No, 'Star Wars' Is Not About the Radicalization of Luke Skywalker
Memes like the one below have been making their way around social media in the lead-up to this week's release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Critics of American foreign policy think it clever to compare the plot of the original Star Wars film to the plight of radicalized Muslims in the Middle East.
It's a cute piece of pop-culture rhetoric, but fails as serious commentary. In order to buy it, you have to accept a series of package deals. You must attribute to an entire category of things attributes which only really apply to one.
For instance, both the fictional Jedi order and real-life Islam are "an ancient religion." But the substance of what the Jedi order teaches, whom they fight and why, is completely different from the substance of Islam. Likewise, it's tough to compare jihadist strikes like the 9/11 terror attacks with the Rebellion's run on the Death Star.
If anything, to the extent such memes are presented with sincerity, they convey debilitating moral confusion which regards America as an evil empire and Islam as an order of peacekeeping monks. Unfortunately, that's a fantasy which far too many have embraced.