fan culture, fandom, nerd, nerd culture, pop culture, star wars
I’m just going to come out and say it – I don’t like Star Wars.
Just saying that is already going to piss off a lot of die-hard fans.
To clarify, I don’t actually hate Star Wars. I’ve seen some of the films and there are some parts I like. I think that Princess Leia is an awesome feminist icon, I love that John Boyega is from the same home town as my dad, and I love telling people that my dad once worked at a hospital with the actor who played Chewbacca. And I appreciate what the franchise did for popularising the sci-fi genre and nerd culture in general.
But even after watching the films, I still haven’t gotten personally invested into the series. In fact, I’m not really into a lot of things which dominate pop culture right now like superheroes or video games. I’ll go and see the latest superhero film if someone in my family wants to see it, but I don’t go out of my way to watch every single film which comes out, regardless of its popularity.
I do know the reasons why I don’t particularly like Star Wars. I was born a generation too late to watch and appreciate the original trilogy when it hit theatres, and now the sci-fi tropes which made Star Wars unique back then have been so overused that they have turned into cliches.
In a way it’s good that nerd culture has pushed into the mainstream and the same people who were picked on when I was at school are now at the top of the high school hierarchy. Yet it does mean that those same people who were the victims of bullying have become the bullies, and not just at school. Fans will jump down your throat and accuse you of being a ‘hater’ if you express an opinion different than their own, or will view you as strange if you don’t have in-depth knowledge of whatever is big in pop culture at the present moment.
When I was at school, being a nerd still meant being a part of the counter-culture and enjoying things outside of the mainstream. That’s why I was writing shitty anime fanfiction while everyone at my school was obsessing over some show called Big Brother. I just couldn’t understand the hype and join in with everyone else, so it made me feel incredibly isolated when I was younger.
But now that the tables have turned, I still feel isolated and locked out of the mainstream. For instance, I have fond memories of visiting the Disney theme parks with my family, but now that my favourite attractions are closing down or being altered to become Star Wars or Marvel themed, I wouldn’t enjoy a Disney trip as much as I once would. I’m feeling isolated from my own childhood nostalgia.
Yet despite what this article implies, I’m still glad to be a nerd and part of the counter culture. I’ve been this way since I was a teenager and I’m not going to change anytime soon. Yes, it’s a little disappointing that I don’t enjoy Disneyland as much as I once did or I have no idea what all the parody videos on Dorkly are talking about. But I still get to enjoy the fanart, fanfics, and discussions for my niche fandoms, and that’s good enough for me.