I know it is Tuesday already but this topic needs some attention, if not more than it has already received. The amount of traction this issue has received in the past 48 hours is huge and I want to only make more people aware of the damage the Sunday Times has done this past weekend. On Sunday, a Comic Con Africa review written by Oliver Roberts was published that was meant to be an overall roundup of South Africa’s inaugural Comic Con. Instead of enlightening people, the writer behind this review decided to slut and fat shame geeks not only in SA but around the world.
The article titled “My Big Fat Geek Expo” was immediately put online, transcribed and slammed by geeks all over SA for its rude tone and ignorant angle. Hurtful lines such as “From what I observed at Comic Con, a geek is essentially anyone who is overly enthusiastic about something.” made the post seem extremely offensive but it gets worse. Much of the writer’s tone comes across extremely condescending with the saddest part being his interpretation of the excitement making it sound like geeks in SA act in embarrassment.
An example of this was the maybe eight, nine, 10 individuals who utterly lost their shit in a board-games stall when they spotted a game called Exploding Cats. I checked out the game and it seems fun, but, whoa, when these geeks spotted it, they started whooping and pumping their skinny carpal-tunnelled wrists and spraying droplets of saliva. It was just too much. The same thing happened at a stall selling absurdly expensive figurines from Star Wars, et cetera – these geeks were very public about their exhilaration at seeing the merchandise. It got kind of embarrassing.
There is a lot going on in the article of which you can read the full thing on Twitter but the issue here is the fat shaming and slut shaming that Oliver Roberts blatantly included for some reason. much of the article also makes it sound as if geeks are outsiders and weirdos without being studied yet. As if we are a new race of humans.
People dress up as superheroes/villains/ video-game characters (this is called Cosplay and on the right kind of girl it’s maddeningly sexy (you’ll have to ask a girl whether this same truth applies to a fit guy dressed as, say, a Star Wars Storm Trooper);
Many South African gaming personalities and industry professionals took to Twitter to express their rage against the Sunday Times;
— Marco Cocomello (@Cocomelts) September 23, 2018
Our very own Pippa Tshabalala spoke up about it saying that the entire article belittles a group of people because they are outside of the norm.
Wow @SundayTimesZA. You actually allowed this rubbish to go out in your paper. Yes opinions are personal we get that, but to publicly shame & belittle a group of people simply because they are outside of "the norm" of what this writer has been exposed to is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/ngTlMjb23a
— Pippa Tshabalala (@UnexpectedPippa) September 23, 2018
Predominant local cosplayer Kinpatsu made the point that the local geek community is so small already and people like Oliver Roberts just want to cause problems instead of using the opportunity to expose people to it.
This is in very poor taste @SundayTimesZA . This was such a huge step forward for us to have our first ever comiccon, our geek community here in south africa is still so small and so many people dont understand it, you had the perfect opportunity to expose people to it. pic.twitter.com/6ofp3Q42Cv
— Kinpatsu @ Blizzcon (@KinpatsuCosplay) September 23, 2018
The Sunday Times has yet to speak up about the issue at all with no apology or explanation. All we hope is that they say something soon to calm people down. What do you make of all this? Let us know in the comments below.