A New Culture Born from Nerdom
For many at Blackburn, I’m recognized as the bearded student who works in the science building or stands outside smoking cigarettes. Some may also know me from the strange skull shaped tattoo on my left arm with strange markings above it. Some students may know the symbol from their fandom of the Star Wars films. While it is most definitely a prominent symbol from the films, the symbol to me and many others has much more meaning behind it.
The symbol is called the Minotaur Skull and represents a warrior culture within the Star Wars films called the Mandalorians. Jango Fett, the creator of the Clone Army from Episode II, and his son Boba Fett, the notorious bounty hunter from Episode V & VI, are the two prominent featuring Mandalorians within the films. The Star Wars television shows “Clone Wars” and “Rebels” also feature Mandalorians prominently. The Mandalorians are known for their distinctive armor, impressive skills in combat, demand for respect and their symbolic images throughout the series.
Due to the popularity of the original Mandalorian in the series, Boba Fett, games and books have been written about him and his warrior culture, spawning over the past 20 years an entire Mandalorian alphabet, language, rules, ethics and history of the culture. The image of the Mandalorians has spread out very quickly over the past few years. But for some, this is more than just dressing up as some cool person from a film. What has cultivated over the past 20 years has grown into something more.
For me and many others who are fans of the Mandalorians, we have in a sense taken it among ourselves to try and adapt and live to the very culture itself. I know this may sound goofy, but there’s more to this that many fail to see. Many young people, including myself, feel that we live in a world that lacks culture, or at least a culture that can be seen as respectable or something to be proud of. Mandalorian culture has started to take off because it gives us a sense of strong identity.
The Mandalorian culture is inclusive. Though being a powerful warrior culture, the Mandalorians are not elitist but encourage other human and alien races to join them and become part of the culture. And once a Mandalorian, they are seen as equals. Vode An, the Mandalorian word for ‘Brothers All’ reflects this unity among the people. It is the motto and is what is tattooed on my shoulder in Mando’a script. This acceptance is what led me and many others to start taking an interest into this culture.
But simply being all inclusive doesn’t make everyone a Mandalorian. True Mandalorians abide by the rules and ethics from the lore. Many are well trained or are training in martial arts and weapons handling, as well as understanding how to use, clean and repair firearms. We also take great pride in family, friends and using the language in our lives. Symbolism is extremely important to Mandalorians, so many individuals have tattoos or symbols in their living spaces.
It gives me a sense of pride being able to be part of this new and growing culture, which really focuses on individual strength and skills while also incorporating a team and family nature around it. That is why I have the Minotaur Skull on my shoulder and why above it is written two words that to me mean much to me, Vode An.