This post is a spin-off of a post I wrote yesterday on Medium.com entitled The Star Wars Sandbox and The Last Jedi: Why #NotMyStarWars Means #NotMySandbox. That post debunks folks who think the Star Wars stories should be a certain way because that’s what they expect.
Remember: a Wookiee was aroused by a hologram during a HOLIDAY SPECIAL that aired in prime time on public television in 1978. And people are complaining today because sexuality is being discussed in relation to Star Wars.
Star Wars is sexual, it is war, it is peaceful, it is violent, and it exists on many planes. It is a big sandbox.
But dip down into the abyss that is The Last Jedi pushback. Actually, don’t. Let me summarize.
There are hundreds of videos on YouTube, hundreds of articles, and thousands, if not millions of comments claiming Star Wars has been taken over by “Social Justice Warriors” who want to topple the white male patriarchy that has dictated the rules of this fictional galaxy for years.
Let me repeat: it is a fictional galaxy. If you don’t like it, make another sandbox. Project on to it what you want. That’s how fiction works. That’s what George Lucas did. That’s what JRR Tolkien did. That’s what JK Rowling did. That’s what Orwell did in Animal Farm. And that’s what William Luther Pierce did when he wrote “The Turner Diaries“, a book that details the rise of a white nationalist Order that takes out a diverse political System.
Fictional universes can hold whatever politics the creator wants.
But making The Last Jedi critiques and anti-Star Wars videos is big business. These videos and articles have millions of views. They stir up emotions which in turn sparks debate, which creates more videos, and more debate. Which lines the pockets of the their creators with ad money.
Ad money is the fuel that makes debate engines go. On TV, in articles, on YouTube, wherever. Humans love to argue and they love getting paid. That’s the idea behind sports talk and political media.
Put arguing and getting paid together on a niche product (science fiction) and you have a nice cottage industry. Combine politics and science fiction and now you have notorious talking heads such as Alex Jones opining on the direction of Star Wars, without having seen the movie (“I haven’t seen it yet but …”).
The bashing Star Wars culture reminds me of this classic social media mash-up in which Donald Duck goes ballistic listening to Glenn Beck. If you keep listening to someone provoke your emotions, you will get emotional. Media Psychology 101.
One of my favorite Star Wars bashers is Jeremy Griggs from the YouTube channel “Geeks and Gamers”. Ironically, Jeremy even kinda facially resembles Glenn Beck. But even more so in his tone and his “us versus them” rhetoric.
Notice in this video, for example, Jeremy states “when we accuse Disney” and uses of headlines and quotes for “gotcha” evidence to support his theories. How is that different from Glenn Beck’s rants about the Obama Administration?
Glenn Beck got paid more. That’s it. However, as of this writing on 5/20/2018, Geeks and Gamers has 17 videos about Star Wars uploaded in the last 6 days with over 300,000 views. That’s ad money to pay a few bills. More power to them.
I’m not going to argue with Jeremy about Star Wars. That’s what he wants people to do. But I will pull a nugget from one of his Star Wars-related arguments, prove it wrong, and then extrapolate it into an understanding of how Jeremy approaches issues.
(Why am I not doing this on YouTube, where it will generate more page views and ad dollars, instead of writing here on my personal website that few people read? Because point blank, I am better at writing out arguments than debating. Everyone has their strengths, this is mine.)
At the 3:40 mark in his video entitled “Lucasfilm vs Star Wars Fans : The Last Jedi Fallout Continues“, Jeremy goes off on a tangent about Tupac Shakur and pointing out hypocrisy. It really doesn’t fit in the video, but Jeremy’s views on hip-hop tell me something about his personality.
He starts with:
“I am a massive … but not anymore … I do not listen to rap anymore. Rap is complete … rap is so bad, it almost makes The Last Jedi look good. They are both terrible. They are both awful. But rap is bad right now. But I grew up on rap. And I was a Tupac fan.”
He then quotes Pac’s “Keep Ya Head Up” and how it explains Disney’s approach to the pushback by a section of the Star Wars fanbase. Maybe Jeremy doesn’t see the irony in quoting a song about female empowerment, but I’ll explain.
Real hip-hop is about diversity. It is quite possibly the most diverse popular music we have. Possibly the most diverse in history. Hip-hop, a genre born among the African-American and Latino communities in New York City, is now all over the world. Women, men, Asians, Whites, Muslims, Jews, tall, short, fat, skinny, and possibly every other subculture have joined African-Americans and Latinos and made hip-hop a global community. Oftentimes they created this art to push back on the establishment.
That’s the message in Star Wars – that a diverse group of beings got together, pushed back, and toppled the Empire. That’s why Star Wars is so popular in hip-hop.
Jeremy stated he doesn’t listen to rap anymore. He doesn’t say when he walked away from current hip-hop, but let’s guess it’s because he doesn’t like what’s played on the radio. Maybe he doesn’t like mainstream rap.
Like Star Wars, hip-hop is a huge sandbox. If Jeremy doesn’t like what’s played on the radio, he could support his local hip-hop scene. If he doesn’t like the local sound, he could find some underground artists who fit his style. If he doesn’t like Migos or “Lil Flava of da Week”, he could try Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, or Skyzoo. He could try anyone who puts a message in their music.
Finding a new corner of the sandbox would require work and not stepping away from art when the popular trend doesn’t go his way. Not complaining, but finding something else to appreciate.
Remember, as Tupac was writing the leftist, socialist, Black Panther-influenced rhymes that Jeremy liked, other rappers such as the 69 Boyz (Tootsee Roll, 1994), 95 South (Whoot, There It Is, 1993), and the Quad City DJs (Come On, Ride It, 1996) were also dominating the airwaves. They weren’t exactly the next coming of Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven.
But being angry online at Star Wars is a cottage industry and it sells. Jeremy, I ain’t mad at cha.