Even if you're not a big Star Wars fan, The Force Awakens is going to be the weekend's big news. Trust me: you won't be able to avoid it. Reaction to such blockbuster events on social media is inevitable, of course, and we all know, in rough outline, what to expect: First-in-liners who have been waiting for this moment for months will finally explode in exaltation at the opening. These geeks will make it sound like the Second Coming just to make the rest of us jealous that they've seen it and we haven't. Then the Second Wave will be like: "meh, this should have been different, that could have been better," just to make the First Wave look stupid. That's when the spoilers will start trickling out, and it'll be a miracle if they wait until the Third Wave to unleash a torrent, accompanied by a snide "well, if you haven't seen it yet, that's your problem."
The good news is: who really cares? It's a silly $200 million movie! Just enjoy it! And to make sure you don't ruin it for the rest of us, here are 7 Easy Ground Rules for Discussing Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Social Media:
1. PLEASE DON'T. I know this is too much to hope for, which is why I made this list. But be aware: we'd all rather you didn't. We realize, of course, that the level of delusion and devotion to the "Star Wars Universe", which has sucked out any fun normal people might once have found in this silly franchise, is so overwhelming to Star Wars Fans that they can't really be expected to control their motor or bodily functions. Don't believe the hype, though. We're not as excited about this as you are. But even if we were, no one on social media cares that you went to see this movie or what you thought about it. I don't want to sound like a complete crank, but no one cares what anyone thinks about anything, much less this movie. But it's not even really about what you think, is it? It's just the fact that you saw it first, isn't it? Well...
2. DON'T THINK FOR A MINUTE SEEING STAR WARS MAKES YOU COOL. What are you doing this weekend? Solving global warming? Curing cancer? Writing the Great American Novel? Helping out at a soup kitchen? No? What's that you say? You're going to see a movie being released Friday on 4,000 screens across the nation that's expected to gross a quarter of a billion dollars in its opening weekend when millions of other people do the exact same thing? Wow! How cool are you? I hope you at least dress as your favorite character (Chewbacca or Sexy Princess Leia, of course).
3. IF YOU MUST DISCUSS, PLEASE: NO SPOILERS. We all know how tempting it can be for those whose whole self-worth hangs on seeing this picture before any of their Facebook friends get around to it, to throw a coy little spoiler or two in there. Don't. We will get around to seeing it in the next couple of weeks, and even if we're not fanatics, we'd like to see it with our own eyes. If you can't wait to discuss it, go on reddit or the dark web or the basement with your other weirdo friends, and cosplay your feelings out there. It should be enough for you to brag about seeing it first elsewhere, without spoiling it for everyone else.
4. DON'T TALK ABOUT HOW THE PLOT MAKES NO SENSE. You know, that whole "universe" thing -- the Marvel universe, the Star Trek universe, the Star Wars universe -- they're not real universes. And last time I checked, the real universe doesn't make any sense either. There's ample evidence that even George Lucas doesn't understand most of what's going on in the Star Wars universe, maybe because he created it for 12-year-old boys with help from The Muppets.
5. Which brings me to my next point: DON'T EVEN THINK OF USING THE PHRASE "RUINED MY CHILDHOOD". Did you spend your childhood standing for 16 hours a day making iPhones at 70 cents an hour? You want to know what a ruined childhood looks like? Check out the Borgen Project.
6. DON'T BLAME JJ. Abrams, not Binks. He's probably a bigger fan of the franchise than you are, and doing a better job of capturing the feel of it than anyone else out there. Abrams has said that the biggest challenge for him was the pressure that comes with the religious devotion of Star Wars fanatics who will be taking notes on minutiae for millennia to come. Be flattered someone in charge cares what you bunch of cranks think.
7. And DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT DISNEY, either. The reason we have nostalgia for the original trilogy is because it was a big silly mess that only made sense to six year olds. Its themes were classic Disney: coming of age, good guys versus bad guys, princesses in distress, swashbuckling heroes, talking animals, spaceships and lasers and magic. And just a kiss of incest. Who else but Disney? Seriously.