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?”
“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…