Why I Might Not See Star Wars


Julia Felsenthal in Vogue:

A long time ago, the words “Star Wars: Episode VII” would have sent me into paroxysms of joy. The percussive clatter that opens John Williams’s famous score could make me sweat with Pavlovian zeal. That was an era when, more often than not, the hip pocket of my jeans concealed a tiny dime-store replica of the Millennium Falcon, its back panel hand-painted with glow-in-the-dark nail polish that I stole from my older sister. At night, my crude plastic hunk of junk would radiate dimly as though half-heartedly engaging its hyperdrive. During the day it was a secret talisman, a close-at-hand porthole to a world within a world.

All this did not take place in a galaxy far, far away; it took place in Chicago, where I grew up. I loved Star Wars. I don’t remember when I first saw the films. I do know that by the time I reached junior high, in the mid-’90s, my simmering ardor had reached full, rolling boil.

As I write this, I am struck again by how not cool that sounds. I entered—and exited—middle school nearly 6-feet tall, weighing about 95 pounds, and fully androgynous, a look that may have played well in CK One ads but was not so popular on the bar mitzvah circuit in insular, private-school Chicagoland. I was ill-prepared for the light-speed jump of adolescence, the transformation from childhood to teenagerhood that so many of my friends seemed to be making overnight. The future felt even more terrifying than the present. Star Wars offered a wormhole between future and past, a galaxy that mashed up technology with mythology, the power of computing with the knights of the Round Table. Captivating stuff for someone who blew her bat mitzvah money on a cutting-edge IBM Aptiva PC so that I could better play a Sims-like role-playing game about the management of medieval castles and feudal estates.

More here.