Another Week in Geek

The folks in charge of programming at Wolf Trap appear to be trying to lure me to their venue. They’re doing their level best, offering up wonderful geek-related programs in these last few months of summer/early fall. First off, there’s to be a program on July 30th, titled “Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy.” The description for the event reads as follows: Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy, this spectacular concert will be enhance by state-of-the-art video and art stills shown on massive screens in-house and on the lawn, highlighting the games’ most memorable sequences.

Now, I’m not a big player of Final Fantasy. I’ve got one game, used, given to me recently from my brother. That being said, I AM a big fan of the costumes and music from the games. I get confused with the storylines at times – I always get the feeling I’m missing something – but they are a real treat to watch and listen to. I recently visited my friend Romeo and got to watch him and his son playing a bit of the most recent Final Fantasy installation. Despite not having the slightest clue what was going on, I was mesmerized by what I was seeing and hearing.

The tickets for this concert aren’t actually that bad – $20 for lawn seats. I originally thought I would be the only one who’d be up for sitting out in the heat on a Friday night fat Wolf Trap, but so far I’ve gotten an “I WANNA GO!” from both Maggie and Andy. It looks like this one might be a go!

September 10th and 11th, there’s another concert out at Wolf Trap that I want to attend. It’s a screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, with the score performed live on stage. They’ve done this a couple of times out at Wolf Trap and I’ve always managed to miss it. After having missed the recent “Star Wars in Concert” that came to the Verizon Center, I informed Maggie that we HAD to go to the LOTR screening. We have to get our geek on at ONE of the local concerts. Lawn seats for this event will be $25.

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Comic Con took place this weekend, as you probably already know. My father made quite sure that I knew it was this weekend. He had been watching Independence Day on television – G4, as luck would have it – when a commercial came on advertising the channel’s coverage of Comic Con. He turned towards me, pointing at the screen, saying “Comic Con, Megan. Comic Con’s this weekend!” I chuckled and said that I knew.

Later that same evening, as I was setting my dinner plate down and he was shuffling off to the kitchen to fill his, he asked me what Comic Con was. Personally, I love how he was all excited about there being a convention, without even knowing what it was. I explained what Comic Con was and we had a short discussion about the ways it’s supposed to have changed over the years. Never having been able to attend, myself, I could only pass along what friends of mine had shared about their own experiences. He was excited about the presence of Stan Lee at the upcoming Dragon*Con.

Much as I wanted to, I wasn’t able to watch much of G4’s coverage of Comic Con. For one, I was busy grocery shopping and preparing dinner during much of it, and other people in the house were watching the only television that’s visible from where I was working. Two, I left pretty early in the evening to go see Inception with Maggie and Andy (which I highly recommend!).

I have been trying to keep up a bit on some of the news that has been coming out of the convention. It’s mainly involved looking at the pictures and blog entries over on imdb.com, and checking out some of the trailers that have premiered over the course of the weekend. There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the impact of Hollywood on Comic Con. Obviously, the suits and powers that be from Hollywood itself think it’s a great thing. And so, I would argue, do many of the attendees. However, there are also some serious problems that arise out of so much publicity and all the crowds that come from these premieres and sneak-peaks and so one. After all, the event is called “Comic Con.” Shouldn’t the major emphasis be on, you know…comics? Granted, it’s still the first thing you read about on the event’s website. It’s easier to find the comic guests than it is to find out about the actor/director/movie industry guests most of the time. That being said, I fear it’s only a matter of time before the comic aspect of Comic Con gets shoved a bit more into the background. Even though I haven’t attended this particular con myself, a part of me grieves for the major changes that Hollywood will probably wreak on the rest of the event.

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The first big Comic Con news came via Angelica, who posted information about a planned protest by the Westboro Baptist Church this year. That’s right, folks. The same yahoos who protest soldier funerals and all manner of other events have decided that the good geeks of San Diego are worthy of a mighty smiting from the Lord via posterboard sign.

Normally I try my best to be as open to people of the many faiths in the world as possible, but the folks from WBC really annoy me. I don’t think anyone has the right to tell another person they’re going to Hell. I’ve got a couple of other things I’d like to say about that whole approach, but this isn’t really the proper time or place.

The reason I bring the whole thing up, though, is because of the counter-protest staged by con attendees this year. It was wonderful. Some of the signs were serious. Most were humorous. It was a peaceful counter-protest and I absolutely love the many signs I’ve seen. As I was scrolling down through the pictures that accompanied this article, I happened to pause at the one with the Buddy Christ. I do believe I know that guy. Not entirely sure, but I think I do.

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In other Comic Con news….there was a stabbing in H Hall this year. There were no knives or gang members. Instead, the confrontation took place between two guys who were arguing over seating for a Batman panel. As the argument grew more and more heated, one of the guys – who was apparently wearing a Harry Potter freebie shirt that said “Undesirable #1” on it – took out a pen and stabbed the other guy in the eye. Apparently, nearby fans subdued the stabber until the cops showed up, and then the hall went into lockdown while an investigation took place.

Now, when Angelica and I were discussing this online that night, I have to admit we joked a little about it. We bandied about things like “When Nerds Go Wild” and “Where The Wild Fans Are.” I mean, in a way it is a little funny. It was a stabbing with a pen. However, as someone who’s actually had a pen in my eye, I can also feel some sympathy towards the guy who had to be taken to the hospital and get checked out. As our discussion went on, Angelica mentioned that people will be making fun of it. Non-geek people, that is. While we were admittedly making light of the situation, we’re also a part of the kind of group involved in the whole situation. It’s only a matter of time before folks like Leno and Letterman – who are not, themselves, a part of our little geek culture – latch onto this thing and start geek-bashing.

It’s kind of to be expected, really. Afterall, we’re kind of an easy group to pick on. Not because we’re weak or whatnot. No, no. I know plenty of buff geeks, and most of us are more than capable of defending ourselves verbally. No, we’re easy to pick on simply because of the nature of our love:

Part of being a geek in my mind is actually loving something so much, being unabashedly in love with it, in a way that it opens yourself up for ridicule. And there are people that are extremely obvious human beings, and those are the people that bully. They can’t allow themselves to be vulnerable. They can’t allow themselves to love something and have anybody possibly put them down for it. And it comes from a place of fear, obviously, bullying, but being a geek is, in a sense, being…either envied or feared or just loathed because you’ve found something you relate to. 

— Charles Rose (creator and star of the “One-Man Star Wars Trilogy”)

I absolutely LOVE this quote. I think it gets right to the heart of what it means to be a geek, and why it’s so easy for people to make fun of us. Fear is a powerful motivator for many people. Hard to think of people being afraid of geeks, I know (unless we’re talking about a “taking over the world” type of situation), but I think Charles Rose has a point. It takes a lot of guts to admit to and commit to loving something as “out-there” as the whole sci-fi/fantasy/gaming/comic world. We are making ourselves vulnerable, just like Rose says. But vulnerability doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, I’d argue it makes you stronger. When you can put yourself in a position that admittedly makes you vulnerable to the derision of others…well, I think that says a lot about strength of character.

Of course, the flip side of that coin is that you’re bound to end up in H Hall with two guys who are so passionate about seeing a Batman panel that one of them whips out a pen and pokes the other in the eye. Exercising restraint in the pursuit of your passion can be just as important as the passion itself, people.

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