Saturday, March 02, 2013

So Star Wars has replaced literature. That was a good swap, wasn't it?

Barack Obama made a remark the other day which referred to Star Wars. The tendency to draw analogies between real life and Star Wars is a marker of one of the great chasms between the generations.

When I saw the film all those years ago I was already too old to find it much more than noisy and confusing.

I didn't go on about it. I felt that if I did the decent thing and forgot it, everyone else would do the same.

It didn't work out like that. People now liken things to Star Wars as earlier generations likened things to characters in literature. I smile knowingly but I don't know what they're going on about.

And now Barack Obama makes some comment about a "Jedi mind meld" which turns out to be a conflation of Star Wars and Star Trek and I find it vaguely depressing that the most powerful man in the world has the room in his brain for anything quite as tiresome.

Thinking of this it struck me that I may have crossed another generational rubicon. You spend the first part of your life thinking the world is in trouble because it's run by the older generation. Then you wake up to find that the world is in trouble because it's run by the younger generation.


  1. At least you've got the excuse of belonging to a different generation. I was 5 when it came out: I lived and breathed Star Wars for about 3-5 years. Toys, sticker albums, you name it. However, then I went and did something that no one else my age seems to have done: I grew out of it.

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  3. I'm with Lucas - saw it twice in the cinema but only watched Empire Strikes Back about 10 years ago when I bought the original box set.

    I have still never watched Return of the Jedi - it doesn't 'speak to me' at all.

  4. Maybe Star Wars constitutes high culture these days. I work with people whose cultural references are almost entirely taken from The Simpsons and the movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently, if you're between the ages of 20 and 30, there is no situation in life that doesn't find an echo there.

  5. To be fair to The Simpsons, it does set out to parody just about every strain of culture, old and new. You get the impression that the people who make it have a considerable hinterland. Will the same thing apply to the people who've been raised on it?

  6. Another way of looking at it: Spock was using his mind- meld while the Beatles were still together, and the Jedis showed up the same year as punk. I guess it depends where you're looking in from, but that doesn't shout "younger generation" to me.

  7. Star Wars proves to me that I am a different person than I was at 16 - when I'm pretty sure I went to see all three films in succession at the Dominion Theatre in Tottenham Court Road. But then I stopped thinking about it at all until my now 8-year-old son became a little obsessed about it. It does strike me as odd when film makers call it one of the most important films of their generation. I just loved it for a while, and then stopped when I grew up.

  8. Careful David, if "the internet" gets wind of this post you'll be flooded with comments from angry geeks claiming that Star Wars changed their lives.

    Attack the touchstones of nerd culture at your peril.