Darth Vader Syndrome

In the aftermath of the worst thing I have seen in my lifetime Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, I have been surprised that no one has brought up the Darth Vader scenario. Recall Star Wars Episode III, when Anakin helps murder his Jedi Master buddies and then proceeds to massacre the children Jedi students. Darth Vader, who repeatedly proved himself a complete a-hole in episodes IV-VI (he destroyed a whole planet, for example), gets another three movies made about him. And these movies, forever a stain on movie and Star Wars history, are seen by a lot of people, as we see the subtly escalating violence and evil, and the consistent enabling of said behavior by friends and family.

Anakin is glorified in the GFFA. He is handsome, popular, an athlete, and a warrior who kills thousands of folks (including sentient robotics) long before he assumes his new monicker. He repeatedly makes irresponsible decisions, ignores the rules, and hurts plenty of friends and allies in the process, all in the name of killing. When he officially converts to the dark side, he's still killing, there is just a different group of victims at the other end of his lightsaber.

Fast forward to 2012. America. There is the Clone Wars TV show. Anakin toys, backpacks, shirts, costumes are found all over our children, primarily young boys. I think that this rampant glorification of a future killer is much more damaging than any "video game" or "TV show" or anything else. It speaks to the fundamental societal issue of how we treat the popular mythologies on whch our society draws so much reference and inspiration. The vast majority of our modern mythologies include unbelievable amounts of violence and death, most of it pointless.

Our mythologies are very important to us, but it is our responsibility as parents and adults and citizens to put these mythologies into context for our children. Whether scifi or religion, we must teach and demonstrate to current and future generations that killing and violence are evil. While sometimes we don't have a choice, we should respect that when we turn to violence, regardless of the reason, we are losing a little bit of ourselves and of the civilization we and our ancestors have worked so tirelessly to build up over the past thousands and thousands of years.

Here is the first lesson to teach to our children, from a very well-respected modern philosopher, in response to the phrase "great warrior".

Great warrior, hmmm? Wars not make one great.

—Yoda

As a society, if we stopped spending so much time glorifying the warriors, maybe we would experience some meaningful change for the better. So get rid of the Anakin stuff.