Sunday, December 17, 2006
Stewart over at House of Sternberg has put out another writing assignment. I admit, I look forward to these. I used to write a lot more than I do now and I like the kick in the behind the assignments give me. This weeks assignment is on "Weird Addictions." Before you tune out let me reassure you this post is not my writing assignment. No, the assignment just got me to thinking. I like to ponder the assignment for a bit before I actually write it. Luckily, the assignments are only about 1000 words in length, so I usually have plenty of time to work out in my head what I plan on writing. In fact, I usually plan the whole thing out in my head and spend about 15 minutes actually writing the thing. But this week has been a little different. I wanted to write about a subject I had heard about but had no real knowledge of. So I did what I always do and googled the subject. And an interesting thing happened while I was looking up various fetishes. Star Trek conventions were listed under fetishes. Huh? For clarification I went to dictionary.com and looked up fetish. fet·ish –noun 1. an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency. 2. any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion: to make a fetish of high grades. 3. Psychology. any object or nongenital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation. Ok, I get the first two definitions, those make sense when applied to Star Trek. It's the third application that I have a hard time with. According to this article, Star Trek conventions appear to be a popular stomping ground for pedophiles. I must admit, this really threw me. I've always liked pretty much anything that deals with sci-fi and fantasy, but I think I've always been able to make a pretty clear distinction between reality and fantasy. That said, I never really thought anything of people who liked to go to various sci-fi/fantasy conventions. I would certainly never label someone who does as kinky or assume they have a sexual fixation of any sort. But there seems to be a common attitude that sci-fi conventions of most sorts have some sort of erotic undertone to them. Honestly, I never thought this. But I found some sites that seem to underscore this sentiment. This one offers advice to newbie convention goers. It explains that many of the costumes may be scanty and the etiquette for dealing with some sexually charged behavior. Ok then. So I'm wondering if I have stumbled onto a couple of sites that offer a very limited view of conventions. I know there are some people who post here who have gone to conventions in the past and have had very fun, positive experiences. So why do you think these kinds of articles pop up on the subject? Do you think sci-fi fandom is mostly misunderstood or do you think there is an element of truth to what they are saying? I haven't been to a sci-fi convention, but I already have an opinion on the subject. I think conventions are like anything else and cover the whole spectrum. I bet if I went to one, I would be able to meet a ton of people just like me; someone who doesn't dress up in costume and doesn't know every line of Star Wars by heart. I also bet I could find the rabid sci-fi fan who knows every trivial tidbit of information on Spock. I bet I could also find people who speak fluent Klingon or Ferenghi. Maybe William Shatner was right when he told a group of trekkies on Saturday Night Live to "Get a life." Whatever. But I also think most of those people can distinguish fantasy from fiction. At least I hope so. But at what point does the fantasy go to far? When have we crossed the line into the crazy zone? Personally, I think if no one is harmed in the process, then who cares? But am I being too liberal? Or maybe I am naive. Should society look at conventions as a potential breeding ground of deviants? Should I keep my children far far away? Really, what do you think?