Are The Jedi Really The Good Guys???

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

We all know what those words mean.  Whenver we see them pop onto a screen or on the opening pages of a book, it becomes apparent that we are about to enjoy something from the Star Wars saga.  I recently read the four Republic Commando novels written by Karen Traviss.  These books, along with the Imperial Commando novel that picked up where the Republic Commando series left off seem to be quite a controversial set of novels due to their supposed pro-Clone, pro-Mandalorian, and/or anti-Jedi themes.

Well, with the four RC books under my belt, I can definitely see where some people would think that these books have a particular slant to them.  I personally think that book #4, Order 66, is the heaviest pro-Mandalorian/anti-Jedi book in the bunch, with the other books in the series leaning harder towards a pro-Clone stance.  Of course, without the Mandos (specifically Jango Fett and the Cuy’val Dar) there would be no clone army, so one could argue that the Mandos get love throughout the books.  They do.  I won’t question that.  However, I believe these books aren’t so much pro or anti anyone.  Instead, I think they are simply honest.

Yep, I’m one of those guys who believe that the Jedi aren’t as high and mighty as most people see them.  In fact, they display quite a few negative traits such as cowardice, egotism, bigotry, and even a need for power or control.

Now before anyone flies off the handle and calls me an anti-Jedite (Is that even a word?  It is now!), hear me out.  I’ll go through quite few reasons as to why I’ve drawn this conclusion about the “good guys.”  This isn’t a pro-Empire or pro-Mando post, but it is a post that will attempt to reveal the grey areas that have made me less of a fan of the guys in brown robes and more of a fan of the guys in white plastoid.

So, without further ado, here are a few of my reasons why the Jedi aren’t the awesome beings of goodness and light in the galaxy.

  1. Let’s face it.  The Jedi can be a cowardly bunch.  My first example is the grand daddy Jedi of them all, Master Yoda.  When he faced off against Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, he had a chance to beat the guy.  Instead, he took a beating and ran.  “He who lives to run away, lives to run another day,” right?  Why, Master Yoda, did you run?  Was it so that you could train Luke Skywalker?  Possibly, but you never sought him out.  You waited for him to come to you at an age you considered too old for training.  Then you became one with the Force when poor Luke came back to you to finish his training.  You hid for years instead of attempting to train Luke as a youngster.
  2. Obi-Wan Kenobi cowardly walked away from his former best friend, Anakin, allowing the lava of Mustafar to finish the job for him.  Yes, Kenobi probably walked away due to the fact that he couldn’t bear killing a man that he considered his brother, but letting him burn to death is a better fate?  Let me say right now that if I ever turn to the Dark Side and my death can stop a whole bunch of terrible events from happening, you all have my permission to take me out with a lightsaber instead of letting me die in agony while burning up and lacking appendages!  This is the second time that the Dark Side could have been stopped or at least slowed down, and the Jedi didn’t follow through!
  3. Yoda and Mace Windu knew something was up with Anakin, but they still allowed him to be trained (by a newly crowned Jedi Knight, no less, with a hippie Master).  They still allowed him on the Jedi Council.  Yes, supposedly it was to keep tabs on Palpatine, but they treated Anakin like a punk that didn’t belong with their “elite” group of Jedi.  On top of that, Obi-Wan would often berate Anakin in front of others, adding fuel to the fire.  The kid was obviously messed up and struggling with some big internal demons, yet they allowed it to happen.  Why?
  4. The Jedi freely accepted a Clone Army given to them under suspicious conditions.  They didn’t know who ordered the creation of the army.  Was it Sifo-Dyas?  Perhaps, but he was supposedly dead when the order was put in, but let’s go ahead and use this army any way since we really, really need back up!  The Emperor didn’t even have to be that smart to put his plans into action with these guys!  Now, in the EU, Sifo-Dyas did put in the order for the clones, but only with a lot of persuasion from Count Dooku.  This isn’t made clear in the films, but I did want to mention it in this post.  Still, even with this knowledge, why did the Jedi agree to use the army?  Were they so certain of themselves that nothing could happen to them that they went ahead with the army’s usage?????
  5. Once they got their paws on the Clone Army, they allowed them to be slaughtered willy-nilly by the Separatists.  Why?  Because they were cannon fodder, right!?!?!?  In the Republic Commando novels, the clones and many of the Jedi Generals found it odd that they were spread so thin across the galaxy fighting outmanned and outgunned, but the Jedi Generals went along with Palpatine’s plans any way because he apparently knew something they didn’t!  In the films and on the cartoon series, the clones were sent in to defend people they didn’t know in a war they didn’t sign up for.  They were basically pressed itno service and the Jedi allowed it to happen.  Only Anakin seemed to really treat them as human beings.  An excellent example of this is at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith whenever he and Kenobit are attempting to rescue the chancellor from Grievous.  When the Vulture Droids and Buzz Droids attacked, Kenobi allowed them to pass and attack the clones while he and Anakin stayed on course for Grievous’ ship.  When Anakin heard that the clones were in trouble, he said that he wanted to go back and help them.  Kenobi told him not to, stating, “They have their job and we have ours.”  Granted, they were on a specific mission, but Kenobi’s response was so cold and instant that I lost a little faith in him.  The clones were essentially a slave army.
  6. One of my biggest hang-ups is how the Jedi, specifically Yoda and Obi-Wan, treated Luke.  As already stated, Yoda didn’t seek out Luke to train him from an early age and then griped that he was too old to be trained once Luke made his own way to Dagobah.  Then Yoda and Kenobi hid the fact that Vader was Luke’s father from him and even told him that Vader had murdered his father!  Sure, they did this to protect him until he was ready to know the truth, but by hiding this fact from Luke and then essentially letting his pops spring it on him open Luke up to the Dark Side of the Force?  Why should he trust these old Jedi who are keeping secrets from him about his father and, later on, his sister?  The dude with asthma, as evil as he might come across, was pretty straightforward about everything.  Luke could have easily turned to the Dark Side due to the deception of the Jedi!!!!
  7. Another reason that the Jedi aren’t as great as they initially appear is their “holier than thou” attitude.  They clung to their dogma as if it were a life or death situation.  Instead of changing when things started going south, they put all of their faith in the Force.  They essentially allowed Anakin to turn to the Dark Side.  They allowed the Clones to be used in a war that the Jedi believed was possibly manufactured.  Their egos got in the way of common sense!
  8. Finally, the Clone Army was bred for war and genetically modified to take orders without question.  When Order 66 was given, few of them hesitated to follow through.  Why?  Perhaps it was because the Jedi came across as always a bit “better” than the Clones.  The clone commanders had built up relationships (and not necessarily good ones) with all of their Jedi Generals, but who was it that they fell into rank behind to destroy the Jedi Temple?  Anakin, that’s who!  They supported the one Jedi that treated them like humans and like individuals that mattered in this crazy war they were impressed into service for against the Separatists.

