Booth Babes aren’t Cosplayers

Internet “journalism” is a dirty business. I think everyone should be aware of this fact, but it seems few are. The business model isn’t built to support well thought out commentary or unbiased coverage of news. At the end of the day, the people counting the money only care about traffic. In turn, every website’s primary goal is to make you load up the page. They don’t care if the content is good, and in many cases, bad content works even better.

Think back to a little bit ago when a certain website posted an article on how a nerdy Magic the Gathering champion duped some poor girl into going on a date with him. Wait, no… that’s wrong. She was just upset that a guy who said he had some nerdy hobbies actually turned out to be a nerd and wrote a grossly inappropriate article about. The internet was outraged and then the same site, just a staff member from another country, went on to post an editorial saying how terrible the article was. I’m sure the traffic for the two controversial pieces paid a bill or two. I mean, how could it not? They were seriously playing both sides of the issue. And the more people talked about it, the more people searched out the original story.

The same with the recent Mass Effect kerfuffle. IGN posts a video with some asshole saying how entitled the fans are and how they should just shut up and take it. The fans get upset, share the link, and then IGN gets paid. Forbes has a writer that condemns IGN and other writers like them, notices the giant influx of Mass Effect fans visiting the site and soon most of Forbes’ video game coverage becomes about Mass Effect and has a pro-fan slant. Who can blame these people though? It is a sure fire way to make money.

So all that is to say, don’t buy into the narrative that’s currently being woven for PAX East. Right now the “journalist” are trying to sensationalize some non-events in order to generate traffic. First being Keith Apicary.

I love Keith Apricary. Nathan Barnatt, the actor who portrays Keith, is hilarious and talented. That being said, the Keith character is a destructive and disruptive whirlwind of mayhem. I am pretty sure he has never seen the entire last day of any convention he goes to. He’s a professional troublemaker, much like a majority video game “journalist.” He was kicked out of Comic Con for crashing a panel with James Cameron and Peter Jackson. He was kicked out of PAX last year for crashing the panel of G4′s Xplay, but was then given a second chance since he had a panel the the next day… which he wasn’t able to finish without getting kicked out of the convention. It’s a hilarious schtick for the viewers, but I wouldn’t blame any convention manager for kicking him out. He’s a safety hazard (mostly to himself) and a disruptive force. And he’s not there for the sake of making the convention better, but rather he’s there to make videos. Like I said, I find it hilarious, but I’m surprised he’s ever allowed into any convention.

That being said, he got kicked out again this year. This time he crashed a panel hosted by Rooster Teeth, then proceeded to take his clothes off and dance in order to promote a new music video he’s going to be appearing in. That’s right, he was an unplanned guest who took the stage and began to dance around in his underwear. Of course he got kicked out. Sure it’s funny, but what else could PAX do? If they allow him to get away with it, then the precedent is set. I have heard tell that this time it’s a lifetime ban, which I think sucks but I can’t really blame them. As much as I love Keith and his act, I don’t think you can make a case for him being the victim here. If anything, his panel getting shut down last year would be the one to make the case… but that’s not the popular story right now.

At this point, you might be saying “Why is this story popular now?!?!” Well, like most news in the US, it only gets attention when it involves a poor little white girl being “victimized.” This time people are feigning outrage because Jessica Nigri was asked to put on a sweatshirt. Honestly, that’s the story… unless you want to sensationalize it. “Professional” Cosplayer Nigri was “hired” to portray a character in an upcoming game. (note: I’m not even going to say the name of the game, because then it’s mission accomplished for them as they got people talking about it.) By the very definition, she is a booth babe. An attractive woman that was hired for no reason other than attracting traffic to a booth and interact with desperate lonely gamers.

Now she might have gotten in under the technicality that she’s a professional cosplayer, but once the second day of outfits rolled around… well… lets just say that people were complaining. The picture to the right shows what she was wearing day one and then day two. When she showed up on the second day in her low cut, pink latex catsuit she was asked to leave the floor and change her clothing. She came back with the cheerleader outfit that she wore the day before. Now under the scrutiny of convention management, they said that was also unacceptable and was asked to leave the floor again only to return once she wore something more acceptable like a sweatshirt.

Now if you read the headlines, she was kicked out of the convention. She was held to strange double standards and blah, blah, blah… The fact of the matter is that this was a woman paid to dress in revealing clothing for the sole purpose of promoting a game. This isn’t a fan dressing up as her favorite character. Once her attire was brought to the attention of PAX management, they held her to the rules which is no booth babes. The frag dolls, including the amazing Ali Baker, were able to work the Assassin’s Creed booth without resorting to such degrading behavior. And I should note, when I say degrading behavior, I don’t mean to Jessica, but rather to the fans at the event.

In the end, it’s just another slow news day and the sites are just trying to dig up any tiny thing that they can make a story out of. Don’t believe the hype people. Don’t let these “journalist” polarize our culture any more with these divisive reporting, blatant trolling, and traffic whoring.