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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Dictatorship of Jedi Relativism

Say it isn't so! Conservative advance viewers have been grumbling about the following exchange from Episode III for a week, and now the Gray Lady is hailing the dialog as a return to political action. Eh? Read on...
At one point, Darth Vader, already deep in the thrall of the dark side and echoing the words of George W. Bush, hisses at Obi-Wan, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." Obi-Wan's response is likely to surface as a bumper sticker during the next election campaign: "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes." You may applaud this editorializing, or you may find it overwrought, but give Mr. Lucas his due. For decades he has been blamed (unjustly) for helping to lead American movies away from their early-70's engagement with political matters, and he deserves credit for trying to bring them back.
Lucas, not one to let a page of crappy script go unfilmed, just couldn't help himself. "What a funny not-so-inside joke," he must have thought as he hunched over his desk eeking out his obligatory 3 pages of script per day. "I'll insert my ingnorant take on politics and my disdain for the leader of the free world, and put his words in the mouth of Vader himself...hee hee hee...." [rubbing hands together gleefully. slow fade to black.]

Only a few problems come to mind: first, those aren't just W's words. They -- or something very similar -- were spoken a couple of thousand years earlier by a far more righteous Brother (cf. Mt:12:30, Lk:11:23), and -- particularly as he approaches senior citizen status -- Lucas would do well not to insult his Creator and Redeemer. Also important is the context in which this exchange occurs. Lucas has Anakin/Vader state this truth and then shoots it down via Obi Wan Kenobi. Despite Sir Alec Guinness' splendid performance in the real Star Wars, the younger Kenobi is a man with significant flaws in the judgment department. One might fairly say that it is not until later, when an older Obi Wan and his young protégé Luke are faced with the option to take up the rebel standard and lead the fight of Good vs. Evil, that the error of Obi Wan's words must dawn upon him....

No, it is not only Sith who think in absolutes, but to the extent the Sith do think this, they are correct.