Dear JJ Abrams: Star Wars Was a “Girls Thing,” Too. Ya Twit.

In an interview on Good Morning, America, JJ Abrams, director of the newest Star Wars installment, said, “Star Wars was always a boys thing and a movie that dads took their sons to.” He went on to spew, “and though that’s still very much the case, I was really hoping this could be a movie that mothers take their daughters to as well.”

Mr. Abrams, if you really think that it “was always a boys thing,” you’re a total fucking maroon. You’ve never talked to a female Star Wars fan, or any woman, really. And that’s pathetic. Because if you had, you’d realize that Star Wars wasn’t a “boys thing” or a “girls thing” — it was everybody’s thing.

If you knew me, you’d have probably already read my essay, “Dogma, Darth Vader and My Sexual Awakening,” which describes how much I loved Darth Vader growing up. But I wasn’t just a Darth Vader fan. I was a fan of all things Star Wars from the first movie onward. (I admit my enthusiasm waned with the barfy prequels.) My little sister Danielle, too, loved the films. However, she was five years younger, and no film captures a toddler’s imagination the same way it does a precocious pre-tween. Still, we both begged our parents to see the first movie. My father resisted. “For Christ’s sake!” he’d say. “Lines are around the block!” We’d just moved to Simi Valley, which was not in Los Angeles proper. Still, the film was as insanely popular there as anywhere else. Danielle and I begged him to take us until he relented.

The whole family went and stood in those long lines because it was an everybody film. And everyone in my family loved it. That’s why it’s a classic, JJ. I hate to break it to you, but if everybody didn’t love Star Wars, it wouldn’t have been the phenomenon that it was. So please stop congratulating your Y chromosome for something it couldn’t have done on its own.

Me? I was obsessed. My parents bought Danielle and I light sabers for the following Christmas, as well as the board game. (I still have that light saber. The handle broke years later, so I replaced it with a yellow flashlight.) One of my good friends in sixth grade, Julie Byram, gave me the original Star Wars poster because I was slightly more obsessed than she was. (I’m pissed because my ex-husband absconded with it. IT’S MINE, DAMMIT.) Every girl and boy I knew loved that movie. I loved the film more, in fact, than any of my male friends. And I had plenty, as I was the only girl in my junior high school who played Dungeons & Dragons.

When I was in high school, I joined the Official Star Wars Fan Club with the help of Mom. (Mom, not Dad.) I thought I’d absolutely die of suspense waiting for the second film as I read rumors about the plot and saw photos of my heroes in the snows of Hoth. I had Star Wars dreams. I bought — but couldn’t bear to use — Star Wars notebooks, which sat in a drawer untouched with my beloved comic books. I drew pictures of Darth Vader and other characters. I wrote Star Wars stories in my head. I counted down the days until The Empire Strikes Back opened. I even recorded the cheesy radio series off of NPR, The New Hope. Talk about a geek!

And as I watched the film with my family, I blissed out. The sequel was possibly the best movie I’d ever seen. When you’re sixteen, that’s not a great feat, I admit. But it remained the best movie I’d ever seen until maybe… I don’t know. Amadeus? Blade Runner? Apocalypse Now? Silence of the Lambs? Last time I checked, those were “everybody” movies, too. (Well, maybe for grownups.)

Star Wars Fan Club Memorabilia

Remnants of a Girl’s Childhood

The revelation that Darth Vader (Dark Father) was Luke’s dad remains to this day one of the greatest movie revelations of all time. If you’ve ever read my story, “The King of Shadows,” you’d see how deeply I identified with the themes in Star Wars — specifically The Empire Strikes Back. I’m sure I’m not the only child who did, either, male or female.

I spent weekends at my friend Linda’s house. Whenever her parents stepped out, Linda and I listened to their copy of the Star Wars soundtrack. Thankfully she stayed my friend even though I asked her to replay the Imperial Death Star Theme about a thousand times.

In all the films, Princess Leia was a powerful role model. She saves Luke, Han and Chewie when they’re supposed to be rescuing her. She leads the Rebel Alliance. She saves Han again. She…fucking…ROCKS. I could not have asked for a stronger female role model. Yes, I loved my “bad boy” Darth Vader. But Leia was The Ass-Kicking Princess and Senator of Alderaan. And I loved her, too. Why? Because I saw myself in her.

Look, JJ. I don’t know what possessed you to yammer on like such an ignorant twit to Good Morning, America. One might well ask what planet are you from. Because even on Hoth they know Star Wars was beloved by both boys and girls, and that dads never, ever had a monopoly on the franchise as a bonding experience with their sons. At best, you were probably trying to make the movie sound like it has wide appeal. Instead, your comments came off ridiculous and condescending. “Oh, see? This used to be for men. But now we’re doing something for the ladies, too.”

Seriously, dude? Go fuck yourself. I have a plastic lightsaber you can use. Glad I hung onto it.


And Now the Long-Awaited WHC 2008 Highlights

Such as they were, in no particular order. Subject to change.

1. Had a successful round of pitches, including one to an unanticipated publisher, Mirrorstone Books. The editor Stacey and I were chatting happily when she asked me if, by any chance, I had a children’s book. As it so happened, I’d written one about 8 years ago called Monsteria, starring a little girl named Anabelle, who is like a miniature Mary Poppins. I told her about the story, which is Where the Wild Things Are but with a girl protagonist. This seemed to make Stacey enormously happy. We’ll see how that pans out.

2. Sold and signed stuff.

3. Read a bit of Caitlin Kiernan’s fiction for the “Male or Female?” panel-come-gameshow. One contestant said female, the other male. I asked them why they thought the author was either male or female. Gary Braunbeck offered the generalization that men write more about the external world while women write more about their internal world. The passage I read was definitely more about the external world, but then Monica Kuebler had stumped Gary earlier with passages from John Shirley and Jack Ketchum, proving that generalizations are only that.

