In a shocking departure from its usually-substantive coverage, Aish.com did its best to celebrate May the Fourth with an article titled simply, Star Wars’ Jewish Themes? The author has clearly never heard of Betteridge’s law of headlines, as he appears to have, at first, taken the assignment quite seriously.
There’s plenty to pick on here, but I’m going to skip ahead to the part where he describes the primary parallel between Judaism and the Force:
In the end, the battle between good and evil is played out within each of us.
In the end! But not a moment before. (I suppose that’s why Darth Vader… never mind, spoilers!)
But while the author-who-shall-not-be-named (sorry, wrong franchise) (but seriously, I can’t name him because his name is absent from the article) manages to play it mostly straight for most of the article, flaws begin to show towards the end (well, about three paragraphs beforehand, and I hope you weren’t surprised to discover the evil lurking a drop too early).
First, he allows us to understand why he views the battle between good and evil as a uniquely Judaic concept — because he knows next to nothing about any other religions aside from what they are called:
Having said all this, it should be emphasized that the symbolism in Star Wars may be closer to the Christian concept of zoroastrianism.
Are you sure, good sir, that it isn’t more like the Muslim concept of hinduism?
And in case that wasn’t enough, he (apologies if it turns out to be a she) turns to the prequels, which most Star Wars fans wish were included in last week’s announcement about the Expanded Universe. Here’s what
he fine she had to say:
Furthermore, the film introduces the concept of Metachlorians, organisms that exist in the bodies of sentient beings and serve as intermediaries to allow people to connect to The Force. In Judaism, we connect to God directly – without the need of an intermediary. (Or perhaps, since Metachlorians are in the cells, essentially, it is everyone employing part of themselves to reach “The Force.”)
“Metachlorians”? Really?? Sure, the Force might be “a binding, metaphysical, and ubiquitous power in the fictional universe of the Star Wars galaxy created by George Lucas” (emphasis added), thank you Wikipedia, but there have never been, nor will there ever be (we hope) such things as “metachlorians”.
They’re midi-chlorians, damnit. At least get their spelling right, even if everything else about them is wrong. That said, I’d probably be more outraged about this last one if Stephen Colbert* hadn’t made the same exact mistake just last week:
(And no, this is not the first time I’ve managed to write about midi-chlorians.)
*Yes, I know it’s just his transcription service, but I am including this disclaimer with the help of an asterisk since last time I failed to explicitly and obviously make the distinction in a timely manner — that is, two posts ago — I was “called out” by commenters who failed to read until the end… where they would have discovered that the battle between good and evil played out in its usual place.