Column: The Force is with the fans

Column: The Force is with the fans

There are many different groups of people who get stuck with a bad rap. Panhandlers. Goths. Girls who wear Uggs. But at the top of this list is a group that deserves the most respect – an assembly of intelligent, fun-loving, and imaginative people who would be a great addition to any social gathering: hardcore “Star Wars” fans.

Why does everyone think “Star Wars” fans are dorks? What’s so geeky about memorizing the names of all the planets in the Outer Rim, or knowing the exact weight of a TIE fighter?

You may be wondering why I’m dedicating an entire column to “Star Wars.” “What’s your (critical) point, Steph?” you ask.

Well, I have experienced the “Star Wars” fan prejudices firsthand, and I am here to dispel them.

I love “Star Wars” with all my heart, and I am not a dork. Sure, I’ve got a strange affinity for dragons, and have been known to offer to write papers for friends because “I just love to learn,” and am majorly attracted to guys with Rebel Alliance insignia tattoos, but hey! I’m still cool, right?

However, for whatever reason, when I tell people I spent three consecutive days last summer watching all six “Star Wars” movies in a row during my free time, people seem inclined to laugh. It’s no laughing matter. Those were three tumultuously emotional days.

Thank goodness we’ve got a cool new poster boy. Last Friday, comedian and actor Dane Cook did a four-page interview with StarWars.com. Cook admitted he is among the small number of fans who know that “IG-88 almost destroyed the Death Star itself,” and that he has always wished there was a spin-off film based on the life of Boba Fett.

Cook credits “Star Wars” as “one of the major contributors to [his] career.” He spent hours on the set of his new movie, “Good Luck, Chuck,” spouting off fun “Star Wars” facts. Now, this is a man who can tell a Rodian from a Gungan, but any college student would still love to hang out with Dane Cook!

However, if a freshman engineering major mentions that he happens to have a handmade model of the Millennium Falcon back in his room, you assume he’s spent his whole life locked in his basement playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Now where is the fairness there?

These unjust stereotypes are omnipresent. I read last Thursday that George Lucas is making a new animated TV series of “Clone Wars” that could air in 2007, according to the Associated Press. When I breathlessly shared this thrilling news with a friend, the response I received was, “Good Lord, do we really need more ‘Star Wars?'”

Well, of course we do! How else will we find out what happened between “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith”?

Like it or not, “Star Wars” is everywhere. It has infiltrated our culture to the deepest extent, and it’s not going away. Pop culture is full of “Star Wars” references. In addition to Dane Cook referring to his unfinished apartment as the “Death Star,” “Family Guy” has referenced “Star Wars” in 18 episodes. Yes, I counted.

In an episode of “South Park,” Cartman quoted a paper he wrote for school, which said, “I hope that one day America could be more like Endor, where the Ewoks live. Endor is very cool. They have trees, Ewoks, and barbecues, which is why I like Endor more than America.” Personally, I agree with Cartman.

Gnarls Barkley recently performed the single “Crazy” in full “Star Wars” costumes, and people thought it was awesome. Ironically, if people go to a “Star Wars” convention dressed in costume, they’re ridiculed.

I don’t know why being a “Star Wars” fan is cause for derision. Maybe it’s the video games, or the collector cards, or the starship models associated with the movies. All I know is that “Star Wars” is a valuable pop culture treasure, and the fans hold the key. May the Force be with them.

– Stephanie Shore can be reached at [email protected]

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