|The Elvis Costello
Revenge of the Star War nerds
Revenge on the Star Wars nerds
May 22 2002
Lucas understands that while his audience theoretically is children, in reality it is a certain type of (never quite) grown man. The kind who spends all night playing with his new Xbox. The type who thinks Princess Leia is a credible female character; in fact may be the ultimate female character - well she does end up a virgin in a skimpy bikini.
In short, the type of man who wouldn't know what to do with a real woman if you put the instructions in large print on the back of a still-sealed action figure of Han Solo.
Now, my seven-year-old loves the Star Wars series. It is pitched at her level: the stilted dialogue that sounds like a bad children's novel; the Watch Spot Run plots; the wacky side characters ready for reduced-scale reproduction in plastic. But boys - and let's be honest here, you still are boys aren't you? - what is your excuse? Do the words arrested development ring a bell with you?
What was OK for a pack of teenagers in 1977 is a real worry now, though.
They could be sitting on the Bench tomorrow or handing you a parking ticket or taking your confession on Saturday.
God help us, some of them may eventually, if accidentally, mate. Forget Baise-Moi, this is more of a danger to our comfortable and relaxed society: whole cities of identically warped men making decisions based on a code of living pilfered from John Ford westerns and Rudyard Kipling. Whole cities of men who look alike, too.
I don't mean the costumes they've spent hours perfecting but that pasty-faced, slightly sweaty, eager to please, even more eager to be pleased look of the desperate and dateless. Sure, laugh, but then remember that they watch Star Wars and they vote. Be afraid.
And when I say that there's something out of whack about a room full of identikit men, believe me, I know of which I speak.
A few years ago when Elvis Costello toured Australia, I attended four of his concerts (and no, there's nothing wrong with that at all, thank you very much). Fabulous concerts all, but rather disturbing. Not him, but us: we the audience.
Disconcertingly, we looked alike. So many of us men in our 30s and 40s, glasses, a little heavier than we might prefer, and maybe sporting some facial hair in arrangements that suggested masculinity with dignity (we thought) or silly bits of fungus (you may prefer).
But before any of you Lucas-nerds reach triumphantly for your smug sneers (they're over there, behind your Millennium Falcon replica) I would like to point out one small thing.
While you're still wondering whether the first date is too early to ask the girl in accounts to dress like Queen Armidala, most of the Costello-nerds were with wives/partners/female fellow fans: you know, fleshy human types not dressed in any way like a character from a Costello song.
We may be sad but we're not tragic.
Copyright © 2002. The Sydney Morning Herald.