A Long Time Ago
A Galaxy Far, Far Away
Today is Star Wars day. I know it came out in some not-America places already but that doesn’t count. People can pretend it does but look at box office receipts: almost half of the money is from America all on her own. That’s 300 million people vs. 6 point whatever BILLION others.
I had something that I thought was really good to write about Star Wars (not the one where I said Episode VII is a fraud; and it wasn’t Swift’s excellent piece on the commercialization aspect). It was about how Episodes 1-3 ruined the overall narrative because it ends up diminishing Luke and makes all six films really about Vader and so on. It’s too late for that now though because I’ll be rewatching VIII in like, an hour or whatever, so I’ll wait on my theory for later.
What I didn’t know though was that there was a controversy around Star Wars. I mean, I knew there’d be something because I’m a nerd and us nerds will always find something to get irrationally angry about, especially if it concerns childhood memories. But this was a controversy involving racism.
Apparently there’s a segment of people – and I don’t know if they’re Star Wars fans, Klan members, or the sliver of the Venn Diagram below – that had a problem with the leads being a black guy and a white woman. This was odd to me because it didn’t even dawn on me that 1. they were the leads (in my head, nothing shown in the commercials is actually important because they’re holding it all back); 2. I didn’t know why this was a problem. I mean, Han Solo was still in VII. And Leia. And Luke. That’s three white people, so whitey is covered there. Fuck, a giant walking Bear-Dog-Thing is an icon as are two obviously gay robots. And all the bad guys have always been Nazi stand-ins, just a collage of white everywhere. Thus, it didn’t occur to me that Star Wars would be something a hardcore racist would be into.
But, yup, there was some Twitter thingy about it. I don’t know how Twitter really works beyond my using it to spam articles. I also don’t know if people realize that “online activism” is the most masturbatory thing you can do on the Internet – and think of what that covers. So a bunch of racist nerds (group most likely to never have sex) jerked off with each other online about a black guy holding a lightsaber. (Note: Lightsabre would be a cooler spelling.)
Anyways. I started feeling pretty good about myself. You’ve gotta be a pretty open-minded, post-racial guy if racism never even occurs to you, right? OR: you’re a huge racist because you don’t even know you’re racist! (Most people don’t see themselves as irrational, bad, or other things – the same would apply to being a racist.) Therefore, I now examine if I – Michael Coughlin – am a racist.
Am I a racist?
- I’ve never called anyone nigger.
- I’ve thrown around a lot of insults in my day but I’ve never dropped the N Bomb as an insult. That’s good but could be due to my latent fear that black people have super powers.
- I feel weird reading the word nigger.
- This goes for singing too. I’ll read Mark Twain and “Nigger Jim” feels icky to me. Which is funny because Twain was progressive as fuck and illustrating the racism of his times. “Niggas in Paris” is also one of my favorite songs but I think as long as I sing it with the “As” and not “ER” and never, ever do so in the presence of a black person, I’m OK. Think of the nerdy guy in his car in Office Space.
- I’m not even aware that certain terms are slurs.
- Some merit, but really paints me as a potentially ignorant racist, frankly. True story: I did not know that the term for Polish people was “Pole” until I was 13. I legitimately thought it was “Polack” because that’s what my dad always said. I still think the latter sounds better than the former because who wants to be a pole? This means I might be using terms today that aren’t right all because my dad was an ass.
- Most of my sports heroes are black and/or foreigners.
- Good! Barry Bonds? You better believe I’ll defend him to the death. Willie Mays is a god. Michael Jordan: fuck you, he could still lead a team to a championship if he wanted to. And I was more interested in golf when Tiger Woods was good.
- I’m not interested in golf.
- I’m a white, suburban, lawyer and I don’t play golf. I’m like a fucking Panda I’m so rare.
- Basketball is my least favorite of the major sports. (Almost.)
- I like many, many sports. And they all have black guys playing in them. Of the major sports though, if I had to rank them it would be:
- American Football
- Anything else.
MMA is a really diverse sport, not just racially but nationality wise, so that’s a good thing. Baseball is perceived as a white guy sport, and it sorta is, but there’s a shitton of Latinos that play it. Football/soccer is beyond race because everyone, everywhere (except here) plays it. American Football is diverse. It’s the hockey above basketball one that gets me in trouble. Hockey is as white as basketball is black. That’s slightly racist of me. However, growing up, I was a thousand times better at hockey than basketball so that could also be part of the appeal. It’s not that I don’t like basketball, it’s just last on my list in general. Well, except tennis. Tennis sucks and that’s mostly white guys (except women’s tennis – damn).
- I like black comedians.
- Richard Pryor and Chris Rock are great! Adam Sandler isn’t. This is a plus for not-racist but a negative as far as maybe being anti-Semitic. I also liked Bill Cosby, so that’s a not-racist but possibly pro-rape vote.
- I didn’t vote for Donald Trump.
- That’s in the “not racist” pile but also in the “sane pile.” I’d vote for Chairman Mao before Trump. (Note: This was originally written in 2015 – my tune has changed I would now possibly vote for him just to see people cry. I’m a dick.)
- I would vote for Ben Carson. Maybe.
- If the Democrats put Mao on the ticket, I’d vote for Carson. Definitely not-racist. Problem is, it makes me pro “moron thinks pyramids are grain silos” which, honestly, terrifies the fuck out of me. This dude operated on baby brains – successfully and brilliantly – and yet he thinks the pyramids were full of wheat or whatever. That’s a “not-racist but under the right circumstances possibly pro-idiot” check mark.
- I never donated to the NAACP.
- Slightly racist.
- I’ve never donated to anything besides some kid I sponsor in Ecuador.
- Except for holidays, when the Salvation Army guilt trips me out of my change when I leave the store following my daily purchase of booze, I don’t give my money to any groups but I do sponsor some kid in Ecuador. They send me updates and all that but I don’t like looking at them because they make me sad.
- I also donate to ASPCA.
- I sponsor a kid in Ecuador!
- Hey, wait, that’s pretty not racist!
- I didn’t notice that one of the leads in Star Wars 7 was black – BECAUSE HE LOOKS FUCKING BADASS!
- Totally a check in the not-racist column and I think that one seals it!
Final Verdict: Not racist, but could be more sensitive at times.
Anyways, off to go watch the Light Side beat the Dark Side.