We looked into it so you don’t have to.
Any Star Wars fan worth his/her weight in power converters surely remembers Princess Leia’s now famous string of insults hurled at Mr. Solo.
Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking, nerf-herder!
This micro-rant has become one of the more famous sections of dialogue in a trilogy laden with them. And while we can all guess as to what a nerf-herder is, I thought we would look into it, so we could all ground the famous insult in some imagery and info.
So, according to Wookiepedia, this is a Nerf:
Nerfs were a species of antlered, herbivorous mammal found all across the galaxy. Nerfs were quadrupeds characterized by their four, curved horns and shaggy coats of fur. The common nerf stood about 1.3 meters at the shoulder. Their mass of hair tangled easily, creating a perfect web for insects and foreign objects to cling to.
Not surprising. Actually, if I was asked to draw what I thought a nerf would look like before I saw this, I would’ve likely composed something a bit smaller, but not too dissimilar. So, OK, nerfs are bull-like, farm-dwelling mammals. And it seems -as is common practice on earth as well- these animals need someone to herd them. So that group of individuals are commonly referred to as nerf-herders.
According to Wookiepedia, nerf-herdering is an “occupation for lower-class beings” and thus, the term -as terms tend to do- later morphed into an insult akin to calling someone a redneck. But, Wookiepedia also mentions that nerf-herders are a resourceful and scrappy bunch, due to their everyday struggles protecting the herd and living off the land. So, it’s an apt insult.
Leia is essentially calling Han a disheveled redneck. The Princess definitely shows her high-class stature here, as the insult has a certain air of pomposity to it. I am a princess and you are but a lonely serf – and a scruffy one at that.
So now we all know what a nerf-herder is.
Also, some collateral info, in episode 4, when we first meet the dashing smuggler Han Solo he describes the speed of his ship -the Millennium Falcon- by stating,
…it’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.
So, you may be wondering what the Kessel Run is, and if 12 parsecs even a particularly good time. Well, the Kessel Run is a smugglers route that is 18 parsecs in length, so completing it in under 12 seems is a damn good time. And I think the Flacon’s subsequent successes only prove that the old hunk of junk can really haul ass.
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the Editor-in-chief of The Overgrown.