12 July 2010

A long time ago . . .

. . . in a galaxy far, far away.

Okay, so not that long and not that far. More like, our living room and maybe a few weeks back. The Doozer and I were on the couch, "reading" one of his picture books. This particular picture book he'd had for a while, months possibly, but had only recently shown any real interest in it. And you'd think that I would have bought this book for him, based on its subject matter, but in fact, he got it from his uncle.

It's called Star Wars Spaceships.

Of course, I have to admit, I'm not entirely certain how I feel about this yet. While I'm excited by the prospect of my son showing an interest in Star Wars, I'm not sure this book is the best introduction. The "author" has taken the Star Wars universe and severely simplified it, geared as this book is toward a very young reader. But perhaps it is now too simple, revealing none of the nuance or subtlety of the actual films.

Okay, so maybe there's not a lot of subtlety or complexity. But there's definitely some. Or at least there was until the re-releases and the whole Greedo shooting first debacle. He was only two feet away! How could he possibly miss?!?

Maybe I'm overzealous, but I did feel the need to offer context and further explanation. So I've tried to set him straight, to fill in some of the missing pieces, but he seems too enamored of the spaceship "noises" to appreciate my lessons on the intricacies of this universe.

For instance, on the very first page, we "Blast off!" with the Imperial Star Destroyer. No mention of the moral or ethical background of this ship's commander or crew.

"Imperial means they're part of the Empire. They're the bad guys," I tell the Doozer.

"Blast off!" he responds, enthusiastically.

"Yes, but they're -"

"Blast off!"

Fine, moving on. Okay, now, the Millenium Falcon. My personal favorite. The book tells us that though it looks slow, it's actually very fast. Zoom!

"Okay, buddy, by fast, what they really mean is this is the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs."

Blank stare from the Doozer. Then: "Zoom!"

"Yes, zoom, but by zoom, what they actually mean is this ship -"


Maniacal, gleeful laugh and then a smile from the Doozer. He's just not getting it. Or he's willfully ignoring me. So I try again. With the TIE Fighter. The book tells us that this ship is small and can fly around other spaceships. Zip! What they don't tell you is that this ship is piloted by Imperial stormtroopers and once they fly around those other spaceships, they turn and fire on them, trying to blow them up. No ethical context. Just, Zip!

"This ship is flown by stormtroopers. And they're very bad. Or at the very least, misguided."


I shake my head in exasperation. The Doozer replies, "Zip!"

One last attempt. Okay, the Death Star. Its inherent evil is right there in its name: Death Star. And here, the book goes a step further to define the moral context of this spaceship (yes, they call it a spaceship and I really think it's more of a space station, but never mind), when it reveals that the ship has a dangerous laser. Boom!

"Okay, buddy, this one's obvious. It's called the Death Star. It's emblematic of the Empire and all it stands for."


"Right, it can go boom, but understand, by boom, what we're really saying is -"

"Boom! Boom! Boom!"

"Yes, but -"

"Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!"

Yes, Doozer. The Death Star goes boom. Fine. You win.

And here I thought those re-releases were a real low point . . .

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