GEEK MADNESS: The Battle for Secretary of Geek Affairs

Per our discussion in Episode #015 of “Paul and Storm Talk About Some Stuff for Five to Ten Minutes (On Average)“, as the first geek President, Barack Obama would do well to reward this important and influential constituency by creating a new cabinet post: the Secretary of Geek Affairs.

And it’s up to YOU (the collective you, that is) to make sure the right person gets the job. As such we present GEEK MADNESS: a 64-“team” elimination tournament decided by public voting as to which person (or persons), real or fictional, is best for the job.

What exactly will the SoGA do? Only time will tell. Maybe they’ll just be a figurehead, sent to represent the government at cons, beta releases, and gaming tournaments across the country. Or perhaps they’ll provide a larger vision for greater geekdom, encouraging and fostering the careers, hobbies, memes that are the lifeblood of our nation.

But in general terms,

  1. Advise the POTUS on matters concerning, affecting, and/or of interest to geeks (as well as nerds and similar constituencies);
  2. Implement POTUS policies generated by first responsibility; and
  3. Act as liaison on POTUS’ behalf between greater U.S. geek community and other national and international stakeholders.
  4. Does not to be a U.S. citizen, because we say so.

But enough of our yakkin’; let’s see who’s in the running…


Geek Tourney - Full Bracket

Click on the image for a larger version; or download it as an Adobe Arcobat file.

You can also view the individual region brackets: Bombadil, Do’Urden, Jor-El, and Lobot.

Voting begins on Monday, December 15th. Let the arguments over pairings, omissions and inappropriate choices begin!


  1. Posted December 7, 2008 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I definitely like the choices – lots of good ones, a few I had to wiki, all and all it was good.

    I think what you can do when voting comes around is a have like a short bio of everyone – what they do, and why they might be qualified (or giants). I would be willing to help with said task.

    Also I think you should try to contact some of these people to see if they’d be willing to do fake commercials, or even just write up a “here’s why you should pick me” sort of thing. Most of them have pretty good senses of humor, so they should go along with it, in theory.

  2. Ken Kopin (is serious)
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    “Let the arguments over pairings, omissions and inappropriate choices begin!”

    Pairings: How could you RESIST putting Wil Wheaton against Wesley Crusher? I’m not saying it would have been appropriate, I’m asking.. How did you resist the temptation, man?!

    This next one is “None of the Above:”

    Trillian McMillan might be more properly refered to as Tricia “Trillian” McMillan as Trillian is a shortening of her proper name.

  3. Jon Dittert
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    I’m already torn over what I assume will be the Lobot finals: JoCo vs. Felicia Day. Maybe the public will cast their votes poorly and I won’t have to make that decision.

    Notable omission: Paul and Storm. Are you guys too socialist to serve your country?

  4. Posted December 8, 2008 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I agree.. by popular demand I feel Paul and Storm should nay, must be added to the list

  5. Andy
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    What about Hodgeman? If I recall correctly, he was fighting for first with JoCo in the initial poll.

    Great list guys. So many epic pairings.

    Oh, and Jon Dittert, Do you not recognize the genius? The eventual SoGA will be but a figurehead. A patsy, if you will. Everyone knows that the true power always sits behind the curtain. P&S are just setting up a willing proxy who can eventually express their will over the entire government. I’m guessing this is just part one in an elegant and elaborate world domination scheme. Now we know what the minion brigade is for.

  6. Ryan
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    What about Ben Heck?

  7. LilMarauder
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    You spelled Hermione Granger’s last name wrong…

    Ernie Kovacs: a TV geek pioneer… or the first mad scientist of film???

    Good lists!

  8. Robin
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Oooh, Danica McKellar. I luff her.

    @Ken Kopin, re: Trillian: Thank you. It’s good to know I’m not the only pedantic detail-oriented one around here. 🙂

  9. Timothy
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Really? JoCo vs Dexter? You tear my heart apart sirs.

  10. Gary
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Y’all need to get Ben Stein out of there. Anyone who could champion the steaming pile of nonsense that was “Expelled” does not DESERVE to be on the geek list.

    He invalidates the ENTIRE list. He should go. He doesn’t even believe in SCIENCE!

  11. Rich
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Now I have to wonder if president-elect Obama will be paying any attention to this oh-so-important poll. Might it be time to start an Obamawatch?

