Political Correctness: The Sith and the Jedi

Wil McLaughlin, Contributing Columnist

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I’m kind of finding it difficult to start this one off so I’m going to write about something easy first:  ‘Star Wars.’ I have important points about this movie that will segue into the topic of this column. It’s at this time that I’d like to point out that I have no love for Disney, but I am just a fan of ‘Star Wars.’

I am really hype about this movie, okay. I am also really hype about old Harrison Ford getting his Han Solo on again and I hope Luke goes nuclear on the imperial fleet. I’m also excited about the new characters and everything and just, Oh my God!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system I think I can begin properly: Political correctness, otherwise known as ‘PC,’ is becoming a familiar face everywhere, with all of its pros and cons. If you want to laugh really hard at it, just watch the new ‘South Park’ episodes. They’re hilarious.

Given that the original ‘Star Wars’ movies (‘A New Hope,’ ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ ‘Return of the Jedi’) are pretty old and old Hollywood wasn’t always the best place for non-white actors, I don’t think anyone finds it surprising that most of the main characters were white. The prequel movies improve somewhat, with the inclusion of African-American actor Samuel L. Jackson and a whole lot of ‘good-guy’ non-humans, (definitely excluding Jar-Jar Binks because he’s just awful) but the main characters are still whiter than mayonnaise. A lot of people have further called ‘Star Wars’ racist as Darth Vader is dressed in black and abandons his son, but that ignores the construction of the character’s dress being based on the Nazi SS uniform. In other areas, the prequel movies are worse than the originals. In ‘The Phantom Menace,’ the slaver Watto’s bulbous nose and voice were an obvious allusion to the stereotypical Jewish businessman. The greedy Neimoidians’ accent and dress is Chinese.

Social-justice types and the politically correct have also applauded director J.J. Abrams for getting the two main characters (Actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega) to be the fresh, young, and diverse faces of a new ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. Some (older) fans have reacted with ire on social media, but the reaction seems to have been overwhelmingly positive. People seem to like an integration of the old actors and new faces. I just hope they can pull the movie off. Personally, I think it’s pretty cool. There have been plenty of people of color in the ‘Star War’ universe, so why not make one a main character? Furthermore, following the path of a stormtrooper’s redemption gives us a perspective on the Empire, a faction whose characters had previously simply been written off as ‘evil.’ (They’re still pretty bad, so don’t let any blogger tell you otherwise.)

Some allege that the spectre of political correctness affected this new ‘Star Wars’ by making a black guy a main character, while others say that Abrams wanted to include as many types of people in his cast as in the probable audience. Heck, who cares? It’s going to be one of the highest-grossing movies ever, drawing in the young and old alike.

While some would consider this a “victory” of the PC movement, there are plenty of failures in other places. Just Google “University of Missouri Protests ESPN”  or “Crazy SJW” and you’ll find it pretty quickly.

Expanding on the ‘Star Wars’ theme: In theory, PC should be a pretty easy thing to accept. Accept people equally? Yeah, man. Don’t discriminate? It’s long past 1960, so this shouldn’t even be an issue. Social justice warriors, as they are called, would seem to be the “Jedi” in this dispute. Those opposing them, such as the ever-illustrious Donald Trump with his overt racism, would seem to be the Sith. This is a broad generalization, but I’m using ‘Star Wars’ in a high school newspaper column.

But this isn’t ‘Star Wars.’ There isn’t a simple “good” or simple “bad.” The world doesn’t run that way, and if you find a movement or political leader that you agree with 100 percent of the time, then you are a really good follower.  An independent-minded person should always be able to say, “I like _____, but disagree with him or her about _____.” This is not supporting indecisiveness, merely advocating an open mind. The champions of social justice see themselves as the “good guys,” while their opponents think likewise. I’d call out the anti–feminist, white pride, and anti–LGBTQ groups as close-minded and as mechanisms of the 1950s, but that’s not the point of this article.

What is killing the social justice movement is itself, plain and simple. There is a reason why we don’t play “Cowboys and Indians” anymore, but it’s that same contingent who labeled Caitlyn Jenner a ‘”hero” when there are people much more deserving of that label, in the transgender community and elsewhere. A rich celebrity who killed a lady in a car crash that possibly involves involuntary manslaughter isn’t the best icon for a political and human rights movement.

Seems to me that these opposing forces are more like the battle droids and clone troopers, forever battling one another to no clear victory, supported by the incestuous group-think of their legions (until the emergence of the Emperor.) They destroy and alienate, making everything worse.

The point of this column, especially with the holidays coming up, is just to be polite. I don’t agree with a whole lot of people on a whole lot of things, but I try to see where they’re coming from (except Trump.) I’m a staunch supporter of the First Amendment. I celebrate Christmas. I support everyone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I don’t think that government institutions should be partial to one religion over the other. I’m not going to deliberately tell a non-Christian “Merry Christmas.” If I do, I admit my mistake. No need to be rude about it, nor should offense be taken.

The 2nd Commandment of the three Abrahamic religions is “love thy neighbor,” with similar tenets existing in Hinduism and Buddhism, also echoed in atheism. Wish we could remember that sometimes.

So during this most wonderful time of the year: “May the Force be with you.”

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Political Correctness: The Sith and the Jedi