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Why did I pay $30 to see 'Star Wars'?

Why did I pay $30 to see 'Star Wars'?

A few days ago, as I bought tickets to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” I paused briefly to wonder what I was doing. Why was I paying dearly — $30 for each seat — to see “Star Wars” in 3-D? I wasn't a particularly enthusiastic fan of the originals. I wasn't desperate to watch a J.J. Abrams-directed light saber battle. Ultimately, I realized, I was going to see “The Force Awakens” because all my friends were going to see it, and everyone else's friends were going to see it too. I was in the grip of an increasingly rare phenomenon: A true mass-cultural event.

In the Internet age, it's difficult to even define what's mainstream. Yes, we...

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