Let The Wookiee Win Week 6: Be Like Han March 31, 2010

The following is part six of a seven part column in The Peak. This is the one I wanted to write at the outset, the one that really got me excited about the project. I am as happy with it as I could expect to be. I tried my best to source the inspiration bit, thinking I had seen it on a blog somewhere. But alas. Sounds like a 4chan soundbite anyway, doesn’t it? If the originator is reading this, we should date. And sorry.


Surfing around the information superhighway, cyberspace, if you will, I came across perhaps the most important philosophical advance since Plato said some stuff about stuff. It described the scene in Empire Strikes Back where Han Solo is promised a delicious meal and instead is served a platter of “Darth Vader a la Badass”. With no hesitation, no looking around in surprise, no look of disbelief towards Lando, he just takes out his gun and starts blasting away at him, taking pot shots at a man that can castrate him a parsec away. His thought process begins and ends with “Evil. Shoot it.” The parable concludes: Be Like Han.

So struck was I by this nugget of science that the years of Catholic schooling just melted away, replaced by a sorbet of Harrison Ford-flavored enlightenment. How many years had I admired the roguish smuggler and not realized that he is the perfect role model for everybody? Let me explain with some key examples.

When there is somebody across the dinner table from you who has more or less decided to kidnap you and either kill you or sell you into the bondage of a giant slug gangster not named James Gandolfini, you should probably take the nessecary steps to prevent this action by shooting first.

Be Like Han.

When you’re trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes, be polite about it. If you’re fine, ask them how they’re doing. If they’re on to you, put a bullet in the phone.

Be Like Han.

If a friend get’s killed in battle, the time for tears is after you escape the giant space station that can blow up planets with all the nonchalance of shopping for detergent.

Be Like Han.

When everyone has written you off and when you know you have made a mistake, redemption is as easy as admitting you were wrong and doing right. You can always swoop back in at the nick of time, blow that thing and go home.

Be Like Han.

Never leave a man out in the cold or a soldier behind. And if he is out in the cold, get him someplace warm.

Be Like Han.

Find your Kessel Run and be the best at it.

Be Like Han.

Technology is fallible and intelligence beats radar any day. If you find yourself in a place more dangerous than where you came from (say, inside a giant asteroid worm type thing), don’t fret, just calmly push the throttle as far as it will go.

Be Like Han.

If an authority figure tells you to do something heinous to an innocent, say no. The Nuremberg Defence is never moral and saving a life is worth your own.

Be Like Han.

Even if a friend has proven himself to be a touch greasy in the past, just remember that true friends are in short supply and grease is universal, especially on you.

Be Like Han.

Never, even under the pain of torture, talk to the “Empire” without a “Jedi” present. They are not your friends and you will go to jail.

Be Like Han.

If someone you love is watching you get turned into a Han-sicle, and they finally bust out the L-bomb, don’t waste time assuring them you love them too. You always did.

Be Like Han.

If you are going to be frozen solid for awhile, strike a memorable pose.

Be Like Han.

Despite what skills you may have, post-secondary education should be respected. Be nice to people with lightsabers.

Be Like Han.

Allies come in many shapes and sizes. Furry Marxists with spears can help you take down empires.

Be Like Han.

Lend your car to your friends when they need it, especially to fight wars. It will be fine.

Be Like Han.

When your best friend is about to be crushed by a celestial body of some sort, make god damn sure you have an outreached hand to grab them until someone has to drag you off the cargo ramp. If you can’t haul them in, it’s okay to cry.

Be Like Han.

Pride is not a sin. Confidence and willpower are virtues. Keep a blaster on your right hip and a good woman on your left. Punch people that deserve it. Know when you are wrong, and know that you can be sometimes right.

And when someone tells you that being like Han is a bad thing, have the wisdom and balls to do it anyway.

Be Like Han.

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Let The Wookiee Win: Week 1 January 6, 2010

The following originally appeared in The Peak. It is an exploration on why Star Wars to this day makes me squeal with girlish joy. It is part one of a seven part run.

It all begins with a flash.

The way to properly shoot a lightsaber battle is not exactly the most creative aspect of Star Wars. You take two stalwart opponents or, say, sparring partners, and have them fling brightly coloured phalluses at each other in a vaguely acrobatic neo-fencing duel and pocket the billions thrown at you by young male virgins.

Visually, you add a few frames of pure white every time one of those phalluses touch, and you get that brilliant effect that has dazzled audiences for the better part of four decades. Like a photographer’s flash, it fills the room and leaves you feeling physically dazed, which is an important dismissal of defenses when presenting audiences with the supernatural.

George Lucas was using this technique to brain-slap crowds years before Pokemon up and decided to give epileptics the finger.

I know a lot about lightsabers. I know how to make one (both where to get the amplifying crystals and how to build the housing) and I know their most revered users (Yoda, Mace Windu, and Shak Ti, to name a few).

Not only do I know the name of the technique Obi-Wan Kenobi used to make Darth Vader into a multiple amputee (“mou kei”), I know this is a predominantly Sith move, which is why that nerd to your left gasped when it happened while you were watching Revenge of the Sith (even though he knew for years what had occurred).

I also know that it’s unlikely The Holy Trilogy would have had the same global impact it did without them.

This information serves no real purpose. It won’t help me seduce a woman, provide for a family, or find gainful employment. But lightsabers are probably one of the most important parts of my life and of the lives of millions around the planet.

A long, long time ago, Robin Williams grabbed his nuts and said poets were way more important than lawyers and doctors. Though he had a lusty preoccupation with Langston Hughes and likely meant that the works of the Western canon were a touch more steeped in value than the Millennium Falcon, the Dead Poet founder was making an excellent point on the value of (dare I say it: pop) culture in a societal landscape that expects such things to be abandoned when entering adulthood.

Though I doubt he expected his students to jump up on a desk and yell “O Captain my Captain many Bothans died to bring us this information,” the sentiment applies.

It’s a worldwide flash. A single relative frame against the exorbitantly long reel of time that everyone can see, filling the room and dazzling them in a language of light and sound. Star Wars is an international handshake and an embodiment of our collective thoughts about morality, relationships, and war.

It’s as accessible to those who have no idea what a Holocron is, as it is to those who have read their share of sapphic Force erotica. If civilization collapsed tomorrow it would still be relevant: its archetypes and lessons are as universal as any Bible, plus Ewoks.

In fact, everything worth knowing, you can learn from Star Wars. And over the coming semester, I aim to prove it.

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