Home » Features » Beyond The Con #2 – A round up of Pop Culture news and views.

Beyond The Con #2 – A round up of Pop Culture news and views.

#2 Early March 2018

Another week another scrambled mess of a news feed full of school shootings, rave reviews of Black Panther and failed attempts at a social life. Nevertheless, we have all made it through to the begining of March somehow. While its not clear how close we are to anything BIG happening, but we know the ball should get rolling soon on some really cool stuff.

Like all those cons, if you can afford to hop around this great nation then hit up our events article which lists all the upcoming things to see and do. I know I’m excited about Ironfest in April but until then – locally – we have the Gamma Con in Wagga on the 17th.  Looks like a lot of fun and games for anyone with a love for board games or RPG’s!

In the meantime lets get on with it and celebrate this weeks …. HEROES and ZEROES!

Heroes of the week

Hero 1:

SyFy for teasing us with more Expanse

For releasing a teaser trailer to ‘The Expanse’ Season 3. I hope this show basically never ends and one day has more episodes than both Star Trek and Battle Star Galactica put together. It takes the best elements of every sci-fi show ever and pulls them all together into one cohesive universe made up of Earthers, Martians and Belters.


There’s only one race of Aliens so far. Of course, while the extraterrestial threat starts out like a simple horror thriller, it gets a lot more complicated as time goes by as foes become friends and vica versa.

I personally can’t wait till April. Dropping a little later than usual, thanks to the network not wanting it to clash with the Olympic games so we have to make do with this 30 second reminder of how great this show is.

In fact, the only other show I’m anticipating as much this year is the second season of Westworld! It also had a sneak preview, dropped during the recent Superbowl and with the first episode released in April as well, we’re all going to have to find some serious downtime to keep up with both these incredible shows.

Hero 2:

Netflix being brave (As F***)

Other than bringing us some of the best television since The Soprano’s while introducing the world to long form narratives. As good if not better than most Oscar winning films, they also just about confirmed season two of one of their riskiest and most expensive Sci-Fi series to date.

Altered Carbon is set in a world, 300 years in the future where you can download your consciousness into a new body or ‘sleeve’ whenever you feel the need. Our hero, Takeshi Kovacs is woken from a deep digital sleep while serving time for crimes against the state.

As his old body was ‘destroyed’ by the corrupt cops who took him down, he is downloaded into a new one, the body of Robocop himself, Joel Kinnaman.  He is quickly tasked with solving the murder of one of the most powerful men in the world. Who hired him? The murder victim himself.

Yes, it’s all very confusing but somehow it manages to keep you just on the right side of curious/confused.  As messy as it sounds, the attitude, acting, writing and production value is all obvious on the screen. Well done on Netflix for betting a fair chunk of their disposable income on at least the second season of this cyberpunk fantasy novel come to life.

Hero 3:

Disney securing our future!

In celebration of the record-breaking success of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, The Walt Disney Company is donating $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). The donation will help expand Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s youth STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, supporting the high-tech skills that were a major theme in the plot of Black Panther and are essential in helping youth succeed.

Hopefully in a decade or two, Disney’s commitment to helping kids move into the field of science will pay off with a real life Tony Stark or Shuri making the world a better place. At least giving us affordable hover boards and flying cars already!

Zeroes of the week

Zero 1:

People who are way too harsh or quick to ‘ghost’ friends online.

Making new friends online can seem very easy and the validation that comes with that is almost addictive for some people. The hard part though is keeping those friends when things get rough.
People these days seem to raise the anchor and leave for calmer waters the first chance they get. If you somehow present as being in the same cultural tribe and make it into a person’s online social circle then, “Huzzah! High fives all round!”

But then the clock starts ticking.

A problem I have noticed (and this is across the board from dating sites/apps to forums like reddit and social networks like Facebook), is that a lot of time seems to be spent by people pruning their friends list of anyone they don’t like, unliking pages they no longer want to see in their newsfeed and arguing with anyone who holds a different view on whatever the latest hot button topic is.

