In praise of Star Wars Rebels

I'm changing the name of this blog, and #WeWantLeia is why

I spoil it for Siri

Guest Post: How I came back to Star Wars action figures by YASWB

Beatrice and I watch Star Wars together

[Review] William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher 

Star Wars oil painting exhibit "Sandstorm" opens

Breakneck boredom: an old time Star Wars fan's thoughts on Star Trek Into Darkness

They put me on the news to talk about Star Wars

More from Steve Sansweet on Star Wars and gay marriage

Carmine Infantio has died

I can die happy: I've been interviewed by Dungeons & Dragons

Star Wars Episode 7: All My Children?

What JJ Abrams needs to really succeed with Star Wars 7

Star Wars: The Old Republic is gay--on one planet at least

Tongal and Pringles bring us DYI desecration of Star Wars

Reminiscences about West End Games' Star Wars Roleplaying Game

Here's the biggest Star Wars news of 2012

Stephen Quinn interviews me about Star Wars on CBC Vancouver

Star Wars: modern myth or global franchise?

Parents turn child's 1st birthday into extended Lucasfilm/Hasbro advert

Me reading from A Long Time Ago

Highlights and lowlights of the upcoming Star Wars Celebration VI

Grown men (mostly) dressed up as Lando Calrissian

Beggar's Canyon Toys offer Star Wars toy "restoration" service

Blog's t-shirts banned by Zazzle

Will the real David Prowse please stand up?

LaserSaber: Unlicensed, dangerous and yours for only $99

Is this the future of Star Wars?

Is Star Wars link bait?

Dissent not tolerated at the Prequel Appreciation Society

TSOT discovers its nemesis

Comme des idiots: Star Wars teams up with poncy fashion house

US Christian activist attacks SWTOR for being gay

Yodaphone--the latest product pitch from Star Wars Inc.

Attention tortoise-fanciers: do you like Star Wars?

History of Star Wars as related by a bot

Is Star Wars a travesty of science fiction?

Luke Skywalker and company on the Muppet Show

Yoda now shilling instant soup in Japan

Commander who?

$6000 for a toy you can't even play with

Star Wars underwear

Retro Star Wars decor in my son's bedroom

Phantom Menace 3D: Now With Plot

Star Wars and disco: the forgotten love affair

Will Muschamp: What a guy!

Oi, fanboy: grow up! A reply to Darren Franich


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Entries in jedi (6)


Beatrice on Empire and Jedi

I finally showed Beatrice The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. If you've read my book you'll know a little about Beatrice, and about my anxiety that she not be exposed to the World's Biggest Spoiler. Despite the odds (which worsened considerably after her cousin Rory learned about Darth Vader without ever having seen ESB), I somehow managed to keep the secret from her and her brother Zachary. But I felt I was pushing my luck. Now was the time for the big reveal.

Once "I am your father" is out of the bag, there's no reason not to go on and see ROTJ. We watched it together a week later. Above is a video of Beatrice's thoughts on the two films.


Jedi ranks declining in Canada: census

Canada's latest census results show that the number of adherents to Jediism (i.e., as a religion) is declining. From CTV News:

Once numbering in the vicinity of 20,000, the ranks of those in this country who claim to be Jedi Knights have dwindled to fewer than half that figure, according to Statistics Canada's first release of data from the 2011 National Household Survey.

"A lot less this time. I think there's about 9,000 reporting Jedi," said Jane Badets, a senior analyst at Statistics Canada.

"And that was true elsewhere in other countries. A lot less than in other countries, too, doing censuses. Very low reporting of things like Jedi."

What started as a gag among friends on a British Columbia ski hill ballooned into something of a phenomenon on the 2001 census when thousands of Canadians told Statistics Canada they followed the Jedi religion of Star Wars lore.

This pattern is consistent with the results of the recent UK census, where Jediism is also in decline. The joke's getting a bit old, I suppose.

(By the way, if there's a prize for "strained references to Star Wars in a story title", this one wins.)

