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maryann johanson, ruining movies since 1997

question of the day: What’s your best tip for being cool at Comic Con?

Newsweek has a piece up today offering “Seven Ways to Be Cool at Comic Con” — and its definition of cool is definitely… bizarre. This is what Newsweek thinks you’ll be competing with:

Today, the cheerleading squad has gatecrashed the cafeteria’s geek corner: Gwyneth Paltrow goes to Comic Con, for Spock’s sake. And Jessica Alba, and Robert Pattinson, and thousands of other blowdried, Chiclet-toothed people from movie studios, television networks, record labels, and the like. How does one come off as an authentic insider, now that the event beckons so many Twitter-happy poseurs? We broke out our slide rule, protractor, and decoder ring to create a foolproof method to fitting in:

Here’s one tip for Newsweek: Comic Con hipsters won’t be carrying slide rules. iPhones, yes. And maybe a slide-rule app on the iPhone (of course they exist!) But Jesus H. Christ on a teleporter pad, a slide-rule joke? Really? I am a bona fide, authentic Gen X geek, and I have never, ever seen an actual slide rule… except in Apollo 13.

So it’s hardly surprising, then, that Newsweek’s “tips” are collection of nonsense (“Know the worthy projects”? we geeks already know them) and the sort of surprised shock that comes only from those who know absolutely nothing about fandom… like Newsweek’s stunned amazement to discover that cons are a hotbed of, well, hot beds:

Penthouse blew the lid off the convention’s supposed seedier side last month with an article called “Geek Love,” which reported that Comic Con is “all about the sex.” Something about open-bar events, en-masse hotel bookings and spandex costumes just encourages people to pair (or triple) off.

Dudes, any con is all about the sex. See, it’s something about getting together and having fun with likeminded people who share your obsessions… and for some fans, sure, it’s the only place where they feel accepted. And those “creative pickup lines” Newsweek suggests the wannabes cultivate? If you’re really a total newbie and relying on Newsweek for sci-fi sex advice, you’re gonna be in trouble. Because if you get your Farscape reference even the slightest bit wrong when trying to pick up that Aeryn Sun, you’re not gettin’ anything but laughed at.

Let’s help Newsweek out, the poor dears. What’s your best tip for being genuinely cool at Comic Con (or any con)?

I’ve got a few:

1) Don’t actually wear at the convention any T-shirts they’re giving away at the convention.

2) In fact, if you wanna be really cool, don’t wear anything that brands you as a fanboy or fangirl except perhaps one small, elegant pin or piece of jewelry.

3) Hang out at a well-positioned bar where you can people-watch. You don’t have to drink (though you could buy a soda and tip the bartender or waitress well!), but sit there long enough, and you’ll see a steady parade of the really cool people, like the writers and artists and other creative types wearing Guest badges. If you didn’t get a chance to ask a question at a panel, you just might have that opportunity at the bar.

(Oh, and speaking of iPhone apps: there’s an official Comic Con iPhone app, naturally.)

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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