Sarah Jeong highlights a gigantic plot hole in Star Wars, and now that she’s brought it up I can’t stop figuratively kicking myself for not noticing it myself — my excuse is that I avoided thinking about the prequels as much as possible, so it’s unsurprising that a lot would slide by, but this problem is so huge even that isn’t a good reason. The short summary:
At the end of Episode III, Anakin gets three limbs chopped off and then falls into hot lava. He lives.
His wife has babies, under medical supervision. She dies.
Whoa, that’s right. In this incredibly advanced science fiction civilization, they have “bacta tanks” that can heal massive damage, they have amazing knowledge of the nervous system to the point that they can build neurally controlled prosthetics that are indistinguishable from the biological version, but somehow a Space Princess with access to the resources of an entire planet doesn’t even get an ultrasound to determine that she’s carrying twins. This makes no sense. They clearly must have the technology; they have life form scanners and the ability to clone people, which implies a deep knowledge about reproductive biology.
Which means they must choose to reject the use of common, trivial technology to benefit women’s reproductive health.
What could cause people to reject the use of simple medical procedures to save lives? One thing that I can think of: religion. That says a lot about the “hokey religion” of the Jedi; apparently there’s something profoundly evil imbedded within it that suppresses the use of technology and information to benefit the health of women, as if everything in a woman’s reproductive system is forbidden (to be fair, maybe they’re just as prudish about men’s crotches, and perhaps millions of men are dying of untreated testicular cancer in the galactic federation). Now I have to wonder, though — if there is such a strong prohibition against technology approaching women’s nethers, does the Star Wars universe have vibrators?
These are proscriptions even more sweeping than those of the real Catholic church, and suggests that maybe there’s a reason the Empire is so successful in recruiting immense numbers of minions. There’s the cloning thing, which suggests that maybe the secular empire was at least a little bit less squeamish and definitely better informed about baby-making than the Rebellion. Maybe they were also fighting against a repressive religion, the Jedi, that was spreading its toxic, repressive ways throughout the galaxy. I could see how that would inspire military action against the peaceful, meditative religion that still manages to somehow field fleets that make nearly miraculous victories. Perhaps the Jedi are the Islamists of that age…and maybe “Jedi” is a corruption of “Jihadi”.
It also puts the destruction of Alderaan by the Death Star comprehensible. That might be the Star Wars equivalent of nuking Mecca — which does not justify it, of course. But then that makes the Empire analogous to the United States of America, where the people who abhor the weird foreign mystery religion can blithely talk about torture and nuclear weapons and continuous bombardment of populations.
I think I’m going to have to detest both sides now.