The Star Wars community tends to boil things down to a lowest common denominator. While we all have Wookieepedia bookmarked and a vast knowledge TIE fighter models, we find the conversations being whittled down to likes or dislikes, goods or bads. We polarize our conversations instead of finding deeper levels of understanding through true understanding, dialog and compassion. If you think I’m nuts, have you ever persuaded someone with your theory about who Snoke is? When talking to someone with an opinion on midichlorians, have you changed your mind? There is a call to something greater, though.
The joy of being a Star Wars fan knows no bounds. To be treated to the latest epic adventure just days before the celebration of Christmas is like an embarrassment of riches! Let’s take a short spoiler-free look at Rogue One, and see what we can draw out of it.
StarWars.com offers this as a synopsis of the movie: “In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction.” While this is an ensemble cast, the story has an iconic heroine in Jyn Erso. Through her, the story is moved, the task is completed (don’t be surprised, since we have known since 1977) and all of the soldiers aboard Rogue One find their fulfillment. That is all I will say, in case you haven’t seen it yet. But seriously, why are you reading my ramblings if you haven’t seen the move yet? Put this down! Run to the theater! Then, come back and finish up here.
The scourge of the Empire has enslaved millions and oppressed the rest. Their power is supported by Death Star I as it menaces the galaxy. Only Jyn can get her hands on the plans and deliver them to the Rebel Alliance. Her efforts are the beginning of the hope-filled future for the Rebellion. The sinister Sith-inspired scum are coming upon their crushing calamity. Read more
Some might say that it has been a rough couple of weeks for us here in the United States. Others will be happy because a contentious season has passed. Still others may be indifferent to the imposed emotional frenzy. No matter where we find ourselves on this spectrum, it is necessary for each of us to live with each with grace and forgiveness.
Some think the Galactic Empire is being channeled, and some think the Rebel Alliance has emerged victorious. Honestly, I think the rich are still getting rich, and I’ll still be in relatively the same place in 4 or 8 years regardless of the larger political world. And that is as it should be. My life should not be dictated, controlled or overly influenced by politicians. I still have neighbors and family members by and through whom I hope to become a better man. Read more
How do you identify yourself? When you meet someone new, what facets of your life do you mention first as an introduction? For some, it is relationships, children, employment, favorite Star Wars movie, hat size. Whatever. One thing we are always shy to ask about is someone’s religious background and preference. I think this is a newer phenomenon, actually. Nevertheless, in the new millennium, crazy answers to all of these questions are offered. Quite often, we get stories about people listing Jedi as the religion of choice on some form or another.
Almost a year ago, I was at a convention and had to have my picture taken for a directory, which I resisted for 6 years. It could be put off no longer. A few of my buddies and I got in line and had a ton of fun trying to look professional. A week or so later, the picture came back and I was confronted with something that I had already known: I had let myself get way too big. Jabba big. Pergill big. I should be Han average, but it seemed that I had taken Malakili as my patron saint. Something had to be done about it.
That day, I jumped off the couch and went for a walk. I was incredibly pleased to be able to go an entire mile. That was the first step in a long journey of trying to live a little better each day. Over the past few months, I have been thinking of this as my D’Qar D’iet. Clever, right?
Did you ever lose something of dear importance? Car keys when you are late, a child in a packed department store? We all have, to one degree or another. Then the friends mobilize and work to find the missing person or item.
We saw an amazing example of this in the Star Wars community a short while back.
Over the last few weeks, I have been a little sick. For me, that means that I will lose my voice. The smokey tones of Marge Simpson will emerge for a while, giving way to the honk of an imprisoned swan, leaving me finally with utter silence.
I pause now for my wife to rejoice. It is a bit rough in my line of work – It is hard to preach, lead the prayers or to talk with someone who is having a rough day. So this was an eye-opening experience as I moved through the community observing how other people communicated.
Perhaps it was Billy Joel or Kierkegaard who once said: “We share so many secrets, there are some we never tell. Why were you so surprised that you never saw the stranger? Did you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself.” Sometimes the stranger we are looking at is in our own mirror. We are afraid to get to know the face that looks back at us because the challenge will be too burdensome to bear.
It was indeed Billy Joel; on the cover of that album he is peacefully reclined, looking into the eyes of a mask. Is it his? Is it his lover’s? We will never know, but the donning of masks is a ubiquitous act that divides us and instills fear in the other. Think about it. Kids on Halloween may be cute, but if you want to make Fozzy Bear creepy, make his face out of molded plastic, poke two eyeholes in it and affix that useless elastic strap around the back. And let’s not even bring clowns into this.
Like many of you, on Thursday I went with my two boys to the theater. What a glorious evening! I was too young to see A New Hope in 1977, but I have vivid memories of seeing Return of the Jedi. I saw Phantom Menace with my new wife and uncle in 1999. Now, I took my own offspring to see this glory of a film.
At first, I was a little kid, stolen away to a movie by my doting aunt. For the second trilogy premiere I was a young man beginning my adult life just a few days after my wedding. Now as a grown man, I share the joys with the ones I am trying, with varying degrees of success, to raise.
The reach of the Galaxy far, far away into our own world is very deep. From soup cans to luxury cars, the images are everywhere. But thankfully, Wired Magazine is keeping the art and soul of Star Wars alive by celebrating their collaboration. Wired Magazine, along with the garment company Stance, recently hosted a launch party in New York City for their current issue, which features the photography of Dan Winters. These amazing shots capture everything from Luke’s lightsaber, to Darth Vader’s helmet to the deeply engaging portraits of the Creator, the Producer and the Director.
A few weeks ago, a package came to my door inviting me to this party. Included therein were two pair of socks – to help choose between the Light Side and the Dark Side. I claimed the R2-D2 socks, but didn’t know what to do with the other pair. Then, inspiration! My youngest brother Matt and I have shared a love for Star Wars our whole lives. I called him immediately and asked him to go to the party with me and to wear the stormtrooper socks. He told me that he had never been to New York City before, cried a little, and then rearranged his work schedule for the night of the party.