Thursday, July 25, 2013

WTF-Con

As you know, I work in downtown Baltimore.  A lot goes on in a downtown environment, besides the usual traffic and crime.  In Baltimore, we have sports events, activities associated with the Inner Harbor, tourism and of course, conventions.  Baltimore works very hard to fill its halls and hotels with conventions of all kinds, from professional, to sports and rec, to, well… other stuff.

I always get a kick out of rolling out of the subway station and spying a pack of girls wearing spandex pants with ears and a tail, with whiskers painted on.  That’s usually how I learn that Otakon is in town.   Otakon is a convention celebrating East Asian pop culture, and will be in town August 9-11. 
Otakon, downtown Baltimore, 2012  (Source)
Last weekend, they held a firefighter’s convention.  I emailed Sitcom Kelly about it, in case she wanted to add a buff fireman to her collection of hockey and football players living in the pit she dug in her basement.  At worst, she could sharpen her stalking skills.

I know about these events ahead of time now because I’m on the city’s mailing list for downtown news.  It’s part of the Safety and Security mailings the city does, to keep businesses abreast of anything that might affect them, like local thefts, road construction, rough weather, or things like this that can add to congestion.

That’s also how I found out about another upcoming event that just made me shake my head in wonderment.  They have convention for everything now…

Get this: from August 2nd to 4th, the Baltimore Convention Center will be hosting “BronyCon.”  This is from the flyer:

“BronyCon is a convention held by and for the fans of the cartoon, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  This show attracted an unexpected audience of young adults and teenagers, mostly male, who call themselves “bronies.”  BronyCon is the first and largest convention of fans of Friendship is Magic, the latest incarnation of the My Little Pony franchise.  Since the show’s debut in the Fall of 2010, it has garnered an extremely large and dedicated following of fans of all ages.  BronyCon welcomes all fans in a celebration of the community and values that have grown from the phenomenon.”

The hotels are expecting to fill about 700 rooms with visiting bronies.  700 rooms, housing dudes who like this:
I’m just wondering if this really qualifies as a safety issue.  I mean, I have to think that a convention of bronies makes Comic-Con look like the Sturgis Biker Rally.

In looking for a relevant picture, I came across a blog that had a good rundown of the whole My Little Pony (aka MLP) situation.  In the comments, you’ll find a raging battle between those that think bronies are a bunch of pervs, to the bronies themselves defending their fandom as healthy and positive.

Now I’m not saying there’s anything inherently wrong here… I just don’t get it.  It’s a little girl’s cartoon.  Young boys watching?  OK, I can see it.  You don’t want to pre-determined gender roles.  Low-end teenagers?  Maybe it’s soothing for those that feel like outcasts.  But grown-ass men in their 20s, 30s, and Christ, 40s???  WTF??

A number of people pointed out in the Comments for the blog I linked, that it beats getting immersed in bloody video games like Halo, Grand Theft Auto and other First Person Shooter games.  I agree, but I think there has to be some middle ground between mindless gory mayhem, and…

I mean, the Orioles are in town, why not just go to a game?  Get a little fresh air, have a dog and a beer, and make friends with real people, instead of fixating on brightly colored, mythical 2-dimensional beings.  But enough about the Kardashians…

This level of commitment to a little kid’s cartoon is dumbfounding to me.  I mean, zoning out in front of a harmless, fluffy cartoon once in a while, or even regularly?  I can see it.  After all, even I have some ABBA on my MP3 player, which is the musical equivalent of MLP.

But traveling to another town, getting reservations in an expensive downtown hotel room to attend a 3-day convention??  For animated, giant-eyed, long-maned equines???  (Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up the Kardashians again.)  I just don’t get it. 

Why not just go to the track and see some real horses?  Granted they don’t come in Crayola colors, nor do they have horns or wings, but a couple of cans of spray paint and some glue could fix that.  Just don’t try to approach the horses during the race.
“Come on, just one quick hug...”
Some of the bronies commented that they were embarrassed to mention their bronyhood to their buddies, but once they got them to watch the show, they became fans as well.  That made me snicker.  I can just imagine trying to recruit MY buddies to become bronies.  (Cue hazy filter and harp music…)

“Hey, Rik, how about we forget about the Tigers game and put on My Little Pony?  It’s all about friendship and bonding!”
"OK, how about you John?  Can we turn off American Pickers and watch the ponies prance and play?"

“Hey, come on you guys!  [thump thump]  Let me out of the trunk right now!  That’s no way to support a friend…” [thump thump thump…]

Yeah, no fuckin’ way.

So did you know about this brony stuff?  And if you have small kids who watch the show, what do you think about a bunch of grown men celebrating the same show?

