Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grow a pair. Of what, I don't care.

So, there's been a lot of talk about Dragon Con recently.

Major disclaimer: I WAS NOT THERE. I'm not writing about what happened. I'm writing about what was said had happened. I'm writing about the people who said things and how they reacted to them.

Which, I think, makes it worse.

Go through the comments made here. I'll wait.

Are you angry? Oh, go actually read them. That's what tabbed browsing is for.

Okay, you've actually read them. You're kinda pissed that it went down like that. You're not alone. It should not have been that way.

Now, think about how that happened and how many people said they would go back. If that happened, it happened. But if you said that had happened, would you go back?

Now, ask yourself the really important question. How many police reports were filed?

This is the problem I have with the narrative. I'm not going to say these things didn't happen, because I wasn't there. But, if these things did happen, why didn't anyone call the cops? If some guy randomly groped me in an elevator, I'd be telling the police, "Yes, sir, he's the gentleman with the torqued nuts who is currently in the fetal position on the 23rd floor." If I had an iPhone, there would be a picture of this guy on a flickr account with the tag "drunk gropey dude". If it had happened around my friends, I would at least have a commemorative tooth to remember the event. Something.

I'm not out to blame the victim, seriously. I'm not going to say, "Oh, they dressed that way and had it coming." I'm not going to say that for two reasons: one, that is some serious douche to say that; two: it's a flippin' con. Getting into costumes and forgetting your tedious real-life is part of why we have cons. It's all part of the fantasy.

At this point, I have to consider how the non-cons saw all of this. These are guys who think that the only reason a girl would wear a costume is she's a stripper. She just popped out of a cake.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

I don't want to give a free-pass to assholes; please don't think I am. But we're talking about a bunch of testosterone-addled bags with no fucking clue what a con is about. They do not understand what that costume is or why it's important or even why you would dress that way in the first place.

And I am not going to say for a fraction of a second that it's any excuse for their behavior. If anything, I am going to say it is why you must be more strict with them. They have no idea. They must be trained. They must learn.

I have my belly and and like it. I earned it. It also gives me a false sense of security that I won't get ogled by jack-asses if I decide to let it hang out. I have heard (read) that there were girls in a similar situation that still got unwanted attention by drunk douchebags.

And that is some evil stuff right there. You get a girl in her comfort zone and make it uncomfortable? Oh yeah. I'm looking for blood on that.

But what worries me most about this is, there were no police reports (please, tell me I'm wrong). If you let someone do that, it's almost as bad as doing it yourself. If you let it go on like that, if there are not consequences, then the douche is never going to know what he did was wrong. You have to pull out the rolled-up newspaper and swat a few noses and say "NO!", or it's just going to happen again.

And that's what scares me. If the guy did what was said was done, and there were no charges filed and nothing came of it, he's going to come back next year. He's going to come back and bring his buddies and tell them about this "great time" he had and things are only going to get worse.

This is the greatest danger of the Geek Social Fallacies. You are allowed to call someone on their bullshit when they are being a douche. Do not be afraid that calling someone on their BS will force them into calling you on yours. You are not trying to sexually assault someone on an elevator. You don't know them. They don't know you. Call that BS when you see it. Yell "fire" when it happens. This is something that must be stopped before it gets out of hand.

That kind of behavior is not normal. It is aberrant and dangerous and it saddens me to see people let it go on like that. If someone had called the cops Friday night, there would have been no issues on Saturday. If the cops had been called on Saturday, it would not have gone on through Sunday. There's no shame in calling someone on their bullshit if what they are doing is wrong. It is up to you to tell someone that you were victimized or that someone tried to do that.

I'm asking you; no, I'm telling you, don't let this happen to you. Don't just laugh it off and think that if you say anything, everyone will think you're a humorless bitch. If you see this happening to someone, don't just look away and tell the story later. Tell the fucking cops. Reading these tales on-line is fine and all, but tell someone who can do something about it. Do something, fer christssakes.

And if it happens again next year, I'm going to punch everyone.


Tohoscope said...

I still can't believe that nobody called the cops or pressed charges. Unfreakin' believable.

Phil Lee said...

So, I was at DragonCon this year, and while I didn't see things get bad in person I can attest that it packed to the gills and that there seemed to be more of the football crowd hanging out than in years past and that the vibe seemed to be a bit off because of it.

I really can't understate the crowds that were there. We're talking, say, 50,000 folks or so. If no police reports were filed, that may have been part of it; if someone gropes you on the escalator and then wanders off into the mob, you're not going to have a lot to go on when talking to the cops. I'm not saying folks shouldn't have reported things, mind you, but they may have felt that it would have been futile to do so.

At some point during the weekend one of the busiest hotels set up security checkpoints where you had to either have a badge or a room key to get through. Now, fans can be assholes as much as the next person, but if there really was an outside contingent making things more obnoxious than usual, perhaps having a convention wide badge-or-key policy would help cut down on the problems. I wouldn't be surprised to see DragonCon implement that next year. Alternately, they'll finally have to break down and move to a convention center. That would do a lot to kill DragonCon's party atmosphere, for better or worse.

Tohoscope said...

I'm surprised that a convention the size of DragonCon hasn't moved in to a convention center. It can't possibly be a money issue at this point, could it?

I'd say that party atmosphere is the cancer that's killing DragonCon.