Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making the Headlines

First off, thanks to all the readers out there. Apparently there are a lot of you, which is always nice. Especially the thousands of you who viewed my old Qui-Gon Jinn piece. Geez, that one was off the charts.

Second off, I just wanted to thank everyone who has acknowledged this little blog. Particularly, Lucas the Sell Out! has won a lot of attention. This isn't surprising. It's hard to do a post on the Internet with a title like that and not get attention. Both the Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Society as well as the Certain Point of View sites have made note of that particular contribution, which is great. I highly recommend them to anyone who's a fan of the entire saga. They're well-written, cutting-edge, humorous, insightful, and definitely feisty.

Unexpectedly, the post was also featured on The Star Wars Report podcast. Episode #42 featured the editorial in its entirety, while Episode #43 hosted a brief discussion with the help of some listener feedback. It seems to be a great podcast, and The Star Wars Heresies certainly appreciates the publicity.

(On a side note, two of the hosts are involved in the Civil Air Patrol. I knew a few of those guys back from my days in Air Force Junior ROTC. Like them, I've spent some time flying around on C-130s and the like, so that was a nice trip down memory lane.)

Undeniably, the editorial was written with some hyperbole, as noted. But really, where would this fandom be without hyperbole? I sometimes think it's the very air it breathes, the very water it swims in. After all, the guy on The Phantom Menace 3D page on Facebook who claimed "Lucas, you make the world worse simply by existing," had a talent for hyperbole himself. No, I'm not making that up or paraphrasing.

It's an interesting point, though. As I've said before, this whole online fandom thing is a game, and nothing but a game. With some Jedi-style non-attachment, it becomes something akin to a rather intriguing round of cyber-chess. The haters checkmate us, and then we checkmate them, and everyone with a blog is never at a loss for something to write about.

As I noted in another post, while I am very sincere in what I say here, I am not particularly serious in the way in which I say it. Unless I'm having a really bad day, I try to keep the tone rather light and funny and fun. My main reason for doing a post at all is that I feel something of a talent for spinning people's heads around and helping them to see something in an entirely different way. If I can't do that, then I'm merely adding to all the other verbal clutter on the Net.

Indeed, it seems to me one of the things crippling the hallowed halls of haterdom at the moment is a very grim seriousness and general lack of fun. It's like being a fan is a sort of grim duty, which I can't identify with at all. Yes, there is most assuredly a strong journalistic point of view here, but that's necessary for the writing process to really work properly. At least for me.

The second episode of The Star Wars Report featured a great interview with an Expanded Universe author I'm not familiar with, but he said something that put the "issues" surrounding Star Wars canon and continuity into context. He likened writing EU books to playing with toys in George Lucas' driveway and, if they weren't picked up before Lucas backed the minivan over them, it wasn't necessarily his fault. Yet as the podcast progressed, I do get the feeling that there is a very real sense of being "Thrown under the Sandcrawler" when it comes to all the tie-in books that may or may not be contradicted by the films or television shows.

If I may again weigh in on this, I personally have never been part of any other fandom where this was such an issue. Source material has almost always contradicted or violated the continuity as established by supplimental books and comics and things. This goes for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Doctor Who, and others.

A funny aside - someone complaining on Facebook about the lack of respect for the EU in Star Wars claimed that Doctor Who continuity had never been violated in almost fifty years. I mentioned this to one of the biggest and most well-known Doctor Who fans in Atlanta only to be met with a kind of open-mouthed stare of disbelief.

For another example, one of the very first tie-in books concerning Buffy the Vampire Slayer was titled Halloween Rain, which I believe was written in something like six weeks. It centered around Halloween in Sunnydale, the book depicting it as a big event where the Hellmouth got particularly feisty and all sorts of paranormal weirdness exploded. Of course, this is in direct contradiction to the first of the Halloween episodes of the actual series, which made a big point about how ironically quiet and uneventful Halloween was in the Buffyverse. As Buffy herself quipped, "Do the demons hate how commercial it's become?"

I don't remember seeing a single online petition or anything about it when this happened. Of course, the Net was in its infancy, but it just wasn't that big of a deal. I didn't remember a single protest about Joss Whedon raping anyone's childhood or anything like that.

Incidentally, the same can also be said for a great series of Indiana Jones novels by Max McCoy. While a loose series of adventures, the central thread running through all of them is the Crystal Skull. As in, the same artifact that was at the heart of the fourth movie! Again, one would think Indy would have remembered his past interaction with this artifact or at least mentioned it, but he never did. And again, no petitions or boycotts or cries of outrage.

Star Wars EU just isn't a problem ... unless it's being held to a completely different standard as everything else. All the media tie-ins are just fun, apocryphal stuff, which is all they were ever intended to be. Continuity and canon don't really enter into it at all.

And let's not even forget all the craziness of the Star Wars Marvel comics series back in the seventies and eighties! Of course, many fans will argue this series doesn't count because it was before the birth of the modern Expanded Universe, as heralded by Timothy Zahn's trilogy. But you know, that was my childhood back in the day. The haters always complain about raped childhoods, but they sure don't care when somebody rapes mine!

(Check and mate. See what I said about this being a game?)

Anyone, thanks dear readers. The book kinda makes it hard for me to do much with this blog, a trend which will probably continue throughout the summer. However, there is one more bit of fandom commentary in the works. Next up - "Night of the Mindless Lucas Slaves!"

And Happy Prequel Appreciation Day tomorrow!