It was right after our selfie with Minion Captain America that we saw it. We were marching up and down the aisles, dodging empire storm troopers. Bright lights and backbone-rattling sounds shot out of the Nickelodeon and Star Trek pavilions. A tractor beam pulled us toward a booth hawking books on manga, the Golden and Silver Ages of DC Comics, the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock series on BBC … and a modest-looking blue book authored by our Constitutional Law professor. We waited for a phalanx of zombies to pass by so that we could move in for a closer look. What was a law text doing at Comic Con? (Maybe we are in no position to ask that question. After all, we spurned the long lines for the Hall H and Ballroom 20 Warner Bros. and Simpsons panels for a discussion by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund on “Sex, Violence, and the Law.” Verily, we were a nerd among nerds.)
It is a bit hard to believe that someone is compiling statistics on law professor citations. Was it Kissinger who said that academic disputes are so vicious precisely because they are so trivial? In any event, Cass Sunstein leads the legal citation league standings by light years. When we took his class, he was a relatively humane practitioner of the Socratic method. He was considered one of the few liberals on the Chicago faculty, though that is a gross oversimplification both of his views and of those supposedly sitting on the other side of the spectrum. (Is Posner really a conservative?) Sunstein later went to his alma mater, Harvard Law School (aka the Death Star). He also worked for a while in the Obama administration. His mission was to make regulations more rational. Sunstein was well-suited for this mission, because he had been noodling over ways in which behavioral economics could inform the law. He was co-author of a somewhat controversial book, Nudge. That work explores how laws and regulations can steer people in better directions while preserving freedom of choice. It is a kind of Jedi mind trick. And now Sunstein has given us a charming little (under 200 pages) book, The World According to Star Wars.
The book is clearly a labor of love. Sunstein has always been a busy guy, but fatherhood afforded him an opportunity to catch up on the Star Wars saga. He dedicated the book to his son. Much of the book supplies interesting back-stories to Star Wars, and how so much of it was accidental. For example, if George Lucas’s father had his way, his son would never have gone into anything as frivolous as the film business. We never would have heard of Lucas, or certainly of Luke Skywalker.