A Douche Bag I am.

A Douche Bag I am.

[Editors Note: This essay is based solely on the Star Wars films, excluding last summer’s animated Clone Wars feature.  Please do not e-mail me with observations or evidence found in comic books or continued novelizations. I’m a nerd, but Jesus even I have my limits.]

So recently I was running the entire Star Wars movie plot lines through my mind (I often do this when I’m on the subway and I’ve finished whatever I’m reading and there’s still a bit of time left in my commute).  And I realized something: Yoda is a total douche bag.

Never mind that when Luke (and the audience) first meets him in Empire Strikes Back, Yoda pretends to be just some random annoying alien instead of…well Yoda. Or that when Luke realizes his friends are in trouble and wants to rush off to save them, the Jedi master discourages him (Adventure? Excitement? Loyalty to friends and allies? A Jedi craves not these things) or even volunteer to tag along and help.  Forget that he tries to dodge Luke’s questions about Darth Vader being his father or that he never even bothers to tell Luke that Leia is his sister (though there is the definite risk of accidental incest).  Completely forget his behavior in the prequels: like scarring the hell out of a little kid whom he suspects will turn to the dark side because of “fear,” taunting that same child as an adult for being on the Jedi counsel but not recognized as a master, and then ordering two newborn twins (Luke and Leia) be separated and raised apart.  No, the reason Yoda is a douche bag is his total disrespect for English grammar.

Look, I get why Lucas wrote Yoda’s dialogue the way he did.  It implies a sense of otherness while making him appealing to the kiddies.  With Yoda’s success has a memorable character among fans it’s understandable that Lucas would want to try to repeat it with Jar-Jar Binks.   For Jar-Jar, the inability to form a proper English sentence at least makes sense because he’s an annoying moron.  But when you take the character of Yoda fully into account along with the fictional Star Wars Universe, it doesn’t add up  You’re telling me that a creature with seemingly omnipotent powers allowing him to kick ass via light saber fights, lift spacecrafts with his mind, and live on past death as a ghost/spirit can’t master the simple concept of subject-verb-object word order?

That’s when it hit me: the reason Yoda doesn’t speak grammatically proper English is because it’s the language of humanity and by not even bothering to learn or implement its basic rules he shows his passive aggressive contempt for the species.  “But why would Yoda hate humans?” You ask. Well, who wouldn’t be pissed at humanity?  What with their Galactic Empires and Death Stars. And although the motivation is understandable, the end result of Yoda’s shattered English makes him a douche bag.

star-trek“Babe, there’s something I need to tell you,” I said to Kate as we sat down for lunch. “Mmmhhhhmm?” she said, her eyes looking over the menu. “Anything important?” she inquired, paying more attention on trying to figure out what to order than what I was saying. “A little,” I said, adding: “you might get mad at me.” At that, she looked up at me. I saw her mind began to put it together. Asking her to go lunch in a public place, where we could “talk,” so she wouldn’t create a scene. “Wha…what do you need to tell me?” she asked. I took a deep breath. “Kate,” I said. “I’m a Star Trek nerd.”

Kate’s mouth dropped open and her eyes widened as tears began to form. “I knew it!” She yelled, slamming her fist down on the table—rattling the place settings and silverware. Obviously, the girl had no qualms about making a scene. People began to turn and watch. Kate bent down low and spoke in a harsh whisper. “I told you when we got together that I could only handle dating a man obsessed with one science fiction franchise,” she hissed. “You said that it was Star Wars. I wore that Princess Leia gold bikini for you!

“I like Star Wars too,” I replied. That seemed to make things worse. “You lied to me!” She moaned before burying her head into her hands. “I didn’t mean to,” I said. “I used to be into it as kid. My parents took me to see Voyage Home (the one with Whales) in the theater and I watched TNG with my Dad. But I thought I grew out of it.”

“Wait…” said Kate, “what’s ‘TNG’?” I paused, knowing that she wouldn’t like the answer. “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” I said. “Dear God,” she muttered, “you’re already speaking in anagrams.” After a few minutes of staring at our drinks in silence, Kate spoke again: “So how did you realize that you didn’t outgrow it?”

“The trailer for the new J.J. Abram’s reboot,” I said. “It looks so amazingly awesome. I can’t wait to see it.”

