Post Star Wars Thoughts -or The Evolution of a Child Nerd.

I'll admit that I was kind of skeptical about the new Star Wars movie when I first heard about it in the works a year or so ago. I have never been what you would call a true Star Wars nerd, though I did have my time.

I remember being 6 or 7 and for some reason, first hearing about Star Wars on the radio... It might have been NPR? I don't know, it's kind of blurry; all I know is that my interest was piqued at a young age. I pumped my dad for information about the story, and please-dad-don't-skimp-on-the-details-about-Princess-Leia. He drew me and my sister a picture while trying to explain her unique hair, because (though it's crazy to imagine now) once upon a time I didn't know what that looked like. His picture looked like Princess Leia had corkscrew drills protruding for her head. My mother quickly corrected him and explained the true nature of the iconic buns. I believe this (along with American Girl Dolls' Kirsten) may have contributed to my now deep rooted fascination with awesome braided hair.

Around this time, the Empire Strikes Back was being re-released as a part of the 20th Anniversary and it was constantly playing on the TVs at Sam's Club and hte first I ever saw of any Star Wars movie was the scene of the Wampa capturing Luke, and  Luke's attempts to regain his lightsaber from the snow.  I wouldn't actually see full Star Wars film till a few years later, but after that I was hooked. Sams Club became (and still is, wierdly enough, even to my 24 year old brain) strongly associated with Star Wars in my brain. It's stark white, hangar like aesthetic helps it out there I believe.
Lego had also started their famously popular Star Wars line about this time (arguably their best pop culture line EVER) and I was in the midst of a Lego phase alongside my cousin,  where we were both recipients of the Lego Club magazine, and I compiled the comics from each issue into a massive book. That was about as far as it went in those days. Star Wars was replaced by Tintin, Redwall and the baby seedlings of Middle Earth for a time.

Then I met my one of my best friends of middle and highschool who was so obsessed with Star Wars that she had noted books filled with the scripts that she had painstakingly written down by watching and pausing the movies line by line. I got caught up on my education and finally watched the entire franchise. At that time I enjoyed it with her more of an act of friendship that anything else. Lord of the Rings was more crucial to me at that time.

Since then my relationship to pop culture has evolved to such extent that I've come to the point of enjoying Star Wars mainly in its function of a larger part of that culture, I've come to love its parts, the music, the history of the actors, the endless fodder for the remix meme culture of the interwebs at its best. At best I am a neutral appreciator of its respected position in the nerd world. This was the attitude with which I chose to go to see the latest installment in the franchise this past week. I went with my roommate, who truly is a Star Wars nerd. The thing about going to see movies on opening night is that if you go with someone who is really excited, some of that excitement is bound to rub off on you and you're gonna have a blast. That's how it was with my roommate. I found myself more excited and appreciative of the occasion than I might have been otherwise and as a result I was caught up into the saga like never before. This latest installment had a certain element of nostalgia that--I believe--will serve to feed the current taste for the vintage that is so prevalent, while still managing to be satisfyingly current. (Can we just say girl power? Yes. My heart was made happy with the kick butt female representation.) 

But as we sat there in the theater and nerded out over things old and new alike, the thing that made the entire experience for me was the man who sat in the row in front of us. A little older than my parents, he looked to be one that had been with the saga since well before us younglings were born. The entire evening he reacted and laughed and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the movie. As one of the old guard he could well have been a stodgy old grump, and stoically grinned and bore the experience to go home and complain about the franchise being ruined (as many have since the past three movies) - and I don't know that he might have done just that after all, but from where I sat, I saw embodied the true spirit of the nerd as defined by John Green, "unironically enthusiastic [...] about the miracle of human consciousness" and in my estimation, it was the best review and seal of approval the new movie could get. 

Dear Star Wars Guy: 
Thanks for your example of true enjoyment in a world of critics and Debbie downers. I can only hope to be like you when I grow up and see my favorites remade and rebooted.  
A Youngling Nerd 


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