|Lest we Forget...||Source|
Don't get me wrong, 1930s New York and London weren't crawling with mustachioed men with funky outfits and Nerf Guns but the point of the Cons hasn't changed since these early meetings. It was, and still is, a profoundly liberating experience to gather together in one room with others who you knew, by their mere presence, appreciated the somewhat borderline things that you did.
This instant inclusion, the feeling of being at home, is a profound one; Particularly for those of us who grew up either hiding our obsessions or being bullied because here, possibly for the first time, you find yourself in the majority. This is a feeling we may not have experienced before.
|Give me your Thors, Your Iron-Men and Huddled Fanboys||Source|
|I literally cannot thank my mother enough for that hat|
I'm gonna talk about Vikings.
More specifically, I'm going to talk about how they used this natural, all-too human need for inclusion to stop Iceland tearing itself apart. See, Dark-Age Iceland was a pretty hairy place to live (both literally and metaphorically...Vikings.) with Blood-Feuds, honour-killings and general nastiness going on often enough to fill several very readable Sagas.
The only thing keeping the whole place from descending into a massive Battle-Royale was the government of the time. Uniquely, it wasn't a particularly badass Viking Warlord who had final say. Instead, it was everyone.
|For the last time, Han shot first! Drop it Thorvald!||Source|
See, while the Greeks are generally credited with introducing Democracy in the West its kind of a con. The Greek democracies were actually Oligarchies (rule by a small minority), run exclusively by old and extremely rich men while younger and poorer free citizens had absolutely no vote. In Iceland however, while the most powerful men could meet and set laws they were then presented to every single free man and woman in the country, all of whom came to the Thingvellir (Assembly Fields) to meet, hear the news and listen to legal cases.
If you broke a law in that time the worst punishment was to be declared 'Outlaw' (literally Outside-the-law) and therefore exempt from the protection or interest of the Althing. Basically, a walking target.
The Althing was often the only place Blood-Fueds could be settled with both sides still standing.
Yep, it could even stop Vikings from killing eachother.
Now, if that's not an argument in favour of heavyset, bearded men and women in chainmail all gathering together I just don't know what is.
Until next time friends, let us say Skål!and drink together