New Statesman – Blaming the victim: “The most dangerous thing in the world for the one per cent is desire. Unsanctioned desire, desire for things that we can’t be made to buy, things like power and sex and and social justice, is always dangerous when it can’t be controlled. The only possible solution is to punish the desire and blame the victims for inviting that punishment.”
Archive for May, 2012
Bonnie and I have been going to cons for a long time. Anime Boston has been our jam for the last decade; we’ve also been to PortCon in Portland, ME, Boston Comicon and other events. In fact, I’ve been going to and participating in cons since I was a teenager and a member of the Boston Star Trek Association. In my 40s, I’m still spending weekends with other folks who like the same thing I do – science fiction, fantasy, anime, manga, gaming, and so on.
Cons have changed a lot over the years. And as long-time Anime Boston attendees know, the attendance of the show has changed. Many of us have gotten older, but there are tons of new fans behind us that seem younger and younger. To put it bluntly, there are a lot of kids at these things. And when I say “kids,” I don’t mean the young college adults that have always been a mainstay of these events; I’m talking about underclassmen high schoolers. Middle schoolers. Kids.
So what is an aging but still very interested anime fan to do?
A few years ago the New England Anime Society, which puts on Anime Boston, tried something different – the Providence Anime Conference, which was aimed squarely at adults. Bonnie and I went, and had a great time. So did many other people we know. Still, the event was a failure for a variety of reasons: the venue was too big, the event was under-promoted, so it didn’t have enough attendance – it just didn’t work. Though it the concept itself was worth holding on to.
Nauticon is the most recent attempt to do a 21+ con, and I thought it worked brilliantly. It happened this weekend in Provincetown, Mass. For the uninitiated, P-Town is the last town on Cape Cod, literally at the very end of that arm-shaped peninsula that emerges from the southeastern Massachusetts coastline. It’s a remote artist’s colony and a hedonistic playground in the summertime, which makes it the perfect venue for something like Nauticon.
“Nauticon” is a triple entendre. The nautical setting – a remote fishing village cum artist’s colony is one obvious meaning; a focus on adult programming is another (reinforced by the “whatever happens in P-town stays in P-town” slogan on the Web site); and the event’s promoters also note that it’s “Not A Con as you know it.”
The event has featured three days of adult programming, including panels featuring LGBT content, sex toys and other “grown up” things that either don’t happen at “regular” cons or happen very late, after the kids have gone home. For adventurous, open-minded con enthusiasts, this is a fun change of pace.
One concession to the traditional con experience was an “artist colony” (a play on the surrounding venue – P-Town is an artist colony) – an area where artists and artisans showed off their work – jewelry, crafts, prints, t-shirts and other content for sale. There was no separate dealer room, and no need for one. It seemed there was a steady stream of attendees in and out the door whenever I walked by.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mentioned that drinking is a central feature to this event – there was a booze cruise, whiskey and rum tastings, and many other opportunities to get lubricated.
What was amazing, though, was despite the party atmosphere, the event was incredibly low-key. Everyone was there to have a good time, laugh, and generally enjoy themselves. Some folks were traveling alone; many attendees like us arrived as couples.
Nature really cooperated too. P-town can get kind of nasty if the weather doesn’t cooperate, but Nauticon has been graced by three days of spectacular, perfect spring Cape weather – sunny and in the upper 60s.
Bonnie and I didn’t have the chance to stay the entire weekend. As we’re Cape residents (albeit more than an hour away) with kids of our own to take care of, it made more sense for us to drive out on Saturday and take Nauticon as a day trip instead.
Still, I’m incredibly happy that Nauticon happened and I hope that this is an event we’ll be able to include in our annual rotation. I also encourage anyone who’s an anime or geek/nerd subculture fan to come next time.
“Nice ride,” I said to the guy in the Mercedes parked on the other side of the gas pump. I heard him thank me.
I started filling the tank of our beaten up eight year old Kia Sedona minivan, looking ruefully at its dents and scratches and torn up paint.
“I wanna be you when I grow up,” I said.
“Who said anything about growing up?” he asked, as he got in and drove away.
Daily Kos: An open letter to the people who hate Obama more than they love America: “You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don’t know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else.”
Since I moved back to Boston in 1991, I’ve had an auto insurance policy with an independent broker via Liberty Mutual. In the 21 years since, I’ve had cause to contact them a few times because of auto accidents, but mostly I’ve been a valuable customer for them, paying my policy on time and, most importantly, I’m sure, not filing claims.
Several times I’ve actually called the broker and told them that I was thinking about moving my plan to another insurance agency closer to home (they’re located more than an hour away from me). They’ve always talked me out of it, because they’re good folks and I haven’t had much cause to complain about the quality of the insurance itself.
Then this report popped up in the Boston Globe this weekend, about the insane comp package and office renovation costs for Liberty Mutual CEO David Long, who spent four and a half million dollars to renovate an office suite with about the same square footage as my house.
The finishes to the office itself totaled more than $750,000, more than three times what my house is worth.
I understand the need for a corporate executive to set the right tone with his office, but this is really the straw that broke the camel’s back – Liberty Mutual’s stories of corporate excess have already filled pages of the Boston Globe – $50 million comp packages, fleets of private jets, huge tax breaks by the City of Boston to get Liberty Mutual to build its new headquarters in town. It’s disgusting.
The older I get, the less tolerance I have for stories of incredible corporate greed and waste like this. I certainly don’t want any part of underwriting this garbage by paying my policy premiums. So I’m going to shop around for insurance through another company.
Anyone with experience with auto insurance companies in Mass. is welcome to chime in with recommendations and warnings.
Brian May: ‘Freddie Mercury will appear in ‘We Will Rock You’ but not as a hologram’ | News | NME.COM
Brian May: ‘Freddie Mercury will appear in ‘We Will Rock You’ but not as a hologram’ | News | NME.COM: “Brian May of Queen has said that the band’s late frontman Freddie Mercury will appear as an ‘optical illusion’ in a special 10th anniversary performance of the band’s own musical We Will Rock You.”
I don’t know how I feel about this.
What Does Ashton Kutcher’s Popchips Gaffe Have to Do With the Tech Bubble? Plenty – Forbes: “Is Kutcher ‘brilliant’? I have no idea. If he is, it only goes to show that being really smart at knowing which start-ups to invest in and how to get people to follow you on Twitter (hint: being famous and being married to someone else who’s famous doesn’t hurt) doesn’t automatically translate to being smart in other areas.”
I have to wonder if Jeff Bercovici or anyone else who thinks Kutcher’s PopChips video was a “gaffe” have ever seen an episode of the Tracey Ullman show? And that’s hardly the only example.
What I saw was a comic actor testing his chops, able to indulge himself in a way that’s smart and technically savvy, even if his characters were sometimes wince-inducing. Certainly sounds like someone with a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in modern culture, “brilliant” appellations aside.