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Remembering Sir Alec Guiness...
Matt - 08/08/00

You grow up under the notion that there's going to be constants throughout your life, no matter how big or small. It could be that your grandmother's always going to give you a five dollar bill when you visit her, or that the mailman's going to consistently trip over your neighbor's garden hose every day of his life. For me, being the geeky fanboy I try so hard to shield from the public, one of those constants was that there'd always be an Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Sadly, Sir Alec Guiness, probably the only guy who could pull off a philosophical discussion with a Muppet, passed away this week at the age of 86. That's really weird. I was getting so used to his yearly interviews where he blasts Star Wars fanatics for being obsessed with something so stupid. I'm not saying that any of you should go grab a towel and sob into it while wearing black pinstripe suits or something, but tonight, tomorrow, or this weekend, why don't you pop that old Star Wars cassette into the VCR player and pay your surrogate respects. After all, the crazy old bastard's been a part of our lives for a long time.

I don't know...either I'm not as big of a fan as I thought I was, or this really hasn't settled in yet. It's hard to get sensitive about this when I've seen Obi-Wan die more than a thousand times in my life. Perhaps I can best sum up my feelings on the old Jedi with this little trip down memory lane...

I don't remember what year it was, but I know I was in the second grade. I was sick, home from school with a case of the flu. Now, even in my weakened state, this was no opportunity to waste. I knew I could exploit my plight and get a toy out of it. So, I began my death rattle moan in order to get my mother to take a trip to Toys R Us. Apparently, I did a convincing enough job that she wouldn't leave the she sent my father to go.

Now, there's mistake number one. My father was never in charge of buying anyone presents...for the simple reason that he has no taste, no knowledge about anyone's personal interests, and a strong hatred for shopping. When you combine all these elements together, the recipients of his handpicked gifts were in for a few minutes of fake smiling. This is a guy who was proud to bring me home Urkel-O's cereal. I'm just setting the stage for what's coming...

So, she sent him to Toys R Us, under my half-dead request simply for 'Any Star Wars figure'. So maybe this was all my fault. Perhaps I was too broad. I should've been more direct and said 'Any Star Wars figure except Obi-Wan Kenobi'. Let's face it...he's a good Jedi, but nobody wants to play with an old man action figure.

Sure enough, the old bastard (Dad) returns with the old bastard (Obi-Wan). I immediately protest, calling the figure 'stupid' and refusing to open the package out of spite. Course, now over a decade later, that very same Obi-Wan figure, the only figure out of my original collection that I still have, rests atop my wall unit next to a broken Buddha statue and the Bulbasaur dolls.

The point? You can like Obi-Wan, you can hate Obi-Wan...but you've gotta respect Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan, with Yoda and Wildwood's mayor, Fat Daddy.

You know what the greatest thing about Alec Guiness is? He hates Star Wars. It's like one of those old weathered punk bands who call all their fans assholes as they jump on line to buy their t-shirts. Obi-Wan's the only person who can literally call you a buffoon for liking his movies and still get asked for an autograph. It transcends understanding. This is absolutely true - it an interview, Alec stated that he's absolutely mortified and disgusted when people come up to him and treat SW like the Holy Grail. In actual print interviews, he's called the movies 'stupid, banal, and &$&#&@'. How bout that!

Also, in later interviews he admitted to persuading George into killing him off so he'd have fewer scenes as a ghost. Think about that. Kenobi didn't let Vader strike him down to teach Luke a lesson. Kenobi let Vader strike him down to save whatever shred of dignity he had left.

Let's face it, if we're going to remember Alec, the last thing he wants us to remember him as is 'that old dude from Star Wars who makes funny noises to scare away Sandpeople'. Why, I'm not really sure. If I go down in history as the guy with the ability to scare away Sandpeople, I don't think my ghost will have to come back to fufill any lost destinies. That's quite an achievement. But out of respect for Alec, let's take a look at some of the other things he's done.

Hm. Fuck.

Okay, so he didn't seem to do anything else. But what more do you need? All Boba Fett did was walk slow and jump into a Sarlaac pit, and still to this day people worship him like the second coming of Christ.

Wouldn't you be really pissed if you died and got assigned Luke for the guardian angel job? He's no fun. By the time Return of the Jedi rolled around, the only things Luke could effectively do was whine and kill his father. That really sucked for this point the only two people in the world he could talk to was Luke - the whiner, and Yoda - the dead Muppet. It's no wonder Guiness downplayed his Star Wars role so much. He didn't get the swashbuckling heroics of Han Solo in his script....he got the scenes with the dead muppet.

So today, we pay tribute to the passing of a true pop-culture icon, whether he likes it or not! Alec Guiness, X-E salutes you. MTFBWY...

- Matt