Of the 20 or so T-shirts I own, about half make some reference to Jedis, midi-chlorians, or lightsabers. In 1999, on the day Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released, I bought tickets to three consecutive screenings and sat giddily through them all, Jar Jar be damned. When my dear friends had their beautiful baby boy late last year, I was thrilled to buy him a Boba Fett alarm clock desk lamp, the best gift I could imagine. I bought another one for myself.
If you’ve understood most of the references in the paragraph above, you, sadly, belong to the same wretched class of emotionally precarious quasi-adults in whose minds and hearts Star Wars occupies the realms others furnish with accomplishing life goals or forming meaningful relationships. Which is why the next line hurts: George Lucas has ruined our lives.
I don’t mean that in the obvious way, like the sorry stares my friends and I sometimes get from well-balanced, emotionally available adults when they overhear us discussing issues like the politics of Wookie society or why all spaceships seem to always have their engines on in full thrust yet none ever seem to accelerate. What I mean is that those of us reared on Star Wars too easily subscribe to its creator’s facile mythology that sees all religions as nothing more than particular facets of one grand universal myth and that has little use for cultural distinctions or theological depth. As his newly released production, the World War II film Red Tails, clearly shows, George Lucas’ world is a place where good forever battles evil on a landscape that is smooth and flat and unchanging. The same goes for his entire oeuvre.