By Jesse Ulrich @rant9space
The hard truth that SDCC 2014 taught me was this: The best version of itself is across the street at Petco Park.
I am not the first to say this, nor will I be the last.
SDCC is a grueling, miserable, depressing, dehumanizing clusterfuck. I don't want to curse, but there is not another word in the English language that perfectly encapsulates the swarming mess of people, bags, costumes, lines, people, bags, lines and odors that is SDCC.
But there is a deeper, more frustrating problem with SDCC as it currently exists. It has turned into a High School Pep Rally. Whether it is for shows you like (i.e. Grimm, Sleepy Hollow, Orphan Black, Community, Agents of SHIELD) or shows you hate/don't watch/or didn't know existed (Big Bang Theory, Legends of Korra, Reign) pep rallies are not the preferred location for nerds. You know who had pep rallies? The Nazis. (Just kidding, I just wanted to throw that in there to see if you were paying attention)
These panels have become a celebration of the Beautiful People, the actors, the cheerleaders, not the writers or creators. They have become inane beauty pageants that almost always include at least the following 3 facts/lies.
1. They all have the best crew in Television/Film
2. They all have the best fans in all of Television/Film
3. They all will refer to the stupidest question asked by a fan as “That's a great question!”
NO IT IS NOT!
IT IS A DUMB QUESTION! ASKED BY A DUMB PERSON!
YOU ALL CAN'T HAVE THE BEST CREW IN TELEVISION/FILM AND THESE IDIOTS SURROUNDING ME ARE CERTAINLY NOT THE BEST FANS IN THE WORLD!!
People wait in line, uncomfortable, hot, in a constant state of stress and dread, and they never take the time to come up with a good question.
It makes you want to punch someone in the face..... and I know exactly who:
He is there ever year and always asks a ridiculously stupid question. Hey Deadpool/Waldo just die already.
This is what I waiting in line for all night? This is what people are referring to when they talk about how great Comic-Con is?
If you desire to hear from creative and interesting people about their work, whether current or past or future and celebrate that work with like minded people, NerdHQ is where you should be. While SDCC is a celebration of Celebrity and the marketing prowess of the big studios, NerdHQ is a celebration of creativity. Why would moderators ask questions to the actors about what is going to happen to their characters in the next season or next movie? THEY NEVER KNOW! They always jokingly ask the writers. JUST ASK THE WRITERS!
Maybe I have changed, maybe I used to accept passively appreciating the TV shows and movies that I love, but recently, as should be obvious with this site, I want to be an active part of the conversation, a creator, not a bystander.
Whether it is at a live taping of a Nerdist Podcast or at a NerdHQ panel with the Thrilling Adventure Hour, I want to feel in the presence of popular art and those who create it. That is not the feeling you get at a SDCC panel and certainly not inside the Convention Center. You get pomp, you get flash, you do not get substance. If you happen to like flash and pomp, you still have to deal with the hundreds of thousands of people, not just in line at 4am in the morning, but on the way to the bathroom, on the sales floor, outside the convention center, trying to cross the street, trying to get away, you can't; you are trapped.
As SDCC has grown to become this monilith of popular culture, all of the artists, comedians, writers, and other creatives are in San Diego and they are who I want to meet and hear from, at least now we know we don't have to constantly endure the dystopian hellscape that is the San Diego Convention Center to enjoy it.
This rant has been years in the making, I just never have had a computer or pen and paper handy when my body has been full of rage. I have been luckily enough to attend at least 40-45 concerts in the past 12 to 13 years (30 of them being DMB related so in some ways I was asking for what I am about to describe), I have seen shows in outside amphitheaters, basketball arenas, one football stadium, small clubs, and the most beautiful venue in the country, the Gorge. And at every single venue, and every concert I have been at, I have been harassed, annoyed, and distracted by “concert douchebags.” I put it in quotes because outside of a concert you might be a cool guy or gal, but when the music is playing and the booze is flowing, I hate you with the fire of 1,000 suns.
Is there a reason you have to fist pump to every song? Does your beer have to be in your other hand, also elevated to block my view? Why do you think I want to hear you SCREAM the songs? Listen, we all sing-along at concerts, but YOU ARE NOT THE TALENT SO SHUT YOUR FACE! Don’t think the fairer sex gets away scott-free either, what is with the squealing? Why do you think it is ok for you to get on your boyfriend/douchebag back to see the show, what makes you special? Nothing. Can we just, as a society, say that people are no longer allowed to do the high pitch whistle? What purpose does it serve? The band certainly can’t hear it, but you know whose eardrums you are assaulting? Mine. Just stop it, stop it right now.
I am happy to admit that I sound like an old man when I complain like this, but we are sharing a communal space and at some point we had similar tastes in music, so why are you ruining it for everyone?
All of these different types of annoying bellringers* I am prepared to deal with, I just understand it is part of going to concerts, but the people who I will no longer stand for are the Song Name Screamers. Listen, I have been at shows where the band is between songs and no one is on-stage and the show is almost over and a chant makes its way thru the crowd. That is fine, that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the people who scream song titles while the performer/performers on stage might telling a story, or even worse during a slow/quiet part of the song and they decide that only songs they like should be played, and they decide to SCREAM that song title at the top of their lungs. SHUT YOUR MOUTH! The band or performer is going to play what they want to play, you screaming out song titles DOES NOTHING. NOTHING!
All you do is make the rest of us uncomfortable, remind the performer that he/she hates his audience and almost GUARANTEES WE WILL NOT HEAR THE SONG YOU ARE SCREAMING FOR! Please gag yourself.
I say Good Day!
I apologize for the stream of consciousness style of this rant, but that is what I sound like when angry.
*Bellringer is a racial slur I invented during an exercise at a BBYO event in High School. I think to point was to explore how words and phrases can become slurs and I just really like the sound of Bellringers.