This is somewhat of a break in form, but occasionally I do like to dabble in fiction. A conversation via Twitter that I had with James Croft about the planned Catholic attack against gay marriage tickled my funny bone in an unusual way, so I thought I’d have some fun with it. What follows is the transcript of a television talk show set in a galaxy far, far away…
Ross: Welcome back to Gabbin’ on Yavin with me, Ross Eisley. I have two very special guests with me today. First, from the Academy of Jedi Knights, and author of the galactic best-selling novel “Jar Jar is not Good: How Gungans Spoil Everythingsa“, please welcome to the show Master Obi-wan Toblome. Master Toblome, thank you for being here.
Obi-wan: Thanks, Ross. It’s good to be here today.
Ross: And from the Society for the Improvement of Tolerance and Humanism and author of the very popular “Answers in Genesith” blog, Darth Sektor. Good evening, Darth.
Sektor: Thanks for having me, Ross.
Ross: All right everyone so the topic we are here to discuss today is “Sithophobia”. Is Sithophobia real? What does it look like? Are Sith being treated unfairly by the Galactic Senate? Darth Sektor, why don’t you start?
Sektor: Thanks, Ross. Sithophobia is very real. Our children grow up hearing stories about the rule of the Empire, and how Sith are untrustworthy, murderous, evil people who would kill you as soon as lift a finger to help you. The truth is that most Sith are very tolerant, easy-going, hard-working people who just want the same rights as everyone else.
Obi-wan: Ross I’d like to clear something up quickly here. Nobody, certainly not me, is suggesting that all Sith are bad people. What we are saying is that the teachings of the Sith religion are fundamentally harmful. Sith ethics, if you can call them that, teach that selfishness and greed are acceptable paths to achieving power, and that true strength lies in using your anger and hatred to fuel your supernatural abilities in order to dominate others.
Sektor: See Ross? This is the kind of thing I was talking about. While I would like to have a nice, respectful discussion of the issues with Master Toblome, he insists on leveling these character assassinations against me.
Ross: Master Toblome, I’d like to think we’re all capable of having a civil debate. I’m going to ask you to refrain from resorting to insults and name-calling.
Obi-wan: Okay, but nothing I said there was an insult of Darth Sektor or of any individual Sith. What I am talking about is a system of philosophy that encourages hate borne of fear. You see Ross, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate…
Sektor: I cannot believe I’m hearing this… this kind of… hate speech directly from your mouth, Master Toblome. Let alone to hear you quoting the words of Yoda, who everyone knows was an anti-Sith bigot who raised armies of children to hunt down and kill Sith. Did you know, Ross, that Yoda’s ancestors had slaves?
Obi-wan: How is that in any way relevant? We’re not talking about the behaviour of the predecessors of Jedi philosophers – we’re talking about a dangerous set of teachings that have, in the not-too-distant past, led to widespread murder and destruction. I don’t think I need to remind you of how Sith teachings informed the policies and iron-fisted rule of Darth Sidious.
Sektor: I hardly think it’s fair to judge all Sith by the activities of a few extremists. Yes, in the past, some Sith have used a twisted misinterpretation of our teachings to justify their actions, but that doesn’t represent most moderate Sith in today’s galaxy. Modern Sith is based on using our hatred of poverty to justify our charitable activities, our fear for our fellow man to justify peace-keeping efforts, and anger at social inequality to push for a more progressive tax policy.
Ross: Master Toblome, Darth Sektor raises an important point. Most Sith are not the kind of people who would do what, say, a Vader or a Sidious or a Dooku would do. Is it really fair to paint all Sith with the same brush? Shouldn’t Jedi learn to work with the Sith? You seem to share many of the same goals. In fact, your views have drawn criticism from other high-profile Jedi who think that co-operation with the Sith is not only possible, but desirable.
Obi-wan: While I respect the work that Grand Croff Tarkin and Boba Sted and others have done in terms of building a community and establishing a dialogue, the fact is that the teachings of the Sith are incompatible with the idea of galactic peace. While these Jedi’s efforts should be commended, I think that the problem is that Sith philosophy is fundamentally evil. Until people begin to ackowledge that, I simply do not believe that this ‘accommodation’ approach can work.
Sektor: I find your lack of faith disturbing…
Obi-wan: What was that?
Sektor: Nothing. Ross, once again we see the forces of intolerance leveled against innocent people who, to be perfectly honest, don’t really believe all of the things that Jedi Toblome says they do.
Obi-wan: Oh, so you don’t use the dark side of the Force?
Sektor: “Dark” side? That’s racist.
Sektor: Most Sith are just ‘cultural Sith’. You know, a little bit of Force lightning at Christmas and Easter. It’s not as though we’re all hell-bent on ruling the galaxy.
Obi-wan: No, but the ones who are hell-bent on using the galaxy are always following Sith teachings.
Ross: I think I should step in here…
Obi-wan: *staring at Ross, waving his hand* this isn’t the place to get involved.
Ross: …but maybe this isn’t the place to get involved.
Sektor: All I’m saying is that there are elements of Sith culture that we can learn from. For example, our attitude toward education. Sith organizations employ a mentorship program, where more experienced Sith instruct younger people who have demonstrated potential. This kind of one-on-one instruction leads to lifelong bonds that all society can learn…
Obi-wan: *Snort* Lifelong bonds?
Sektor: Yes, lifelong bonds.
Obi-wan: You mean until the master is murdered by his apprentice?
Sektor: Well… not exactly…
Obi-wan: What’s your relationship with your ‘mentor’ like?
*Audience member: It’s a traaaaap!
Ross: Quiet, please! Darth Sektor, what is your relationship with your mentor like? Tell us about the wonderful lessons we can learn from your faith.
Sektor: Uh… well… we don’t really speak much anymore.
Obi-wan: Because you killed her?
Sektor: Err… that is… um…
Ross: Looks like we’re short on time. How about we move to closing statements, folks? Obi-wan Toblome, why don’t you start?
Obi-wan: Okay, let’s get something clear here. I recognize, understand and appreciate the fact that most people who call themselves Sith live ordinary, productive, and helpful lives. However, the teachings of the Sith, as written, are dangerous. They lead to destructive practices and suffering. I think that instead of pretending that this isn’t the case, we should encourage people to give up those beliefs for an ethical system that is more in line with the kind of lives they want to lead.
Ross: Powerful stuff. Darth Sektor?
Sektor: Jedi are bigots.
Ross: … is that all?
Sektor: And they smell like bantha fodder.
Obi-wan: No we don’t!
Sektor: Search your feelings. You know it to be true!
Obi-wan: No! No that’s not true! That’s impossible!
Sektor: Good. Give into your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me!
Obi-wan: You scruffy-looking nerf hurder! *Draws lightsaber, charges at Sektor*
Ross: I’m afraid that’s all the time we have today on Gabbin’ on Yavin. I’m your host, Ross Eisley. Goodnight all!
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