The Internet is awash in “thinkpieces” — posts (sometimes columns, but often blogs that don’t want to be called blogs) that dig deep into some pressing issue that’s on everyone’s mind. Like who’s responsible for the water in Flint. Or how privilege keeps us in the dark when it comes to how life is for people of other backgrounds.
But, most of these are about movies and television, and yet written with the same level of thought and seriousness as what the 2016 election really means for Coal Country.
Regardless of topic, they all follow the model of TED Talks — the famous series of presentations by people passionately speaking on everyday topics to change the way we think about them. Which is great if we’re thinking the wrong way about climate change, but ridiculous if we’re thinking the wrong way about critics’ relationship with the DC Cinematic Universe.
So, in that spirit, I present my very first NED Talk — in which I elucidate on a topic of great importance only in my head and some studio executive counting Yuan in Hollywood.
You guys, we all think stormtroopers are terrible shots. But … what if we’re thinking about stormtroopers all wrong?
We’ve always joked about what terrible shots the stormtroopers in Star Wars are. In all of the original series movies combined, they manage to hit:
• A hallway of rebel soldiers.
• One surly dirt farmer.
• His blue milk-slinging wife.
• The shoulder of one weird advocate for representational government who also has everyone call her princess.
• One or two Ewoks
So, what gives? Are full-face helmets a bad choice in a gunfight? I refuse to think so.
But, take into consideration that, under stress, some soldiers tend to fire high, above the enemy’s heads. Especially draftees. (There’s no evidence that stormtroopers are drafted, but it’s an awfully big galaxy to police/civil war in, so it’s certainly plausible to assume conscription happens.)
Is it possible that, unwilling to kill farm boys and girls in fabulous up-dos, stormtroopers missed on purpose?
But, you may ask (g’on, I dare ya), what about those examples in the opening paragraph? Exceptions that prove the rule.
The crew of the Tantive IV, Owen, and Beru had the misfortune of running into Vader’s personal troops on a really bad day to intentionally not kill rebels. Vader’s right there, breathing in their ears, and super pissed that he’s on point to save a battle station he doesn’t even care for. Given the narrow space quarters above and guff they most likely took from Owen below, those were kill or be killed situations. Morals don’t apply there. And, as a metaphor for her entire life and marriage, Beru was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Leia’s shoulder on Endor? Probably an accident. Stormtroopers’ shooting is like jazz: you judge it by all the targets they don’t hit.
The couple of Ewoks? Maybe accidents. But you look into those dead yellow eyes and see if you can find a humanity worth preserving.
So, in a way, aren’t the stormtroopers sort of heroes?
And before you answer that, consider how many get indiscriminately mowed down by space wizards, the aristocracy, pirates, and Chuckie dolls wearing teddy bear skins.
Maybe those masks were a bad choice, because nobody even cares when the people behind them are eaten. Even after they laid down their lives rather than shoot Princess Patty Hearst.
So, thank you to the men and women of the 501st. May your cod pieces never chafe, and may you never have to graduate to loose, flowy Jedi robes.