Star Wars Geeks: The Ones Who Ruin It For Us All

Last weekend my partner and I went to the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.  The exhibit wasn't exactly Disney World, but the opportunity to even stand next to the real stuff was fun.  I mean, you grow up with these characters and artifacts from their universe always on the other side of a screen from you.  It was neat to look at them up close and all, especially since I'm always looking for inspiration for future Halloween costumes.

Sure, the exhibit tried to shoehorn some science into what is, in all honesty, a fantasy movie serial masquerading as a sci-fi flick.  It is a museum, after all.  They added a few interactive things, but nothing so involved as a ride a la Star Tours (which I happen to think is wildly overrated, incidentally; I enjoyed waiting in line for that one more than the attraction itself, but that's a story for another time).

Getting back to the experience of the exhibit, here's where I go off on a rant, and not about the quality of the show at all, but rather one of the other visitors there.

See, I know I like to claim I'm a huge Star Wars nerd, and by most measures I probably am (e.g., who else do you know outside of a couple Simpsons characters who has actual Star Wars dioramas in his spare bedroom?  Yeah, I thought so).  However, events like the one this weekend serve to prove to me how thoroughly grounded I am in this universe.  See, throughout what seemed like entirely too much of the Star Wars portion of the museum, there was this one complete geek always within ear-shot of me rattling off the most inane trivia about the Star Wars universe to the rest of his family (i.e., mom, dad, sister, etc.; he was about twenty, I'm guessing)... none of whom could care less.  And neither could I.

Honestly, I love Star Wars.  I love talking about the process of making of the movies, the special effects, dissecting the plot points, picking out the influences from everyone from long-forgotten authors of myths to early Kurosawa films, re-imagining the storytelling if this or that element had been changed, etc.  What I get though is this: It's all made up.  My favorite topics are the ones (like those above) that acknowledge that this was a creation of an indisputably talented collective of people.

Star Wars is incredibly entertaining, sure, and I'm all for escapist cinema (and there's no beating this contender for champion of that genre), but that's where it ends.  If you're memorizing what model gun Boba Fett carried and the names and respective species of cantina aliens who were never referenced in the movies for more than the ten frames of film they appeared in, you're just going to annoy the fuck out of the rest of us trying to make our way through the exhibit when our collective patience is already strained by the insane numbers of kids scurrying around in our way like we're at a rave put on by Jawas.  I know I'm one to talk, but maybe it's more effective coming from me because it's like the band geeks calling the math team losers and saying, seriously, dude, get a life.  Coming from me, I'd like to think it carries weight proportional to the relative distance we're talking about from coolness.  It's on the order of parsecs, buddy.

And that's the problem I have with this guy.  He brings Star Wars down into something it isn't.  What I've loved about the series is how the love for it has brought people of all kinds together, rather than alienating them (no pun intended).  A glance at the internet will tell you that Star Wars has inspired more creativity in ordinary, everyday individuals than any other artistic endeavor in the last century.  This is like Mardi Gras and Halloween and Hollywood all rolled into one.

The vast majority of the world employs Star Wars as a means to connect with other people.  For example, Star Wars serves as a common starting point for discussions of many of the things I touched on above: story-telling, filmmaking, etc.  It has been the catalyst for writing humorous songs and making short parodies posted all over YouTube.  At the extreme, Star Wars fans band together like the 501st, an imaginary group that actually gets together and does very real things for charity, albeit dressed up as stormtroopers.  Hey, it's more entertaining than those guys in the little beanies on even littler motorcycles.

The problem is that Star Wars geeks like this guy at the museum ruin it for everyone.  Whereas the rest of us merely have fun with our little flights of imagination, guys like this eschew having a real life and instead try to drag everyone along with them into the fantasy world that stands in for something meaningful.  He creates the impression that everyone interested in Star Wars ought to be kept at arm's length and then some, lest they be subjected to discussions of random trivia invented long after the fact by comic book writers and role playing game authors in expositions to develop plot points or to reach editor-assigned word limits.

Dude.  This is fake.  Don't live your life around trivia, and don't make the majority of Star Wars fans victims to your inability to function in the real world.

Copyright 2007 Ale[X]-wing fighter.
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