Glenn Beck deserves a round of applause for his broadcast this morning, analyzing Obama’s empirical State of the Union speech. “This is how liberty dies – to the sound of thunderous applause,” indeed.
He said that Star Wars is still really just a sci-fi fantasy, which is true, and that there are no “Darth Vaders.” I beg to differ though. There are indeed Darth Vaders; there have been and will be.
The Nazis of Germany did not spring up overnight. The Germans began as innocently as young Anakin Skywalker in the movie (as a mechanic). Over the centuries, after The Plaque had finished claiming its victims and The Enlightenment began in Europe, Germans become noted as clock-makers, toymakers, and instrument makers, especially mechanical instruments like music boxes. The Italians were noted for the stringed instruments, but it was the Germans who hammered out the brass instruments.
Eventually, they also became noted auto makers. The first car was invented in Germany, not the United States (Obama, take note). The Germans were renowned for their industriousness, their precision, their work ethic, and their cleanliness. But that precision and orderliness also bred the perfect soldier, obeying orders without question.
As you noted on your program, the Germans spent the latter half of the 19th Century making one war after another, culminating in the horrors of the Second World War. Many 19th Century Germans fled the country for America because they didn’t want their sons dragged into and dying in wars of conquest and empire. They wanted their own plot of land to live peacefully, farm and raise families.
How does someone become a “Darth Vader?” Notice in the movie, that young Anakin has no father. A father figure, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) adopts him, taking him away from his mother at the age of 9 or 10 to become an apprentice. But the father figure dies in battle, and Anakin loses his role model. The too-skeptical Yoda refuses to allow him to enter the Jedi training, so the father-figure’s apprentice takes on the role of mentor.
If Anakin is too young or too old, so is Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Jedi ethic is somewhat questionable, even to a Star Wars fan. Particularly troubling is their use of mind-control. They justify the means by the end; it’s all for the good. Or is it?
The Jedi masters are rather harsh on poor little Anakin simply because Qui-Gon had pronounced him “The Chosen One” who would bring “balance” to The Force. He’d have been better off staying on the desert planet, Tattoine, and becoming a mechanic. Instead, thanks to distrust, lack of encouragement, scolding, doubt, and finally, an underlying fear of loss and death, he becomes mechanical, confused, and angry.
Anakin becomes easy prey for the future Emperor’s mechanizations and ambitions. He lures Anakin with a promise of providing him with the magic trick for preventing death. But instead of preventing death, he causes it; lots of it. Palpatine has created his Frankenstein, his minion. The easier it is for Darth Vader to murder, the more mechanical he becomes in dispatching people who get in his, and the Emperor’s, way. Supposedly, it is all for the greater good. But of course, it isn’t.
Anakin’s only real hope lies in Padme. In a conversation on Padme’s home planet, Anakin discusses his distrust of politics and says that people should talk things over and get things done. Padme protests that that’s what they do in the Senate. But she admits that people don’t always agree or do the right thing. Anakin argues that they should be “made” to do the right things.
“And who’s going to make them?” she asks. “You?”
He laughs and blushes. “No, not me. But somebody powerful.”
Padme notes that what he’s suggesting sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship.
“Well, if it works,” he says.
There’s a point, after killing one of the Jedi masters, Anakin realizes he’s gone down the wrong path. But by then, he’s committed to the Sith cause and is only saved by his son three movies later. That’s how someone becomes Darth Vader.
The mystery of how Princess Leia became who she was (a firecracker), being nothing like her mother or father, is a Stars Wars puzzle for another day. For today, we must worry about our electronic generation, who are being weaned on violent video games, drugs, nerve-wracking, monotonous music, premature sexual relationships, and political propaganda.
They are as disconnected from the world as Darth Vader is inside his insidious black mechanical body armor. They don’t see, they don’t hear, they don’t listen, and they don’t (seem to) feel anything beyond their own self-involved lives. That’s probably true of most adolescents since time began, but these are being cocooned in a nearly-impenetrable wall of carefully constructed, or rather deconstructed, culture and values.
You know we are in trouble, you know they are becoming Darth Vaders, when they applaud someone like Miley Cyrus, and the representatives they elected thunderously applaud when the president of a republic (whom they also elected) declares that he’s going to completely ignore any legislative opposition to his plans and do it his way; that the debate on a questionable form of “science” is closed.
Can’t you just hear The Darth Vader March?