So, there are just a few of my reasons why I believe that the Jedi aren’t necessarily as nice and wonderful as many people believe.  I’m not saying that the Sith are any better, mind you.  I’m just saying that the Jedi weren’t the best of Boy Scouts either.  In fact, you could say that the Jedi were just as bad as the Sith, because ultimately both of them used the Clones for their own purposes.

Some will probably say that the Jedi were blinded by the Emperor, but if that’s the case, why did so many of them have doubts and bad premonitions and still did nothing about them?  I could see them being blinded if they never doubted what was going on, but their was a lot of doubt from many of the Jedi.

Ultimately it’s all a matter of opinion, but I think I’ve stated my case pretty well.  If you believe otherwise, let me know in the comments below.

Also, I must admit that despite my sour taste for the Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Yoda, and Plo Koon are some of my favorite Star Wars characters.  Kenobi is probably my favorite character in the entire saga.  I’ve always looked at the prequels as being more about his development than Anakin’s, because I honestly believe that he felt bad for everything that he did to both Anakin and eventually Luke.

As always, thank for reading.  Feel free to weigh in on this topic below.

 

 

Bat-Tastic!!!! Celebrate Seventy Five Years Of Batman Today!

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Worldwide

Today, DC Comics officially celebrates seventy five years of Batman.  Events are scheduled to happen all across the globe in book stores such as Barnes & Noble and in comic book shops everywhere.  Some events include exclusive free comics, masks, capes, and tons of other freebies.  Are you hosting a party to celebrate the Bat today?  Perhaps this weekend?  If you are having an event or attending one, be sure to comment about it below.

Batman is, was, and always will be my favorite superhero.  For anyone that’s ever read a comic and/or dreamed of being a superhero, he’s the one person that we all believed we could potentially become.  Why?  He lacks super powers.  All of his success against crime is based solely on his intelligence, hard physical training, and, here’s the kicker, money.  Sure, there are other heroes out there who lack super powers that do quite well for themselves such as Iron Man, the Punisher, and even the Boy Wonder, Robin, but Batman seems the most real character of them all.  Heck, even Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory believes that he can become Batman!

So, go out into the world today and share your love of everyone’s favorite detective.  Wear a Batman tee, read a Batman comic, watch one of the many Batman films, or watch Batman:  The Animated Series or any of the other wonderful cartoons featuring the Bat.  Do it with your family, friends, and loved ones.  Oh, and don’t forget to show some love and become a fan of the Discount Dark Knight at http://www.facebook.com/discountdarkknight.

Happy birthday, BATMAN!!!!

