Saturday, December 6, 2014

Who is the Normal and Who Is the Weird?

I finally got around to reading this piece entitled "Examining the US Military's Long, Weird, Star Wars Fascination."  I guess we should not blame the title on the author, since one could also call it: "cool ways that Star Wars has affected our thinking."

The article does not really document that there is anything "weird" in this.  How is the US military distinct from American culture in its interest in Star Wars?  No data here.  We do know from its ubiquity in pop culture, that Star Wars is not just a military thing.  So, how can we call it weird? 

Also, how fascinated is the military?  Yes, some people in the military are fascinated, and some folks use Star Wars as useful analogy to explain stuff, but how deeply/broadly does the US military indulge in SW stuff?  The examples here are just a bit problematic:
  • Naming hand prosthetics after Luke.  No, this is not the military but a company making the product;
  • An article using lessons about overreliance on expensive technology--ok, using pop culture to as an analogy makes sense to me. 
  • Laser cannons.  Ok, this one might qualify if Star Wars was the first to popularize laser weapons, but noooo, hardly.  Also, the text here is about the media call these new laser-cannons Star Wars-laser cannon.  Last I checked, the media ain't the military.  So, who is fascinated?
  • Kids and parents and random folks wearing Star Wars stuff and playacting?  Apparently, no one involved in this article has gone to a Comic Convention and seen the cosplay.  We could only expect no Star Wars stuff being enjoyed by US military personnel if the gap between the military and society was so vast that the SW stuff did not cross over.
  • They call the old guy who headed a Net Assessment Office "Yoda".
  • Reagan?  Really? Last I checked Reagan was a civilian.
 So, yes, Star Wars is everywhere, it connects us, it binds us, it is ... akin to the force.  Saying the US military is weird or fascinated is just silly.  Many of us are fascinated by Star War, and thus we are giddy after the release of the teaser.

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