First off, here's a cute little petition that Rasty thought up -- and sent off to various sites that might enjoy it.
The idea behind this is that, given the intelligence – or lack thereof – of a lot of recent Arizona politicians, we’d like to see some sort of guarantee that our elected officials hereafter should be at least more intelligent than Koko the Sign-Language Gorilla. Koko has been known to pass human IQ tests with scores between 80 and 90. Therefore…
“Any person running for any public office in the state of Arizona must first qualify by taking a standard Stanford-Binet Intelligence test, and pass with an IQ score of at least 95.”
Heheheheh. I daresay there are a lot of states other than Arizona that should pass the same law.
It may be a bit premature to comment on the Phoenix ComicCon, since it's still going on, but what I did manage to see was quite impressive.
Admittedly, I was a last-minute invitee -- called in for a one-day (Friday) membership so I could fill in on the "Elfquest" panel. I didn't have that much to contribute, besides a couple of Elfquest songs, the brief history of how the album "A Wolfrider's Reflections" came to be made, and a bit of historical information: that Elfquest wasn't the first graphic novel ever published; that honor goes to "God's Man", by Lynd Ward -- a novel composed entirely of one-page woodcuts -- published in 1929. Still, during that panel I learned a lot more about the history and probable future of the franchise than I had in all the years previous.
Aside from the panel, I got a quick glimpse of the rest of the convention -- which was huge. The last couple of conventions here in Phoenix, LepreCon in spring and CopperCon in autumn, have been pitifully small. I'd originally thought this was because of the economy; after all, people can't afford to spend money on fun -- like SciFi conventions -- when they're out of a job. But seeing the numbers at Comicon, I had to revise that opinion. The problem is that the clubs which sponsor conventions simply haven't been recruiting new blood over the past few decades, haven't advertised sufficiently on the Internet, haven't tried to bring in the kids by devoting more tracks to gaming, films and TV shows, and particularly haven't kept up with SciFi publishing. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the number of hard-copy SciFi magazines has shrunk down to no more than three: ANALOG, FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, and ASIMOV'S. Meanwhile, the number of online SciFi e-zines, and e-books, has grown by leaps and bounds. Most of the clubs haven't noticed this, and that was a mistake.
The 'zines that have remained in hard-copy print, in great numbers, are comic books -- which explains the success of Comicon. I didn't get the actual membership figures, but the population I saw was huge. I'd say it was half the size of DragonCon, but in about the same convention-space. The dealers' room was easily the same size, and the number of tracks was nearly as large. I wish I'd gotten to see more of them. Though it's primarily, as the name says, a comics-convention, there were enough tracks (and dealers' products) on other subjects to qualify it as a comics-leaning general SciFi con. This is much the same direction that DragonCon took, being first a gamers' con and then branching out.
From what I heard there, the only local SciFi con of similar size is DarkCon: another specialty convention, this one themed toward "pirates -- past, present and future". From what I've heard, the future-pirates are beginning to outnumber the past-pirates, and both totally outnumber the present-pirates. This rather implies that DarkCon will follow the same path.
I wish them both luck.
THE LATEST FROM THE FUNDIE-NUTS
In the same week, I saw articles on the Net announcing that: a) according to the Council on Islamic-American Relations, complaints about Sharia law being pushed in American courts are "racist"; b) according to several Baptist pundits, groups campaigning for alternate or "green" fuels are "Satanists"; c) according to a group of nearly 40,000 ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in New York City, the Internet must be heavily censored because it promotes "unadulterated freedom" -- which is supposedly a bad Thing. Wow.
What this shows is that fundamentalists of all three of the big monotheistic religions are tyrants, bigots, paranoids, and just plain nuts. And I've even seen certain brands of Buddhists tending that way. *Sigh*
Why do I get the feeling that the world is headed for another showdown between religion and rationality?
--Leslie <;)))>< )O(