  12. Chris
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I object to the exclusion of Gabe and Tycho!

  13. Chris
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    My final four are John Hodgman v Jamie and Adam and Kaylee Krye v Jonathan Coulton. Oh the decisions!

  14. Ken Kopin (Is Serious)
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I must point out that since Paul and Storm are the ones who came up with the whole idea, it would be slightly unseemly for them to appear on the list. That’s not to say they couldn’t be Special Advisers to whomever DID win.

    @Robin I know how you feel, and BTW, is THIS going to be Twitter’s Legacy if they ever need one?

  15. Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    By the way, you spelled “affecting” wrong in the job description.

    Why not just appoint Hodgman and get it over with?

  16. Ken Kopin (Is Serious)
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m still not convinced that Ben Stein didn’t know exactly what he was doing. That movie was HORRIBLE, and raised the level of debate quite a bit. I prefer to think he leaned into the pitch for the team on that one.

  17. Michael Wiczer
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I really like the balance between keeping the first round interesting and saving the most exciting for later rounds. The one big issue I have, though, is that Ze Frank vs. Tom Lehrer is tooooooo good of a first round match-up.

    My other last minute change would be somehow, somewhere include Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich (hosts of public radio’s Radiolab).

  18. Erin
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Outside of the obvious ones, inclusions that made me happy: Simon Pegg, Dr. Who, and Bruce Campbell (despite the fact that I know he’ll be crushed by Wil Wheaton).

    Also, Bombadil Region = 🙂

  19. Posted December 8, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    NOT FAIR! How can I compete with that? The answer is, sirs, that I cannot. I bid you adieu!

  20. Posted December 8, 2008 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    What, not Stephen Hawking against MC Hawking?

    Also, go Woz!

  21. Rick C
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    You guys must be Belmont haters, that bracket was cold. Also, I see Will Wheaton could be matching up with Wesley Crusher? Twisted. I kinda like it but still twisted.

  22. Rick Sabourin
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    This is going to be a steel-cage deathmatch from the word Go!
    I might have gone with Nikola Tesla vs. Al Gore in a play-in.

  23. Michael Wiczer
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    -Ooh! A play-in! Since Ben Stein is sparking controversy and a 16th seed, he should totally do a play-in vs. someone… All I can think of that thematically works is Ted Sorensen, but he’s not much of a geek.

    -I partly disagree with the accusations of anti-Belmont bias. I think that Belmont v. Cerf is a really good first round match-up, and in fact I would put the percentage point spread around Belmont -15 if I were an odds maker. That said, I think both Belmont and Cerf are much too good to have to face Hodgman in the second round. In fact, I think the entire top half of the Bombadil region is way too stacked in general.

    -I think the Granger v. Sagan match-up should be swapped with the Mann v. Stibbons match-up in the Jor-El Region so that there’s the possibility of a Hawking v. Sagan match-up in the second round.

  24. Colleenky
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Aw! Simon Pegg vs. Peter Parker! How am I gonna make *that* decision?!

  25. Klopfenpop
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    How can Adam and Jamie vs. Penn and Teller be a first heat match? It breaks my heart, they both(s?) deserve to be in the championships… :'(

  26. Ross
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Bill Nye but no Mr. Wizard? Really?

    I love the Ben Stein add. He is indeed a geek. To Gary: There is a lot more to science than evolution and if you’re only basing the list on science alone that would eliminate at least 90% of the list.

    The only one on the list I don’t really get is Patton Oswalt. I don’t see the connection, I’ve always seen him as a slacker pothead, not a geek.

  27. Gingerlink
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I object to a lack of Sheldon from the Big Bang theory…

    it was nice to think of several names before looking at it and having all of the others in there though.

  28. Michael Wiczer
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Ross: I’m pretty sure all of the non-fiction entries in the tourney are still alive, and, unfortunately, Mr. Wizard no longer meets that requirement.

    Patton Oswalt is most certainly a bonafide geek. He’s well known for being obsessed with comic books and having a weekly D&D game with a group of comedians. This interview explores his geekiness pretty well:

  29. Shane
    Posted December 11, 2008 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I was expected a play-in game. How about Dr. Walter Bishop versus me?

  30. Posted December 13, 2008 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I finally worked it out – I have Stallman and the Mythbusters in the finals, with the former taking the crown.

    I was really suck on a few – like Felicia Day vs. JoCo…

  31. Posted January 5, 2009 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Ben Stein’s presence on the field is truly disturbing. Freaks and geeks aren’t exactly interchangeable terms.

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