While he was gone Friday night, the kids and I watched The Lord of the Flies after finishing the book. They were constantly picking out all the inconsistencies in the film, critiquing it with the eyes that can only belong to someone fresh from the pages themselves. I was pretty proud of them for being so observant, and for recognizing that the book was far better than the movie was.
They picked up on the tensions in the story, of good versus evil, of the dark side of humanity, of the danger of anonymity, of the awfulness of pack mentality, of the fact that the most reasonable person on the island was the one picked on and eventually murdered. They saw how quickly the society broke down, how many things could have been done differently, should have been done differently. They saw how easy it can be to control other people using fear, and how easily the loudest and scariest people can assume leadership positions.
It was with that backdrop, the movie still fresh in our heads, that we went to Comic Con yesterday.
In the days before, I saw very little of my husband. When he was home, he could hardly stop talking he was so excited. Though we lived in San Diego for many years, we never went to Comic Con there for whatever reason...probably because of me and my stubborn resistance, my refusal to accept what was really happening, my imagined superiority over the geeks.
In the last year or two, though, I've given up that fight. I know I'm a geek. A dork. A head case. I tried for almost all of my life to live in some illusioned world where I wasn't, but I knew all along that I was. Instead of fighting it, I embraced it.
Last year my husband practically begged me to give in and let him pick our Halloween theme. He was a few years overdue, and deserved it after the years prior, where I had him dress as Woody from Toy Story, A Flying Monkey from the Wizard of Oz and Tweedle Dum from Alice in Wonderland. He wanted to be superheroes, specifically DC superheroes.
Fine, I said.
As long as I get to be Wonder Woman.
I ran around in those underrroos as a kid, watched the TV show all the time, and have always loved the character. I found a kickass costume and then something happened.
I got it.
It wasn't ridiculous and silly. It was kind of awesome.
I knew I would wear it again when we went to Comic Con yesterday, and I did.
In this swelling mass of costumed humanity, I learned a lot. Not just about me, but about this entire subculture in general.
No one cares who you are dressed as, no one cares who your favorite character is, no one judges you for liking something they think you shouldn't. This is a building full of people who've spent at least a decent portion of their lives getting picked on for loving what they love, for being who they are. But here, in this world, there is no judgment.
I didn't see a single person get teased for their costume, no matter how far out there it may have been.
I saw complete strangers telling each other how awesome they looked, asking where they got it or how they made it.
Acceptance, as far as the eye could see.
The My Little Pony panel discussion was what drove that home for me more than anything else. The capacity crowd, filled with some kids and families, was filled more by adults without kids, most of which were men. Fans. Bronies.
In any other place, people would be afraid to admit loving a cartoon designed for six year old little girls, but here it's okay. The writers and artists working on the series have a true passion for what they do, and the crowd was full of people who can't get enough of it.
Sitting in on the Wonder Woman panel discussion was fascinating. I could write an entire post about her, and I probably will, so I'll save you that here now. Suffice to say that I walked out of that room even more sure that she's the hero I identify with the most. She fights for truth, for peace, for equality.
One of the things that I found the most interesting about yesterday was the very heavy presence of props and weaponry. Most of the fantasy characters in the world have some piece of equipment that helps define them, and many of the people walking around yesterday carried giant hammers or ray guns or swords or tridents or staffs or bows.
They had to go through a weapons check at the door to make sure the guns weren't real and that everything else was made from wood or plastic. The only real rule is that metal wasn't allowed.
Weapons, weapons, weapons everywhere, but no threats of violence.
There is tacit agreement, an unspoken code with these people. In any other setting I could imagine where you have thousands of people milling about, the presence of this many weapons would have been terrifying.
Eh. It's fine.
There is total acceptance of each other. No one poses a threat to anyone else. We are all awesome in our own way. Your likes and dislikes aren't a threat to me at all. We're good. We're all good with it.
It's the most peaceful bunch of mutants, aliens, heroes and villains.
Thor made his giant hammer at home. Katniss has a sweet bow, but we all accept that she only uses it when she needs to. Loki has to have the staff or he's just a dude in a helmet.
It dawned on me at some point, taking all this in, that we can only hope that the geeks will inherit the earth someday, like in the I Fight Dragons song.
We could only hope that acceptance and peace-seeking win out over fear and control. We could only hope that those who understand what it's like to be rejected for who they are eventually embrace that piece of themselves and own it with pride.
We could only hope that Piggy and his thoughts and reasoning defeat Jack on the island.
We can hope.
The lesson is this:
Embrace your weird.
Someone will love you for it.
...dress up like it, and you'll get lots of people taking your picture too.