CTV News: Started as B.C. gag, strong force claiming to be Jedi knights dwindling (with thanks to @mspratt)


Jedi mind meld: slip of the tongue or premeditated dream meme?

As has been widely reported (e.g., here), President Obama mixed his cult classic references yesterday, to the mock outrage of self-proclaimed nerds everywhere, at a press conference about the latest self-inflicted US financial crisis. Here's the clip:

Mediaite reports that the White House has since embraced this slip of the tongue with the following TwitPic:

Note the URL, which redirects to the White House's position on "the Sequester", a phenomenon even less readily understandable than fantasy mind tricks. 

This is far from the first time that US politicians have invoked Star Wars. Just last week a Republican commentator made headlines by referring to a recent conservative conference as the Star Wars bar scene of the conservative movement. Longer ago, former vice-president Dick Cheney acquired the nickname Darth Vader, which he quickly embraced and seems to have enjoyed.

The original Star Wars reference in US politics, it seems, was Senator Ted Kennedy's dubbing of President Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative as "Star Wars". That was meant to be an insult, and no doubt it was a successful one at the time (early 1980s), when the US political class was made up of men and women raised in the pre-Star-Wars era. But as the children of Star Wars grow into middle age, and themselves become the US political class (whether as politicians or voters), references to the movies will only become more common, and will lose any necessarily demeaning connotations. 

It leads one to wonder whether President Obama's "Jedi mind meld" was truly spontaneous, or was instead a brilliantly premeditated meme, one the White House knew would resonate with a large portion of the voters, despite (or even because of) the franchise mashup.


Numbers of British Jedi Knights declining: UK census

The Guardian reports on the results of the most recent UK census. From the report:

At the last census in 2001 there was a campaign to encourage people to answer the question with Jedi, and around 330,000 did so. But the force is apparently on the wane according to Tuesday's figures with 176,632 describing themselves as Jedi Knights.

Even so, the grouping, named after the fictional good guys in the Star Wars films, remains the biggest single category after the leading faiths of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. It ranked higher than followers of other established religions, including Rastafarians (just 7,906 in England and Wales), Jains (20,288) and Baha'i (5,021).

The Guardian: Census 2011 data on religion reveals Jedi Knights are in decline

See also: The Guardian: Data Blog: Census 2011: how many Jedi Knights are there in England & Wales?


Markus Davidsen on Fiction-Based Religions

The Religious Studies Project has an interview with Markus Davidsen, a PhD candidate at the universities of Aarhus, Denmark and Leiden, Netherlands who studies "fiction-based religions":

The majority of those who identified as a Jedi on the 2001 UK census were mounting a more-or-less satirical or playful act of non-compliance; nevertheless, a certain proportion of those were telling the truth. How does a religion constructed from the fictional Star Wars universe problematise how we conceptualise other religions, and the stories they involve?  And what makes certain stories able to transcend their fictional origins and become myths?

The Religious Studies Project: Markus Davidsen on Fiction-Based Religions


Jedi training in New York City

From the New York Times:

“They come in geeks and go out Jedi warriors,” said Mr. Michael, a founder of the group and a self-ordained Jedi grandmaster.

A sound engineer who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and a self-proclaimed “sci-fi, heavy-metal, over-the-top geek,” he was born Michael Brown and grew up in Rhode Island, where, he said he watched the first “Star Wars” film 32 times in 1977, the year it was released. He recalls first seeing Luke Skywalker learn about the force from Obi-Wan Kenobi and saying to the screen, “I want to do that.”

“I realized that George Lucas made the ideal archetype from all the best disciplines we have,” he said. “I was beat up a lot as a kid, and the lightsaber brings out that strong hero inside of you, so you can stand up for yourself.”

Mr. Michael, 41, says he teaches his charges how to use the Force to navigate living in New York City, whether in a pressurized workplace, a crowded subway or a rowdy bar.

He said he had fashioned a spiritual discipline for the modern urban Jedi, drawing upon his experience with dance, martial arts, sword-fighting and Tibetan Buddhism.

New York Times: Training New Jedis in the Force

See also the related slideshow