The Force is Evil?

Posted: January 2, 2020 in Blog
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The Force is Evil_

The latest Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker, is in theaters right now. It’s creating the usual buzz and mountains of money. Star Wars is a phenomenon. It has so thoroughly woven itself into our pop culture that it feels odd to think of a time without it. I was around for all of it. I went to see the original trilogy in the theater. There are also some great documentaries out there talking about the toys and merchandising that came from Star Wars. It blazed the trail. Movies were not gold mines for merchandising back then. I recall being an eager young lad when those toys hit the shelves, and yes, I wanted them all. I didn’t get them all, but I wanted them all.

Back in the early ’80s, I had several toys from the collection. I even had a carrying case for the action figures in the shape of Darth Vader’s head. It was around this time that a family visited us. The parents of this family were friends with my parents. They had two children, a son and a daughter. The son was close to my age, a little younger. We didn’t know each other that well, though, because his family lived overseas. They were missionaries in Asia, you see.

The boy was going to sleep with me in my bedroom, and after the initial arrival and re-acquainting, we disappeared into my room. I was ready to trot out my various toys and show them off, and then we could settle in and play. The pride of my collection was, of course, my Star Wars toys. As I brought out my Darth Vader carrying case, something was off. He wasn’t impressed. In fact, he was tense.

In true fashion, he began to proselytize. He told me that the Force, Star Wars, yes, even George Lucas, were spreading evil. I was confused. The Sith and the Empire are evil, but surely not the Jedi or George. “No,” he countered, “Think about it. The Jedi are like wizards. Space wizards.”

“Okay?”

“And they don’t worship God.”

“Okay?”

“And if you have magic powers, and you don’t worship God, then you’re evil, because those powers come from the Devil.”

I remember sitting there, blinking, just looking at him, looking at my toys, thinking about the films. They weren’t evil! What kind of bullshit was this kid selling? Of course, I was a lot more naive and impressionable then, so it did sort of shake me. He had some serious resolve, too. Brainwashing can do that to you.

He told me that he knew a kid who had Star Wars curtains in his bedroom, and at night, they reached out toward him, waving about like spooky arms, trying to get him. “He left the window open,” I countered, but I was assured he did not. This was the power of Satan, himself!

We debated it for a short time. He finally backed off on saying George was evil, but he said that Lucas was being influenced by the Devil to put out these movies that showed Jedi as the heroes. It was all so worthy of a gigantic facepalm, but I have to admit, it scared me a little.

He said he would not be playing with my Star Wars toys, and he wouldn’t even sleep in my room unless I tucked my collection away in the closet. I should have told him sayonara and had my bed to myself, but again, impressionable. I was also trying to be nice to a guest, even though he was spouting some of the most bizarre nonsense I’d heard in my short life.

Instead we trotted out my Iwo Jima playset, because representations of real war were apparently okay. He did, though, tell me we had to come up with some sort of backstory. Why was this battle happening? I suppose the historical reason wasn’t good enough. I agreed with him that the Americans were fighting for God and trying to stop the Satanic Japanese. I just wanted to get on with it, since I wanted to play. This, though, was a seriously scary indicator of just how people are brainwashed and can use it to justify violence.

They left the next day, and it couldn’t come soon enough for me. Once they were gone, I went to my parents and told them what had happened. A small part of me was a little worried that the kid may be right. My family was Roman Catholic, and we attended church every Sunday. My heart wasn’t in it, but I was a young boy in a religious family. Thankfully, my parents told me there was nothing wrong with Star Wars.

Good thing Jar Jar Binks wasn’t around yet.

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