Monday, November 19, 2012

Cause Play

Confession, I'm a nerd. Always have been. When I was six, hand to God, I described my mother's womb as a TARDIS and made her cry. It wasn't the most eloquent way of saying she made me feel warm and protected, but it was definitely meant as a compliment.

If you're a nerd, your travels may have taken you through comics, Tolkien, Buffy, computers, Firefly or your local Renaissance Faire.

If you're reading this blog, books probably had something to do with your own Kung-Fu-like journey to nerdvana.

When you can snatch the commemorative Avengers: Comic-Con issue from my hands. . .you will be ready
There's no one true path and that's kinda the point. Being a nerd should never be about fitting into someone else's definition of the term, it should be about your own hobbies, interests and obsessions.

For example, I'm currently sporting a nerd boner for Star Wars VII and the Robocop reboot. You could argue that SW-VII might turn into Jar-Jar Binks vs. The Ewoks and that the new Robocop is just Transformers 4. You make good points but I disagree. Does that give you the right to revoke my nerd credentials?

Nope. You can have my nerd ID when you pry it from my cold, dead, zombie hand.

You don't get to tell me what being a nerd means and vice-versa. There are no gatekeepers in Nerdom.

Lately, though, I've seen a number of successful nerds, by which I mean nerds who get paid to nerd professionally, rail against some perceived menace stalking Nerd Hollow. In each case, we are warned to keep our junior nerdlings indoors and hide our precious nerd eggs until the Mouse Shadow in the Second Moon signals hatchling season.

What horror could drive these self-assigned cognoscenti to howl in the night?

I know, right?

In the most recent kerfuffle, a well-known comic book artist came out swinging against a particularly insidious creature he believes walks the halls of Comic-Con. The Scylla to our heroic Nerd Odysseus is the dreaded cosplayer.

And not just any cosplayer, but, as he put it, the "Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl" who is desperate for attention, doesn't know much about the character she's impersonating and wouldn't give fellow nerds the time of day outside a con.

Okay, I'm not even sure what "Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl" even means. But let's argue for a moment that someone exists that fits the rest of his criteria.

So the EFF what?!

Is this douche arguing that in order to be part of the nerd herd, all cosplaying women have to live atop Maslow's pyramid, have a PhD in comics and befriend every boob-leering troll?

Riiiiiiiiight. Because every male cosplayer is completely emotionally stable, has read all 900 issues of Batman and is an absolute treat to hang out with.

Part of what really riled me about this guy's post is that his self-righteous call to arms tries desperately to recruit nerds like me into his flaccid pitchfork army using words like us and our, as if I'd cast off my own opinions and throw down with him just because he's written some comic books I've read.

Dude, I'm not your bro, bro. Especially not when you've chosen to cosplay as a giant talking dick.

I can't help but think this artist's screed (which I won't link to here), is just the frustrated rambling of someone who was recently friend-zoned. And I have to say, that's giving him the benefit of the doubt. It's quite possible his post was just outright misogyny.

Is this sort of vitriol directed at female fans growing, is there some kind of douchebag breeding ground we missed in the last spraying? Jesus Christ, I hope not.

The last thing we want is to chase away female fans. Do you know what you get when you have female cosplayers? You get Bad-Assery Level: Mega.

"So what exactly did you mean by Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl? Here, speak directly into my microphone."
The above is the work of a female cosplayer who goes by the name of LilTyrant and does this sort of thing for lulz.

Does she look like the problem? Or the solution.

John Scalzi, responding to some other douchebag, said all of this before and more eloquently than I ever couldNo one gets to decide for anyone else how they participate in fandom. And while everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, don't pretend yours defines me or expect to get a pass on your stupidity just because we have similar interests.

We need a lot less of butt hurt comic book guy and a lot more of LilTyrant.

Copil often cosplays as Mo'Ron, King of the Idiots! You can see him in costume on Twitter (@Copil).


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