So there we were, sitting in our booth, selling, among other things, the Goof TBP, and the whole wide roster of visitors paraded in front of our eyes for three days.
There are things you notice only when sitting down and looking at something long enough.
First, it looks like a crowd of people. In the morning of the first day, it was all teenagers, most of them awkward. I sat there thinking how different this was from my first con, 13 years ago. Back then I didn’t know anyone else who liked SF & F. The cons were full of people, usually outsiders, that found SF & F during their childhood or teen years. You couldn’t help think how much more popular the cons are today. And how perhaps the facts that geeks are popular in TV and film makes outsiders explore SF & F as a place that might make them cool.
Towards evening, the grownups came. There were also costumes, all the time, from morning till evening. And every person with a costume who was approached by someone wanting to take a picture immediately posed for it. Okay, this is at least somewhat about getting attention. At least for the cosplayers I saw.
The next day the stream of people continued, but patterns hadn’t really begun to form in my eyes.
I spoke to a fellow author about my idea about why cons are more popular today. She said it’s just the opposite. “Look around,” she says. “Teenagers come the first day. But now there are tons of grownups. And they’re bringing their kids.”
“Look around,” she said again. “It’s not just outsiders you see. It’s also a lot of cool kids, or ‘regular’ kids.”
I looked around. She was right.
She explained, “It’s all because of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. They opened up fantasy and science fiction for everyone. Everyone. Regular kids are brining their friends here to enjoy themselves. Grownups like us are bringing their kids here and they’re bringing their friends, too. Everything’s changed.”
She was right. I think maybe we’re both right at the same time.
The third day came.
And as I was watching the hordes move past and past and past, it all came together: The bright colors, the feeling of celebration, the dancing, the sword-fights, the games – it was almost exactly like a gay pride parade! (Okay, no sword-fights in a gay pride parade.) And it occurred to me that the con today, the one I was in, and perhaps most of the others have turned into Nerd Pride, where nerds (I am one, I’m not using that word in a negative manner,) wear their nerdom proudly and celebrate it.
And so it was decreed: From this day on thou shalt no longer be called a Con, thou shalt be called Nerd Pride!