My Contribution to the Star Wars Craze

I saw the original (Star Wars IV) when I was five and fell in love. With Luke Skywalker, that is. My adoration went so far as requesting (and receiving) a lightsaber for Christmas. It was a disappointment, being a plastic handled flashlight with a plastic tube. It wasn't, that is, a real lightsaber, which of course, was what I'd wanted (now there's a child safe toy for ya!). I was enough of a tomboy to dress up as Luke for Halloween, and the next year, I was Princess Leia (I also requested and received a Princess Leia doll for Christmas, one of the few dolls of my childhood).

In any case, I was a Star Wars fan for most of my childhood--I wanted to be a Jedi--although I don't remember ever being enthralled by the minutiae of the Star Wars universe, so I wasn't a true fan. I loved Empire Strikes Back. I didn't get the whole large-killing-machines-on-stilts thing (what moronic company won that government contract?). Still, I loved Luke's stint with Yoda, and the sarcasm of Han Solo (I was eight or nine by then; just the age when kids begin to "get" sarcasm) and the whole "Luke, I am your father" scenario and the bionic arm. I really liked the bionic arm for some reason.

And then Return of the Jedi came along and those hideous Winne-the-Pooh gone rabid Ewoks and the stupid instant forgiveness scene and my lingering interest in Star Wars was annihilated.

Which means, that although I saw Star Wars I--I was dating a Star Wars aficiando at the time (he owned collectors' figures, including, I believe, the coveted Boba Fett), and one should always support popular culture obsessions; I tend to run more towards Tolkien and Star Trek myself--I haven't (I confess, I confess) seen Star Wars II or III.

However, tis the season and all that. In the pictures, I am walking with my buddy, Jen. This would have been first grade: the annual Halloween parade. The white costume was made by my mother but the two little buns were created with the help of plastic donuts which were part of the official Princess Leia outfit.


Anonymous said...

Eh, Star Wars...How you confuse me.

George Lucas must have been a genius at some point, because the techniques he used to create the franchise are absolutely stunning (I forget the term for it, what he did was take christiological [Redemption, sacrifice] and epic [Knights, honour, ect] motifs and set them against a cliche "space-opera" background; complete with gimpy dialogue.) But his contributions to cinema as of late have been double-edged at best. I hate the CGI-ization of everything I hold dear ( from Lord of the Rings to The Chronicles of Narnia...God help us all.) But I can't deny that they are aesthetically pleasing.

My only wish is that I had been born at that time, and not now. I would have been at Pink Floyd concerts sporting a "May the Force be with you" t-shirt and a driving a "Yota."

Alas, everything happens for a purpose. Excellent article, forgive my rambling compliment.

+1 Awesomeness.

Kate Woodbury said...

I have heard the latest is pretty good. And I do think that with Star Wars Lucas came up with something truly epic, in that Joseph Campbell kind of way. And it crosses generations. I'm reminded of going to see Return of the King with my mother. The guy at the ticket counter said, "Here to see Viggo?" in a kind of wink wink nudge nudge way. I'm not sure why, maybe because my mom is in her 70s and I'm in my 30s, and he couldn't fathom the idea of two women going to see Return of the King for, well, the story. (I told him, "No. I prefer Sean Astin." My mom just looked at him like he was crazy.) Anyway, the point of this is that most of the people in the theater were young college-age men, which was the same demographic that Tolkien captured originally. The point being not that only young college-age men get into Star Wars and Middle-Earth but that there's, what?, a twenty year gap there (more for Tolkien) and yet the story still resonates, speaks to something: desire for enlightenment, idealism, the individual versus society, the search for one's identity, some concept or idea that is embodied in a tale or series of tales. Of course, Homer did it too, but every Age has to do it for itself.