I have a hard time giving a shit about Star Wars. This is not because I don’t love Star Wars; indeed, I do love Star Wars! It’s because over the decades it’s all stopped meaning very much. The original imagery is what matters—the utilitarian burst of a lightsaber being activated, the Riefenstahl halls of Imperial might—and at a certain point I saw that imagery plastered over too many things, repurposed too many times. A game like Star Wars Battlefront seems quite nice, and all, but being a part of those tableaus is about as exciting as playing another goddamn Bowie song in Guitar Hero. The most excited I can get about a Star Wars thing is an expanded universe deep cut—some weird new take on what amounts to a shared cultural myth.
And so this video of all six Star Wars movies playing over each other is interesting, not because it makes the films new or watchable to me again, but because it mirrors my very exhaustion. (Also, because I just can’t with that third movie.) This is sort of what I see every time I see an image from Star Wars: I see Hayden Christensen sulking, I see a flash of blaster-fire, I see what might be a low-poly Ebon Hawk taking off from Tatooine, I see the empty movie theater in which I threw popcorn and beer cans around instead of watching Attack of the Clones. It’s over-the-top, exhausted, nostalgia-inducing, and deliriously beautiful, in places.
I’m reminded, in its giddy deconstruction, of Dan Deacon’s attempt in the summer of 2012 to ruin Carly Rae Jepsen’s then-ubiquitous “Call Me Maybe” by layering the a capella track over itself 147 times, turning it into a slow-burn noise freakout. But there’s something deeply contemporary about exhaustion-era art, too. At Pitchfork, Meaghan Garvey termed 2015 “the year of the Internet hangover,” saying:
“Digital maximalism” isn’t so much a limitless frontier as our exhausting day-to-day reality. Internet culture feels like it’s reached a critical mass: non-professional bloggers feel like a dying breed, privacy is nonexistent, our most essential social media platforms have grown tedious and rife with harassment, content is branded and SEO-optimized within an inch of its life. Everyone I know is “thinking about deleting Facebook.” We use technology to help us stay away from technology. In short, a predominantly digital existence just doesn’t feel that fun anymore.
What I’m saying, I guess, is that I haven’t even watched this YouTube video that I’m writing about, but I was never gonna anyways. That might be its entire point.