Tens of thousands of Star Wars fans attended Celebration VI a couple of weeks ago, and woo boy, did we celebrate. We had a blast sharing our love for the galaxy far, far away. I, for one, ran around like a kid getting my picture taken with replicated movie sets, cosplayers, and a rancor. Those four days were the best ones of my year because Star Wars fans are amazing.
Another reason why Celebration VI is awesome? It's a safe place. Fans of all ages and genders can come covered head to toes in Star Wars, and no one is going to make fun of them. People who are normally shy about their love for sci-fi throw that aside here and wear it on their sleeves. I think kids especially are a little freer because some of them might get picked on at school for liking Star Wars.
That brings to mind Katie the Star Wars girl. She hesitated to carry her Star Wars water bottle to school because other kids gave her a hard time. The community rallied around her, and she and her mother even appeared on an anti-bullying panel with Ashley Eckstein at Celebration VI.
Get it? One of the themes of the convention was acceptance.
I was angered today when I heard of a slideshow that slaps that acceptance in the face. That makes jokes at the expense of cosplayers, fans - even little kids. Ashley pointed out that WPLG Local 10 in South Florida covered the event. Instead of writing up the supportive atmosphere or talking about the costumes or hand-built droids or charity auctions (they did mention the 501st at the end), they went with a lazier route, to the Dark side. They posted a slideshow with incredibly insulting captions. You can check out the slideshow here, just brace yourself first.
Some of the more horrible ones are as follows:
Being a Star Wars geek pretty much means you'll get no lovin'... being a Star Wars geek that wears these pajamas guarantees it.
Someone got lost looking for the AARP convention.
Does the white flag signify that you finally gave up on your costume?
Poor kids... they were never given a chance. Geekdom is in their genes.
Here's a shocker... it's dudes taking pics of the fake Princess Leias. Like they've never seen a woman before. Well, hmmm...
It's sad when the most "normal" person in this picture is still wearing a lightsaber on her belt.
Dateless men for as far as they eye can see.And this near the end:
And in full disclosure... it should be said that the person who put this slideshow together, and wrote ALL the captions, attended Star Wars Celebration VI (their second Celebration event) as a full-paying fan and lover of all-things Star Wars.You're a fan and you made fun of your own?! I think that's despicable.
The worst of it is - it's okay to make jokes about Star Wars. Fans do it all the time. Some of the jokes in this slideshow were acceptable, but they were ruined by the numerous ones that ran with geek stereotypes (dateless men at a convention? I've never heard that one before) and were just meanspirited. They were pointedly directed at actual people. I wonder if the writer and staff realize that those captions could hurt. I hate when people try to be funny at the expense of others. It makes me turn green with Hulk.Smash anger.
How can we stop bullying when news organizations permit these sorts of posts? I assume these rude captions were written and approved by multiple people. I'd never expect that from a professional outlet, but apparently, WPLG isn't. If you are as annoyed as I am, please take the time to contact WPLG Local 10 and ask them to take the slideshow down.