In Superstore, the cereal boxes read: “Kylo Ren: Get in touch with your dark side.” The dark side has a lot of things that you and I would like to get in touch with in the morning- strength, power, alertness, energy, focus and a desire to face the day head on. It’s a good promotion. But The Force Awakens didn’t need it.
On December 18th the most anticipated movie in history was released. During the Grey Cup game, advertisers jockeyed to be the one to play a Star Wars ad with their logo at the end. Close to all box office records were broken. Tickets worth over two billion have now been sold. Rave reviews came out; “best ever!” say some. At least eight more movies are scheduled to be filmed and released. Star Wars episode VII is a big deal.
So why didn't I go?
So why didn’t I go?
Broadly there are two reasons. One, I am a bad-attitude laden contrarian, who doesn't care about any fun. Now I think that most of you would be very happy if that was the main reason that I didn't go, because it doesn't have to be a consideration for why you shouldn't go to Star Wars. But I think my second concern with going to the movie should receive consideration by all of you. The second and more important reason that I chose not to go watch a bunch of people running around using lasers and magical forces to get their way is because I don't believe in it. No no! It's not that I don't believe it's true: I know that it is 100% true, but I don't believe it is what I should support. Now I know that the supporters of Star Wars number the population of the world minus myself, and are a powerful and committed group. But I firmly believe that Star Wars represents most of what is wrong in the world and very little of what is right. Here is my understanding of what of what Star Wars represents.
It represents the idea that we must pay someone else to entertain us. It promotes the cheapness of life and that some lives are less valuable than others. It encourages people to spend their money unwisely; I'm sure that hundreds of millions were spent on tickets by people who could not really afford them, and millions of other dollars were spent by people who should have spent them on something more important. Star Wars entrenches a tragically enchanted attitude toward violence.
The modern entertainment industry, of which the Star Wars franchise is a part, promotes and perpetuates movies that rob families of important time. No matter who you are going with, going to a movie or watching one at home is not really a group experience. Likely you won't take a two year old to Star Wars, and so she has to be left at home or dropped off somewhere.
By the time you've driven to the theater, bought your popcorn, watched the movie, and made it home, you've taken up at least five hours of time that could have been spent on an important family activity that would be just as memorable, likely be cheaper; and create home videos that you can watch later, which will definitely be funnier than the seventh installment of a sci-fi series. Going to Star Wars promotes the idea that time can be spent on whatever we feel like, not on what is most important.
So I ask you to consider, as episodes VIII through XII and however many spinoffs are released, what do you value? And how do you wish to spend your life? You vote with your feet. You can talk the good talk, and mean it with all your heart, but it sounds exceedingly hollow, if when the next movie comes out, you walk to a galaxy far far away. So that's why I did not go to Star Wars.