Friday, May 25, 2007


In space, no one should hear you cum

By Edward Copeland
Before Attack of the Clones had even opened, I jokingly suggested to a co-worker that what would set Anakin on the path to the Dark Side would be getting laid. Then this teaser poster appeared and seemed to confirm that my joke was in fact reality. Had marriage to Marcia Lucas and a relationship with Linda Ronstadt really turned out so badly for George Lucas that he decided that sex was as equal a character flaw for a Jedi as anger and hate? When you get down to it, should anger really do the trick? If Jedi Knights are to be the moral arbiters of the galaxy, don't they need to have a good dose of anger to be effective? Was their attitude supposed to be, "This Galactic Empire sucks and we must bring it down, but we're not really upset about it." Sounds more like current congressional Republicans than warriors for good. Still, I think it's the sex that really sets Anakin off, not his rage-filled attack on the sandpeople who killed his mother on Tatooine. Not only is the idea that love leads to the Dark Side slightly disturbing, could Lucas have been ripping off TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer? (I doubt it, since Lucas worked on the second trilogy so far in advance, it couldn't have come afterward, despite the chronology.) At least Angel had a curse placed on him that made true love his Achilles' heel. According to Jedi lore, love is one of the Knights' kryptonites. It also raises other questions: If Jedi don't have sex, where are other Jedi supposed to come from? Does this mean that Luke and Leia are "impure" Jedi possibilities because they inherited their midi-chlorians instead of just having them spontaneously appear in their systems? Further, since it seems clear that Han and Leia will eventually make the beast with two backs, is the Rebellion's major figure eventually going to become its destroyer?

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I think the Jedi had that thing like the Ancient Greeks did--you know, that special apprenticeship. What was that stuff called? Oh yeah: pederasty.

The Jedi are just pretending that they don't have sex, so that they can appear righteous. Their abstinence only program works about as well as George W. Bush's. There were a lot of Jedi kids in that building where Anakin went on his rampage. They didn't come from mitosis.
You've hinted at one of the best things about the prequel trilogy, but I read it as a positive theme rather than creepy: the explicit refutation of the Jedi code. What blows Anakin's cool is indeed the sex. And it's love, and it's fear of death. But STAR WARS doesn't argue that those experiences are linked to destruction of the soul. Anakin can't cope and the Jedi are wiped out because of their own attempted suppression of human emotion and connection to humanity. The reason Luke and even little Anakin are at first rejected by Jedi Masters is that they are "too old", but too old for what? Answer: too old to be taught not to forge personal relationships. The Younglings we see training have all been ripped from their families before they know their parents. Anakin, like, say, Jim Stark in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, is a sensitive guy trapped in a world telling him not to have feelings. And it tears him apart.

Luke doesn't have the Jedi Council to tell him how to behave. He has Obi-Wan and Yoda, who give him contradictory messages. Yoda tells Luke not to follow his heart and return to Bespin to help his friends. Obi-Wan, who experienced Anakin's fall first-hand, tells Luke to "stretch out with your feelings". Ultimately, it's Luke's compassion, faith in humanity and forgiveness that save the universe and restore order. This is all more clearly defined when watching the six chapters in story order than production order.

I do think there's a similar lesson in BUFFY, but it's not Angel losing his soul. It's Buffy's relationship with the Watchers' Council, and with Faith and Kendra. The Watchers, like the Jedi, want Slayers and Knights divested of feeling; they want warriors they don't have to think of as human beings. It's why Kendra dies, it's why every Slayer has died young. Buffy and Faith both refuse the model, like Luke and Anakin, and want friends, lovers, and to live. Faith, like Anakin, though, loses control of her emotions for she has no positive role-model, and it leads her to bad, bad places. Buffy has great, caring parental relationships, and as she tells Kendra, "my emotions give me power. They're total assets!"

Actually, come to think of it, ANGEL is similarly predicated on Angel's need to maintain a connection to human beings.
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