The San Diego Comic Con has been around for years, but nothing draws in the media like scandal. So it is unsurprising that the media flocked to rumors on Twitter of a stabbing, complete with (entirely fabricated) gory details like blood-drenched shirts and gaping wounds. The reality of it was more schoolyard fight than slasher, more petulant than perverse. This was no Akihabara knifing or even “Apple store incident.” What happened?
Around 4:00 p.m., two adult males attending the convention got into a scuffle shortly after a panel in Hall H of the convention center. – LA Times
That’s right – a man got scratched in the face with a pen, and the police took his assailant away. There’s even video, courtesy of elguapo1:
To be sure, the attempt at violence was there. And to be sure, the police were right to identify this as a case of assault and haul the perpetrator away. All the lurid fictions, however – the tales of betrayal, of passion, of dark secrets – now appear entirely unjustified. Instead it appears that anime otaku, like all other people, are capable of losing their temper and lashing out. When this happened, the police were there and the situation was under control.
Is that truly so surprising?
Officer Stafford describes most of the attendees of this years Comic-Con as peaceful, saying “They don’t drink, so that cuts down on the fights.”
– LA Times
If you’re dead set on selling an image of otaku as dangerous, antisocial, and violently out of control, perhaps it is unsurprising when rumors of a stabbing start, or surprising when they turn out to be vastly exaggerated. Viewed with some perspective, though, this minor altercation is just business as usual for a large convention. The real surprise is that people keep playing to stereotypical expectations instead of heeding the true story.