Why this geek won’t Boycott PAX
2013 wasn’t a particularly good year for Penny Arcade, Inc’s image. After a relatively peaceful PAX-East and flagship PAX-Aus, there was another Dickwolves flair up that got sparked again at PAX Prime, and the ensuing fallout was pretty intense.
There are lots of people, former and current fans alike, who are asking for a community-wide call-to-arms to put a stop to these sorts of abuses, but how exactly to do so is hotly debated.
Many are calling for a full-blown boycott of PAX, while others are going for a larger presence and awareness campaign at-event.
I’ve chosen, for now, to be a part of that later camp. Which is in no way saying that those who choose to boycott are wrong, the same way those who were hurt, angered, or otherwise affected by some of what’s gone down but still choose to go are not wrong. There are different ways to go about this situation, and I thought I’d share my reasons why I chose NOT to boycott.
Reason #1) Financially, it says little.
I know I said that there’s really no “wrong” or “right” in the choice of whether or not to boycott the events – financially is one area, however, where I feel there is a much straighter answer. Many feel that by boycotting we hit them where it hurts – in the wallet. Theoretically, a great idea. Realistically, not so much. With PAX tickets selling out faster and faster with every year, it’s almost impossible to imagine a drop in attendance, ever, even if every single person who opposed even one thing that PA has said or done decided not to go. Our spots would be filled instantly. PAX is, in my opinion, too large a beast to be culled by finances alone at this point. And unfortunately those of us who felt wronged or offended by what’s happened are far outnumbered by those who either don’t care, don’t even know, or are totally on the other side of the fence. By not going, I only open my spot to someone who is much more likely to be in one of those groups than not. Which leads me to point #2
Reason #2) My presence says more than my absence
It’s no secret that harassment, or on a much larger scale, plain naivety and ignorance can sometimes run rampant at shows like PAX. By not going I can’t be there to even the playing field. I can’t be there to play devil’s advocate, to correct someone, defend myself or someone else, etc. My voice can’t be heard if I’m not there to speak. Again, it’s a numbers game. PAX is just far too large an event for my personal absence to be of any effect. Popular speakers or public figures, yes. But me? I’m a nobody, if somewhat outspoken. But my cause is useless if I’m not there to defend it.
Reason #3) Everybody deserves a chance to fix things.
And I mean that. Some may argue that the PA guys have had plenty of chances to fix things – and they haven’t been too successful (perhaps have even made things worse). But I feel strongly that they will get it, eventually, or someone on their PR team will. For what it’s worth, PAX is still a wonderful event, fun and filled with wonderful people. By and large the community is awesome – and PAX goes beyond just the comic and the dudes who run the show. It boils down to the very people who attend and volunteer – most of whom are great. WE are the heart and soul of PAX and what makes it work. WE can be the ones to change it, if we put our minds to it. And it’s worth every moment of patience to do so, because …
Reason #4) Simply put, I love the community of PAX and I don’t want to give up on it just yet.
I suppose this is the most personal point here, and possibly the most important – For me, PAX is the launcher of many of the most wonderful things in my life right now. My friends I can say without any hesitation are some of my most pivotal supports I’ve ever had – and were it not for PAX, that group would be much smaller. Many of the adventures I’ve been on since moving to Boston, and even before, have been affected either directory or indirectly to PAX or its community. I owe a lot of the best memories in the last five years to these Expos. Bar crawls, and parties, and food outings, and game nights. How can I possibly throw in the towel now?
Honestly, I can’t. It pains me, certainly, whenever something like dickwolves becomes a thing. It angers me greatly to see people make light of some of those hurtful words or behaviors, people I could have very well stood next to in line for a panel or to buy a shirt. PAX is not perfect – nor are its creators, leaders, volunteers, or community. It needs work, but it can get better. I can’t imagine something that’s been the source of a lot of my happiness not being worth the effort.
How each individual wants to handle the dark sides to PAX and its community is up to them – there is very little black and white within these series of delicate issues.
But me? I’m choosing to be there.