The blog of Laszlo Bokor

The blog of Laszlo Bokor

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Geoshrews: a weapon against geosnobs and (un)professionalism

Hi there,

2017 has begun. I hope you have also been productive in the last, almost two weeks!? I thought, this time I would focus more on professional happenings because there are lots of things going on. For instance, we will have GLS 4 available soon, and the GLS 5 project has already begun to gather its academic contributors. I am, however, the most excited about the new Frugeo venture that my team and I will introduce during this January.

This new project is something that I have been planning to do for a long time, but I had not really had a team for it; until now. The project is called Geoshrews - scientific rants and bants' which is going to be an academic gathering and public discussion channel. The aim of the Geoshrews team is to meet regularly at the Frugeo office in Shrewsbury town centre where we discuss important, geography-related topics. You may ask why we focus on geography only, but you see I am a geographer and my team will involve mostly geographers - but not exceptionally of course which will make a good balance in the team. And you know that geography is the discipline that integrates the entire planet and life on it; therefore, we call it a geography-themed project, but we will discuss a large number of local and global, British and non-British, physical and social issues, so you can literally expect anything from us. During the first meeting, we will address "geography" itself and focus on its importance in our lives.

During the Christmas holidays, I remained active as much as one can be beside so many drinks and cakes. It was, however, a good time for me to get my head around the Geoshrews project, I have set up our Geoshrews YouTube channel (which is a revamped version of my original account), wrote a list of topics that we will address, and I have designed the official project logo which looks like this:

The logo tells you a lot of information. Take a second and think what can you identify? ... First of all, our group is called Geoshrews, because our geography-themed meetings are held in Shrewsbury; but besides this, we all live in Shropshire, so this is a direct link to the place that we care about the most. In this regards, there will be many things discussed related to Shrewsbury and its wider surroundings. The 'loop' that was used to replace the 'o' is a natural symbol of Shrewsbury: the Severn loop to be exact which is another direct reference to our local identity. The plural form of the name reflects on the importance that the scientific rants and bants are performed by a team, thus the Geoshrews. The composition of the team may be different from time to time, but we have a mascot, Clive, a 'real' geoshrew who will be the most reliable member of the group. 
One of the principal reasons why I wanted to create this group was to design a tool against snobism that has successfully managed to sneak deep into the bones of society. There are so many subgroups of it that it is hard to tackle them, but believe me, there are lots of geography snobs (people who talk about geofacts without the possession or rationality of the actual and factual knowledge of geography), let us call them 'geosnobs', too. These can be representatives of a wide range of topical issues of our lifetime including sustainability, environmentalism, conservation, politics - just to mention a couple of the uncountable. What may be common in these people is that they mostly follow trends but without actual thinking or synthesis or evaluation of the reasons why they are followers of those certain trends. They have a mindset and they group up with those who think the same, no matter whether their knowledge is right or wrong. The need for Geoshrews is, therefore, important and our weapon is geography itself that teaches its user how to see the differences and the connections between certain but truly important things. 

During these meetings, we will  represent our passion for geography, and we will not refuse to be real. What we say will be as honest as possible presented in the most suitable or uncommon way. We will be clear, funny, educative, critical, objective, rational, and passionate but, when needed, harsh, loud, angry, provocative, sometimes sarcastic, and often offensive.

Up for some rants and bants, guys!

~ Laszlo