07/06/2012 § Leave a comment
This past weekend, I found myself at A-kon 23 in Dallas, Texas. For the curious, A-kon is an anime convention held in Dallas, TX every year. It’s pretty big– almost 30,000 people, two major hotels and a convention center. Lots of people running around in costumes, fandoming out, lots of things to do (although most of those things involve someone selling you stuff).
Many of the costumes worn could be considered risque. Booty shorts pikachu man was one of my favorites. On Saturday evening, I was outside the Sheraton, looking across the street and I spied two police cars, a police motorcycle, and a crowd congregating on the corner. So, of course, I went over to see what was happening. From what I could glean from the crowd, two lady con-goers dressed as succubi were making out on a corner, and were seen by a gentleman with a personal PA system who felt like he ought to inform them of the sinful nature of their conduct. Angry con-goers descended on the man and attempted to shout him down. He shouted back that he wasn’t trying to take away their liberty, so they shouldn’t try to take away his.
Then, Convention Jesus showed up, with a TF2 engineer.
Con Jesus proceeded to explain to the con-goers that he was on their side. He baptized people from a fountain he stood on. Everyone shouted “JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!” When witnessing man responded that Con Jesus was not Jesus, the crowd shouted him down with “You’re the phony! PHONY! PHONY! PHONY!” By my standards, Con Jesus is an actor. The pun name might seem to say it all, except that Con Jesus does not seem to intend potentially harmful deception. He is playing a role. Con-goers know he is not Jesus, but they refer to him as Jesus. He isn’t even the only Jesus cosplayer there. He is, however, a Jesus that is “on their side”, and is a useful tool or weapon in the altercation with witnessing man. I kept expecting the two or three other Con-Jesus Cosplayers to come out and enter into their own altercation about who is “right.”
“The problem of authenticity arises when profane things do not keep their distance and instead approach or seek admission to the bounded space of the sacred.” [Thomas Alberts, here]