• Blogger accuses Simon Pegg of sexism, objectifying cosplayers

    Here's blogger Courtney Stoker laying into Simon Pegg for some appreciative comments he made about Comic-con attendees dressing up like Princess Leia: http://storify.com/cnstoker/cosplayers-are-geeks-too

    Did Pegg claim the Leia cosplayers were there to fulfill his sexual fantasies? Since Stoker makes the claim multiple times, let's take a look at that first. Clearly the phrase "sexual fantasies" doesn't appear in any of his tweets. Did he imply it then? "I've got a thing about cosplay girls" he says. "They're like zombie stormtroopers, a glorious combination of beloved things." Then he posts the pic and describes Homer Simpsons trademark sound of desire.

    Does Simon Pegg have a sexual fantasy regarding Leia cosplayers, and what is it? It's not clear because he, of course, never mentions sex or sexual fantasies. But here's the thing: a sexual fantasy by definition involves sex. So it's really unlikely that just looking at a picture of girls in bikinis fulfills any kind of fantasy. That wouldn't be much of a fantasy! An actual sexual fantasy would involving having sex with them. Did Simon Pegg say he was going to have sex with them? No. Did he claim that the whole reason they dressed up was to sex him up good and proper? Of course not. Did he suggest that they were "existing solely for [his] fantasies"? Fuck no.

    So bullshit count so far: 1.

    Stoker's other initial accusation is one of objectification. She doesn't entirely explain how Simon objectified them, or what she means by the term. Online dictionaries are rather sparse on its meaning, so let's see what Wikipedia has to say:

    "Sexual objectification refers to the practice of regarding or treating another person merely as an instrument (object) towards one's sexual pleasure, and a sex object is a person who is regarded simply as an object of sexual gratification or who is sexually attractive. Objectification more broadly is an attitude that regards a person as a commodity or as an object for use, with little or no regard for a person's personality or sentience."

    In Stoker's view, how did Simon objectify the women? She doesn't say in her tweets. She just repeats "objectifying" and "turning women into objects". Is it expression appreciation, or the way he did it? Here's what she says on her blog: "This kind of attitude is really common and really destructive. It reduces cosplayers down to objects, and suggests that they are NOT fellow geeks, but actually decoration. They are only there to serve as fantasy fodder for male geeks. You know, the actual PEOPLE in this equation. (A good sign you're objectifying women: you're comparing them to food.)" What attitude is she talking about? Saying they're a combination of beloved things? He never specifies what those beloved things are. It's probably the donut reference that really got to her.

    Except he wasn't comparing the girls to donuts. Homer Simpson is a notorious oaf who makes a gurgling sound when he sees anything, food or otherwise, that fills him with longing; donuts are probably the most iconic subject. Simon was trying to pick something self-deprecating and humorous that almost everyone would recognize. Was it a crude method of expressing appreciation for beauty? Yeah, definitely. Was he saying that the women are objects, that they're like food to be eaten? No. God no.

    Bullshit count: 2

    Finally, she talks about agency. "Sexuality implies some agency on their part." What I don't even. As if these women were forced, at gun point, to make and then wear these costumes. The slave Leia costume, worn only in 1 part of 1 Star Wars movie, when Leia was captive of the disgusting Jabba the Hutt and forced to deal with his advances and nasty slimy tongue. An outfit so revealing and sexy that it became an iconic symbol of geek fantasies for decades to follow. (On Friends, Jennifer Aniston's character even wears it at Ross' request.) Stoker would have us believe that not only are these cosplayers completely unaware of the history of the costume, they are also completely oblivious to the fact that wearing a bikini costume expresses some kind of sexuality, and then of course she'd also have us believe they had absolutely no choice in the matter.

    Bullshit count: 3, 4, 5!

    Hopefully, in the future, Simon Pegg will have a little more sense than to try and engage the loonies, assholes, and trolls that go out of their way to pick a fight with him.

  • PAX

    Today PAX wrapped up. I had an even better time at this one than the first. The big difference was the folks from Gamers With Jobs... or as we're known, the Goodjers. In 2007 I spent a lot of time and attention trying to spot them amongst the crowd. Know what? It's just too big. Too many people. This time around I took a more relaxed attitude. I got in line for the keynote speech, I watched the Gabe & Tycho Q&A session, I wandered the Expo hall and accumulated swag. I didn't end up running into anyone from GWJ until I was killing time at the PC freeplay area and ran into Tamren, Docbadwrench, and Creatureparade. We sat for a bit and played PC games until just before the meet-n-greet (we call them "slap & tickles").

    Word is, it was the biggest GWJ meet-up to date. Informal counts put the number around 50. Now while the barwas noisy and seating arrangement was not ideal, I had a really good time (until the live music started). With numbers and contacts set up Friday night, we made arrangements for Saturday morning. First was Munchkin at 10am and then on a whim we decided to join the Team Fortress 2 tournament. So 6 of us signed up as "Team Abomination". We kicked ass the first round but got knocked out the second round by a much better team. Ah well! We're consoled that we survived the first round at least.

    I then wandered the floor some more, got some time in the console free-play room on Batman: Arhkam Asylum. Then for the Saturday night might-up, some of the GWJ folks got together at a bar and we sat around shooting the shit. I turned out to be the only non-local there! We drank and talked until about 9pm when we decided to head back to the center to see if we could get into the concert. Which we did. And which FUCKING ROCKED. I mean, my knees are an absolute wreck today from all the standing we did, but I had a blast. First Freezepop (who, honestly, we're just so loud that it made the actual melody hard to hear), then a duo of comedic musicians named Paul & Storm who were hilarious and good songwriters to boot. Finally Jonathan Coulton came on, playing favorites like Still Alive (this crowd ate that up, naturally), Re: Your Brains (it was an experience to see/hear thousands of people sing the chorus while dangling their hands out above their heads like zombies), and Skullcrusher Mountain. His "final song" (he joked that it was his last song until he fake leaves the stage to return for an encore) was a strange mix of his tune "Fancy Pants", then he "left" and came back to sing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" with the crowd enthusiastically shouting the "Ba ba ba!" every refrain. When we thought this was it and started heading out, the crowd was shoting his name so he came back and did a "second" encore. This time he played TMBG's immortal classic "Birdhouse in Your Soul"... and flubbed the lyrics!

    The panels this year were all very popular and crowded. To get into them, you had to make a serious time investment by waiting in line. I put my time in for the keynote and Wil Wheaton's one-man panel on Sunday. And he rocked the house. It was a great talk plus Q&A session and this was totally his crowd. Next year I won't be surprised if he gets his panel moved to the main theater. After Wil Wheaton wrapped up, I rejoined the Goodjers for my first game of Dominion (I lost). PAX 2009 was wrapped up with a hipster mexican dinner with Cory "Demiurge" Banks and friends.

    While my vacation isn't over, my visit to PAX was. I had so much fun this year I want to thank everyone who made it great.