Tag Archives: everything is stupid

Can’t We Just Like Things?

If there’s one article of clothing that gets me more comments than any other, it’s my Star Wars hoodie.

The garment itself is nothing special, but something about it just seems to draw people out. I get people all the time that will scan the logo, look me in the face, and give me that knowing nod.

I even had a guy approach me in the parking lot a few weeks ago, all serious:

“Excuse me, sir?”


“May the force be with you.”

I smiled and said the only thing you can say in such situations: “and also with you.”

He then got all quizzical and asked me if my mask had a cat on it, which it did at the time, but this is not a story about how I had to wear my wife’s cat mask to the grocery store, it’s a story about my Star Wars hoodie.

Thing about Star Wars lately — as is the thing with so many things lately — is that it’s polarizing. With the new movies out, people put themselves into camps, and you’re either on team “love new Star Wars omg YAY” or “new Star Wars is 100% bad and Star Wars belongs 40 years in the past”. (For the record, I’m on team StarWarsYAY.)

And you know what? Fine. Everybody gets to have their opinion, and if the new Star Wars aren’t your thing, well, you’re wrong, but that’s ok.

But for some reason, because I was wearing my Star Wars hoodie, the guy sweeping the floor at the Kroger decided I was his buddy.

(Detour. I make no prejudgments about the guy based on the fact he was sweeping the floor at the Kroger. I myself started my working life sweeping the floor at Kroger. But I would never have done what this kid did, and for that, and that alone, I judge.)

He approaches me: “Nice sweatshirt.”

Me: “Thanks.”

“Glad to see it’s for the old ones, too, and not the new ones.”

I mean, I get he was making an attempt to be cordial, but you can see he’s made some rather large assumptions right from the go. (The first of which is that I am interested in his favorite Star Wars movie, which, no offense, but while shopping for my family’s dinner for the week, I am not.) ‘The old ones,’ he said, ‘and not the new ones.’ As if this were obvious, as if nobody could conceivably feel any other way, as if We Two Dudes are connoisseurs who know what Real Star Wars movies are and anybody who feels otherwise deserves worse than ridicule. Never mind that he’s expressing nostalgia for a thing that existed decades before he was even thought of. This is the equivalent of your eight-year-old telling you that Fraggle Rock is far superior to Muppet Babies. What the hell do you know about any of that?

But I have a special sort of disdain for the sort of person who goes all elitist about their favorite intellectual properties. So I engaged.

“Actually, I’m quite a fan of the new movies. In fact, I think The Last Jedi may be the best Star Wars movie.”

(I don’t believe this, not really — though I do quite like it and I think it’s top-3 — but this is guaranteed to bait a Star Wars Snob.)

“Are you kidding?”

“Nope, I think the new saga is great.”

A moment of silence from my new friend, who stood agog. “Even though the writers themselves said that, after the second movie, they realized they’d written themselves into a corner and wished they could re-do the whole thing?”

I don’t know if this is true, and I don’t care. “Did they? I dunno. Certainly nothing in the new movies is any worse than Ewoks.”

He’s shaking his head, now, aware how badly he’s miscalculated and trying to figure a way out of the conversation while saving face. “I just felt like we deserved better.”

Here I could have gotten on my soapbox and given a lecture to this young whippersnapper about how The World Owes You Nothing and Beggars Can’t Be Choosers but I went with a rather tame “Man, just be happy you’ve got this thing you love, and you’re getting more of it. When I was your age, we got the Prequels.”

Which is true.

It was a dark time.

He walked off shaking his head, and I did the same.

Star Wars is this weird thing, now. It used to be you could spot another fan in the wild and have a great conversation about the movies, the characters, your favorite moments.

Now even a thing so pure as Star Wars is poisoned with snobbery and holier-than-thou thinking.

Harry Potter is the same. (Ask me how I feel about my Deathly Hallows tattoo now that J.K. Rowling has become a font for ethically dubious statements on Twitter.) And so are so many things.

Can’t we just like things anymore? Isn’t it enough to see another fan and say, “hey, I love Star Wars too,” and let that be the end of it? I could’ve walked away feeling good, he could’ve walked away feeling good.

But no. It’s not enough. You’ve got to pick a favorite, and that means you’ve got to pick a side, and if you’re on the other side, you’re dumb and stupid and probably a socialist or a nazi to boot.

Man, I’m tired.

I love wearing masks, I hate wearing masks

Never have I had such a love-hate relationship with a thing as with masks.

On the one hand, I actually really, really like wearing one. For one thing, having a practical way to gain some protection against illness — that nobody is asking questions about since everybody is doing it (or at least they should be!) — is fantastic. For another, it stays bloody cold in my office and, silly as it sounds, I sometimes keep the mask on even when I’m all alone because it literally keeps my face warmer.

Truly, though, I have a bit of RBF and the mask just helps to cover that up. (I’ve heard that I intimidate students — those who don’t know me, at least — because I just “look scary”. I don’t see it.)

So, masks are great!

But they’re, unfortunately, not all that comfortable. I end up smelling my own breath a lot more than I’d like, which is … strange. And they get in the way of reading faces, which kiiinda screws up communication with people.

But more than anything, I hate just how divisive they’ve become, in light of everything in our country. They’re symbolic, somehow, of the chasm that’s opened up between the right and the left in this country, and I heckin’ hate it. Because the mask itself is an item utterly without content. It’s there to protect you and others around you from the spread of disease, that’s it, full stop.

But because everything in America is political now, wearing one or not wearing one can be a signal to everybody else about how you think about issues as wide-ranging as abortion, gun control, free speech, religion … the mask has become entrenched in all this other crap and it’s keeping us in this hellish liminal state, this limbo between “getting back to normal” and totally locked down.

And because masks turned all controversial, we’ve been stuck living these half-lives for months while much of the rest of the world is moving on. It’s like watching a rescue boat sail away as you’re going down with the Titanic.

Jesus, everything feels so depressing.

Anyway, you should vote in November.

Things You Could Do Instead of Playing Pokemon Go:

Literally anything.

Already a guy has admitted to crashing his car into a tree (and I mean totaling it) because he was playing while driving.

Police departments across the country (if not the world? International readers, help me out) have been issuing statements: exercise caution while playing. Do not trespass while playing. Do not play while driving. etc.

My Facebook feed (YES I STILL USE FACEBOOK DEAL WITH IT) is lousy with jokes and memes and “funny” pictures of Pokemon popping out of people’s pants.

And people I know personally have expressed anger — ANGER! — at being run out of graveyards late at night because they were playing the game.

The game might encourage people to get up off the couch. It might encourage them to get out and socialize. It might rekindle a long-lost love for a game that many people apparently enjoyed in their youth. (I never saw the appeal, but hey, it takes all kinds.)

But it also encourages loitering. It encourages wandering more or less blindly into unfamiliar places. It encourages walking around with your face glued to your phone screen — which is something we already do too much of.


This fad cannot run its course soon enough.

Now get off my lawn.

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