Thursday, December 26, 2002

Come To The Dark Side

I just got around to watching Star Wars: The Attack of the Clones a few weeks ago and I found myself having a hard time coming to grips with the various political forces at play in the universe that Lucas created what with the Republic, the Trade Federation, the separatists, and the specter of the evil Empire looming over the horizon. Thankfully today The Weekly Standard has reposted a piece called The Case for the Empire by Jonathin V. Last originally published in the May 16, 2002 edition of the magazine, in which he argues, quite convincingly, that Lucas "confused the good guys with the bad" from the beginning.

Here's his look at the Jedi knights:

What's more, it's not clear that they should be "protecting" anyone. The Jedi are Lucas's great heroes, full of Zen wisdom and righteous power. They encourage people to "use the Force"--the mystical energy which is the source of their power--but the truth, revealed in "The Phantom Menace," is that the Force isn't available to the rabble. The Force comes from midi-chlorians, tiny symbiotic organisms in people's blood, like mitochondria. The Force, it turns out, is an inherited, genetic trait. If you don't have the blood, you don't get the Force. Which makes the Jedi not a democratic militia, but a royalist Swiss guard.

And an arrogant royalist Swiss guard, at that. With one or two notable exceptions, the Jedi we meet in Star Wars are full of themselves. They ignore the counsel of others (often with terrible consequences), and seem honestly to believe that they are at the center of the universe. When the chief Jedi record-keeper is asked in "Attack of the Clones" about a planet she has never heard of, she replies that if it's not in the Jedi archives, it doesn't exist. (The planet in question does exist, again, with terrible consequences.)