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Some Thoughts on Star Wars Geeks


On 4/11/99, Mitch Albom wrote an editorial for the Detroit Free Press entitled "Star Wars Geeks Need to Get a Life". (Unfortunately, as is common with the short attention span of so many news sites, the article is no longer located on their website.) In a nutshell, the article discussed how foolish the hordes of young people were who waited in line for weeks to see The Phantom Menace. Not only did Mr. Albom state that these fans needed to get a life, he further insulted them by saying that George Lucas doesn't care about the fans' adoration; they only serve to fatten his wallet.

On 4/12/99, I sent the following response to Mr. Albom. Although it specifically addresses Mr. Albom's editorial, it's a good general commentary on the attitudes that "Star Wars Geeks" frequently encounter. I hope you enjoy it.


Mr. Albom:

I am sure you have received other similar e-mails, but I felt compelled to voice my opinion on your article on the upcoming Star Wars movie.

There was one shining truth in your article - this new movie is about money. So's my job. Chances are that the work you do is about money too. There's only so long you can hide behind the lie that everyone does what they do because they LIKE TO. In the end, it's the call of the dollar that wakes most of us up at the crack of dawn.

Most of us. One might say "It's the ring of the Star Wars bell that awakens the geeks after they've been in the 'I Love George' chatroom all night." Is that REALLY so? Do you know first hand? And even if it is the case, where's the problem? Haven't you ever been really excited about something? To put it another way, how "real" is the Superbowl? Do those athletes care about YOU?

I don't sincerely believe that anyone who lines up to see the new Star Wars movie expects a kick back from Mr. Lucas, and I hope you don't really believe that either. These fans are not in it for the money; they just want to be part of the experience. How is the desire to dress up like a Jedi and camp out at a theatre so different from hippies getting naked at Woodstock, or crazed football fans painting themselves in team colors? We can all go to extremes. In the end it's a matter of perspective.

I will say that Lucasfilm has been very "liberal" in its attitude toward its fans. On the Internet, webmasters are free to display just about any Star Wars image, sound, or commentary. The cases of Lucasfilm actually coming down on webmasters for posting Star Wars material are very rare. This stands in sharp contrast to examples of Paramount shutting down or stripping Star Trek websites. Which brings us back to the discussion of money.

By allowing fans free rein, George Lucas makes more money. The "geeks" are allowed to grow in their fanaticism, which in turn will eventually generate more profits. That money will be used to make the next Star Wars movie, which will increase Mr. Lucas' profits again, and then a third time. Don't you wish you were in his shoes right now?

Ultimately, I don't care about any of these concerns. Star Wars is something I enjoy. For me it's about being a kid again - not having to care (at least for a short time) about how fattening the nachos are, my bills next week, and my 401K's performance. Hopefully you've felt this way about something.


This page last modified on 8/25/2006
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