Letters from the Editor: Convention center

Kyrie Long Photo credit: Alex Frania

Pop-con is one of the events that takes place at the university that I’m always excited about.

I’ll be frank, I’m not in a position to be spending money on any of the goodies laid out at booths, but during Pop-con weekend in November I’m always likely to stop by Wood Center for a sweep through. There’s something gratifying about looking around, seeing the people in cosplay, the students chattering between tables.

This year’s tables included everything from board games, to craft projects, to hype for the upcoming “Star Wars” movie. There were parents and kids with matching costumes and people sword-fighting with foam weapons in a roped off section of the floor.

UAF having it’s own pop culture convention does a lot to remind me of those media interests that bring us together. However, it also reminds me of how geeks and nerds are commonly portrayed in television, movies, and comic books.

I don’t buy into the media nerd: the caricature shoved down our throats that nerds are asocial, trivia whizzes who can’t get dates and whose only friends are equally socially inept nerds. A “nerd” on television is someone who is as invested in memorizing the chronology of “Star Wars” as they are in the collected works of Tolstoy and there’s never a pause to consider that these seem like incredibly different interest groups.

While I think there’s room for people to have varying interests, in my experience people are rarely 100 percent invested in each and every aspect of popular culture. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen people’s media interests used against them as a cause for social exclusion.

We live in a time where IMDbs most popular television show, as of this year, is “Stranger Things.” My roommate loves Food Network, I watch an obscene amount of crime drama and we meet in the middle to watch “Hannibal”—maybe there’s some gallows humor there, but it’s true.

As humans, we love entertainment and we love interaction, and when we interact through entertainment, we usually end up connecting with the people we love. It’s why we go on movie dates and meet friends in comic book clubs.

Pop-con isn’t just another convention, it’s a testament to our culture and our interests in this corner of the world. There isn’t much about Fairbanks that feels warm in the winter, but walking into Wood Center last weekend was one of the most welcoming, friendly, and comfortable environments I’ve stepped into in the past few weeks.

Whether you came for cosplay or just passed through browsing for Christmas presents, I hope everyone who went to Pop-con found the atmosphere just as warm.

Kyrie Long

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