I’m about to get my geek on. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
A Star Wars Day Hipster
I remember making a “May the 4th” reference several years ago. I think I might have still been in grad school at the time. I thought the play on words was fun. So I shared it as an update on a social network – possibly on Myspace, but maybe on Facebook. I don’t remember the specifics and I can’t find the status anywhere, but I remember saying something like “Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with you! (Yes, it’s corny. Don’t kill the messenger)” And I do know that the earliest reference I can find on this blog is from 2007. Once I learned about this quirky day, I was determined to celebrate it the following year.
And I did.
A few other Star Wars geeks mentioned Star Wars Day. With a wink and a nod, I noticed a few more references to the Day that following year. And the year after that. But there really weren’t very many people making that big of a deal about May 4th. And that was OK. I was kind of used to being a loner when it came to being a fan of Star Wars. But it eventually caught on. So you could say that I liked Star Wars Day back before it was cool.
I guess that makes me some kind of Star Wars Day Hipster.
Jumping on the Bandwagon
When I logged onto facebook on May 4 of this year, I was kind of shocked at what I saw. It seemed like everyone and their brother was posting about May 4th and Star Wars Day. In some ways, it warmed my heart.
When I was a kid, I didn’t really understand why people stopped liking Star Wars. So that 9 year old in me would have been bouncing off the walls with excitement over the amount of Star Wars love that was zooming across time and space on May 4th.
There was also a part of me that was a little…oh…I don’t know…defensive? jealous? protective? about this now-beloved day.
“Are they really Star Wars fans?” I thought to myself. And suddenly, I began to understand what dyed in the wool Butler fans felt like when they made their miraculous runs through the NCAA Tournaments not so long ago and suddenly the entire nation claimed to be Butler fans (even though they probably couldn’t find Butler on a map). Or maybe I felt like an IndyCar fan – someone who watches the races throughout the season – does during the Indianapolis 500, where the race is the talk of the town for a weekend and basically ignored the rest of the year.
I’ll be honest. A little part of me was bothered that this day had suddenly garnered all of this attention from people claiming to be Star Wars fans. For the briefest of moments, I wanted to create some type of quiz to separate the sheep from the goats; the pure from the fake; the dedicated fanatics from the unwashed bandwagoners.
I was even half-tempted to publish a list – a resume, of sorts – highlighting the characteristics that qualify me as a “real” Star Wars fan. There was a part of me that wanted to remind the world that I’d been doing this whole Star Wars Day thing for a long time – even before I’d ever heard anyone refer to May the 4th as Star Wars Day.
But then I realized something. It’s just a silly day. I needed to take a breath and have some fun with it. My co-workers did. They had this waiting for me at my desk when I arrived that morning:
— Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) May 4, 2015
So I got over my bad self. It really didn’t take very long – faster than the Millennium Falcon could make the Kessel Run, that’s for sure. And when I got home, I made some special pancakes.
Pancakes for dinner. How are you celebrating #StarWarsDay? #MayThe4thBeWithYou A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on
And some blue milk. Of course.
May the 4th is a silly day. It’s a fun day to be shared by all. I get that now. I really do. So I’m going to celebrate it with the masses.
Besides, it’s not the only Star Wars Day.
The original Star Wars Day
Before I first heard someone say “May the Fourth be with you,” I celebrated Star Wars Day on a different day in May: May 25. For as long as I can remember, I’ve tried to recognize that day in my own special little ways, either by wearing a Star Wars t-shirt or maybe my Darth Vader tie. There were some years when I celebrated the day by watching A New Hope (my favorite Star Wars movie). I don’t know if I ever officially called it “Star Wars Day,” but that’s what it was for me. May 25 was Star Wars Day. In reality, May 25 is still Star Wars day to me.
Because Star Wars was released to the public on May 25, 1977. And Return of the Jedi was released on May 25, 1983. It is a day that should be long-remembered. I’m glad the LA City Council agrees. They declared May 25, 2007, to be Star Wars Day.
A new Star Wars Day strategy
We all know that Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25 and the United States of America didn’t become an independent nation on July 4. Star Wars Day has less meaning in the grand scheme of things than either one of these dates. So I have no problem with anyone recognizing Star Wars Day as May 4 or May 25. After all, it’s just a silly “holiday” – although you could argue that the release of this film changed the art of film making and movie experiences forever, but that still doesn’t mean this is something to get too worked up about.
So I suggest a new strategy. Let’s celebrate the magic of Star Wars all month long. We can’t limit the fun to one day. Or even two days. Let’s just call it Star Wars Month. Then we can incorporate May the 4th, Revenge of the Fifth (or Sixth, depending on your preference), and the anniversaries of the release of the first six episodes of Star Wars. Episode 7, The Force Awakens, is going to buck that trend. It still feels weird. But I’ll get over it.
I mean….Star Wars Month just makes sense, doesn’t it?
So mark your calendars for 2016 and celebrate Star Wars MONTH throughout the entire month of May!