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May the Fourth Be With You: A Musing on Star Wars and Hipsters

As regular readers know, I have a Kansas Bucket List consisting of things I want to do before Daniel and I move to Connecticut. The first item I have crossed off this list is to have a Star Wars marathon with two of our friends. Why? Well, at 23 years of age, I had never seen Star Wars.

I’ll wait while you gasp and mutter your preferred expressions of horror.

may the 4thDone? Okay. Anyway, thanks to Daniel’s insistence, Caleb’s grilling skills, and Devin’s resourcefulness, we had a wonderful food- and wine-filled evening, and I have now seen the original Star Wars movies (Episodes 4, 5, and 6 for other noobs). I still have not seen the prequels, but my friends tell me viewing them will require significantly more wine than we had during the first marathon. So that task is for another day.

To be honest, I was not overwhelmed with passionate enthusiasm for Star Wars. I’m told that this is because I did not see them as a child, when the true magic happens. That said, I really enjoyed the movies, and I see why they are beloved. They have everything audiences want: action, love, creative costumes, a dash of dystopia, revenge, betrayal, jaw-dropping reveals (again, if you’re a sheltered kid and haven’t had parodies ruin all the surprises), and kick ass special effects (you know, for their time).

In the post-movie discussion analysis with Daniel (who is a huge movie buff), he dipped into my brain and tried to figure out exactly what I liked about the movie. We concluded that, for me, Star Wars’s crowning glory is the characters. At first, I was disappointed with how few female characters were featured, but Leia’s strength, intelligence, and sass (as well as the minor female characters in leadership roles) made up for the lack of lady representation. Leia was my favorite. However, I appreciated the whole motley crew. Luke’s growth and journey was commendable, Han’s attitude and good-guy/bad-guy balance was refreshing, and the non-human characters were funny, expressive, and lovable. You guys know (better than me, I’m sure).

We also concluded I’m a “Han girl” — which Daniel says is the right answer.

Beyond the movie, the cultural aspect of Star Wars has fascinated me. Obviously, it’s one of the (if not the) largest cinematic phenomena in history. And your having seen or not seen the movies, as well as your opinions on them, matter to those in the culture.

grootWhen I had not seen Star Wars, I was a bit of a “hipster.” I had avoided the mainstream, made myself rare and exotic. Others wanted to take me in, share the experience with me, initiate me. Now that I have seen the movies (and not elevated to fan level), I am just one of the educated, yet un-impassioned, masses. As far as Star Wars is concerned, my hipster, counter-culture status is revoked. To be honest, I liked my hipster status. I mean, don’t all hipsters like fancying themselves special and unique by being exactly as counter-culture and different as all the other hipsters?

In contrast, Daniel remains a bit of a Star Wars hipster. Of course, he is a fan boy. However, much of his appreciation for Star Wars comes from the inspiration it drew from 2001: Space Odyssey. This love of predecessors (ie: everything sounds better on vinyl — which it does, for the record), is one of the hallmark signs of a hipster. I’m sure Daniel could think of a better example. However, by making that connection and noticing those nods to the past, Daniel stays a teensy bit special in his Star Wars culture status and is the slightest bit hipster still.

The point is — sometimes, with these near-galactic phenomena, it’s just as fun to be excluded from the culture as it is to be included. There is a certain status that both sides offer. Today, we have the hipsters. Ten years ago we had emo kids. There will always be a version.

My years as a Star Wars hipster have come to a close. Now what will I do with myself? I guess I’ll keep ranting about how Taylor Swift’s and Katy Perry’s first albums are their only good ones and mooning over the 1964 barely-working record player in our study.

Until next time,

May the fourth be with you

(just because I can say that now)

What is your Star Wars status? Are you a “hipster” about anything in particular? Share your fandoms, pet peeves, and abstentions below!