4. Met lots of great folk, including the very gracious Scott Edelman, up and coming writer Scott Browne, the incredibly sweet Paul Genesse and the delightful Australian writer Rocky Wood, not to mention the awesomely talented Marge Simon. Her husband, the Grandmaster of Poetry Bruce Boston, wrote the introduction to my poetry collection. Biting Midnight. Meeting Marge had been long in the coming. The convention staff were all terrific people, I should add.

5. Strutted around in some utterly frivolous and girly outfits, especially that amazing pink 1940s suit that I bought from Sabrina Belladonna.

6. Read my latest poem, “Uncle Nietzsche with Anchovies,” to an appreciative audience in the Poetry Reading, as well as “Le Menteur” and my French and English versions of “Petite.” (Now, is it just me, or should poetry make fucking sense? All that poetry I heard loaded with random adjectives and hyphenated bullshit seriously needs to meet Mr. Shredder. Most came from one Vogon in particular.)

7. Ground my teeth through most of the Bram Stoker ceremony as I witnessed more “club awards.” However, I was there to support friends, to which I must say “Mission Accomplished,” and besides the emcee was quite funny. I enjoyed watching Sarah Langan win Best Novel. The best part was when Gary Braunbeck mentioned one of my favorite movie moments of all time — the ending of Prince of Darkness — as one of two iconic John Carpenter moments. Yay! It’s not just me!

8. Made a complete ass of myself in the audience of the screenwriting panel I attended. Lisa Morton knows I’m insane and Bill Breedlove still wrote “Maria Alexander is a goddess” on my martini glass that night, so I suppose they forgive me. The other panelists might not. I do repent my ass-like behavior. Alas!

9. Had a lovely sushi dinner with Loren Rhoads.

10. Said other apparently strange and shocking things whilst on one of the networking panels, as I recall a jaw or two dropping. Oh, how I do love being provocative! (Did I mention I also apparently love the taste of my shoe?)

11. Seemed to sexually traumatized every male in the room with “Pinned” at my reading. (Well, I had warned them about the kinky sex on the advertising flyer. Silly boys!) Later sold a copy to the sweet gal who wandered in late but heard enough to want to read the ending.

12. Survived hotel horrors, including two power outages the first night that caused my room to drop to sub-arctic temperatures, skin ailments galore because of the dryness, and finally some kind of food poisoning that nearly cripped me from packing and leaving the hotel. Can I say that I hate Salt Lake City and the Radisson with equal measures of peevishness? Yes, I certainly can.

And there you have it.

Delta Airlines: Possibly the Most Bizarre Story Ever

I need to get out a word about my surreal adventure with Delta Airlines. It’s not so much that I almost didn’t get a seat on my own flight because they decided to shuffle a bunch of people from LAX who’d had canceled flights. Oh no. The most bizarre thing happened when I went to pick up my luggage at baggage claim.

I was wearing bad shoes that were hurting my feet, so I decided to grab my bag, open it in the baggage claim area, and put on another pair of shoes before dealing with taxis and so forth.

When I wheeled the SmartCart with my bags over to a row of chairs, I sat and bent forward to yank the zipper, only to discover that a lock I didn’t recognize had been put on my two main zipper flaps, which meant I couldn’t open my bag. Some jackass with Delta or TSA had grabbed another person’s lock — one of those little Dear Diary numbers that needs The World’s Tiniest Key — and slapped it on my bag.

I never use locks anymore. The only time my bag is out of my sight is when it’s with the airline and I can’t use “real” locks on those bags anyway, so what’s the point? Also, where did they get the lock that wasn’t TSA-approved? They had to have taken it from someone else’s bag — perhaps from a pocket, or maybe it was hanging unlocked from a zipper — and put it on my own. The locks that came with the suitcase were in the top pocket with the matching keys. They certainly didn’t get this thing from me.

I wheeled my bags back to the baggage claim office and showed them the problem, trying not to explode with expletives on them because I figured that wouldn’t help me in Mormon Land. Unable to find bolt cutters, one guy molested the key opening with the pointy end of a pair of scissors. When that didn’t work, he said, “Sorry, but there isn’t anything else we can do.”

I said, still trying to restrain Pele, “Yes, actually, I believe there is more you can do. Could you please take me to TSA and ask them to use bolt cutters on my bag? If I walk there myself, they’re going to think I’m a lunatic, when in fact this is probably Delta’s fault.”

The scissor guy just stared at me. But another Delta guy who’d been listening — tall, Lurch-like, but with a sweet smile that showed off large, straight teeth — cheerfully offered to take me. “I’ll go with you. It’s no problem.” I thanked him profusely and off we went.

We wheeled over to TSA, where he spoke with someone as I waited by the cart. After we started to wheel over to another part of the airport, he eyed the bag and stopped suddenly.

“Can I try to pull on the lock?” he asked.

“Sure! Please!” I said, eying his massive hands.

With that, he reached over and wrenched it off. I hugged the life out of him.

No thanks to Hellta Airlines, I finally got to my hotel and not a moment too soon.

The World, It Weighs On Me

Just a warning to everyone that I’ve exceeded my 24-hour limit of jackasses, hacks and frauds. Why don’t they just put themselves in the ground rather than other people? (And is this happening every other fucking day now or what?)

Oh, and Margaret B. Jones can triply fuck herself, as well as the gullible dopes at Penguin who didn’t fact check her story, making it more difficult for someone with a real story to tell. Salopes et cons touts.