There’s one thing on the mind of the Internet today: Star Wars. More Star Wars than you could possibly imagine. But it’s not just the new trailer that people are talking about—a particular social media tag demanding an alleged boycott of the film for its diverse cast has generated more laughs than it has any right to.
At this point, you’ve probably heard of “#BoycottStarWarsVII”. The tag was supposedly coined by racist Star Wars fans who forgot that the totalitarian bigoted Galactic Empire were meant to be the bad guys rather than a lifestyle guide, but it’s allegedly a 4chan prank aimed at drumming up outrage. In either case, it exploded over social media yesterday evening, as fans waited for the Force Awakens trailer to hit Monday Night Football.
As you’d expect, it started off foul enough. But #BoycottStarWarsVII didn’t become the hottest trending topic on Twitter and Facebook because there’s a monstrously huge audience of people out there who think the world might end because of a Black Stormtrooper (thankfully)—rather, it trended because people who disagreed with this sentiment took to the hashtag to vent their disgust... or to take the piss out of it.
It’s the Internet. It’s pretty much entirely made out of outrage and piss-taking. Naturally, this led to some pretty great jokes:
(And even a bit of cross-franchise fun, too!)
It lead to some pretty great response articles too. A lot of of sites covered the hashtag and the outrage of it, but some chose to instead run with the joke—Alexandra Petri’s “Better Reasons To Boycott Star Wars” for The Washington Post is a particular favorite of ours.
But as delightful as it is to make a mockery of such stupidity, it’s not exactly stirring to see a toxic hashtag (whatever its origins) trending. So director Ava DuVernay, after expressing her own dismay, charged fans to co-opt another tag, #CelebrateStarWarsVII:
They did, and it ended up being filled with positive expressions of why people continue to love this franchise today.
Take something dumb and toxic, and turn it into something wonderful and funny. That’s also what the internet is about.