Let's briefly touch on the unpleasantness that was the Local10 photo gallery fiasco of last week. For those unaware, Local10 Miami presented a Celebration VI photo gallery that proceeded to insult and demean the Star Wars fan community through the use of mean spirited captions that seemed to step over the line into full-blown cyber-bullying. What made things worse is that many of the fans ridiculed in the gallery were those who give a lot of their time and energy to charitable causes through the 501st, Rebel Legion and other fan organizations.
Star Wars fans immediately went on the offensive through social networking in order to get Local10 to remove their post and then issue an apology. Local10 eventually removed the post but also started removing social networking posts by Star Wars fans (especially on Facebook) that brought light to their ill-thought-out photo gallery. Then there was a sarcastic Local10 Facebook apology that just fueled the fire some more. Throughout the ordeal there were a number of articles in defense of Star Wars, three of which I found to be rather fantastic. The first came from Carrie Goldman at ChicagoNow.com. Being the mother of a daughter who was bullied for being a Star Wars fan, this particular issue really struck a nerve with her. The second article came from 501st founder Albin Johnson who examined the double standard sci-fi fans deal with as compared with sports fanatics. The third article came from the one and only Ashley Eckstein who continues to step up as a defender of Star Wars fandom in general.
As of now, a formal and more sincere apology has been issued at Local10.com. It will satisfy some while others will remain angry that such an issue arose in the first place. That being said, I think Albin Johnson summed things up beautifully in his response to the official Local10 apology:
"As founder of the 501st Legion, let me extend my sincere thanks for your apology. When I started the club in SC 15 years ago, I was lambasted in newspapers as fascist and resembling the Klan for wearing a white mask. It was a bitter tide to turn to get folks to see it as another fun hobby. "Everyone has their thing," I would say (and have the words omitted), "and as long as we're professional and responsible costuming can be a good thing." I am glad to speak to you as a fellow fan and am encouraged that the media can be sensitive to feelings. The Legion has done good, as has the Rebel Legion, Mando Mercs, R2 Builders, FanForce, and other Star Wars costuming groups - but we know we have to prove ourselves. We hope our work will win more people to the 'light side'. We thank you for being a part of the experience with us and we earnestly hope we can all have fun, do some good, and be kids all over again - together. God bless you"
Let's be proud how Star Wars fans around the world joined together to let their voices be heard in the face of mainstream media insults. But let's also not dwell on an issue that has, for all intents and purposes, been resolved. Let's simply remain vigilant so that when we hear of the the next instance of cyber bullying, or an attack on our fandom in general, we'll be ready to mobilize in defense of our brothers and sisters in The Force.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
From our friend Tim Veekhoven of the Belgian fan site TeeKay-421:
"On the 1st of September, TeeKay-421 organised a Fanday at Gadget (a specialised toy store) in Gent. TeeKay-421 celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and after our successful Fanday in 2010 (also at Gadget), we decided to have another one! The people of Rebel Legion Benelux were present to lure the crowds to the Fanday. Our members received TK Magazine 61 (new release!) and we organised a quiz, presented our new T-shirts and people could play the new ‘Asteroid Field’ game. Tim Veekhoven, President and cofounder of TeeKay-421, was honored as a ‘Friend of the Rebellion’ by Rebel Legion Benelux.
Gadget, who has been a loyal partner of TeeKay-421 since its foundation, donated an action figure of Hasbro to every member who bought something at the store. There were some special promotions in the shop and visitors could have a drink or eat a snack for €1,00 only.
It was a very sunny day and a lot of members decided to come and visit us at the last Saturday of the Summer vacation in Belgium. Even several members from The Netherlands paid us a visit. It was a day long remembered!"
Click here to check out a Facebook photo gallery from the event. (Thanks Tim!)
Space.com reports on a couple of alien planets that were recently discovered to have twin suns like a certain desert planet we've all come to know and love. (Thanks Chris!)
Some old school Star Wars costumes pop up in BuzzFeed's gallery of "37 Photos From A 1980's Sci Fi Convention." (Thanks Shannon!)
Head on over to Guardian.co.uk to check out a video of a sweet Star Wars-like hover bike in action. (Thanks channelzeroprose!)
Our friend Martin Hunt has launched a new website for his Star Wars origami models that you can visit by clicking here. Beyond a fantastic photo gallery, Martin also provides a printable design section so that you can recreate some of his paper creations.
Star Wars meets the X-Men in a mash-up piece over at ComicBookMovie.com created by Rey Arzeno.
Our friend Brian at Endor Express has coverage of John Williams' recent performance at the Hollywood Bowl.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick did an interview with NFL AM last week and touched on Star Wars while wearing a Star Wars shirt. You can check the interview out at BuffaloBills.com. (Thanks Aaron!)
Geekyrant.com brings our attention to the Star Wars inflatables being offered by Jakks Pacific at Target stores in the U.S. and at Walmart in Canada.
SFWeekly.com gives us a fun photo gallery of the 20 best Star Wars costumes on display at a recent Star Wars Night with the San Francisco Giants.