I’m around 18 years old at my first ever convention. ZomBcon. I’m nervous. I’m not very social, not fantastic at interacting with people. I’m just getting into the whole scene. At some point I start talking to someone about zombie movies and said person bombards me with questions.
Have you seen this movie?
How about that movie?
You must’ve seen this one, it is totally critical.
But what about this one?
Well, what have you seen?
Me? I say, Night of the Living Dead. Dawn of the Dead. Day of the Dead. Maybe ten others, but hey, those are all I’ve seen. That doesn’t mean I don’t love zombies, it just means I haven’t seen many movies. Right?
Wrong. Because I haven’t seen all those bottom of the barrel zombie flicks I’m something less now. The person gets that look on their face, the This-Person-Isn’t-Really-On-My-Level look tinged with They-Are-A-Poser. A slight pause. A spacey look as they reorient and decide whether to drop the subject or ask if I liked the Dawn of the Dead remake better than the original.
At this point you may be thinking, “Eh, boo hoo!” but keep on, friend, reader participation is required in the end!
I argue that this kind of thing happens all the time. I’ve been on the receiving end more than once, seen it happen to others, and unfortunately, found myself dishing out my own slice of Superiority Pie to unsuspecting, innocent victims. My apologies to those people. I’ve since stopped doing it.
It seems like, especially in our beloved Horror culture, we immediately try to judge someone based on how many books or movies they’ve seen in the genre. Maybe you don’t realize it directly, but by doing the “have you seen/read” game, and whittling away at the person, you’re figuring out where their fandom is relative to your own. How in to zombies are they really? How well have they really analyzed the Halloween films?
All of this would be fine and dandy if we didn’t do anything beyond gauging their interest level so we can find common ground to talk about (which is what happens most of the time). Where it goes wrong is when someone thinks less of the other for not being as devoted as they are. When someone thinks because you haven’t seen Aaah! Zombies! your thoughts on zombies are entirely flawed. Because you haven’t thought about sociopolitical parallelisms in regard to the human understanding of zombi…
Oh, sorry. It’s time to wrap this thing up when THAT kind of tangent starts.
What do you think? Have you been in one of these conversations before? Seen it happen to someone else? Are completely clueless as to what I’m talking about? Think this phenomenon is natural and positive?
Why do we do this?
10 points for reader participation! ;D