About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.


I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.

2016-05-25

Why Do Nerds Like Star Wars?

R2-D2 doesn't just carry messages for Leia
Let's be clear, there are a lot of nerds who don't like Star Wars (and they probably enjoy Star Trek), which is fine, but never assume that all nerds are Star Wars fans.

Let's also be honest and accept that the appeal of Star Wars has transcended the nerd realm in the past 20 years or so, and is now a cultural phenomenon. 

Star Wars is one of a very few stories that successfully combines fantasy and magic with science fiction and technology, two realms with mass nerd appeal. You should know that there is more than a single Star Wars--it's actually a huge collection of films, television shows, comic books, novels, stories, and games. They call it the Star Wars Universe for good reason.
Yeah...about the marketing...

This may lead you to think that Star Wars is just marketing, and no one will deny that there are literally tons of marketing involved in Star Wars, from advertising to toys to tie-in products that have absolutely nothing to do with the story, characters, or locations. Sure, it's gotten out of hand when Obi Wan is shilling yogurt, Yoda's turned into some bizarre Magic 8-Ball, and there's a Revenge of the Sith air sickness bag, but even a complete pessimist has to admit that there's much more to Star Wars than light saber themed fishing poles and the Jar Jar Binks tongue lollipop.

Star Wars is this overwhelming collection of stories that all build on the mythology of a vast, ancient civilization far more technologically advanced than our own, and deals with the archetypal struggle of good versus evil, while still saddling the citizenry with the same moral and ethical challenges we face today. This is a world where nerds can imagine themselves equipped with technology so advanced that we can wield swords of light to protect the galaxy.

At the same time, Star Wars offers nerds a code, although swaggering rogues might call it a hokey religion, but the Jedi, guardians of order and light, follow a credo that invokes no deities and instead relies on a person's own abilities:

    There is no emotion, there is peace.
    There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
    There is no passion, there is serenity.
    There is no chaos, there is harmony.
    There is no death, there is the Force.

You might say the Force is an ersatz deity, but nerds explain it as a cosmic energy no more or less magical than light or gravity. Something beyond our comprehension that we can still measure and believe in.

 Beyond the mythology, Star Wars is a story that came along in the perfect gap between the last Apollo excursion and the first space shuttle launch. We didn't have much high quality science fiction to bolster our creativity, apart from syndicated episodes of Star Trek, Space:1999 and Doctor Who when George Lucas came along and blew us away with his space samurai epic grounded in the very roots of human mythology. And it spoke directly to nerds.

A nobody farm boy discovers his royal heritage, joins a lovable rogue to save a feisty princess from a dark villain, and along the way they save the galaxy...twice. It's the stuff of nerd dreams.

Most adult nerds can easily understand how people can look at a Star Wars film and roll their eyes. The movies are full of plot holes and bad acting, but we embrace those flaws as part of a very human tale of bravery and goodness. And while it's easy for people to make fun of nerds who collect Star Wars figures and prop light sabers, is that really any more strange than collecting designer shoes you never wear or exotic cars you never drive?

Try and boil it down to something simple and you'll start to uncover why nerds can keep coming back to Star Wars over and over again. Is it a pirate story with laser swords? Is it a cowboy movie with blasters? Is it a war movie with giant space ships duking it out above a forest moon? That's the magic. It's all of those things, but underneath it all is a primal mythology that resonates with our deepest human instincts.

Maybe some people look at a Star Wars nerd and see an arrested childhood or worse a person afraid of reality who is hiding in fiction, but if you ever doubt a nerd's bravery I challenge you to pull on a stormtrooper costume and march down a public street.
vladeb - Stormtroopers Parade

2 comments:

  1. Star Wars was directly inspired by the art work of Maxfield Parrish, Lucas said that, page 282, The Lucas Effect. I lived near the Parrish estate for years and I loved going there to film the grounds and the estate art studio Parrish created. The art studio was sadly destroyed and I filmed that demise too, it was senseless! I have worked on this story for twenty years to tell the world of the real Star Wars influence. So if you think u know all about Star Wars , you don't and I am still piecing this all together it would be great to have some help getting this story all over the internet it needs exposure ! view maxfieldparrishmotif.com -- maxfieldparrishmovie.com

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    1. Parrish's influence on Star Wars is pretty much undeniable. Lucas even had Parrish works in his home. I'd love to watch a documentary on Parrish, and I'm sure there are plenty of others. Have you considered using GoFundMe or IndieGoGo to raise money for a documentary? I tried looking at the Motif website, but got a message that the account is suspended, so whoever is maintaining that site should contact the host.

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