Now, all these things are perfectly fine and reasonable in moderation. But it’s almost as if, it’s got to the point where for some people this occupies more and more of their time in the online space.

If you post a meme thats a bit too ‘edgy’? GONE!

Do you want to disagree with the consensus on a particular film/TV show or controversial issues surrounding said property? GONE and be prepared for endless ad hominem personal attacks.

Forget to invite someone to an event or wish them a happy birthday online? GONE!

Post a link in a group that might possibly be vaguely controversial to about three people? DELETED AND BANNED!

Now, I know that the internet has long been a place where having a thick skin is one of the only ways you will survive but it can still be draining when over time you notice friend after friend, they drop away for reasons so petty that it makes you want to throw your hands up in frustration.

It’s got to the point where a lot of people are tip toeing around on eggshells just in case they upset someone and ultimately lose access to a community they have grown to love. The mental health of a lot of young people is now far too dependent on what people they will likely never meet think of them.

This is, of course, an issue too complicated to be addressed and solved in a pithy column on a niche cosplay blog, but I think there’s definitely a conversation that needs to be had.

Navigating this discourse is going to be something I intend to workout as I go and hopefully get more confident.  I always endeavor to learn and listen to others but if anyone is reading this, the next time you’re about to hit that unfriend button or blast someone with a comment on their poor attempt at cosplay, please take a breath.

Step back and think about it and yes even try the age old method of  putting yourself in their shoes.

Maybe, they are having a bad day and posted before thinking themselves. With some patience and communication, rather than suddenly ending the relationship their faux pas could actually be an opportunity for it to grow!

If you see them in real life sometimes, try talking to them in person and 90% of the time you will find out whatever ticked you off was probably some huge misunderstanding.  Remember the internet has no ‘tone’ so giving people the benefit of the doubt before assuming the worst is nearly always going to be the best strategy.

Zero 2:

Konami charging Ten bucks for save slots

Seriously guys? Save slots?!

Sales of the latest Metal Gear solid game Metal Gear Survive have been a huge disappointment. That could have something to do with it being the last one helmed by series creator, Hideo Kojima ( well, kind of, he parted ways with Konami 2 years ago). But it’s more likely punters are being turned off by the inclusion of microtransactions that would make even EA blush.

The most controversial of all is the addition of an in-game currency called SV coins. You need to spend the equivalent of ten real life dollars on them to be able to purchase more save slots. You know, so you can keep playing the same convoluted story you started five hours ago. Along with the companies move to mobile gaming and gambling machines this is probably the nail in the coffin for the franchise.

Let’s hope karma eventually catches up with the bean counters behind these decisions. One day the property ends up in the hands of a developer who truly cares about what happens to ole’ Solid Snake and more importantly, the fans!

Zero 3:

Heart Attacks

Seriously, they kill a ridiculously high number of people year in, year out. It recently almost took the life of one of our favourite film makers and DC TV universe directors, Kevin Smith. With a 100% blockage to his LAD artery, it was a miracle he survived and he is now in hospital, recovering.

Naturally, he has reached out to fans in the most endearing way possible with Facebook vlogs and long rambling twitter posts about how happy he is to be alive.

Celebrities ranging from the band Wheatus, Patricia Arquette to Star Lord himself, Chris Pratt all send their kind words his way on twitter. Let’s hope he does what’s needed to get back on the horse and avoid any similar near death experiences for a long time to come. We do need to see that Jay and Silent Bob reboot after all!

Well thats it for this week, okay it’s been a fortnight. These things are tough to put together when you start throwing in kids, full-time work and all that netflix that needs to be watched! Never fear though, your next listicle of winners and losers will be up before the calendar rolls around to mid-March.

Excelsior and thanks for all the Fish!

About Patrick Hamilton

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