Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In a way, it IS our religion. (Star Wars References)

People who have never read my old, now-abandoned blog about pop culture may not know about Star Wars References, a series of posts that proves my hypothesis that all of Western Culture is based on Star Wars.

And the latest in that proof? This commercial, which I just saw this morning:

OK, so first, those are pretty awesome costumes.

Second, prior to Verizon, only writer Rusty Carl had trumpeted the sexy potential of Wookies.  Is it a good thing, or bad thing, that sexy costumes for women now  include giant man-bear things from other planets? I'll let the reader decide.

With help from Kristen Schaal and The Daily Show:

Third, I just yesterday started (and then stopped, because it was boring) listening to a book about the history of Superman.  It's called Superman: The High-Flying History Of America's Most Enduring Hero, and it would be hard to make that book boring, but the writer did so -- in the foreword.  I made it to the beginning of the first chapter before deleting the book off my Kindle and going to listen to This American Life instead (where, coincidentally, the subject was secret identities!)

Anyway, one of the things the book promised to talk about was the fact that Superman has been beloved by every generation since his creation, that even young kids today still like Superman, and the author thought that was an achievement unparalleled by any other creative endeavor.

Which means that the author might be the only person to have never heard of Star Wars, which is now 36 years old -- 1/2 of Superman's age, about -- and has appealed to multiple generations, and is so widespread that Verizon assumes you will be familiar enough with the iconic images of those films to recognize the costumes in that commercial.

I like to think about what things from our times will survive 1,000 years -- because as history compresses identities of eras, as we decide to remember less and less about the more and more distant past, we have to be selective about what's most important to remember.  For example, the years 0-1,000 are summarized by... nothing.

1,000-1,492? Magna Carta.

1492-1776? Explorers, primarily Christopher Columbus.  And movable type, and Shakespeare.

And so on.  So right now, 20th-century America, which includes the nascent 21st century so far, seems like its full of things the future will want to remember about us. But in 3113, what will society look back and remember?

My guess is Star Wars.  They'll probably look at videos like that commercial and assume it was our religion.

Interested in the history of Wookies and how George Lucas maybe stole the idea from a non-copyrightable drawing? Read about that here unless you are one of George Lucas' lawyers, in which case no hablo ingles, lo siento mucho, nobody here can accept that summons.


Pat Dilloway said...

I just wonder why the guy chose to dress up like Jabba the Hutt and not a cool character like Han or Luke or even Lando.

Andrew Leon said...

That guy makes a mistake in his assumption that Superman has been more beloved than Batman, who is, basically, the same age as Superman.

Briane P said...

Andrew: I think his point was that Superman is still more popular, judging by kids' costumes. But I agree: You can't really say Superman's having a radio show, tv show, movies, another TV show, and comics, etc., makes him more popular than Batman, whose success has been about the same.

PT: I hadn't even thought about that. You know what would make a good fun personality quiz? "What Star Wars Character Are You?"

Andrew Leon said...

I'm not sure that Superman has ever really been more popular except, maybe, in the 30s. Batman has been more popular than Superman since the 60s for people involved in comics and entertainment. Possibly, on a societal level just for recognition, Superman was more popular and, well, maybe in the 70s due to the movie. However, having been involved in comics through the 80s and 90s (not just as a reader), Batman has been DC's drawing card for decades. Heck, they named their company after him, which kind of tells me that Batman has always been the bigger draw.

(I almost always come out as Obi-wan in those SW personality quizzes.)

Liz A. said...

I think Star Wars is more of our cultural mythology than our religion.