This is one of my favourite internet memes:
Memes like this work because there’s an element of truth in them; they take that truth, stretch it out until it’s silly and then it becomes funny. We recognise its truth in ourselves but also laugh at its daftness. We see the silliness in ourselves but embrace it anyway, knowingly. It’s something to with metal I think. Iron? Irony? ‘Ironic’: that’s it!
Putting aside the quasi-religious mythology of ‘Star Wars’ I’m not silly enough to think that either it or ‘Star Trek’ is an actual religion. Although there are some people, undoubtedly, who do. I do admit, however, that I was one of those annoying geeks who put “Jedi” as their official religion on that census a while ago. Sorry, bureaucrats! (Not.)
I grew up watching reruns of original ‘Star Trek’; it was one of the highlights of my childhood. (I didn’t get out much…).
“Beam me up Scotty”; “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it”; “That is illogical, Captain”; “I cannae change the laws o’ physics!”, the Captain’s Log (stop sniggering in the back seats, please). That iconic theme music! Rubber aliens, things that went “whoosh!” & “o-wee-ooo!”. Great stories, wonderful, charming characters, and – for its time – great special effects. It was socially radical too, in keeping with Gene Roddenberry’s vision: TV’s first inter-racial kiss, and a Russian officer at a time when in the real world the Cold War had only just ended.
‘Star Wars’ when it first came out was a revolution. It’s hard to imagine now with our plethora of sophisticated, multi-platform, mass media, computer-generated extravaganzas, not only in film & TV but also in gaming, just what a massive impact it made back then. I can’t see its impact ever being repeated – at least until we all have our own holodecks – it really was that HUUUGE.
I was an impressionable teenage boy when it first hit our silver screens. (Yes, I am that old, OK?). I was in a swoon, blown away, obsessed. Stupidly excited & enthralled, along with many millions of kids & adults all over the world who had access to a cinema. It was AMAZING! Then “The Empire Strikes Back” came out and it was EVEN BETTER! The third one was good too…
It would have been better if the E-woks were all Wook-ees as originally intended, but never mind. Hence the name: see? That’s a genuine “Geek Fact” (TM)!
After that it was “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (or ’TNG’ in Geekspeak). The wonderful Captain “Make it so!” Jean-Luc Picard, the stern Commander Riker, Data the android, and a Klingon officer! The Star Trek franchise continued on in several forms, and still does even now, on Netflix.
Later again the three much-heralded, much-anticipated ‘Star Wars’ prequels came out.
At least the sequels are pretty good though, right?
And here’s the bit where I probably annoy many fans of not only ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek’, but also of ‘Star Trek’ (original) and ‘Star Trek: TNG’ – because you’re not supposed to like both.
I LOVE THEM ALL!
Sorry, call me “Mr. Ecumenical”, but I just do. Yes, I’m probably a convictionless, unprincipled copout. But they are all great, and why should I miss out? Anyway, Panthesim worked for the ancient Romans didn’t it? That’s good enough for me.
“What does this have to do with family, and children, and all of that?”, you ask.
Well, I’m glad you asked, because I’m coming to that!
I loved it because it was very true of me. I had been counting the days and months and years until Jake – yes, and Ellie too – were old enough to WATCH ‘STAR WARS’ WITH DADDY!!!
I do love both, but ‘Star Wars’, being films rather than TV episodes, is just more accessible.
Finally the day came!
I had been given a shiny new DVD Box Set of the three original ‘Star Wars’ films for Father’s Day, remixed, remastered, re-everythinged, with oodles of extras, commentaries – the works! I was so excited! I got the party snacks ready, nice but naughty sugary drinks at hand – it was a special occasion after all! – and we all sat down on the sofa, ready for “Daddy’s special treat”.
The 1st DVD ready and in the slot, hands trembling, palms sweating, I reached for the remote – and I pushed the button!!
Nothing happened – I was on the wrong channel.
But I was not to be deterred so easily: I persevered! I pushed more buttons!!
AND THERE IT WAS. “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” “STAR WARS”: the thunderous brass instruments towering out that wonderfully iconic theme music, the scene-setting text scrolling up the screen, then the camera pans to the space above a planet as we see that little spaceship being pursued by what at first seems like a another small ship but which slowly expands until it fills the whole screen! Cut to the interior and we see the ‘droids C3PO & R2D2 frightened and bickering; blaster fire, Stormtroopers! Enter a very tall man, clad in black armour and a flowing black cape, a black helmet covering his face, breathing heavily but saying nothing. A beautiful young woman dressed in white robes slips a disc into the smaller ‘droid, while I only just manage to resist the very powerful urge to blurt out: “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!” And so on…
The film continued, and I was that excited young boy all over again, but this time sharing the experience with my own children! It was wonderful!
I looked over to see the open-mouthed expressions of joy and wonder mirrored in the faces of my lovely, loving, adoring little children, so privileged to be able to share with him this greatest of all Daddy’s treasures!
Yes! Their faces, their smiles, their…
Yes! They were looking…
…actually, a little underwhelmed, and not a little confused.
I found myself having to explain what was happening. And why it was so darn, blasted good (or words to that effect; nice ones), and why they should be enjoying it as much as I was!
They got bored after a while and we did something else.
With ‘Star Wars’!?
How could this be? What was the world coming too?! How can any child not love ‘Star Wars’?! I was crestfallen, all those years of anticipation crumbling around me.
We all enjoyed the rest of our time together; I don’t remember what we did, but it was good.
I have tried again, but it’s still no good. Jake even uses it as bribery now: “PLEEEASE, Daddy! I’ll watch ‘Star Wars’ with you!”.
I wonder if he’ll ever realise how depressing that is…
And the moral of the story? Don’t foist your interests on your children: they’re not you? Just because you like something it doesn’t mean that they will?
However I refuse to be defeated! I NOW KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS.
They’re too young! I was in my early teens when Star Wars first enthralled me: THERE’S STILL TIME!
I have “A New Hope”! So from now on, every May the 4th (of course) we are watching Star Wars together!! Until they Darthing Mauly like it!!
The worst thing though? If we watched the first sequel I suspect they would absolutely LOVE Jar-Jar Binks.
Look, a button code!