The Star Wars fanboy

Recently Disney released a teaser trailer for the latest Star Wars film, presumed to be the last of the series (heh). On social media, I saw a few people take a swipe at it who had never seen the films, or had and hate them. Naturally, the Star Wars fanboys came out in droves to ironically prove their critics correct by attacking anyone who dare criticize their beloved franchise.

I have no problem admitting I love Star Wars, at least the first films. I have a Star Wars film poster framed in my living room, an R2-D2 phone charger unit in my car, and the original trilogy in their purest version on VHS – because damn it, Han did shoot first. I first watched them when I was young, and I remember how affected I was, to be fully immersed in a world where space travel was possible and boys living mundane lives could go to other worlds and become heroes. I also was drawn even at that age to the redemptive arc of the story – it was never too late for even the worst man to become good. The expanded universe depicted in the novels is also a collective creative achievement.

However, I also acknowledge that the Star Wars story isn’t everyone’s shot of whiskey. Some people are off put by the many plot inconsistencies brilliantly parodied by Family Guy’s Blue Harvest, or the fact that Luke has a crush on a girl who turns out to be his sister.

As much as I give people grief for having never seen the films, it’s all in good fun. Honestly, I pressure them only so I can quote lines like “never tell me the odds!” without them giving me a blank look. If someone happens to dislike Star Wars or have no idea why anyone would like it, it’s no skin off my nose.

But then again, I’m a fan of Star Wars. I’m not a Star Wars fanboy.

Recently I wrote about how gamma males have taken over many geek interests and hobbies, which in turn drives away normal men. When the de facto heads of any niche are men placed low on the socio-sexual hierarchy, men with any significant social status will avoid it.

The fanboy is the gamma male of Star Wars geeks. At best, they’re akin to those portrayed in the film Fanboys. They’re socially awkward and not good with women, so they make up for it by religiously studying Star Wars. They passionately debate the merits of Boba Fett’s popularity the same way a motorhead might discuss what constitutes a classic muscle car. They have their Star Wars memorabilia collection they’ve been collecting since they were a kid, or a college graduate.

At worst, they have their favorite character and react childishly whenever someone disagrees or speak derogatorily about them. It’s not so much they have opinions or enthusiasm as they’re insecure about it and lack the social skills to treat it as an interest not everyone shares, rather than an obsession. Anything “Star Wars” is their damsel in distress who must be rescued from the clutches of unbelievers who just don’t understand like they do.

But what really separates us fans from fanboys is a sense of loyalty similar to a girl dating Harley McBadboy won’t tolerate anything negative about him no matter how many times he’s smacked her. Star Wars fans such as myself have long since tuned out of the franchise after we woke up and realized how bad the prequels truly were. I refused to see the Farce Awakens and only attended the Last Social Justice Warrior (Last Jedi) as a last minute change, and it was free; I still want my two hours back. The rest of the films I’ve checked out for free from the local library when I heard they weren’t nearly as bad.

I don’t love Star Wars for its own sake. I loved the fundamental components of the original story enough to realize they’re gone, and whatever brands itself as Star Wars is either a fraud or the corpse devoid of the spirit. Because of that, there’s no need to rationalize every single stupid decision by the filmmakers or their blatant misandry.

But from Rey fighting like a veteran Jedi knight in the Farce Awakens after touching a lightsaber for the first time in her life, to the purple-haired HR lady leading the Resistance in the Last Social Justice Warrior, Star Wars fanboys will take one bruising after another all while crying “but he loves me!” They’ll show up in theaters and toss their money to people who openly despise them, while engaging in denial and lashing out at anyone who has the temerity to point out that were it not for the Star Wars title, no one would watch these films. Sure, they may complain but at the end of the time they’ll buy a ticket and watch the film.  Like Kent Dorfman from Animal House, Star Wars fanboys feel like they can’t reject any of the latest monstrosities because they’re “a legacy.”

Much like James Bond was the product of a post-World War 2, Cold War environment long since gone, Star Wars was a product of 1970s America. The context from which it was conceived is no more. We can appreciate it for what it was, mourn the loss of the culture that produced it, and try to create similar stories that reflects the same values. But I feel no need to see something that I find offensive just because the company that bought it from the original creator happens to own the franchise and can slap it on anything it wants.

I wonder whether people’s distaste of Star Wars isn’t so much the (original) films themselves as it is those who most vocally and obsessively champion the franchise. They see the fanboys as representative of all fans, and decide it’s not worth their time.

I get that, but that is also why it’s so important intellectually-honest Star Wars geeks speak up and defend not only what made the original story so great, but the ability of normal people to enjoy it – or not, as the case may be. As I said, it’s no skin off my nose.

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