May the Fourth Be With You, Yo.

If the proliferation of “May the fourth be with you” tweets and status updates weren’t enough of a clue, be aware that today is Star Wars Day — and no matter how fans feel about Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm or its plans for the next three “Star Wars” movies, movie marathons and geeky costume parties abound, along with the inevitable merchandising (20 percent off all “Star Wars”-themed products at Hot Topic!).

The holiday was first celebrated in 2011, but the phrase and the date itself has an interesting history — on May 4, 1979, Margaret Thatcher became England’s first woman prime minister, and the Conservative Party placed an ad in the London Evening News that read “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

The date is also shared by MCA Day, a celebration of the life of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, who died one year ago today, and by Free Comic Book Day. It is not, however, shared by Star Wars Day for the San Francisco Giants, George Lucas’s hometown team — that’s on September 8.

Below, some of the best memes of the day, plus a Star Wars Day attack ad, paid for by the Emperor’s Committee to Destroy May the Fourth:





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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik