Why I’ve Lost The May the 4th Spirit: A Commentary

The first time I’d ever heard of “May the Fourth” was 12 years ago. Several co-workers who knew I was a Star Wars fan ambushed my desk and said, “Do you know what day it is?”

“Uh, no?”

“May the 4th be with you!” they chorused. Sure I had fun co-workers but I still wonder how the heck I was the last to know about the significance of May 4. In any case, I gamely continued along with this made-up internet holiday for the next several years. It was an excuse to wear Star Wars t-shirts or jewelry or whatever I had and take advantage of some promotional deals.  It has become a huge marketing tool and it seems like even people who mostly don’t care about Star Wars or know much about it feel some sort of compulsion to participate.

Now my answer to “May the 4th” is, “Bah, humbug!” No I’m not going to smack co-workers with a cane when they wish me a ”May the 4th Be With You” or anything but I’m over it being anything important that I have to celebrate. I don’t care about the commercialization part of it. Companies will find any reason to sell us Star Wars stuff after all.

But one problem I have with May the 4th is it isn’t in any way significant to Star Wars itself. It’s based off of a silly pun.  (It’s also not the only day in May subject to goofy Star Wars puns: no one can agree on whether Revenge of the Fifth or Revenge of the Sixth is more clever.)  If you had to pick a day to celebrate Star Wars as a whole, why not May 25th, when ANH was released? That started it all. Or why not on George Lucas’s birthday, May 14th? For Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Day, May 19 is logical because that’s when TPM and ROTS came out.

But the biggest problem I have with May the 4th is that it has come to exacerbate the fault lines and lack of respect among fans. I fully expect people to go to Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or whatever to spend more time trashing what they don’t like about Star Wars instead of celebrating what they do like. Why? Because that’s what I’ve been seeing online for years now! Every stupid geek faux personality had been feeling obligated to use their May the 4th posts to trash the prequels. I’ve posted about this happening a few years now.

My last straw was a year ago when I not-too-wisely got into an argument with a stranger over one of his backhanded May the 4th posts. I thought, “This is why this thing exists? So people can bash the prequels and I end up getting into arguments with them?”  This is supposed to be about celebrating what makes us happy and I was miserable.   I felt like George Costanza’s father telling the story of why he founded Festivus, because the fights over buying Christmas gifts got to him. There has to be a better way! (Like Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Day, coming May 20!)

So you can go on with your May the 4th festivities; I’m sitting them out.  No May the 4th greetings, no Star Wars-wear to work.  Like the Oingo Boingo song says, it’s just another day.

But I will take advantage of sales on anything good…

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27 Responses to “Why I’ve Lost The May the 4th Spirit: A Commentary”

  1. Doug Says:

    Sadly, the truth is that EVERYTHING Star Wars seems to represent the fault lines between the fans now. That’s practically all there is on the message boards and in the fan communities on Facebook. Even positive comments are laced with disdain for whatever that commenter dislikes. It’s all bashing – mostly at the prequels and George Lucas, but there’s hatred and anger over the new EU/original EU, towards the Clone Wars/Rebels cartoons and even some TFA-bashing in there too, now. The prequels became the first grand fracturing of an increasingly splintered group.

    Star Wars fans are the second most hateful fandom I’ve encountered on the Internet. (First place is still Silent Hill fans; good luck catching THEIR level of bile.) They seem so focused on what they despise, they never seem to talk about what they LIKE. This level of focus on flaming and negative campaigning is usually reserved for politics.

    Part of what makes this site/blog/whatever you want to call it distinctive is that we DON’T give into hate. And we thank you for that. This is a FANDOM, after all. We’re supposed to be FANS. You know, like… people who like/enjoy things! Who celebrate those things! Who take pleasure in our little area of fiction!

    So May the 20th be with you or whatever you like, people. Drink your Jawa Juice from your Burger King ROTJ glass, snack on a BB-8 orange, have a Jar-Jar tongue-lollipop for dessert (weird).

    • buick runner Says:

      You forgot special edition bashing, the grand daddy of Star Wars bashing topics. I think fan base fracturing is an unavoidable consequence as a franchise grows and new chapters of varying quality are added.

    • Yellow12 Says:

      Can you educate me on how bad Silent Hill’s fanbase is ?
      (Curious, cause I’m a fan of its main ‘opponent’ , whose fanbase can get frustrating , but it’s not AS bad as SW community)

  2. Rogue 47 Says:

    The bashing culture in Star Wars is a much wider phenomenon and … actually … has nothing to do with Star Wars, any of its fcinematic or tv outputs or its fans. Bashing culture has its roots in the growing discontent with the recession-like state of our societies since the mid-to late Eighties. Ever since then there has been a growing undercurrent whose line of political argumentation (irrespective of political preference) is bashing the integrity of whoever they disagree with. ‘All politians are corrupt and in the pocket of Wallstreet’ or ‘left-wing elitism has opened the flood gates of migration’ are really no different from ‘All Lucasfilm cares about is selling toys’ or ‘Because Lucas allowed no opposing views we ended up with all-CGI films’.

    Now this kind of argumentation is everywhere. Many Prequelbashers have turned into ‘little Trumps’ for whom facts no longer matter, but then … who could be surprised given the fact ‘Plinkett’ is their spiritual example. But it’s not different from how many Trumpists talk about the fans of their competitor, or many of the Sanderists talk about Clinton. How Fox talks about ‘liberals’ … you name it, this ‘culture’ is everywhere on every side of any argument. It’s a sign of the times, nothing particular to Star Wars.

    Is withdrawal the best way of confronting this? I don’t think so but it surely is a perfectly legitimate option. Is confronting it a better option? I don’t know! Is at least not playing along a good option? Yes, i think it is!

    • darth66zannah Says:

      Very good points. It’s not just SW, it’s society. All they promote is division and not unity. The worst of human nture has become mainstream in America and SW is just one of the many things that is plagued by this. I despise SW fans in general and equate them as the some of the worst people ever, right up there with Nazis and the KKK. They treat people like garbage. The only safe haven is here. Everywhere from youtube to IGN to Cinemablend to MTV news basically tells me, “You like the prequels? F–k you and drop dead you stupid idiot. Those movies are terrible and you are the only one that likes them. You have terrible taste in film.”

      • lazypadawan Says:

        I would NOT go as far as to compare these people, as bad as they could be sometimes, to the Klan or Nazis. Keep things in perspective.

      • Rogue 47 Says:

        The bashers are, in the end, ordinary people with the same insecurities and imperfections as all of us. However those who do the actual bashing usually feel protected by anonymity of a feeling of superiority due to ‘belonging’ to some kind of imagined majority. The thing is … bashers are just a loud minority. Sometimes very loud … but still a minority despite the fact they use multiple accounts ‘to hide their numbers’.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I think you need to bear in mind that there are fans here of varying political backgrounds and wouldn’t take kindly to being compared to something they are not.

      • Rogue 47 Says:

        I am comparing the way in which certain people argue, irrespective of their political preferences. I was making a politically neutral statement about a manner of communicating, not identifying any political group as being particularly problematic.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        When you’re comparing a prominent prequel basher with a presidential candidate that some readers of this site support, that’s not really a neutral statement. I understand the point you’re making, just don’t assume everyone sees things the way you do.

    • Doug Says:

      I like what you’re saying and I hear you: We’ve become a culture of extremism, a culture of “us vs THEM,” whatever the demonized “THEM” may be.

      There is no longer a “great and worthy opponent” that we shake hands with even though we may disagree – there’s only the people we vilify, the same way that we see so much bile in modern politics. You see it in comic fans arguing over Marvel vs DC. You see it in video game fans arguing over their favorite game console or game series.

      I wish there was a “Reasoned, Dispassionate, Logical Discourse” setting we could all turn ourselves to.

      • Rogue 47 Says:

        I guess the bad news is … this problem doesn’t have an easy fix. The good news is however: we can all contribute to fixing it ourselves. But it will take time.

  3. Christian Says:

    May 4th means nothing to me too!

    Now April 426, A L I E N day, that’s a different story. 🙂

  4. Jacobesico Says:

    I don’t really bother much with Star Wars Forums or Geek sites save here.

    Geek sites are an insult to my intelligence. They are just a bunch of clueless manbabies crying over their lost childhoods.

    I’ve stopped reading Youtube comments as well. Sure, there are more supportive towards the prequels but I’ve decided that I’m going to stop giving myself a heart attack because of someones total ignorance.

    But I don’t really care about May the Fourth but May the Fourth be with you anyway. I really do enjoy the discussions that take place here.

    • Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

      I have done the same, YouTube comments are not just insulting but a waste of time as well (although some times I do unfortunately break my self-promise… but at least there are some funny clever comments once in a while. Though, that is regarding everythign else… Star Wars however, I don’t even read articles becuase of past experiences).

      • Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

        (Darn, didn’t fix “everything” and “because” >: ()

  5. zch81721 Says:

    I’m just hoping Disney announces something worth my time but honestly I am not holding my breath.

    • Yellow12 Says:

      A rather REAL ‘practical’ product … ?
      I would certainly dig that …

    • lazypadawan Says:

      They announced today that Celebration VIII, er, Celebration 2017 will be in Orlando, thankfully not during hurricane season.

      • zch81721 Says:

        I was thinking more of a trailer for Rebels season 3 (maybe give that team full creative freedom), maybe them saying that Rian Johnson has absolute creative freedom on Episode VIII, maybe a comic not set during the OT (getting really sick of those and maybe throw the KOTOR people a freakin bone), maybe announce a spin off actually worth my time (like the Obi-Wan one Ewan McGregor keeps talking about), or maybe just maybe you bring back Clone Wars on Netflix! Again this is pretty much my “wish list” that I’m sure is already in a dumpster somewhere at Disney.

      • Brian47 Says:

        zch81721, there have been comics not set during the OT time frame, namely the 12-issue Kanan series which primarily took place during the Clone Wars and the current Obi-wan/Anakin series. In addition, even the OT-set comics have had prequel references throughout, whether it’s trips to Naboo or repurposed battle droids.

        And as far as I know, TCW series is still available on Netflix, I think I just watched some episodes a few weeks ago.

        Rian Johnson has pretty firm creative control over Episode VIII, but regardless, the fact is that SW is now under the Disney umbrella and each movie of theirs still has to pass by the big bosses.

      • jayoungr Says:

        I believe zch81721 was hoping that there might be NEW episodes of TCW on Netflix. Hey, if we’re just dreaming, why not dream big?

  6. Megan Says:

    Reblogged this on The RebeLibrarian and commented:
    In case you’re wondering why you’ll never heard me utter the words “May the 4th.” It’ll never happen. Don’t hold your breath waiting. I reject this day. I’ll see you in a few weeks for TRUE Star Wars Day(s).

  7. Eduardo Jencarelli Says:

    Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew are promoting today (May 5th) as Revenge of the 5th, with hashtags and all.

  8. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    The bashing culture in Star Wars is a much wider phenomenon and … actually … has nothing to do with Star Wars, any of its fcinematic or tv outputs or its fans. Bashing culture has its roots in the growing discontent with the recession-like state of our societies since the mid-to late Eighties. Ever since then there has been a growing undercurrent whose line of political argumentation (irrespective of political preference) is bashing the integrity of whoever they disagree with.

    This has been going on with mankind for a long, long time.

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