“Who’s J.J. Abrams?” she asked.

“He’s the creator of the TV shows Alias and Lost. He also directed Mission Impossible: III and created Cloverfield—that Godzilla like monster movie that…”

“Shut-up, nerd!” Kate screamed.

It seems that one of the worst thing you can call someone is a Star Trek (or Star Wars) nerd. The connotation is simple: you dress up in as character as you wait in line to see horrible movies created just to make you pay to see them (Star Wars) or go to conventions to pay money for cheap crap as “memorabilia.” These people deserved to be pointed out and mocked. As such.

How did this happen? Both franchises were meant to inspire and get people to imagine the possibilities of the future—to see what adventures science can eventually take us (humanity) on. It used to be that if you were a Star Trek fan that meant you ended up working for NASA as a rocket scientist or that you wanted to be an astronaut. Instead, losers and outsiders adopted the mythology and hero worship of a fictional universe to create common ground amongst themselves and thus form their own sense of community. The hardcore Star Trek fans who wear Vulcan ears, learn to speak Klingon, and get into raging debates about the childhood of Captain Picard, betray everything the franchise stands for. They’re not real Star Trek nerds. They’re posers

Will you be my "It's complicated" on Facebook?

Will you be my "It's complicated" on Facebook?

Before we begin: a bit of personal exposition.  Over the summer, I found myself single for the first time in many years and in November I began seeing a girl—let’s call her “Kate,” because that’s her name.  And after a couple months of chess like moves testing each other’s qualities as a possible significant other (I always find asking varying levels of Star Wars trivia knowledge a key factor.  You want a woman who knows the difference between a Wookiee and an Ewok, yet doesn’t know that Bobba Fett, though raised as his son, was actually Jango Fett’s clone.), we decided to make things serious between us and date each other exclusively. In the old days, this was called “going steady” and is what the kids today call “friend with benefits numero supreme.”

There are certain rituals at the beginning of a new relationship.  You meet each other’s friends, which for me always feels like that cliché where someone finds a bloody corpse and then absent mindedly picks up the murder weapon, just as the cops bust in and he has to convince them that he’s not a murderer.  You explain the origins of scars and tattoos.  And of course, you change your Facebook relationship status.

Is this really where things have ended up?  I’m not against sharing my personal life online, but whenever something is expected of me—I question it.  Kate brought it up a few days ago and asked what my thoughts were on linking our profiles to one another.  I explained that I was fine with selecting “in a relationship” as my status, but was apprehensive about directly linking to her profile.  I felt uncomfortable with people I’m Facebook friends with, but not real world friends with (it is the nature of the beast), judging, or even worse (as in the case of my ex’s) stalking, the woman I’m dating. “I’ll be stalked anyway,” she shrugged.  I could tell she was frustrated when a little while later she declared,  “I bet Ryan Gosling would link to me on Facebook.”   Damn that Ryan Gosling and his scruffy dreaminess.

As much as I enjoy Facebook, along with the hundreds of millions of other users, it just seems that the whole idea is based more on the “appearance” of who you are and not the real you.  Now, I can go on a whole diatribe summing up Plato’s Cave or Barthes and the foundation of Semiotics, but I’ve got a better analogy.  A Facebook profile is the equivalent to those opening montages in movies where the camera floats around the main character’s bedroom or office, showing the photos tacked on the wall and the “things” that not only demonstrates his or her back story, but also their “unique’ personality.  The problem is that people are complicated and messy animals.  Although we wish it weren’t so: we are more than our good times or our favorite movies.  You don’t post pictures of the moments of complete ennui that you suffer through at work everyday or list the movies that you can’t stand.  So it seems to me that the Facebook profile is more a depiction of how you want others to see you—happy, popular, cheerful, etc. And personally, I’d rather work on the relationship than worry about what other people know about it.

In the end, my whole reason is moot.  Kate and I made a deal.  I’d link her profile to mine and she agreed to think about possibly, someday, (maybe) modeling a gold-Princess-Leia-bikini for me.  Wow, I never realized how much of a Star Wars Geek I am until this post.

Note: I must give credit where credit is due.  Though I myself found the picture used in the post and paired it with the caption, the idea came from this xkcd strip.  You can also learn more about xckd on my  “What I’m into (for now)” page.