“Step-by-step, not only at the convention center itself, but for two square miles around the convention center, nerds are being aggressively marketed to in the most lazy and manipulative and disheartening ways, and step-by-step, the nerds seem to be loving it. Come on, nerds! You have finally gained a quasi-social acceptance, and you’re complacently letting that acceptance be used against you in the crassest attempts to make you buy garbage. I thought nerds were supposed to be the smart ones!”—
Gabe gets this weekend’s award for accuracy. That said, I think the notion that nerds/geeks/whatever you want to call the element of culture that is obsessively interested in male-centric fantasy fiction are “intelligent” is rather inaccurate, and has been the case for a very, very long time. Nerd-bro culture — in its many forms! — is one of the most virulent strains of idiocy and tastelessness in contemporary western culture. And that’s saying something, you know?
I could not disagree with Videogum’s piece more. Lumping all 130,000 attendees together into one large group of “nerds” is completely biased and wrong. In fact, I would say most of the attendees are just local residents who come every year because they get all the free swag and can randomly walk by a booth that has LL Cool J signing, for whatever reason. They are the ones there for the latest craze and whatever is being thrown at them by movie studios. They are the ones blindly grabbing up the free posters, pins, bags, masks, and not the nerds.
If you actually go to a COMIC BOOK panel, you won’t see as many of those ridiculously large bags as you would on the east side of the convention floor where you can barely walk. That said, I think Comic Con International has actually done a great job of gathering similar booths together to make 130,000 people flow pretty smoothly. If you want to avoid all that movie/television hoopla, you just don’t go to that side or corner of the floor. The other side (where the actual nerds are) is much easier to navigate.
Videogum’s piece just comes off as whiny and just another person complaining that Comic-Con is too big for its own good (which is nothing new). Comic-Con has been rapidly growing in the past decade, and with that the ratio of nerds to general populous has also drastically changed. Many would say it’s unfortunate that Hollywood does seem to have its claws sunk deep within its neck, but as long as they keep selling out every year, and as long as Hall H is continually packed from the start of the convention to the end, it’s not going to change. All anyone can do is work around it and enjoy that there’s even anything like this experience at all. Or you can write a scathing piece online and complain about it on a site where you also have an article with the headline, “Visual Proof Of How Fun Comic-Con Is.”