Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Response to Sunday Times Article "My Big, Fat Geek Expo"

Traditional rag, Sunday Times, decided that it was ok to print an article titled "My Big, Fat Geek Expo" this past weekend, covering Comic-Con Africa. Written by Oliver Roberts, the article made many members of the South African pretty angry. And rightly so.

You can read the full turd on the face of journalism here, but I have chosen some of the pearls from it so you don't have to.

"Obese, puffing Darth Vader." 

"I don't think there is much difference between a nerd and a geek; I think "geek" is just an updated and much less ugly word for the same entity." 

"What a geek does to express their passion for something is to go completely over-the-top about it and, as a result, sometimes or often, become a bit annoying." 

"They started whooping and pumping their skinny carpal-tunneled wrists and spraying droplets of saliva." 

"Geeks are so intolerably polite and sycophantic."

Now, I didn't go to ComicCon. I had my concerns about the event meeting expectations and opted to wait for feedback from attendees before committing to CCA 2019.  But, as a geek, I feel it is important to raise awareness for this sort of nonsense and call out both Sunday Times and Oliver Roberts for this article.

Firstly, why would they send someone like Roberts to cover an event that he very clearly has no interest in attending? Nor does Roberts possess even one nano-fraction of geek culture as its foundation. This event was a big deal for many South Africans, many of whom made the trek up to Johannesburg to attend it. There were many more appropriate journalists that could have covered Comic-Con Africa for Sunday Times who would have provided an insightful article on the event. 

This article has no value whatsoever to anyone actually wanting feedback on the event. It just seems to serve as a podium for an adult form of playground bullying, calling out geeks and their behavior as something undesirable and worthy of mockery. In publishing this, Sunday Times is showing that they agree with this mindset and that fat-shaming and slut-shaming are ok.

We should be living in a world where people are encouraged to embrace who they are and be proud of what they love. This article makes a mockery of this and even suggests such behavior is shameful and annoying.

The worst part of this whole mess is that it is targeting a group of people who have been in the crosshairs of bullies for their whole lives. Geek culture has only recently become more "mainstream" and Cons serve as a platform for geeks to embrace their fandoms, not be aggressively ridiculed for it in a supposedly reputable newspaper.

It's 2018 and there is no place for this sort of article. There never was. There never will be.

Step down, Oliver Roberts. Your archaic opinion is an insult to anyone and everyone who has ever cared about a fandom. Oh, and the game you referenced in your trash article? It's actually called "Exploding Kittens" not "Exploding Cats", something you would know if you actually bothered to do some research.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Review: Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber


Title: Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Author: Katherine Webber
Publisher: Walker Books (August 2018)

Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free… Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can't give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you...

I received a review copy of this book from PanMacmillan SA, so a huge thank you to them for thinking of me and continuing to be so awesome.

I admit I had not heard of this book before receiving it, though I was eyeing the author's debut novel, Wing Jones. 

This is a YA Contemporary with a small twist on the genre, where it dips its toes into magical realism. This aspect was not overdone and simply added a unique touch to the storytelling experience.

I particularly enjoyed the departure from the usual YA trope of girl-meets-boy, boy-heals-girl.

Reiko is a strong character that you will definitely care about by the end of the book. She doesn't have that affected John-Greenesque way of talking that seems to infect a lot of emotionally-charged YA books these days.

I really don't want to give too much away, but I can tell you that if you enjoy Jandy Nelson and John Green, you will adore this.

I cannot wait to read Wing Jones!