One of last year's costumes.There were a couple of drawbacks this year, though; one of which was that the music wasn't quite as good as it normally is. The other was that there seemed to be a prevalence of OWDS among the crowd.
Here's what happened (not in chronological order):
There was an old dude that kept taking his clothes off. Now, if it had been like crazy person taking his clothes off, that would have been one thing, but this guy wasn't crazy. He just seemed to think that it was okay for him to change clothes wherever he wanted to. I mean, maybe he thought he was at Burning Man or something, but I really don't think so. He just seemed to think it was okay... for him. Seriously, at one point he just stripped down to his "shorts," pulled new clothes out of his backpack, and put them on. And it wasn't like he went off somewhere to do that. He was right up at the stage while someone was playing. Evidently, he just wanted something more comfortable to dance around in. Another time, he went over and bought a t-shirt, so he just disrobed right there at the booth after buying the shirt so that he could change into it. The guy had a flaming case of entitlement.
They had a tent set up with a dance floor in it and zydeco music going on. My wife, her sister, and my daughter went in to dance. Also, the Great Morgani was in there dancing in his old lady costume (so hilarious!). I was standing at the edge of the tent with my left hand on one of the ropes watching them dance (but mostly watching Morgani (because, again, hilarious!)). Someone bumped my left shoulder. I let go of the rope and turned to see who it was, some dude (older than me) with a beer in his hand. Now, the act of turning caused an opening (of sorts) between myself and the rope, and the dude put his left shoulder into the opening so I couldn't turn back to where I had been. Slightly annoyed, I moved over a bit. A moment later, he bumped me again, and, again, I turned to see what was up, and he did the same thing, edging more into the opening I'd made. So I moved again. A moment late, he did it AGAIN, and, instead of just turning to look at him again, I stepped to the side and turned just in time to see him switch his beer to his right hand and grab the rope with his left effectively taking the spot I had been standing in when he first came up. He ignored the fact that I was staring aghast at him and just started bouncing with the music and sipping his beer.
Basically, he had just wanted my spot and proceeded to bump me out of it. If I hadn't known that it would be greatly upsetting to my wife, I would have told him exactly what I thought of his entitlement issues and rude behavior, neither of which he could see. To him, that spot deserved to be his, and he hadn't done anything wrong. But I did know that my wife wouldn't want me to cause a scene, so I moved away from the gashole (that's a new word in our house; it's that thing on your car where you put the gas in), fuming all the while.
The worst one, though, was this dude that was probably actually around my age, so not all that old. Seriously entitled, though. He kept wandering and dancing through the crowd and putting his hands and arms on people and trying to dance them around. By people, I mean women. He was acting all cheerful and cherubic, but it was clearly not welcome attention by many people, including my wife. Now, we'd already been observing his behavior, so when he walked past us and moved toward my wife, she backed away; some women, though, were not that lucky, and, whenever someone brushed him off or pushed him away, he would shrug like it was their problem, not his. He didn't leave the men completely alone, because he would give husbands and boyfriends or whomevers back pats and half hugs to let them know it was okay that he had just molested their women.
When he wasn't doing that stuff, he was walking around like he was the godfather of the festival bestowing blessings on people. And if you're wondering if this was some important dude, don't. It was just some old white dude exercising his entitlement. He had no problems. Any problems were with the other people. After all, he was just having a good time.
So I've used this one event to spotlight these issues, but this is only one example. There was also the recent thing with SFWA and a bunch of old white dudes saying how women shouldn't even be writing science fiction. And there was the deal with the white dudes harassing women at SDCC about how they weren't worthy fans and only wanted to play dress up or some such. And don't even get me started on how white dudes think they ought to get to drive.
In short, we here in the US are suffering from a horrible case of OWDS. Even people who don't have it are being affected by it, probably on a daily basis, much like non-smokers are affected by second-hand smoke. And, like second-hand smoke, being affected by it is worse than actually having it. In fact, people with it probably don't know they have it, wouldn't care if they did know, and would probably think it was a good thing anyway. It's particularly rampant among baby boomers, but there are plenty of signs of the early stages in younger generations.
What is it, exactly, that I'm talking about? Old White Dude Syndrome. It's a horrible disease and usually incurable; however, with proper education and preventative measures most of the symptoms can be minimized. As with any disease, the best prevention is early detection.
Most commonly, this affliction is seen among those we would consider the 1%. At least, that's where we see the symptoms most out-of-hand, especially among politicians. Some current examples:
- Donald Trump and his unwillingness to shake hands with the disease-ridden poor.
- Anthony Weiner and his weiner.
- Romney and his seeming belief (yes, I'm being generous) that half of American citizens want to do nothing more than live off of government handouts. Because they're not rich, see. If only they weren't so lazy, they would be rich, too.
It's getting to be a thing between me and my wife whenever we see some old white dude acting in one of these entitled ways that I will turn to her and say something like, "Don't ever let me act like that. Just slap me or something, and, if that doesn't work, shoot me." I don't want to be one of those old white dudes. At all. Hopefully, I'm taking the correct kinds of measures to make sure OWDS doesn't take root in me, but, you know, feel free to let me know if you ever see any signs of it coming out. Hopefully, this small bit of educational information will help others onto the path of avoidance and prevention.