Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Persistence of Star Wars

Emily Bazelon has an article up on Slate about the role of Star Wars in young boys' lives. Mostly it's about letting her youngest boy (who was then three) watch alongside her oldest, and the trauma that persisted for months afterward. I'd agree that Star Wars is too violent for a toddler, but it's remarkable how many parents let their young kids watch it - at least the original trilogy, which must seem more tame to most people. Big Boy has seen small snippets, but even at seven years old he refuses to watch the whole movie. He knows his limits.

Nonetheless, their absorption of the Star Wars mythology is impressive. Little Boy, through just a few comic books and his older brother, knows more at two about Star Wars than I do. The marketing Leviathan that is Lucas Arts is frightening. Here is how Bazelon characterizes the phenomenon.

We banished Luke and Obi-Wan for Dora and Bob the Builder. But we couldn't wring the Star Wars characters out of our children's lives. Long after the actual memory of the film faded, Eli and Simon talked and played in George Lucas' world. When we refused to buy them toy light sabers, their baby sitter rolled up newspapers into sturdy cones. The kids crayoned them green, purple, and yellow and bashed each other over the head, not quite Jedi-like. With their friends, they dissected the business of Jabba the Hutt and the furriness of Ewoks, never mind that they appear in later movies that my kids have never seen. Driving a carpool a couple of months ago, I listened while someone else's 6-year-old held forth about the intricacies of the plot in the prequel films in more detail than he could have described his home. My kids fell silent out of awe. Then our current baby sitter took pity on them and gave them a Star Wars Fandex. Eli read the whole thing, card by card, and Simon somehow absorbed by osmosis facts such as Emperor Palpatine's other name (Darth Sidious).

1 comment:

Kathy said...

This was very interesting, especially when we observed
it first hand.