Science fiction began when white people discovered Parliament Funkadelic.February was Black History Month. But you probably already knew that, since - unless I'm reading this pie chart backwards - 99% of Something Awful readers are black. It's a month celebrating history's most heroic and influential black men and women. It's also white supremacists' least favorite month. Mention it to them and they'll demand to know why there isn't a white history month. Even though there pretty much is.
It's called Baltimore's Farpoint Science Fiction Convention. Basically, like all sci-fi conventions, it's Black History Month for white people, except it's crammed into a single building, and the history is set mostly in the future, or in some alternate past where slavery either never existed or was obscured by giant gears and steam clouds.
I went there this year. In honor of black history month, I decided to dress as my favorite black science-fiction character, Morpheus from The Matrix. Like all my black heroes, Morpheus has always inspired me for struggling to free his people from evil white aristocrats. I figured that my costume would serve as a makeshift wormhole between black and white heritage and possibly win me some cosplay equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
I was a little nervous arriving at the con. Sci-fi gatherings, in theory, are about exploring new worlds and identities, so you wouldn't think Otherness would be something they'd frown upon. But because I'm white, my Morpheus costume represented a serious taboo: interracial cosplay. As I checked in at the hotel lobby, I couldn't help thinking of grainy, probably imagined newsreels of KKK members in stormtrooper garb throwing black Han Solos and white Lando Calrissians into the Sarlacc Pit in the parking lot.
When I get anxious, I start wanting drugs. It might be because general anxiety so closely resembles drug withdrawal. Or maybe I just really like drugs. Upon entering the convention hall, I immediately scanned the crowd for anyone who looked like they might have narcotics. In a room full of people dressed as aliens, anime characters and Victorian-era prostitutes, drug users are hard to spot. Unless, of course, they're cosplaying as fellow Matrix characters. Drug enthusiasts have always identified with the Matrix films, just as the gay community has always identified with The Wizard of Oz and, to a lesser extent, the TV show Oz.
When I saw a girl dressed as the Matrix character Trinity, I knew she must have drugs of some sort. I walked over to her and told her I was a friend of Neo, the understood code Matrix fans use to solicit drugs. She smiled and motioned for me to follow her behind a partition displaying steampunk top hats and cogs.
I had to register my complaints while they were still fresh. And while the bark was still fresh and pliable.
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