ComiCon is the Anti-Twitter
I just got back from ComiCon San Diego, and had to write this op-ed:
In contrast to the corrosive combat that social media typically enables, a fan convention triggers a celebration of difference and tolerance. It brings out the best in us, partially because with all our differences, we are brought together face to face.
I am struck by the inclusiveness and acceptance on display at a ComiCon. In contrast to our individual social media newsfeeds, it’s almost shocking.
Imagine: A tightly packed mass of tens of thousands yields no violence. All body types are celebrated. All ages are welcome, all forms of expression and beauty are accepted with open arms and delight.
In a society where we seem bent on extinguishing arts from our education, art and artists are enthusiastically celebrated by all at the con. People seem starved for it.
A fan convention is an arena where you are not judged for following what you love and displaying who you are or what you aspire to be. There is no baiting, no harassing, no threat of violence.
A glance at social media or a newspaper would make what you see at a con seem from another planet, for a vast range of mythologies coexist side by side at the con. Tens of thousands peacefully follow their creativity and enthusiasm, conjuring and inhabiting the world as they want it to be.
All narratives mingle side by side and are welcome. No problem.
Collaboration, acceptance and inclusiveness all share the spotlight, along with the optimism, hope and sense of fun that everyone thirsts for in their “normal” day-to-day lives.
The eager overflowing crowds of a comicon seem to say, “This is who I am.” and “Isn’t this how we should always be?” And I quite agree.
As the dust settles from this year’s Comicon, I glance at the dismaying images of outrage, heightened polarity and shouted monologues pushed at me by my Twitter feed and I wonder:
Is the world rendered by my Twitter feed really who we are and what we have?
Why must Comicon be confined to a corner of a city for a day or two? Why can’t we reach down into what is best in us, bring it into the light and make our world into one big fan convention, face to face, together?
I look back at Comicon and am hopeful.