them for. I guess Tom Lehrer would be a good choice since he hasn’t performed much recently anyway, and claims to have voted for Obama. But I don’t think it’d be nice of us to make him work in politics.

    There’s nobody in this round that I think would be suitable in a pretending-to-take-this-seriously way. Either I’ve never heard of them, I don’t think they’re geeky, or I’d prefer them to continue what they’re doing. Well, maybe Hodgman would do, since I haven’t actually read his books, and he doesn’t do Coultonised booksignings anywhere near me, so I probably wouldn’t miss him that much during his term. I wouldn’t miss TMBG either, but I don’t really think they’re geeky. Though electing two people to the position might be an advantage, but that seems unusual for politics. In fact, The Wanderer, why don’t you refuse to vote for candidates which consist of more than one person? I doubt a duo could serve in any single cabinet position, or whatever these positions are called in the US.

  13. Jeffy
    Posted February 15, 2009 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Randall is a better geek (Simon Pegg has never worked for NASA) and is actually funny. I laugh at xkcd all the time (or at least enjoy the ones not meant to be funny) whereas this Simon Pegg character isn’t geeky enough, and doesn’t have the funny thing down, so therefore,

    Randall Munroe > Simon Pegg


  14. Zoe
    Posted February 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    TMBG can’t lose. This isn’t right.

  15. PonderousMan
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    On reflection, I sort of like the idea that we live people can vote for dead candidates – rather than the Chicago way, where the dead get to vote for live candidates. (Unless you consider the robot/clone factor -Richie Daley, anyone?)

    However, if that’s true,then the original brackets were likely missing some true founders of geekdom – Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, and Benjamin Franklin, just for starters.

    (If anyone doubts Franklin was a geek, compare his life to Jobs or one of the Googleboys… he was just too early for actually *using* electricity to do things, but he helped get it all started.)

    Which brings up an interesting idea – if reincarnation is true, then who would be the reincarnation of Verne, Franklin, or, lesse…. Orson Welles, maybe?

  16. PonderousMan
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    @Mark, Molly – I take it that Mark’s apology was accepted? *grin*

    @Zoe- this is always the challenge for democracy – it’s not always who is eligible to vote that matters, but who actually casts the vote. I expect that this contest has created more than a few “GOTV” efforts by readers looking to swing things one way or another…

  17. Posted February 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    That John Hodgman is beating TMBG, Simon Pegg is beating Randall Munroe and ANYBODY is beating Douglas Adams has me worried about the future of humankind.

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