Did the government make Star Wars Day cringe?

Don’t you dare say it.

May Fourth has been thoroughly beaten to death as Star Wars Day by government officials and public agencies across the nation, and today, Long Beach is no different.

The cringiest example today was from the Long Beach Fire Department, which posted a 20-second video to its official Twitter account that is unbearably corny. It is pointless to the extreme, right down to the poorly Photoshopped Luke and Yoda repping the department’s logo. See for yourself.

The Long Beach Airport welcomed people dressed as Stormtroopers and TIE fighter pilots at its new ticketing lobby, which opened to passengers on Wednesday—the May 4 date was purely coincidental, airport spokesperson Kate Kuykendall said. While Stormtroopers are some of the most iconic Star Wars imagery, they represent the government agency in the sci-fi universe that commits atrocities. Might not be a good idea for a real government agency to willingly identify with (fictional) brutal, imperial rule.

Mayor Robert Garcia also posted from his personal account this afternoon a since-deleted tweet (don’t worry, we have receipts) of him standing with a Darth Vader cosplayer at a convention. His Star Wars post from his official mayoral account, however, remains.

I can’t speak for all Star Wars geeks, but what I can say is the portion of this spectacle created by public officials and agencies is akin to White people celebrating Cinco de Mayo: It comes off as disingenuous.

I do, however, think the mayor gets a free pass, as he has been proclaiming himself a comic book nerd for years. Certified geek, indeed.

But back to my analogy. As a Latina, I always cringe at Americans celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that holds little to no significance to Mexicans because it’s not in honor of the country’s independence (it actually commemorates a Mexican victory over French troops in the Battle of Puebla). But, people use the day to get drunk and wear sombreros, which are products of consumerism.

In the space movie version of consumerism taken to the extreme, California lawmakers in 2019 literally voted to declare May 4 “Star Wars Day” in recognition of a Disneyland theme park opening. At the time, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Daly said the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction could generate $14 million in tax revenue for the city of Anaheim annually.

I’ll give you one more example: I’m a Pokemon fanatic (and we even have a day), but I don’t throw a party about it or expect my lawmakers to acknowledge it. Hardcore Star Wars fans, I imagine, aren’t likely to do that either on Star Wars Day.

For those who don’t splurge, Star Wars Day is fun and probably harmless, and I’m likely just being a player-hater because I’ve been shamed by many Star Wars geeks for not watching The Mandalorian.

So, OK fine, Long Beach. I’ll say it:

May The Fourth Be With You.

Reporter Brandon Richardson contributed to this column while wearing a Star Wars shirt.

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Crystal Niebla is the West Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with the Post. If you want to support Crystal's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at lbpost.com/support.
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