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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Well, we all need someone we can sneer at . . .

. . . And if you want to, well you can sneer at me.

Just got in from NerdCon WorldCon. (Hey, it's like how minorities are allowed to make fun of their own group. I was there, so I can make fun of it.) Our flight landed at 1 AM, we got home at 2 AM, and at 7:30 AM I was back at work. ≥_≤ I'll probably blog about WorldCon several times, because it was a great and wild experience. Just one thought for today, though.

Throughout the week, I was struck by how naturally we tend toward building little hierarchies and ingroups and outgroups. My wife and I dressed pretty normally. While we are fans, we were also there hoping to make contacts with people who could help further our writing career, so vaguely professional attire was the order of the day. Besides, my body doesn't lend itself to costumes. But as we were heading out to lunch one of the days, we saw some yahoos in a pickup truck shout disparaging remarks at a guy in costume outside of the convention center. (And he was far from one of the more freakishly dressed people around.) The local media was about at least once or twice, and I'm sure some Colorado locals couldn't decide what to make of the freakshow that had descended upon them. Getting out and mocking them is always a good way to build up your own self-esteem, though.

I'm sure most if not all science fiction fans have had somewhat similar experiences. Heck, on my Rate-My-Teachers page, some nimrod said you shouldn't take my classes if you don't like Star Wars, when I never bring up Star Wars or science fiction myself, and, really, Star Wars and Star Trek are the least of my fannish obsessions--I'm much more about the printed word than I am about movies or television. But neither do I hide the fact that I like Science Fiction, and those of us who do seem to be a little bit threatening to those who don't, for some reason.

That's not what fascinates me, though. No boo hoo woe is us emofication here, thanks. What fascinated me was seeing the exact same dynamic played out inside the Con. I'm sure anybody who reads this blog has seen The Geek Hierarchy. Well, I kind of got to see it played out in real life. I saw fans not wearing costume point and snicker at those who were, and likewise at those who had stuffed animals about their person somewhere, and heard derogatory comments about filkers. On Thursday, I was at the bid party for Peggy Rae’s House in 2010 when a little mustachioed troll of a woman glanced at my name tag and made a derisive comment about the fact that I'm from Celebration, Florida. Hey lady, we're all freaks--you more than me, truly--why do we need to bag on each other?

It reminded me of growing up Cuban-American in Miami. In Miami, there is such a tension/rivalry/what-have-you between Latinos, African-Americans, and Jews. Miami politicians love to play us off against each other for their own gain. And hell, in the end, we're all minorities, and we all experience prejudice and discrimination. Don't we have more in common than not? I've seen prejudiced minority group members--where's the sense in that? Oh, no, all those people who bag on Cubans are wrong--except when they're talking about blacks! Seriously?!

Anyway, sorry for going Deep. I was just so thrown by nerds looking down on other nerds.

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