I am not a big Star Wars fan. I enjoyed the original trilogy, think they’re fine, fun films. Not a fan in any sense of the new films. Never read a Star Wars novel. Don’t know one damn thing about the expanded universe. If everything Star Wars vanished tomorrow, my life would be fine aside from an Admiral Ackbar-shaped hole in my heart. This doesn’t prevent me from empathizing with the fans who get annoyed by George Lucas’s constant monkeying with the films. Just because something doesn’t matter to me, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
Star Wars matters to an awful lot of people, and it is an undeniable part of our culture. Maybe you’re one of those people who don’t “get” it. And that’s fine. But it’s also important to realize just how much it means to so many people. It’s always struck me as obnoxious to blow off these concerns. At the very worst, it’s condescending, a suggestion that the emotional investment of millions is somehow meaningless. At the very least, it’s merely dismissive.
Maybe I’m annoyed by it because so many things I love are so often dismissed…
…I’m the guy who likes the obscure comic book superheroes, the ones most likely to die in service of a more popular hero’s story. I really, really, really like Godzilla. Not just as a giant monster, but as a character. And I care about a lot of “dumb” things. And if someone should screw with those things, I get upset. And just about the worst comment I can hear is “get over it.”
We all expect everyone to be sympathetic to our own concerns while simultaneously being puzzled by their annoyance at us at our lack of sympathy. We have all our hangups, our own sacred cows. And while it’s unfair to expect everyone to bow down to our concerns, it seems that a little quid pro quo is in order. It’s not like it takes a lot of imagination to see where the other guy is coming from.
If the church replaced the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with a giant high def TV monitor, we wouldn’t be surprised if people found that troublesome.
If BBC went back and used CGI to erase your favorite Dr. Who actor from existence, you’d be justifiably upset.
If a supervillian used a doomsday device to erase every copy of every Jane Austen book in existence, there would be some rage expected.
Maybe none of the above apply to you, but if you can’t see why people would be annoyed by it, then you’re just not trying very hard.
It’s not that I expect Lucas to stop screwing with Star Wars. I imagine that he’ll do so until he dies, and even then, he’ll probably build a special robot that lives on after him with the sole purpose of finding things it doesn’t like about Star Wars and “fixing” them. Lucas is pretty clear on where he stands, and since we can’t really stop him, the only thing we can do is complain. It won’t do much good, but at the very least, it shows fans care. If they didn’t, Lucas would, ironically, be out of a job.
We tell stories, create art, etc. because we want to have something to care about. It’s the whole point. So the next time you feel like telling someone “to get over it”, I’d suggest reconsidering. You don’t have to care. You don’t even have to pretend to care. You only have to keep quiet and allow them their rage.
And hope that one day, they’ll return the favor.
A. Lee Martinez is a writer you probably haven’t heard of but really should have. He is the author of Gil’s All Fright Diner, In the Company of Ogres, A Nameless Witch, The Automatic Detective, Too Many Curses, Monster, Divine Misfortune and Chasing the Moon. He credits comic books and Godzilla movies as his biggest influences, and thinks that every story is better with a dash of ninja.