In theory, the Star Warsian spectacle that I saw this morning as I sipped my coffee and ate my oatmeal was "cool". It's something I should've liked. Something right up my alley. But not surprisingly, I had some hang-ups. You see, the Today Show had a team of people in front of their studio doing Jedi exercises. They call themselves, "The New York Jedi". http://www.newyorkjedi.com/
Again, in theory, a very cool idea. The guy who started it all seemed interesting. He had a denim jacket with all kinds of geeky patches. (The original Batman logo, the Fantastic Four symbol, etc.) So the guy had geek street cred for sure.
The concept is simple. After watching Star Wars for the umpteenth time like the rest of us, he eventually decided that being a Jedi should be something akin to a real-life martial art. I admit, there's something exciting about seeing a team of people standing on the street fighting with lightsabers. There was no force-pushing of course, because...well, it's not real.
Here's where my hang-up comes into the picture, and let me preface this in some detail. I am not a big fan of fan-fiction. (It'll make sense in a minute.) Fan fiction is always balanced on the knife's edge of really good or absolutely terrible. I've read my fair share of Star Trek fan-fiction, I forayed in Futurama fan-fic for a minute, and I've browsed some Star Wars stuff too. The problem with it is that it's usually done by people who can't write. It's also almost always an obvious rip-off of something else. It's like a geek just sits down and goes, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if Captain Picard had to fight a dinosaur like in Jurassic Park?" Or something ridiculous like that.
It's either those "let's plug the characters we love into other stories" plots or it's some kind of pervy "Dynasty" type storyline where different people get together romantically. Sometimes, it's downright creepy. I'm a self-admitted geek, and even I often think, "Geez, get a life." when I'm reading some of them.
I'm also a geek purist. I don't like it when toy companies make Batman figurines with things like, "Laser blasters" or Luchador masks, or whatever else they just decide is marketable. If it's not in the comic, the movie, or the cartoon...I don't want to see it in the toy aisle. Also, I'm not excited about Abrams' Star Trek, but that's aother argument for another day. I just want it to be known that I know as a geek, I have the tendency to be exacting in a really annoying way.
(Sidenote: I went looking for a skit that SNL did when the movie "Philadelphia" came out in 1993 about toys to accompany the movie. It pretty much stated my point for me, but I can't find it. Let me know if you can.)
So what does this have to do with the New York Jedi? Well, some of the "Jedi" just didn't look anything like they do in the movies. I realize that the concept of what a Jedi looks like became much more fluid after the prequels came out. But, I only saw a handful of Jedi robes. For the most part, it appeared to me that people were dressed as...
B. Vampires (with wings, and no I'm not kidding) &
C. People dressed in bad Halloween costumes
I hate to be the one to try to quell someone's originality...but as a Star Wars geek myself, I was a little embarrassed for our kind. Why can't we pull ourselves together a little? Are there any Star Wars geeks out there who are costume and makeup experts? Anyone, anyone? Why do the Jedis I see look like they're going to go to a rave half the time? If this really were a martial art, wouldn't wearing greasepaint and red contact lenses be kind of a detriment to your fighting skills? I can't imagine that bat wings would help you out very much either, unless they really worked I guess. But now I'm just getting judegemental.
It was pretty funny to see the Today Show crew wearing Obi-Wan Kenobe robes though, so it was definitely worth the watch.
If you're going to do a live Jedi performance, THIS is what it should look like. Watch, and weep at the purist Star Wars glory. (I mean...except for all the screaming kids and the microphone taped to his face. I fully admit to wishing I was a kid again specifically that I could do this.)
Sadly, being a Star Wars nerd and dressing up in public usually works out more like this...
WARNING: There's some material in here that could definitely be considered offensive to some people. (I'm talking to you Grandma...don't watch this. You would think that dog is very rude.)