A Day at the Collector's Expo

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This weekend, I visited the Austin's Collector Expo. There wasn't any kicking or screaming involved, but I didn't much enjoy it.

The Crockett Center was full of tables, with vendors selling action figures and model cars and other geegaws. I may be parading my stuck-up elitism here, but I don't get it. I don't think that accumulating mass-manufactured bits of plastic and steel will provide significant purpose or satisfaction to my life.

I found most of it uninteresting. One table, however, made me very sad. The guy was selling DVDs that were obviously pirated. The discs were completely blank, probably burned on a duplicator, stowed in plastic cases with poorly copied artwork.

The pirated DVDs made me sad for two reasons. First, there was a large number of Russ Meyer movies there. When you are pirating Russ Meyer movies you aren't ripping off some big studio asshole. Until his recent death, Meyer ran his own distribution company. You could—and still can—buy all his films from the RM Films web site.

Second, the next biggest pile of discs was the Bumfights discs. If you haven't heard of them, they are a sort of "Hobos Gone Wild" video. The producers paid homeless people small amounts of money (and maybe got them liquored them up) to engage in fights and perform various harmful stunts. There were criminal charges and a civil lawsuit filed against the producers. It was all sad and ugly, and the discs are no longer distributed.

The vendor had a TV setup in the booth, playing the Bumfights disc. A small crowd had gathered. They were all in stitches over the drunk guys beating each other up. Too bad we didn't have a few Christians to throw to the lions while we were at it.

The producers of the Expo probably envision their event as perfect family-friendly fare. Maybe it's my elitism showing again, but I don't think abuse and theft are acceptable family values.

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re: A Day at the Collector's Expo

You are 100% on the nose. I have long wondered why the Expo management has allowed someone to sell an obviously illegal item such as that. I am not one for censorship or not allowing P2P type software, but such blatant piracy needs to be frowned upon.