It's geeks vs. journalist and the winner is nobody.
Not every convention out there is a life changer. A lot of them are still just local swap meets with costumes. And that's okay. If it's not your first rodeo, you just take a look at the con's website and you know what you're walking into.
Unfortunately, that is not what reporter for the Palm Beach New Times, Allie Conti did -- she just showed up expecting to bask in the glory of San Diego Comic-Con. We assume that's what she was expecting based on the stinging review she wrote. The con she actually attended was PalmCon, a small convention that boasts a fun, but mostly B-grade line-up. But, again, that's most conventions and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Unless you are Allie Conti, who proceeded to do a write-up in The New Times that she titled, "PalmCon Probably the Most Depressing Comic Book Convention in History".
And that's the start:
PalmCon is one of the most depressing places I’ve ever been to in my life. It was basically like going to a mall in which every store sells the same couple of dust-covered items and every person looks like they work at Hot Topic. I had sort-of high hopes for my first comic book convention — not because I like comics (ew) but because I really love dumb hats and costumes. Unfortunately, not many people at PalmCon were interested in dressing up, and quite a few looked like they had stumbled inside on accident.
Let's get this out of the way -- how can Conti know PalmCon is the most depressing con in history is it's her first one? She can't. But, hey, sometimes you throw a little hyperbole in your title to attract readers. Doing that doesn't exactly scream "high journalistic integrity," but not exactly new either.
Conti didn't stop there, though. Next up, she rags on some random cosplayer who was just at the con to have a good time.
Every Halloween, there’s a girl who decides to dress as like a sexy Dalai Lama or a sexy pickle or something. It doesn’t make sense, but people don’t complain because boobs. Nerd events are apparently no different. PalmCon was this woman’s first convention, and she wasn’t dressed as anything in particular. That didn’t stop countless older men from taking lots and lots of creepshots of her.
So not only did Conti take a dig at an innocent cosplayer, she also decided that people taking photos of her must be creepy.
Understandably, people were unhappy. Some said the article was the equivalent of "a steakhouse being reviewed by a vegan". Even the cosplayer in question weighed in:
First, I told you it was the second convention I had ever been to, but more importantly than that, I wore the same costume to the first convention…
I think what bothers me most about this is your attitude towards what other women choose to wear. Other than my cleavage (which I will admit I have ample amounts of) I was very covered compared to some other women there, and yet it was me that caught your ire, and I have to ask why? Was it the size of my boobs? Really I would make them smaller if I could, my back KILLS at the end of the work day. But I think it is a bigger problem than that.
The bigger problem is women like you who feel the need to try to slut-shame or put down other women who make the conscious and consensual decision to show off their bodies. It shows nothing but narrow mindedness and general lack of maturity on your part, and does nothing but hurt the women around you. When women attack other women as you did here, it holds back our gender as a whole and proves the stereotypes right.
Things got ugly, people called for Conti to be fired, made the predictable sexist comments, and just made the bad situation worse.
Conti wrote a follow-up piece that's titled exactly the way you'd expect -- "PalmCon Response: Why Would Nerds Cyberbully Little Old Me?”
You want to hear her out? Sure, why not?
No one asked me to attend the event -- I went there because I wanted to check it out. As soon as I stepped into the convention center, I resented the fact that I had forked over my cash (on top of gas money and parking) for admission to a garage sale. Palm Beach County’s comics enthusiasts deserve better.
We can't speak to the quality of PalmCon. We weren't there. But the "comic enthusiasts" of Palm Beach most certainly do deserve better than that non-apology. Thankfully, the New Times agrees and have released an apology, which you can read in full here, but here's a sample:
We sincerely apologize to anyone and everyone who was upset. It was not our intention to mock or insult.
It bums us out to be in this tiff with you, because New Times has, for years and years, supported local comic and anime conventions. We've done numerous stories, the overwhelming number laudatory.
So please accept our apology.
(via Bleeding Cool)