Steven W Thrasher of the Guardian has provided perfect insight into the mind of the perpetually aggrieved liberal parody who insists on projecting their hysterical views about intersectionalism, race and cultural appropriation onto every topic known to mankind (sorry, humankind).
Not content to enjoy Star Wars VII as a well crafted, epic cinematic drama in outer space, Thrasher has consciously decided that he must see the film through the lens of the Black Lives Matter movement, because, well, John Boyega plays a stormtrooper, and John Boyega is black.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Star Wars VII is not about restoring balance to the universe in a time of great darkness, but actually an “Afro-futurist parable.” He writes:
After I saw Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens the first time, I was left wondering: what if under every white stormtrooper’s armour was a black human?
After all, the only stormtrooper we actually see unmasked is played by John Boyega, and so it’s possible – though we are conditioned to believe that whiteness is the norm even in outer space – that his race wasn’t an aberration but the standard. The clues were certainly there: that on a galactic scale the First Order had conscripted black folks to do its heavy lifting (just as so many other oppressive regimes have done right here on earth on a planetary scale).
So when I watched the film for the second time, I did so imagining that all the stormtroopers were black. It not only made sense, it made the Force Awakens an even more intriguing and politically engaging movie. As white, Latin and black actors respectively, stars Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Boyega better reflect the diversity of our times, which also plays to the international Star Wars audience Disney is developing around the globe. But if all the stormtroopers are black, the Force Awakens can be read as a tale specifically rooted in black oppression and, more importantly, black awakening and rebellion; indeed, it could be read as the first science fiction film of the Black Lives Matter era.
What?? A soldier in an army of brainwashed, genocidal psychopaths who is tasked with enforcing the authority of the First Order but turns against it is actually about African American protests against police brutality??? This is sort of like saying Saving Private Ryan is actually a parable about Women’s Lib because Private Ryan is being rescued to save his mother from further grief after losing all her other sons, or something. Not to dismiss Women’s Lib (or the Black Lives Matter movement for that matter), but Saving Private Ryan is about a singular redemptive act in a war of unimaginable brutality and deeply conflicted morality. And just as Saving Private Ryan isn’t about Women’s Lib, The Force Awakens has nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter movement in any way, shape or form.
Thrasher’s mind-bending logic continues:
In this reading, the Force Awakens is a grand saga like the story of the United States itself, in which the key to the political and moral liberation of everyone depends upon the rebellion and emancipation of black people. Consider that the first human forms we see in The Force Awakens are those of the stormtroopers, who are moved in tightly packed ships and dispatched to commit genocide against a noncompliant population.
This is not unlike the experience of the first humans we see in human history,who were African and who were later shipped to be similarly violently exploited for labour and used as fodder for colonial plunder. And, like Africans viewed through the western lens, The Force Awakens allows us to see the stormtroopers through a literal representation of the psychological phenomena created by colonial racism that Frantz Fanon described in his 1952 book Black Skins, White Masks.
Again, to call this a stretch would the the understatement of the millennia. Equating Finn (or FN-2187) taking off his mask with the emergence of the first humans in Africa, is well, preposterously idiotic. Leaping forward 2.8 million years to the trans-Atlantic slave trade serves to make the analogy even more ludicrous, but when you are determined to see exactly what you want to, anything is possible really. As Thrasher continues, Finn’s name is actually a reference to Huckleberry Finn, a Mark Twain novel about a white boy helping a black slave escape to freedom:
Relegated to passenger status, FN-2187 has never been taught to fly. When he wants to jump ship from his enslavement, he has to turn to an hermano, Poe Dameron (Isaac), who has received an education he has been denied.
Poe seems to recognize that, like the name Alex Haley in Roots, FN-2187 is a slave name and calls his new friend Finn (suspiciously evocative of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn). Finn is akin to Kunta Kinte, the name of Haley’s Gambian ancestor who was sold into American slavery before such slaves were given new names
If you’ve lost the thread of this entirely, don’t worry. It makes no sense whatsoever.
In reality, The Force Awakens is largely (at least in my opinion) about the power of the feminine and a return to the sacred in the face of egoistic masculine nihilism. Rey is a the protagonist in the story, and she not only can fight and fly a spacecraft as well as any man, but is actually more powerful than any of them with her unusual connection to The Force. The movie has moved away from its male dominated past and presents several female characters who provide the antidote to the awesome masculine power of the First Order. There is Princess Leia, the now grandmotherly figure who is back to fight an old foe she knows too well, and Maz Kanata, the wizened old lady who has live a thousand years and knows the egotistical men around her better than they know themselves. There are other themes present in the film too (the First Order has parallels with ISIS for example), but the BLM movement is not one of them.
Trasher does have the intellectual sensitivity to recognize that he could be completely wrong about his interpretation, stating that he enjoys projecting his own prejudices onto the film because, “One of the beautiful things about filmmaking is the dialect it creates between filmmakers and audiences to create jointly the universe being seen.” But in reality he is doing what every other regressive leftists insists on: feeding the very beast they wish to destroy. Finn’s character may be black because JJ Abrams wanted a cast reflective of modern multicultural western society.
Or maybe he’s black because John Boyega is a brilliant young actor who won the role because of his magnetic presence and precocious talent.
The Black Lives Matter movement is an incredibly important one, and it must be covered intelligently by media elites if it is to survive and make the greatest impact possible. The movement is already under attack from conservative America, and projecting its meaning onto every aspect of our culture doesn’t help the movement, it simply relegates it to that of the rantings of privileged college students on ‘trigger warnings’ and ‘safe spaces’. Turning a cause into a fetishized parody of itself under the guise of social commentary benefits no one other than the commentator — a fact Thrasher seems dimly aware of, yet unhelpfully wrote it anyway.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.