The guy who won was wearing a $12 "slice of pizza" costume. Absolutely zero effort or creativity. He might as well have been wearing a giant foam sombrero, or a t-shirt that says "this is my costume".
And not only that, but the audience chanted for him. They chanted. They were 100% on board.
There was a girl wearing a really great home-made Loki costume, with a light-up staff and everything. It was really well done. Effort was invested! She came in second, but honestly, I don't think she even won the popular vote; I think the superdelegates weighed in on that one.
There were also several full-body-suit furries who entered (it was furry night in Above) and nobody even cheered: you could hear a pin drop. I mean, I can kind of understand them not winning outright, because furries kind of all look the same (is that racist? That kind of sounds racist) but still, effort was expended. Even wearing one of those things is an ordeal.
Dr. Kingfish has a theory, that I find hard to counter, that these days "trying" must be a thing that is commonly considered to be uncool. People flock to these semi-crowdsourced events that offer nothing but "participation", so long as that participation takes zero effort -- the kind of Special Olympics where you get a prize just for showing up, like pillow fights and lightsaber battles. If participation means wearing a trivially simple uniform and leaving a mess for someone else to clean up, people are all in. But if participation means you had to actually try, oh, no way, forget about it. "Trying" isn't done.
So when Pizza Guy wins the costume contest, what the people are saying is, "Look at that guy, not quite trying! Way to not-quite-try! You really hit the sweet spot there!"
I've been calling it the Culture of Meh. "Meh" is the worst word in the modern vernacular: when you use it, you are saying, "I don't have a strong opinion about this thing, but I think that the fact that I am not taking any kind of stand about it is important enough for me to talk about. Look how noncommittal I am, and how that is something to be admired." It's a celebration of beige.
This used to be a town that treasured its costumery. Maybe this is the new normal, now that we've become a bedroom-community suburb of Mountain View.
There are a bunch of new galleries since the last time I did a photo dump.