A Baltimore grandmother visits heaven for an hour before being brought back to life.
Star Wars Day 2010. Doesn’t it feel like Star Wars Day 2009 was only yesterday?Today’s blog readers might know me as a passionate fan of sci-fi and fantasy – my geek tendencies manifesting from the old Battlestar Galactica to X-Files to Buffy to Lost (and to my belated, but recent discovery of the “new” BSG) – but I have to say that the roots of such fandom were planted in a galaxy – and a tradition – far, far away.If Judaism was probably the first major influence in my life, and reading books was the second, then Star Wars may have been the third. The first film (or if you prefer, “Episode IV: A New Hope”) came out in 1977, when I was [age deleted], followed by 1980’s “Empire Strikes Back,” and 1983 “Return [briefly, “Revenge”] of the Jedi.” My brothers and I went to see the films in the theaters when we were old enough, and then proceeded to VHS tape them off TV and watch them over and over again. (I stopped counting at 47.) When I started blogging, it seemed only natural to have a separate category devoted to Star Wars.There was something amazing, transporting and familiar about this story of a group of rebels fighting the power, the small group against oppressive hordes story I was so familiar with from my study of Jewish history, the themes of good and evil, of power corrupting spirit, and of the intensity of family connections that drew me in, before I knew anyone was anyone else’s father, or sister, or Ewok. I loved that there was a princess who – despite her appalling fashion choice of a white gown for action sequences – knew how to mock evil authority, could wield a gun as well as any freedom-fighter and had a a Jewish-sounding name. Plus, she seemed to enjoy challah rolls so much that she’d asked her hairdresser for a special bilateral carbtastically evocative updo.But I’m not the only one with a religious connection to Star Wars. It doesn’t take a theologian to address the non-specific, somewhat universal, amorphous, non-gendered “Force” that “runs through us, and penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together” as something resembling a deity-like presence. In 2001’s UK Census, 390,000 people named their religion as “Jedi.” And although I know it’s sensitive to talk about world disaster through a pop culture lens, whenever there’s an earthquake, or a tsunami, or a 9/11,: the first thing that springs to mind is the distinct feeling that “millions of voices had cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” To an extent, we’ve felt such disturbances in the Force, or the natural order, or the feeling that things are stable and reliable. It’s that moment in which we become acutely aware of pain, of imperfection, and of the damage that comes along with humanity.I always forget May 4th as Star Wars Day, which really isn’t fair to the film’s cultural impact. But there’s no one way to celebrate this addiction/religious fervor/passion, no catechism or set of commandments to follow. So we create and upload our own:Check out the four-part-harmony of “John Williams is the Man” – a medley of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws. Jurassic Park and other John Williams musical themes.Feel like putting on a one-person Star Wars show? It’s been done, and brilliantly.Want to feel like you’re flying the Millennium Falcon, with Han Solo as your co-pilot, or like you’re under Darth Vader’s command? Check out these Star Wars versions of the TomTom GPS system.In Ontario, CA: check out this concert of the Star Wars Symphony Orchestra, narrated by Anthony Daniels (C-3PO).And find out why Darth Vader can’t say “roundabout”:And if all of this fails to entertain you, just go to YouTube and type in “Star Wars mashup,” and let the uploaded content celebration begin. May the Force be with you. Always.