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PAX 06

So I spent the weekend in Bellevue, WA with my friend Jason at PAX 06.

We arrived in Bellevue early, having taken a 7am flight out there. We arrived at 9am "fake time", 11am our time, desperate for some lunch. However, nothing was open to serve us lunch, which I found kinda rude seeing as how far we traveled. I felt like a man who had travelled back in time to 1999 and wanted to eat at Chipotle.

The biggest attraction at PAX was by far the lines.

Luckily, we managed to make our own fun. For instance, when a swag slinger's aim went wide and stranded a t-shirt in the rafters, the crowd gleefully met the challenge.

Now, had we been in the forest, with a youth group leader, this would have been a perfectly acceptable exercise in group cooperation. But since we were in the city, a bunch of nerds and utilizing a Final Fantasy sized-replica sword, the "man" showed up and ordered us to cease all cooperation immediately.


sarcasm in an audience

So I just back from a rather surreal experience. My friend Mike and I went to see the 10pm opening showing of the infamous "Snakes on a Plane".

You'd have thought we were seeing some blockbuster. Like an Indiana Jones prequel, or something. People we're in costume, and the crowd was rowdy.

Except that there was the unspoken agreement amongst all of us that we weren't actually excited. Sure maybe some of the people had gotten themselves swept along with the faux enthusiasm, but at it's kernel was the recognized fact that we bought tickets to this movie to be ironic. We had shown up to a blockbuster pre-dissapointed with Hollywood.

All the deflated energy of all the fan boys who had shuffled limp shouldered from "Attack of the Clones" had finally found it's purchase.

Now, some might say that the fact we "responded to the hype", and that the studio embraced the attention means that this was somehow an artificial movement... But I disagree. For those 2 hours, we were a single being of unbounded sarcasm. Like a professor who singles out the worst of his student's work and reads it with feigned delight to the class.

This was clearly a case of "laughing at", not exactly the studio (we could all care less), but at what the art of film making has become. And if it responded by striking the pose it thought we'd like most, that makes it all the funnier.

Of course, at the end of the day, we still are a crowd of people who paid $8 a seat... However, the feeling I had when I in there was undeniably special. That we had taken what was fed to us on a tray and instead of politely consuming it, we scooped it out and began flinging it back. Reveling in our brief freedom.

A particular special moment for me, was when people started "hissing" at the many, many trailers before the show... I've often held a secret fantasy where the crowd around me responded to them not with slack-jawed paralysis, but with proper indiginity over the ridiculousness of being held commercially captive.

Despite seeing such a desire momentarily fufilled, I still have to wonder... Has anything changed? Sure it was a pure and unique moment. But, on the other hand, what if this is a sign that Hollywood has finally figured out the perfect counter-move to my ornary and normally apathetic mindset towards their products?

Is this first snicker amongst the crowd at the naked emperor? Or merely just another highly refined, focus group tested marketing ploy which I greeted with an appropriate amount of enthusiasm range expected for males of my age?

I honestly don't know. But what I can tell you is, that for a brief moment, I was able to give the loud and tequilla shot taking frat boy behind me a pass. Something, that in any other movie I'd be seething with rage about, and no doubt posting multiple paragraph rants about at the moment.

However, given the state of cinema entertainment, being loud, crude and indignant seems not only more acceptable, but long overdue.