Are Stormtroopers Making America Safe For Fascists?

Illustration for article titled Are Stormtroopers Making America Safe For Fascists?

They were the result of cloning a bounty hunter to create a mindless, obedient army beloved by millions... But is there a hidden dark side to the soldiers of the dark side? One blogger feels that there's something very wrong indeed about America's unspoken love of the Stormtrooper.


Dave Lartigue, of the Dave Ex Machina blog, feels that George Lucas' warning about the powers of fascism has been somewhat missed by the intended audience:

Suppose tomorrow the Bush administration announces plans to deploy thousands of Homeland Security Troops to American cities, to walk the streets armed in the search for un-American, possibly terrorist activities (such as taking photos where there isn't anything obviously pretty to be taking a photo of, being overly swarthy, videotaping cops and Homeland Security Troops, etc). These guys would only be answerable to the DHS, and they would be recruited from the likes of Blackwater, Wackenhut, and so forth.

Obviously there would be some outrage, yeah? I mean, not as much as there should be, but a lot of folks wouldn't care for this at all.

Now imagine that these troops are outfitted exactly like Stormtroopers from Star Wars.

What percentage of geeks would declare that this was awesome?

Pointing out that, thanks to the Clone Wars timeline, the cloned badguys from the first trilogy have now become the heroes of the new mythology, Lartigue explains that there's something disturbing about the 501st Legion and other fans proudly dressing up in faceless military garb in their spare time, not to mention everyone else happily accepting it as a favored nerd pastime:

I'm not suggesting there's some kind of conspiracy afoot to make us more tolerant of (and, in fact, enthusiastic about) a fascist society.

I'm suggesting that such a conspiracy probably wouldn't be necessary.

Flickr image by Djwudi.

"When Fascism Comes to America it Will be Wrapped in White Plastic Armor and Carrying a BlasTech E-11 Blaster Rifle" - Sinclair Lucas [Dave Ex Machina]



My partner is an active 501st member.

The guys in the 501st definitely have not missed the irony.

Kids and adults like them because they're characters from a movie, and because the armor isn't something you see every day, they draw attention.

In actuality, the 501st attends many community events and helps to foster the exact antithesis of the sort of social unrest that their real-world counterparts would promote.

I've been with them at various Relay-for-Life events, store openings, book signings, and other events.

By far the most common sentiment, even from con-goers in places like Dragon*Con, is admiration for the time and effort that goes into putting together these costumes. Even soft costumes like Imperial Officer uniforms have to be custom made and only a select few have the patterns and knowledge to make that happen. The Stormtrooper armor, among other hard costumes like the Bounty Hunters and Vader, take months or even years to complete at a cost of thousands of dollars.

Most if not all of the assembly and craftsmanship is done at the hand of the armor's owner, so it's like wearing a badge of your own skill with a glue gun, dremel and airbrush.

You want to talk about guys in costumes striking fear, unrest or outrage, have a bunch of people show up dressed like Master Chief from Halo. That armor could easily pass for some sort of para-military gear, and it's not nearly as recognizable as Stormtrooper armor.