Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hey Big Boy, Nice Light Saber

(NOTE: I later felt the need to do penance for this post. Read all about it here.)

Every now and then, the journalistic equivalent of a horrendous traffic accident that you can not stop staring at comes along and grabs us all by the kidneys. Look at MSNBC's Obi-Wan Kenobi: Jedi sex symbol as a good example.

The author, Mary Beth Ellis, has a great deal of lust in her heart for someone who (putting aside the fact that he is a fictional character) is totally devoted to an order whose members practice a life of service, spirituality, and celibacy. This is like going out and telling the whole world how hot you think your priest is. I had not even gotten as far as the author's byline before I started getting weirded out by the article.

We’ve watched you twirl, we’ve watched you die, we’ve watched you sit in a gigantic soup ladle and maintain a pleasant expression while learning of colossal, badly-aiming clone armies.
Not necessarily in that order. I have heard some strange stuff in my 37 years, but the sitting-in-a-gigantic-soup-ladle fetish is a new one on me. Why Obi-Wan Kenobi, of all characters?

The “Star Wars” prequels plunge into several aspects of character development, among them the deeply vital information that Obi-Wan Kenobi was, in his youth, fully hot. If the ladies are lovin’ us some Obi-Wan, it is perhaps because we have no one else’s brown robes to cling to, here in this galaxy where behemoth spaceships have hyperdrives but, apparently, no bathrooms.

There simply aren’t a lot of men to lust after in the “Star Wars” universe. Han Solo is taken. Luke Skywalker is a sister-kissing feeb until the last 15 seconds of “Return of the Jedi.” Everybody else is consumed by evil, quick to be exploded or a curious shade of green.

As Master Kenobi would remind us, allowing some flake journalist to cling to his brown robes would result in his expulsion from the Jedi Order. As for other Star Wars men, what about Wedge Antilles? He survived Episodes IV, V and VI. He had no apparent vow of celibacy, was young and presumably available, and he was played by the guy whose nephew plays Obi-Wan in the prequels. You're almost home, girl!
It is also a grand-slam exploration of the vast emotional range lying within “Yes, Master.” Anger, thoughtfulness, disapproval, slight nausea: Obi-Wan has a “Yes, Master” for all seasons. For the bulk of the film, Kenobi barely cracks a smile, instead allowing his occasionally furrowed brow and his cha-cha lightsaber twirls to do the talking. And when he does break down, when the pain of losing a loved one overwhelms his careful training as his mentor dies in his arms, it is with one... final… sobbing… “Yes, Master.” The man has consistency, if not a thesaurus.
That whole thing, especially the way Obi-Wan carried on during the Qui-Gon Jinn death scene, ought to make you wonder whether Obi would have been interested in women anyway.
Kenobi seemed to realize, for instance, that things were not going to go well when young Anakin and his L.L. Bean backpack first skipped into the Jedi Temple. “That boy is dangerous,” he snapped. He knew — he knew — that the child would grow up to be the type of person who used “Sand is rough” as a pickup line, a person who Kenobi actually had to remind that use of one’s Jedi powers to feed fruit to one’s girlfriend qualifies as an outrageous case of Force abuse.
How the heck is a Jedi supposed to be able to allow the living force to flow through him (as Yoda told Luke) unless he practices in any way possible? The fruit thing was rather tame -- Anakin could have said, "Here, you can have my paring knife", and made the blade fly right into the middle of Padme's forehead. It's not like he was using the force to choke anyone. Why do you think he later turned evil? Because bitchy Obi-Wan was just soooo jealous that Anakin liked girls better than he liked his master.

Obi is also supposed to be some kind of stud because he took an immediate dislike to the somewhat amusing and mostly harmless Jar Jar Binks:
“Why do I get the feeling we’ve just picked up another useless life form?” Kenobi asked on behalf of all mankind. He was so right that I wanted to hug him, to throw myself against his haughtily crossed arms with a sobbing, “You tried, young, hot Obi-Wan. You tried.”
In other words, "Racist comments turn me on". In addition to racism, Obi-Wan Kenobi seems to have some degree of tolerance for casual incest:
Rather than accepting a forced-by-death retirement with dignity and a mobile home in Tampa, Kenobi then took to popping up every now and then in a translucent manner to issue incidental asides to Luke, gently revealing, for instance, the fact that the lad recently stuck his tongue down the throat of his own twin sister.
You know that Ms. Ellis is just saying this to be gross. Luke never did this. Leia smooched him one "for luck" in Episode IV, and gave him a big wet kiss on the mouth in Episode V, but Luke never instigated it. No penetration was involved. Also, note the fact that Kenobi waited until it was almost too late to reveal that Leia was Luke's sister, and only then because insightful Luke was starting to figure it out for himself anyway.
But in “Episode III,” we will indeed see the end of Kenobi. The next time we behold Obi-Wan, he will stride out of a sand dune in order to pinch Luke in the face. There are worse ways to pass one’s golden years.
For roughly twenty years, "Ben" Kenobi lived in the desert and kept an eye on the little blond boy from the moisture farm. If Ben wasn't so strong in the force, Uncle Owen would have killed him years ago to keep him the hell away from the kid. Kenobi isn't just like a priest; he's like a pedophile priest who gets shuffled off to another parish where he can prey on a whole new generation of susceptible lads.
All hail Kenobi and his massive, near-galaxy-ending screw up! For there is no “Star Wars” without him. Fare thee well, sweet, sweet Obi-Wan. Whenever we needed a shot of sanity and a good strong brow-furrow, you really were our only hope.
You has been pointed out that those of us who blog have no editors to rein us in. We can self-publish all we want without some second level check on the style and content of our compositions. What excuse does MSNBC have for putting out this crap?

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