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Friday 4 May 2012

Respected killers?


Since today is Star Wars Day and everyone I know is having a fantastic time writing, “May the 4th be with you” on Facebook and Twitter, I thought I’d ask a question that’s been troubling me for weeks now:

When are we going to deal with the troubling fact that Luke Skywalker is one of the most successful and best respected mass killers in history?

Not only does Skywalker kill tens of thousands — in hand-to-hand combat and by blowing up two iterations of the Death Star — but he’s celebrated as a galatic hero for doing it (to say nothing of that fact that Earth-bound movie-goers consistently name him as an exemplar of heroism decade after decade).

I understand that the Empire is an unquestionable evil and that bringing an end to Palpatine’s reign of totalitarian terror is laudable, but the body count that Skywalker racks up along the way surely must give us pause.

When that Death Star explodes and thousands of lives are lost, and then the very next scene shows Skywalker and his friends cheering and laughing, isn’t our moral compass taken for an uncomfortable spin? How can we explain these celebrations to our children?

Alas, it is The Myth of Redemptive Violence:

The belief that violence “saves” is so successful because it doesn’t seem to be mythic in the least. Violence simply appears to be the nature of things. It’s what works. It seems inevitable, the last and, often, the first resort in conflicts. If a god is what you turn to when all else fails, violence certainly functions as a god. What people overlook, then, is the religious character of violence. It demands from its devotees an absolute obedience- unto-death.

This Myth of Redemptive Violence is the real myth of the modern world. It, and not Judaism or Christianity or Islam, is the dominant religion in our society today.…


63 notes

  1. dallasbids reblogged this from politicalprof
  2. stuffsmartppllike reblogged this from genericlatino
  3. jackiefour reblogged this from politicalprof and added:
    I love the depth of discussion about this.
  4. guacamole-roller-coaster reblogged this from emogod420 and added:
    clerks always
  5. octopus-turtle-rat reblogged this from politicalprof
  6. azplace reblogged this from kohenari
  7. thejoker547 reblogged this from politicalprof
  8. ra-ra-raditz reblogged this from politicalprof
  9. emogod420 reblogged this from politicalprof and added:
    “most successful and best respected mass killers in history” that really made me laugh. mostly because its a movie.
  10. politicalprof reblogged this from pol102 and added:
    Could be Frodo …
  11. pol102 reblogged this from politicalprof and added:
    Sorry, but I have to interject into this (below all the quotes). You don’t get to call Luke Skywalker a “mass killer” on...
  12. writtenwrd reblogged this from kohenari
  13. warlikeparakeet88 reblogged this from politicalprof
  14. satanic-capitalist reblogged this from politicalprof
  15. tearthesutures reblogged this from politicalprof
  16. 27aprons reblogged this from kohenari
  17. jeffmiller said: But (1) no civilians on death star, right? and (2) the empire blew up an entire planet of civilians, right? What else could Luke do?
  18. zeropointnine said: I think Randall has got this covered.…
  19. auz said: Wasn’t this settled in clerks?
  20. rugbyslut said: Don’t forget that the Death Star was a weapon of destruction on an unimaginable scale. Does the saving of billions (trillions?) morally permit the killing of thousands?
  21. jgreendc said: Didn’t you write a book on the subject? We love killers who treat their compatriots nicely and their enemies with savagery.
  22. kohenari posted this

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