On the Occasion of the First Anniversary
of My Watching Star Wars
Or, The Week I Changed From Droid to Human
One year ago, I gained a new consciousness. One year ago, my adult friends Lindsey and Damian lugged a television from their basement into their living room in Minneapolis, we drank warm home-brewed beer, and began Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. I had seen Space Balls, I had watched Family Guy parody the saga in countless episodes, I knew Darth Vader was Luke’s father (SPOILER ALERT!) and I even knew that Leia wore a sexy metal bikini, but I had never watched any of the series before September 2010. I was living an empty pastiche existence, full of cultural references that led back to the same nexus. Sure, I was an educated young woman, but in the words of Yoda, human I was not.
Damian pressed play and the music and scrolling prologue began. As Theo the cat sat in my lap, I bothered my friends throughout the film, reacting with audible and genuine excitement and asking naive questions. I’m pretty insufferable when I watch movies. I ask a lot of “why” questions and I wonder about things that get answered within the scene. “Who are those old people standing next to Luke?” Turns out, surprisingly enough, they are his aunt and uncle. “Is Han Solo good or bad?” Good, but edgy! “Are there any Black people in Sci Fi?” Yes, Lando Calrissian, but not until Episode V! Each answer brought new questions, new excitement, and new understanding of the Rebel Alliance.
After the movie ended and I had filled up on popcorn and John Williams, I alternated between silence and bursts of questions and connections. Three days later, I had completed the entire series. Star Wars became a frame of reference for the way I approached all pop culture. It became a way for me to make sense of stories and make connections with the past and the future. [Read more...]