Aren't You A Little Middle-Aged For A Stormtrooper? Your Saturday Nerdout
"Come with me if you want to live." Huh? Wrong movie?
Happy Saturday, Wonkers! We have a whole passel of nerdstuff for you, so let's not waste any time with a lede and jump right in, because mostly you want to know why Luke Skywalker appears to have gone to the Dark Side (Spoiler alert: He hasn't).
Mark Hamill Cosplays As A Stormtrooper, For Charity
This is just nice silly fun: Mark Hamill suits up as an Imperial Stormtrooper for the first time since he rescued Princess Leia from her cell in the Death Star, to hang out on Hollywood Boulevard and sell some raffle tickets for charity. The giveaway is for tickets to the LA or London premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakes With A Hangover And No Idea Why It's In Bed With A Wookiee. If you're the sort of person who's into charity fundraisers, you have three days left to blow ten bucks or more, give money to "Force for Change" (which funds a bunch of charities chosen by the cast), and get some swag.
Also worth a look: This nifty video from a 2005 episode of IFC's Dinner for Five, in which Mark Hamill tells J.J. Abrams, Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, and Jason Lee about the time when he pitched the idea of Luke actually turning to the Dark Side in Return of the Jedi:
As an actor that would be more fun to play. I just thought that’s the way it was going from when we finished [Empire]. I figured that’s what will be the pivotal moment. I’ll have to come back, but it will be I have Han Solo in my crosshairs and I’ll be about to kill him or about to kill the Princess or about to kill somebody that we care about. It’s an old cornball movie, like World War II movies.
It was not to be. But in a couple weeks we'll see what Old Luke has gotten himself up to.
Nerd Girl Gifts!
The ubergeeks over at The Mary Sue offer their holiday guide to books that are both nerdy and feministy; their top pick looks like a winner: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks, by Sam Maggs, whch they describe as "a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom." Judging by the reviews, it may be worth the price simply for the advice on dealing with trolls. But mostly, it's a celebration of women in nerd culture, which is a fine world indeed.
This reminds us to also put in a plug for one of the finest novels we've read in the last decade, Jo Walton's Among Others, which won a richly deserved Hugo award for Best Novel in 2012. It's the story of a teen girl whose life at boarding school in the late 1970s is made bearable by reading science fiction and finding the community of geeks. Oh, and also, before the novel even starts, she and her twin sister saved the world with the help of Fairy Folk that only they can see. Walton starts with a pretty simple premise: what happens to fantasy heroes after they've saved the world? She also insists that the protagonist is not at all based on her own youth, and that the year 1979 is completely fictional. You really need to read this novel, if only to amass a collection of science fiction titles to go back and read all over again.
Yep, that's the model for the freaky pony in Adventure Time. But you knew that already.
One more pick from the Mary Sue list: Insanely funny cartoonist Kate Beaton's venture into kids' books that can be read with great pleasure by adults, The Princess and the Pony. Beaton, the genius between the brilliant webcomic Hark! A Vagrant! brings us the tale of a brave young princess who dreams of adventure and warrior stuff, but instead of getting a proud charger for her birthday, receives a very flatulent little pony. Yeah, she had us at "fart jokes."
Gollum, Have You Ever Been In A Turkish Prison?
So here's a reason to like the First Amendment a hell of a lot: Turkey has a law against "insulting the head of state," and a Turkish doctor, Bilgin Çiftçi, has run afoul of it with a Facebook post of the above photo comparing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Gollum, the slimy but complicated critter from the Lord of the Rings. Çiftçi got fired from his job at the Public Health Institution of Turkey in October, and is now on trial and faces up to two years in prison if convicted. The Washington Post explains that Çiftçi has already testified that he meant no insult, no sir, not at all:
But when he appeared in court, Çiftçi insisted that he hadn’t insulted anyone at all. For all his slimy skin and questionable syntactic habits, many say Gollum is not a villain. He may even be a hero. After all, it was he who freed Middle Earth from the tyranny of the ring by biting it off of Frodo’s finger and (albeit inadvertently) plunging with it into the lava roiling inside Mount Doom (spoiler!).
The chief judge admitted he had only seen parts of the movies and not read the books, so he has assembled a panel of Tolkien experts to decide if Çiftçi has a valid defense or if he's merely pissing on the court's hairy toes and saying it's raining, as they say in the Shire.
The group will comprise two academics, two behavioral scientists or psychologists and an expert on cinema and television productions, according to Today’s Zaman. It has two and a half months to review to the evidence before the court reconvenes in February.
Erdogan and his administration are, according to the WaPo piece, notoriously touchy about Erdogan's reputation, and have increased the number of prosecutions for insults to the head of state compared to previous leaders.
The president and his government “don’t have a sense of humor,” cartoonist Selcuk Erdem, whose magazine has been prosecuted for insulting Erdogan, told the BBC. “They don’t want -- or like -- freedom of speech or criticism.”
[contextly_sidebar id="Bas8tJEW2z6zmVghTvBwnk9Gzn5ckXxO"]After the hoax news report that one of the San Bernardino shooters had been identified as "Tayyeep Bin Ardogan," maybe the Turkish president will welcome being compared to a big-eyed guy who just happens to like fancy magic jewelry. Let's also hope that the panel of experts doesn't mention that actor Andy Serkis came up with his Gollum voice after hearing his cat cough up a hairball:
Best Price Tag Of The Year
Some smart person on the Facebook found what may be the greatest unintentional price tag joke ever. We imagine the fan fictions are already being posted somewhere:
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.