This month, our themes are Star Wars, Transition, Maturity, and Agency. We examine Star Wars, the role it has played in our lives and in our development as people, and what lessons we can take away as the door closes on an important part of our shared cultural heritage.
The end of our deep dive into the Star Wars Universe has come a bit later than expected, but that’s due in large part to winter weather and plague. These are just my excuses to finish watching the last scraps of Clone Wars and Rebels, while paralyzing myself with possibilities regarding droid-customization at the Black Spire Outpost.
But I recognized, going in, that this particular angle of the dive was going to take more than one article to tackle. At least one more, since I have a few more questions, such as:
Where Are They Getting Their Money?
The Jedi Council have a temple on Coruscant, a giant towering affair that appears to house a library, a council chamber, the intimidating Jedi Codex, and some sort of dormitory situation. Masters seem to have their own quarters, and they all appear to be furnished with some pretty nice Bantha-wool robes, of their own preferred cut and design.
As Knights, they are Generals of the Clone Army, and their Padawan are Commanders, and each is furnished with their own fairly complex galactic transport ships and speeders. Everywhere they go, they seem to have enough money and resources to make their way through quite comfortably.
So, as my mother often says, “Who’s paying for this?” Qui-Gonn’s major issue on Tatooine seems to stem in entirety from Watto’s refusal to take Republic credits, claiming Hutt territory is outside of their circulation. This is easily solved by means of Force-manipulating the bajeezus out of a local gambling circuit and fudging dice all over the place like some kind of back-alley huckster
Within Republic space, the Jedi rarely encounter such issues. So, is the Galactic Republic offering the Jedi a budget? That’s a pretty sweet deal for the Jedi. If it’s due to their importance as peacekeepers, I can understand, but I also can’t help but think that the Jedi are using Force-manipulation to weasel their way out of responsibility to the local economy.
Otherwise, are they exacting a tax? Or, worse, charging tuition to the families of all of these appropriated children?
God’s Own Rejects – The Jedi Discard Pile
The discord begins for young Anakin Elizabeth Skywalker when he is torn from his mother, and the only life he’s ever known, by an entitled jerk who assumes he knows better than everyone on the planet.
The young, tender, fragile child, already rattled by the pressures of an intergalactic gambling ring and the human trafficking circuit from whence he has just escaped, unavoidably pair bonds with the first female to show him kindness after that.
After a cold space journey, and a polite visit to the biggest building he’s ever been in, or even seen, in his entire life, young Anakin discovers he’s gotten all dressed up for nothing, as Yoda and mean ol’ Mister Windu decide he will not be trained in the ways of the Jedi. The force is strong in him, but Yoda senses much fear in the terrified little boy. Fear which leads to anger, hate, and ultimately suffering.
Isn’t that exactly why you would *want* to train him, though? He’s already established that he can *use* the Force, that he’s attuned to the machinations of the Living and the Cosmic at a level that probably even Yoda can’t match, and they just want to let that run willy-nilly back to Tatooine for the Hutts to get their hands on?
How many children have been tested and rejected? Do the Jedi keep track of how many potentials just get scattered to the wind? And do they even care? They’re more than a little smug about their positions, so it brings Obi-Wan’s crack about bringing on “another pathetic life form” into sharper focus.
We do eventually see one way in which this comes back to haunt them – as Darth Vader recognizes that Order 66 has left some stragglers behind, he contacts the Inquisitors to finish the job – a council of FORCE-SENSITIVE JEDI HUNTERS, who wield dual-bladed lightsabers that spin like blender blades.
So, I suppose when you put yourself up on a metaphysical pedestal and routinely kick people off in an eternal game of spiritual king-of-the-hill, you shouldn’t be too surprised when they figure out how to team up and knock you down.
I Shall Take No Wife, Hold No Lands, Father No Children.
“Jedi are encouraged to love,” laughs young Anakin, grasping desperately for a loophole. Indeed, the life he’s been indoctrinated into by his frat brother Obi-Wan follows a path paved with social detachment, moral ambiguity, and celibacy.
I could go on for a while about how ridiculous I find vows of celibacy, but that’s for a Valentine’s Day column. What I will say here, though, is that romantic self-denial does very little good for anyone in their galaxy, or ours. But particularly here, where Anakin and Padme’s need to hide their already unhealthy relationship from anyone in their life that might offer them counsel or support results in manipulation, murder, and the downfall of governments.
Love and companionship aside, a vow of celibacy seems really counterintuitive. In the last days of the Republic, we hear Mace Windu mention that the Jedi’s connection to the Force is waning, and throughout Clone Wars, we see that adept younglings are becoming fewer and harder to find. Contrast that with Shmi’s virgin birth account, which suggests Anakin was conceived by the Force itself, followed by her grandson, Luke’s assertion to his sister that “The force is strong in (our) family.”
If there’s a genetic component to Force-sensitivity, aren’t the Jedi shooting themselves in the foot with this one? What makes more sense, culturally speaking, is some sort of polygynandrous situation wherein all Jedi are *required* to breed with each other – the long-term evolutionary ramifications of which inspire whole new avenues of query.
 Fun Fact: Apparently, Watto used weighted dice on this roll that were meant to land on red, ensuring that he’d keep Anakin. His disgruntlement over the roll is doubled, because he knows Qui-Gon cheated somehow, but he can’t say why he knows that.