To a Dark Place, This Shall Lead?


Darker the coming storm grows. I fear the dark cloud of the Sith shrouds us all. ~Yoda, “The Clone Wars”

Ordered a pizza, I did not...

Damn you, George Lucas…damn you for creating perhaps the most significant pop culture product of the last half-century. I’m willing to bet my stash of Republic credits that, in another 100 years, kids, and their parents, will still love Star Wars films and toys. Maybe, if the human race hasn’t destroyed itself by then, we might have invented holomessaging or working lightsabers. One never knows.

Want to know how significant Star Wars has been in  my life? Return of the Jedi was the first film I remember seeing in the cinema. I dressed as Han Solo (not Princess Leia) for Halloween several years running. I always described where we lived as “Tatooine without the Jawas and Tusken Raiders.” My mom bought me the Jabba’s Palace playset, where you always sent your action figures that had been bad for a little time-out. Oh, and our first dog was called Chewbacca. Mrrrrragggggghhhh to you too.

Now that I’m older, and still childless, my public displays of Force-loving are usually limited to Halloween and cosplay at Dragon*Con every year. Yeah, I could buy the action figures and wear my “May the Force Be With You” t-shirt. But then I’d be a nerd, right? Right?

I sigh. I thought you’d say that.

Hokey religions are no match for a funny t-shirt, kid

Think about it, though…Star Wars, along with The Wizard of Oz or even Gone with the Wind, is a film just about everyone has seen. You can breathe heavily and say “I…am your father” and everyone just knows whom you’re impersonating. (Hint: it’s not Mel Torme.) “May the Force be with you” is an acceptable, non-secular greeting. It’s become part of our collective national mythos. How many other pop culture entities from 35 years ago are still going strong? I’m not necessarily counting my mom’s obsession with her Saturday Night Fever records.

The reason I just had to say something is twofold. I’ve recently become addicted to the ongoing Clone Wars animated TV show (yes, I openly admit it, so it’s not blackmail fodder.) It’s formulaic and the dialogue is awkward sometimes. But that’s just Star Wars for you. It’s supposed to be that way. I know there are purists who decry Lucas’ marketing juggernaut as the Dark Side itself. Me, I just think it’s a fun way to waste a Saturday afternoon. This isn’t Dostoyevsky. It’s Jedi knights and aliens and droids Blowing Shit Up in a universe that may never be.

The other reason? Today, I met a mom who’d named her son Anakin. I had to resist breaking into my Yoda voice and warning her of her offspring’s impending turn to the ways of the Sith. I also had to refrain from asking her what his midichlorian count was, or whether he’d been conceived by the Force. The main difference is, while I just happen to know all these useless scraps of pop culture lore, I don’t think I could bring myself to name a kid after a Jedi. Lots of wedgies he would get, to use Yoda-ese. Not to mention he’d have to endure being called “Ani.” That would make anyone want to turn to the Dark Side.

I may or may never have kids…Force willing…but if I do, Star Wars will be just one more thing to share with them. Until then, I’ll be that slightly crazy woman who goes to cons, wields a lightsaber and quotes Obi-wan Kenobi whenever she can. We all need to have hobbies. For me, that’s more exciting than cross-stitch or Italian cooking. It just is.

Laugh all you want. And oh, I have to run…I think there’s a new episode of Clone Wars this week.

May the Force be with everyone!

What stormtroopers do on their days off on Tatooine

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on July 11, 2011.

One Response to “To a Dark Place, This Shall Lead?”

  1. Don’t go into shock, but as far as I remember, I have never seen STAR WARS. I think I have seen THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK when I visited my sister’s college one time years ago or somewhere. Again this is a vague (and maybe not even an accurate) memory. But even I do know many of the cultural references to it.

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