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Just Lust: San Diego Booth Babe Bounty

Actually, another vague thing from the show with a feminist bent. Right at the end, someone was wandering around with a sign reading TWILIGHT FANS RUINED COMICON. Only a lack of paper prevented me fashioning a sign reading PEOPLE WHINING ABOUT TWILIGHT RUINED COMICON and marching around five feet behind him.

Hello everyone. I’ve been off at San Diego Comicon, having adventures. As usual, when you’re actually at the front, you don’t get any of the bigger picture, so I’ve been catching up. And getting a little annoyed. Ars Technica broke the story on EA’s SDCC Dante’s Inferno compo – and reproduced the full flyer with all the rules – but in short you’re encouraged to take a photo of yourself performing an act of lust with a boothbabe and send in a photo to win a night out with two hot girls and a limo. There’s a bit of a furore. George Broussard has cracked in accusing people of not having a sense of humour and being feminists and/or wimps.

I’m about to come over all feminist. And I don’t mean in a “spraying ejaculate all over Germaine Greer and snapping a quick photo in an attempt to win the competition way”.

To be fair to EA, they’ve apologised for the misunderstanding in this, saying they were tongue-in-cheekly refering to just taking a snap with a booth babe. Which opens a whole different can of worms, but we’ll side-step the issue of objectification and all that malarkies, because it’s relatively beside the main issue. Which is, why offering a prize for this sort of behaviour at Comicon is a spectacularly bad idea.

In short: Comicon crowds? Not very good at judging what’s sexually inappropriate or not.

Let’s take a couple of casual stories from Comicon. An author friend of ours is hanging around at our table. One of our readers wanders up and starts chatting to her.

“So how do you know Jamie?”
“I’m just a friend”
“Sexual or other?”
“… Inappropriate!”

You don’t ask women if they’re fucking someone as an opening gambit. And, I stress, Phonogram are a bunch of indie-kid sweethearts with nary a bone of hate in them. This chap in question was otherwise lovely. He just displayed a bad judge of what’s appropriate or not. It’s plain social retardation.

Generally speaking, it’s worse. On the first day, a Photographer friend of ours wandered over, sighing that she’d already had her arse pinched four times.

This is what comicon is like without a multinational corporation deciding to turn it into a sport. Ever looked at the online photo-galleries of booth babes? A huge amount are just attractive women who happen to be at the show. A sizeable proportion of people who take photos are incapable of judging whether a girl is a booth-babe or not. As such, even with the “booth babe” proviso in the competition rules, sending people off to snap photos of booth babes is just encouraging people to go and sexually harass random people. Throwing petrol on the general aura of misogyny of the show – google up the whole furore over the Twilight fans at SDCC if you’re interested in seeing comic fandom in a bad light – shows a complete lack of understanding of how events like these work.

Oh, Broussard? Regarding the “wimp” thing? Real Men Finish What They Start.

Problem or solution, people. Really, pick a side.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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