May 18, 2005

Revenge of the Nerd

Darlings, I'm a nerd. A fabulous nerd, but yeah. Granted, I don't own a set of stormtrooper armor and I certainly don't attend Star Wars conventions, at least not regularly. Nonetheless, I'm still a nerd. I do have a few dusty Star Wars novels and I've played more than my fair share of Star Wars computer and card games. Yeah, nerd. You see, during dark times like these the non-nerds join up and have a hardy-har-har at the expense of the casual nerd. "Why do nerds take these stupid Star Wars movies so seriously?" everyone blogs and jokes.

Why? This shit is our religion. No, no, no. I'm not one of those nerds who debate whether The Force actually exists and if the pseudo-mysticism of the Star Wars mythos applies to everyday life. Those nerds suck, bless their pocket protected hearts, hardy-har-har. I'm speaking of the social aspects of religion; the community and the brotherhood of it all. Nerds get to come together and enjoy the sweeping, broad handed strokes of the Lucas brush, err mallet. Yes, as Salon's Stephanie Zacharek wrote in her dismissive review of Episode 3, Lucas isn't the world's greatest wordsmith, but he achieves something that doesn't require nuance or subtlety. The stories he tells have been told by humanity for ages. This is neither the first nor last time history has seen a power hungry leader tip the checks and balances of a "democratic" society into his favor. Comparing President Bush to Chancellor Palpatine is a toss-away analogy at best. Is the fiction imitating life or rather is life imitating fiction? Better yet, can Darth Dubya shoot lightning out of his fingers?

It's that blur between the two worlds that excites nerds like me. We dream of wielding our lightsabers, and piloting a starship through an asteroid field and being roughly kissed by Han Solo. Thus we meet other nerds in our "church" (movie theaters and convention halls) so we can find communion and parlay our geek-speak of alien words like Twi'lek, IG-88 and Darth Xendor, not unlike such alien Bible words as Leviticus, Canaan and Tetragrammaton. Christianity even has collectible action figures now. Don't open them though; doing so completely ruins their value!

In the movie theatre our "sin", our "nerdiness" is absolved. So nerds (and even the most skeptical follower) will indeed flock to the movie theatres over the next few weeks and for two and a half hours pilot those starships and battle droid armies and be envious of Natalie Portman's wonderous wigs before shuffling back to face jar-jarring judgment by our "cooler" aloof peers. But for that brief moment we'll be in fellowship. By the digital light of Star Wars, bathed in the holy words of Lucas, let's all be nerds, hardy-har-har.

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