May the Fourth be with You! It’s Star Wars day!

R2-D2 behind the scenes at TEDxNashville.

R2-D2 behind the scenes at TEDxNashville. (Photo: TEDxNashville)

It’s May the Fourth; in other words, a sacred day for fans of Star Wars. Although the pun “May the Fourth” is credited to an ad that ran in the London Evening News back in 1979, this is a fairly recent “holiday,” one that is credited as beginning in an underground cinema in Toronto in 2011. No matter how you choose to celebrate the day, here are a few talks related to Star Wars worth checking out.

The hidden meanings in kids’ movies | Colin Stokes | TEDxBeaconStreet

“We’re raising our children in a kind of children’s fantasy spectacular industrial complex,” Stokes say in his talks. He begins by pointing out that in The Wizard of Oz, “all of the most heroic and wise and villainous characters are female.”

Fast-forward 40 years to the release of Star Wars, and we see on the surface, very little has changed: “Another movie that featured a metal guy and a furry guy rescuing a girl by dressing up as the enemy’s guards,” Stokes points out. But one of the big differences between The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars (or almost any movie made today)? There’s very little violence. Dorothy wins her movie by making friends with everybody and being a leader. “That’s kind of the world I’d rather raise my kids in,” Stokes says. “Why is there so much force, with a capital “F” and so little yellow brick road?”

The majority of movies made today include a male protagonist, Stokes says; apart from a few princesses or warriors, female characters are few and far between. He brings up the Alison Bechdel test as the criteria for how women are seen in movies:

1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

Watch his talk below to hear more:

Robots, spaceships, and greeblies — build your dream: Chris Lee at TEDxNashville

Chris Lee refers to events in his life as either before or after Star Wars (1977). As a 12 year old he dreamed of having his own R2-D2 robot; as he grew older, the dream remained but his skill set expanded allowing him to realize it. In 1995, Lee became one of the first Stormtroopers of the Star Wars costuming group the 501st Legion, a group of more than 10,000 active members worldwide. “When you get that many nerds together in a room it can get pretty awesome,” Lee says. But the group doesn’t simply just “get together.”

“We knew kids love this stuff as much as we do,” he says. “What could we do to pay something back? We decided sick kids really need attention, something to do; hospitals are boring.” They began to visit burn units and children’s hospitals and began fund raising, eventually creating a charity wing of the 501st Legion. In 2013, Lee points out, they were indirectly responsible for having raised 32 million dollars for charity.

Watch his inspiring talk below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address and name are required fields marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>