23 comments:

  1. Wow, I find that extremely creepy. I mean, I could see if it were a bunch of little girls getting together and, like, trading their my little ponies... Do people dress up like them?

    Also, I love the giant collection of people dressed up like Power Rangers.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Jessica,
      I don’t think it’s like the Furries, where the convention-goers dress up, but hey, I really don’t know. This is the first BronyCon, so who knows what will go on? And what could they possibly be doing for three days??

      I need a mole on the inside…

      Yeah, Okakon is wild. It seems to encompass a wide array of character styles, from the Power Rangers, to various warrior and big-eyed critter types.

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    2. BRONIES! My sister actually works with one. He's SO weird. Brushes it before lunch every day. Then probably goes out back and jerks off.

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    3. I wonder if they have a room for THAT at the convention…

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    4. There was a CSI episode about furries. They used phrases that would indicate what they were doing on a sexual level. Youtube it!

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    5. I saw that one. But remember, Furries and Bronies aren't the same thing.

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  2. NO Comment The Pic should be ENOUGH . No thump thump thump would ever come from a trunk I politely ask someone to crawl into !!!!

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    Replies
    1. Right... the trunk would only be a temporary thing, until you arrive at the an appropriate place in the woods.

      I'm glad I didn't delete that "out-take" picture... I figured it would come in handy somewhere down the road. Turned out, it was just what I needed.

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  3. This reminds me of the time the Furries Convention was in town (San Jose, CA). A friend and I went to see a museum event, and walked outside to see a bunch of adults wearing full-body fox-like costumes, posing for pictures, and petting each other.

    Even creepier were the traditionally dressed guys who went up to pet the life-sized "stuffed animals".

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    Replies
    1. They have a Furry Convention in Pittsburgh every year, and it gets a good deal of play on some of my friends' blogs. But as weird as the FurryCon is, I understand that more than the BronyCon. The Furries represent a sort of immersive lifestyle, and provides an outlet for people that might need that sort of thing. There is great freedom in anonymity... I can see where some might need that kind of cover to really "let their hair down" and release their inner freak.

      I just don't see what there is to do at the BronyCon. I mean, what's next, the ScoobyCon? Old hippies get together and dress up like the Mystery Machine gang, solve crimes and munch on pot-laced Scooby Snacks?

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    2. Wait ScoobyCon now that could be interesting !!! Rut Row did I really say that ????

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    3. The downside of ScoobyCon? 15,000 Shaggys, only a handful of Freddies, Thelmas and Daphnes. Once you get that many scruffy hippies together, the inevitable result is a drum circle that lasts for days.

      At least they could merge with the Furry convention to provide enough Scoobys.

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  4. When I first saw the Otakon pic, I thought I had missed it while I was on vacation last week, and was oh so sad. One of my favorite things is driving past the convention center and seeing the line around the building of the array of freakdom. Good times.

    I love so much that you included that Preakness pic. Who knew? This whole time, he wasn't just this drunk crazy kid . . . he was a Brony!

    I can't wait to see the costumes for this thing . . .

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    Replies
    1. I only see the ones that are walking in from further north… I guess they can’t afford the “good” hotels near the Harbor.

      That Preakness pic idea hit me on the fly, as I mentioned the track. I’m surprised there weren’t more pictures of that guy… it was a pretty big news story, especially around here. (For non-Baltimoreans, during one of the earlier races on Preakness day, a number of years back, this drunk kid jumped onto the track with the objective of hitting one of the horses. He was lucky he didn’t get stampeded to death.)

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    2. FYI, I'm about to walk down to the harbor to see some of them now. Saw a couple this morning driving in. Extreme freakdom!! But I am GIDDY (up) with the blogging opportunities. ;)

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  5. I was aware of bronies. I thought bronies were funny. I also thought bronies were just being ironic.

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    1. I KNOW, right? Who knew these guys were serious??

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    2. I keep calling them unironically ironic fans, but that are also really UNironic. It's like this maelstrom of fuckedupedness.

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    3. All this irony is making my head spin.

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  6. Was blissfully unaware of Bronies. For grown-ass men, it definitely seems pervy and pedofiley. Baltimore police ought to compare hotel check-ins with certain criminal registries.

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    1. Maybe it’s all one of those police stings, where they throw out this big event, like meeting ball players, but the real intent is to round up criminals… And this time, the SPCA is trying to “rein in” the region’s horse fuckers…

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  7. DE VOLUTION continues among the Bronies. The DARWIN AWARD, Please.

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    Replies
    1. I’m waiting until they have BugsCon, celebrating the grandeur of Bugs Bunny. If you’re going to obsess over a freakin’ cartoon, it might as well be an entertaining one, that has stood the test of time.

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