Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The problem with Star Wars

I mention Star Wars quite a lot on this blog and I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a fan, although I'm not hardcore by any means. I really only rate the original trilogy as anything special. Everything else is ... well, okay, I suppose.

I guess why I keep up with the new stuff is simply because it's sci-fi and I do love a bit of sci-fi, whatever it may be.

What bugs me about SW, however, is - to be frank - the glorification of mass murder to children. That might sound a bit over dramatic but, you see, everyone knows that SW is marketed towards children. George Lucas has said that it was always aimed at children, even though the typical SW audience nowadays is a 30-something male. The fact that so many toys, bathrobes, lunch boxes and the like flooded shops on the wave of SW success is an obvious indicator of the audience demographic - but then, of course, children grow up and want their children to experience the same things they had when they were a child.

No. 2 son wearing the helmet and costume of two different agents of - er - oppression.

These children follow the exploits of SW's heroes as they battle it out against the Sith or the Empire or the First Order or whoever. Our heroes frequently murder - yes, murder - their foes for their cause, be they lowly enforcement officers (e.g. storm troopers) or high ranking members of the ruling elite (e.g. Sith lords). The bad guys are no better, obviously. Darth Vader and co. are very keen on their summary executions and genocidal weapons of mass destruction.

Which leads me to the main source of what bothers me. Look at any Star Wars section in any toy store and you will see images of Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, Darth Maul and Rylo Ken adorning the aforementioned lunch boxes and toys. Doesn't that strike you as slightly odd? These characters are evil through and through. They are agents of a facist, oppressive regime that spans an entire galaxy and is responsible for mass genocide, but kids think they're 'cool' and 'awesome'. Of course the good guys feature on merchandise as well, but I bet given the choice kids would rather choose a badass Sith Lord over a goody-two-shoes Jedi Knight.

Maybe it's the costumes. To give the Empire credit where credit's due, they do know how to dress.

Follow my train of thought, though, and you can equate it to seeing a kid wearing a Herman Göring Onesie, an SS Officer facemask or a Pol Pot t-shirt. It's not that huge a leap.

Now yes, kids have always played war - whether it's with sticks or more elaborate role play games using metal figurines. Kids battle it out as soldiers (as either side) on their Xboxes and Playstations in all sorts of combats games. That doesn't mean they condone the actions of those who they pretend to play of course, it's just make-believe after all.

But still, seeing kids brandishing toothbrushes with (fictional) mass murderers on them seems a bit strange to me.

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