Yesterday, I braved the murky waters of Emerald City Comicon. I was there for the panels. I was there for the amazing booths and exhibitions. I was there to catch up with friends. And I was there to unmask at least a portion of the heinous “fake geeks” that have inundated our fair geekdoms of late.
So I dressed up as The Dresden Files’ Harry Dresden, the better to blend with Con’s crowds, and began my undercover operation.
Today, I bring you the shocking footage of real fake geeks, fake geeking for all to see. (note: due to a lack of footage, some cartoon images may be used as stand-ins)
#3. The Fake Naruto Fan helping at an anime vendor’s booth.
Since Lauren and I have been watching Japanese anime since our teens, we stopped by a booth filled with dakimakura (抱枕; full body pillows), keychains and other anime merchandise. The guy behind the counter, who we’ll call, uh, Rock, was dressed like this:
Lauren, making friendly conversation, asked: “Are you Gai-sensei or Rock Lee?”
“I’m neither, I’m Gaara.”
I see Lauren’s internal dialogue: Hm. Well, that doesn’t look like Gaara at all, but I’m willing to give him some leeway. Ha, get it? LEE way?
Okay, The first half of that or so was her internal dialogue. Either way, she did the prudent thing and disengaged immediately.
“I ordered this Gaara costume online, so I know it’s right,” the guy yelled at her retreating back.
I could have let that go, but then he said, “You really need to brush up on your series.”
Hey! No one calls out my girlfriend as a fake geek, especially not, you know, some fucking fake geek.
“Hey dude,” I said, pulling out my Razr (because I’m too techie for iPhone), “This image is the second row down in search results for keyword Gaara in Google.”
“Plus, your belt buckle is a Konoha Leaf, not a Sand Village i-shaped thingie.”
“Now when you google ‘Rock Lee’, an interesting costume pops up…”
“Hey now, don’t be a dick–”
I cut him off. “Maybe you need to brush up on your series, instead of lambasting fangirls of a series you clearly never fucking watched. Oh, and maybe you can multitask and read a book called How To Win Friends and Influence People while you’re at it, you damned fake geek.”
I twirled, my totally awesome trenchcoat swirling in the soupy convention center air, and stormed off… for about two feet before I hit a solid wall of slow-moving human bodies. Shit, I was going to be late for my next panel!
#2. The Fake Otaku Near The Gaming Booths
Lauren and I had separated to go to different panels, to reunite around noontime. I waited in the lounge area, leaning against a wall because it’s hard as hell to look cool by leaning your staff against the table you’re sitting at. Within arm’s reach, a man doing a smashing Comic Book Guy as Jedi Knight cosplay regaled two bored street-clothes asian women with his total awesome.
“Yeah, I speak Japanese,” he said, like learning a foreign language is just so effortless for him. “It’s pretty easy if you just know how to apply yourself.”
Overjoyed that a Master of Japanese had appeared before me, and eager to know the secrets that made one of the fucking scant languages that FSI marks as Category V, requiring 88 weeks or 2200 hours of study, so easy to him, I interjected:
「本当ですか。さあ、話しましょう。」 (“hontou desu ka? saa, hanashimashou!”; Really? Then let’s chat!”)
He looked at me like a lobotomized bovine chewing cud before an oncoming freight engine.
「わ。か。り。ま。した。か。」 (“wa-ka-ri-ma-shita-ka?”; Did. You. Get. That?”
“…hai?” It was clear from the fact that I didn’t write his response in Japanese that he really didn’t get it. This saddened me. I was hoping I could compare notes on his process. I’d hoped he was actually better than me.
I was crushed, so it was time to crush him.
「日本語は超難しい言語ですから、そんなに嘗めないで。さっさと行け、嘘つき。」 (“nihongo wa chou-muzukashii gengo desu kara, sonna ni namenai dei. Sassato ike, usotsuki.”; “Japanese is a crazy-difficult language, so don’t mock it that way. Leave my sight, liar.”)
He gave me his best this-is-bullshit glare, so I smiled at him. Like really wide. More like a snarl. He got the message and left.
“Are you two even Japanese?” I asked, still slightly put out.
“I’m third-generation,” one said at the same time the other said, “I’m Chinese-American.”
I facepalmed and grumbled, “Fucking ignorant creeper whitey.”
“Thanks for helping us,” they said in my fantasy-version of what happened. “He wasn’t getting that we were totally uninterested in him, because he smelled like Cheetos dust and shattered dreams.”
“No problem, ladies. Cockblocking loser fakes is just what I do.” Also in my head.
I actually said, “Enjoy your Con,” and tipped my hat to them.
And then I left. I didn’t want them to develop a sad one-sided love for one of the only two Harry Dresden cosplayers at Comicon that Sunday.
#1. The Fake Harry Dresden Geek
I didn’t uncover this FAKE GEEK until my girlfriend uploaded this to her Facebook page later that evening, as I was resting and recovering from a hard day of busting fake geek balls.
I’m on the right.
This picture came from shortly after Lauren and I collected my tickets. I saw it, and I knew that my whole world was a lie.
Look at this guy’s cosplay. Look at the subtle bend of his hat. The tastefully underplayed cowboy boots. My god, he’s even got a shield bracelet.
As I sat there, staring at this guy’s awesome kit, it slowly dawned on my sleep-weary brain that maybe I, standing in my fucking sneakers because I couldn’t be bothered to go out and buy cowboy boots for my Dresden cosplay, was the fake geek here. I resolved, then and there, that I would never be a fan of anything ever again, for fear that people might fathom the true depths of my fake geekitude.
…Or maybe all of us just need to ease the fuck up and stop acting like baby Trumplets to our fellow fans.
That could work too.