Unless you have spent the last few months living in the worst sort of cave...one without Internet, you are no doubt aware that a new Star Wars movie is about to hit theaters. I believe that this is number ten in the prodigious franchise. I lost interest after Revenge of the Sith, figuring that any sequel with the word "revenge" in it marked the beginning of a purely money-making downward spiral. But, I am clearly in the minority.
I have read stories of people camped outside cineplexes two full weeks before the first show to get tickets. Let that sink in for a moment. There are people willing to endure sleeping on concrete pavement in abandoned parking lots for two weeks just so they can be among the first to see a movie which they could see after only a ten minute wait if they bought their tickets on Fandango two weeks after opening night. Clearly, these people are among the 94 million of my fellow Americans who do not have jobs, but mere unemployment is not enough to curb their enthusiasm for escapist science fiction. Neither, apparently, is the threat of being attacked by Islamic terrorists, who would find an unprotected gaggle of geeks sound asleep in pup tents at 3 in the morning an inviting target for Jihadi mayhem. Wait, I wrote "unprotected" without mentioning the obvious fact that these intrepid Star Warriors wouldn't be caught dead in public without their light sabers.
It's easy to make fun of these people. After all, fan is the root word of fanatic. But, while some will point to these movie house tent cities as a sign of our cultural silliness, an indication of our chronic lack of seriousness for a deadly serious time, I disagree. I celebrate this sort of thing as quintessential American defiance. We don't curl up in sleeping bags outside of museums to be the first to enter an exhibit of French Impressionist painters. There are no long lines of crazy people in powdered wigs competing to be the first to score tickets to Beethoven's Ninth at the concert hall. Nobody paints their face and throws a tail gate party four hours before the freaking NutCracker. This is America and we only celebrate the low brow. And while this fact embarrasses the hell out of the John Kerry's of the world, I'm ok with it. I'm just not sure why.
Fine art and culture is wonderful. A quick glance at my iPod playlist will reveal a ton of Bach and Beethoven. But there's something endearing about living in a country where you can dial up a country Christmas music playlist on Pandora and be treated to a tune entitled, Thinkin' About Drinkin' for Christmas that features these fine lyrics...
.......Christmas time is drawing near, soon the family will gather near. Sure hope I don't run out of beer."
This is a country that will never be overrun by Russian or Chinese armies. How do you subjugate a nation full of people who collect Chewbacca coffee mugs? How could you possibly govern a population that includes a sizable contingent who never leave the house without setting their fazers to stun? How could even the most ruthless dictator hope to subdue a people who are willing to spend small fortunes to build life size replicas of the Millennium Falcon in their garages? The answer is...you don't!