#MynockMonday is a new fan led initiative, examing the role of consumerism in Star Wars and learning ways to be fans without spending money. In the name of inclusivity, fandom, belonging, and Star Wars should not break the bank. Here, I wanted to be candid in examining the role money plays in my fandom.
My fandom started early. I remember watching Star Wars overnight at my cousin’s house, I believe watching all three in a single sitting. I laughed, I was scared, I was entertained; more, I was in love. When I was six, my parents brought me to The Phantom Menace at midnight. Since then, the franchise has meant a lot to me. You can read about that a bit more here.
But, for as long as I have been a fan, consumerism has always been there with me. I remember having my parents buy me a Darth Maul mask with his double bladed lightsaber. I remember buying a Dooku lightsaber (the electronic one, natch). I remember freaking out at K-Mart over the Saga (2002) collection, buying a Geonosis Arena Padme. I remember taking a Reek toy to school for a Christmas tree when we each had to bring something that described us. I did book reports on early Legends (The Approaching Storm leaving the biggest mark on me, but not for the right reasons.) Even now, I collect every piece of canon media that is released, alongside Rebels figures.
I have been extremely blessed and privileged to be able to support my fandom in this type of consumerist fashion. Sure, I work 50-70 hours a week, but I also love my jobs. But I have also been very privileged in what I don’t pay for, even with school. I’ve worked hard, yes, but I can’t ignore what kind of privileges I have been afforded that a lot could not. That’s why an event like #MynockMonday is so good for me.
Part of the reason I consume so much, rather than create, is that I honestly feel lonely in my fandom a lot. That’s not to say that I don’t have friends in real life who will support my fandom. My roommate and I are watching the Original Trilogy. Friends from Iowa contact me with Star Wars questions. One friend and I bonded over Star Wars, and I continue to do that at my new job. I also have plenty of Twitter friends into Star Wars. I am able to jump into a discussion at most any time and feel welcome. I’ve been privileged to write for sites like mynockmanor.com and eleventhirtyeight.com. Heck, I even co-hosted a podcast briefly, 1,001 Jedha Knights, with weekly articles at FirstOrderofBusiness.net.
But, I think its hard for me to bring up Star Wars in real life. I hate to be ~that guy~, or my made up version of that guy. I am afraid that if I come across as too nerdy, too geeky, what have you, I may lose the “normal” people in my life. So I keep changing my profile picture to Star Wars images, but that’s about the extent I try to keep to with friends in real life, unless otherwise prompted. I may not have to keep it to myself, but I haven’t sensed a lot of invitation to bring it outward. Maybe it is there! But please, if it is, speak up! Star Wars Twitter is great; I wish I had more good ideas and more interesting conversation prompts to start conversations, though. I feel like I can contribute, but never start one! I’ve always felt maybe unhealthily validated when ETE picks up one of my pieces, or every like I get on one of my #LegendaryAdventure posts.
In that loneliness, I think the consumerism rises to fill a void. Where I don’t sense community, I can always fill that emptiness with more Star Wars. Maybe the next figure will get me a connection, or maybe if I read the right book, someone will reach out and we can discuss it. if it’s not this one, its the next. Don’t get me wrong: I love being engrossed in Star Wars; to lose myself in a novel over my lunch or when I am about to fall asleep. There’s few greater feelings! But there’s always that dark undertone of hoping someone notices me and how “big of a fan” I am. And, if it doesn’t work, at least I know there’s more Star Wars to tide me over. In one of those sad ways, its a friend when others can’t (for any reason!) be.
Part of my response to this consumerism is creating content, like I’ve seen before. I’ve written for ETE and have gotten some incredible feedback. Real life friends loved the podcast and wonder when it will return. The #LegendaryAdventures is my way of sparking conversations on novels we’ve read, but haven’t discussed. I hope to bring new life to old novels so that we can find fresh ways to discuss things we’ve already spent money on.
I love Star Wars, and I love the Star Wars community. I’ve felt as I’ve gone deeper into the community, the need to buy has waned. Yes, I still buy canon media, but I don’t “need” it like I used to. I can enjoy what I have and go back and reenjoy old material. I can even step away from Star Wars and read something else! So, thanks to everybody who has been a