Emerald City Comic Con 2013 brought me a revelation.
Yes, I’d known for a long time that, despite any feelings of personal persecution and disfavor issued by the world to us, that as geeks, a separation, either real or imagined, existed. I’d known for a long time that we all had our little sub-genres in our minds, all our own little criteria as to what we were; we had our own definitions of awesomeness and our own definitions of creativity and our own versions of individuality.
It’s all crap of course.
And by that, I don’t mean that it’s all crap except what I dig the most.
The illusion of difference is crap. The illusion that we are all alone unless we are in a group that does the exact same things we do our own selves is completely garbage.
I thought I went to Emerald City Comic Con to get some autographs and some interviews for a podcast and some really good art for the walls. I thought I had gone to be with my very good friends for a few days.
But sitting at our table, tucked away in the corner by the bathrooms, sitting there and looking at the un-ending and marvelously varied flow of all possible types of humanity…I realized signatures were not the goal. Books were not the goal. Even hi res photos of Catwoman, Black Canary, and any character with cleavage was no longer my goal.
I stood there, and I watched five year olds’ faces light up with sheer joy at receiving a new lightsabre. I stood there, and I watched fat, waddling 50 year olds, sweating like a marathon runners, handfuls of books gleefully purchased, enjoying themselves as much as anyone can. I watched someone land a dream job making comics; there were women and girls and jocks, and anime kids and professional writers and artists and more. There were people that needed mechanical devices just to move from place to place; canes, runabouts, larks, zimmers, walkers, crutches; people with MD, MS, Parkinsons, Downs, there was a guy didn’t have fingers to turn a page…and who knows how many other maladies, diseases, and conditions. Hair styles and colors and lengths were all different; there were a lot of skinny jeans, but whatever; the point is…
… Sixty-five thousand of us were there because we were the same; not different at all. So friggin’ what if Hello Kitty was on that girls’ back pack instead of Tony Stark? She might like Vampire Hunter D as well, or High School of the Dead, and I like those. She could show me the sequel to Love Hina, and I may like it, and I could show her Demon in a Bottle, and she may like it. It all crosses because it’s all fiction, it’s all fantastic fiction in the dictionary sense; it’s all fantastic-it’s all fantasies we want to live; at some deep level, whether accurate or not, we’re all dissatisfied with simple, dramatic fiction, and simple, undramatic lives; to some degree our own worlds; it hardly matters which is which.
Saturday night I lay in bed trying to deal with the jet lag and I remembered one of the current controversies in fandom. A bunch of self important, self righteous troglodytes, so isolated from “the world” that they’re so certain persecutes them personally, decided they would post some articles and forum posts and comments trying to shoehorn everyone else into their pathetic, horseshit definition of geek. And it wasn’t only that; they’re narrowing it down to women. They’re taking it upon themselves to define what a geek is; what a geek can watch, what a geek can use to claim their own nerditude. Even what gender a geek can be! I have four sisters with varying levels of nerdery; they’ll have words with you!
I can’t even express what utter garbage this is. I’m not that good a writer. Nothing I’ve said so far could be shoehorned into “eloquent.” But I know what level of bullshit this is because I used to pull it myself. I mistook my personal criteria for a quality story, and quality story structure and good dialog, I mistook my own criteria for an interesting concept; I mistook them all for absolute. I mistook them all for something that I should be able to present to someone else and say, “This is better than what you like” and have them see the light of my personal wisdom.
What the hell was I thinking? I’ve still not entirely let go of my own criteria for geek; I liked the first season of Desperate Housewives, but that never made me someone that enjoys simple dramas. To me, it simply means I like one season of a tv show. In a mirror, liking one fantastic property shouldn’t make a person a geek; it seems too narrow; in my brain, a geek has a wide, broad connotation, and liking one property obviously doesn’t cover that. And that’s something I have to work through. It’s something that I defined for myself, and needn’t apply to others.
Even if I never get past it, I need to shut my fuckin’ hole about it, and just love what I love. I feel a level of shame for wasting so much time railing against, hating things that don’t match up to my criteria of quality. I’m embarrassed for myself that I wasted all that time feeling negative emotions and desperately trying to support them; by attempting to shoehorn others into my own useless, pathetic definitions. It was wrong.
I love the type of entertainment and learning that I love. It took three thousand miles, 4 days, and sixty-five thousand other people who didn’t even know they were participating to change my mind and let other people love what they love. I still don’t like Twilight, but I no longer require myself to hate it.