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Pretenders to the Nerd Throne

Peter Segall

Posted on December 17, 2015 16:03

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The new Star Wars film is expected to break all sorts of records but for a life-long fan, something about the latest furor is disappointing.

The new Star Wars film is upon us and the force is strong in almost all facets. Advertisements from football to electronics have Star Wars tie-ins and almost everything that can have a Star Wars label slapped on it does.

When tickets went on sale, the servers for many ticket-sales websites went down as there were so many people trying to purchase tickets for opening day.

Predictions are being made that this will be the highest grossing film of all time.

I've been a lifelong fan of the series and when I see all this, something bothers me.

When I was a kid, I was given the Star Wars trilogy for my 7th or 8th birthday. A VHS box set, Darth Vader on one side, Yoda on the other. When you lined up all three boxes next to each other you could see the Death Star circling Yavin V.

I must have watched those three movies a thousand times. If I knew where they were (and if I still had a VHS player) I'd still be watching them.

When I was younger my favorite was Jedi. It had the most action, tons of explosions, and the longest light-saber fight. As I got older I realized that Empire was the true masterpiece of the trilogy. Darker, moodier, and we really get a feel for the rag-tag Rebel Alliance and what makes a Jedi Knight. The fight between Luke and Vader was more psychological and cunning than the hard hitting blows of Jedi's throne room scene. Star Wars was full of surprises.

But something about the hype surrounding the new film rubs me the wrong way.

When I was a kid Star Wars wasn't cool, it wasn't trendy, and pretty girls certainly weren't professing their love for it.

I took a lot of crap for liking Star Wars growing up but I didn't get it half as bad as some of the other kids I knew. I never went down the road of collector's items or obsessing over minutia, but Star Wars was a huge part of my formative years.

Somewhere in the early 2000s, nerd culture started to become mainstream. I think it was the Lord of the Rings films which made an esoteric and pretty slow-paced series of books cool by having the Fellowship slice their way to a bigger body count than James Bond.

Brian Singer's dark X-Men films took the mutant buddies out of their yellow spandex and into black leather, and convinced movie studios that comic-book films were big bucks. Since the success of those movies and the Spider-Man films, almost every comic-book character under the sun has or is getting their own Hollywood treatment. And it's no longer just the kids who hang out in the back of the library at lunch who know all about superheros.

So what's my problem with the massive popularity of Star Wars? Childish bitterness mostly. I was there before Star Wars was cool, and now it feels like all these people haven't paid their dues in terms of schoolyard teasing. Half the people now claiming to be die-hard Star Wars fans look like a bunch of johnny-come-latelies to me.

Just to be clear I'm not talking about kids. If I was 8 today, Clone Wars would definitely be my favortie show. I'm talking about people my own age who now claim some devotion to the movies who, to me, are clearly full of it.

A lot of fans of sci-fi/comic books were not exactly social butterflies. Many of us take shelter in fantasy and can be very protective of the things we love.

Like many of my fellow travelers, I'm just complaining for the sake of complaining. The explosion of Star Wars popularity changes nothing for me, and of course doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I'm just fueled by self-righteous nerd indignation. But pretenders reveal themselves quickly. My nerd comrades and I know who they are and recognize each other when we see one another. Like dogs seeing each other from afar, we still feel that connection.

That connection between people who know what species the cantina band are, who know what planet Han comes from, and who, when someone says something is impossible, resist the urge to mention T-16s.

 

Kudos to Portlandia for this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJyMT4ZVQEc

 

PS: Not hating on the new film, super excited for that.

Peter Segall

Posted on December 17, 2015 16:03

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Source: CBS 8

Darth Vader is a tattooed 43-year-old former Marine who owns a gym and is raising funds online for a bone marrow transplant.

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