USS Lafitte/CATS 20th Anniversary Party

Lake Charles, LA

On Saturday, July 19th, I attended a wonderful party in celebration of the twenty year anniversary of the U.S.S. Lafitte/C.A.T.S. Star Trek Fan Club.  The group, founded twenty years ago by Stuart Griggs, was originally called C.A.T.S. (Calscasieu Area Trekkers Society).  As it grew in numbers, it eventually became an official part of Starfleet International as the U.S.S. Lafitte.

The group holds monthly meetings that include a viewing of a Star Trek series episode (currently TNG episodes) and also a science fiction or fantasy film.  The group also enjoys a number of other fandoms, from Star Wars to Firefly, Battlestar Galactica to Lord of the Rings and beyond.  The group also attends science fiction and comic conventionst to promote all things Trek.

I have only been with the group for roughly nine months, and in just that small amount of time I have gained quite a few new and solid friends.  We come from different backgrounds, generations, and interest groups, but Star Trek binds us all together as one happy family.

If you happen to live in the Lake Charles area, look up the group on Facebook and reach out to us about joining.

I Want You!!!!

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Everywhere

Here’s a shout out to each and every person out there who reads this blog regularly or just happened to stumble upon this page out of sheer dumb luck.  I want YOU to tell me which topic to blog about next.  Simply comment below as to which topic needs to be addressed by yours truly from the list that follows and I’ll write up something about it next week.

  • Doctor Who
  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
  • Batman
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Bad Superhero films
  • Good Superhero films
  • Firefly
  • Toy collecting
  • Randomizer (post this comment and I’ll randomly choose a topic from the list)

 

The Houston Con

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Houston, TX

I’ll be attending The Houston Con in about a month’s time.  I am not 100% sure if I’ll be there strictly as an attendee or as part of a fan group, but I’ll definitely let you know here whenever I find out.

This event was formerly known as Space City Con, which was awesome in its own right.  For reasons that I personally am not aware of (although rumors are rampant), that event was dissolved and from its ashes rose The Houston Con.

The guest list includes numerous Power Rangers actors, members of the cast of Star Trek:  AxanarTeen Wolf celebs, a cast member from the upcoming (and highly anticipated by me ) The Flash series, plenty of comics artists, authors, and those wonderful ladies in green, Orion’s Envy.

Check out the link below and if you’re going to this event, lemme know and maybe we can talk a bit.  Also, I’ll be the Discount Dark Knight at some point during the convention.  Come by and talk to me!

As always, thanks for reading.

The Houston Con.

Outpost: Silver Dollar City

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Branson, MO

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why I’m blogging about a visit to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO on a blog that centers primarily on nerdy things.  Well, here’s why:  Just because there’s no science fiction or comics involved doesn’t mean something can’t be nerdy!  In fact, there’s quite a bit of good nerdiness to be had at Silver Dollar City and in the Branson area if you know where to look.  I was actually quite surprised at just how much fun I had at SDC and in Branson, so I decided it was definitely blogworthy.

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Myself with the Fouke Monster.

The actual tour started very early on a Saturday morning in Lake Charles, LA.  Myself and the family hit the road at around 4:45 AM.  We stopped in Leesville, LA for a quick bite of breakfast and our next stop was in Fouke, Arkansas at Peavy’s Monster Mart, which is home to all things Boggy Creek.  What’s Boggy Creek, you say?  Well, Fouke is supposedly the stomping grounds for the Fouke Swamp Monster, who was written about by a gentleman that went by the name of Smokey.  Smokey’s tale made it to the big screen in the form of the film The Legend of Boggy Creek.  The film is a cult hit, and I’m proud to say that I own a copy of it.  When I was a kid, finding Sasquatch or Bigfoot or the Yeti was one of my biggest dreams.  I still want to find one, but much like Wile E. Coyote and his pursuit of the Road Runner, I don’t know what I would do if I ever did manage to catch one.  Our stop was brief, and I managed to get a few photos (and a mug), but we were soon back on the road.

We stopped at the Arkansas Welcome Center on I-30.  I-30 is quite possibly the most boring stretch of interstate highway in the universe, so I highly recommend going “off-road” and taking Scenic 7 through Hot Springs, AR and the Ouachita National Forest.  Hot Springs is a pretty cool place.  It’s an old city with a very trippy vibe to it.  The Ouachita National Forest is beautiful, and there are plenty of great places to stop, hike, explore, or just have a picnic.  Eventually we entered the Ozark Mountains and then Missouri.  It was a long ride, but well worth the long hours on the road.

Iron Springs in the Ouachita National Forest.

Iron Springs in the Ouachita National Forest.

We went to Silver Dollar City on Sunday.  For those of you who aren’t aware, Silver Dollar City is an amusement park that is based around life in the Ozarks during the late 1800’s.  It spins local history with the spirit of the American pioneer, and gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of these hardy and proud people.  There’s also plenty of roller coasters, water-based rides, musical acts, magic shows, and demonstrations centered around the area circa 1880.  There’s blacksmithing, glassblowing, gospel singing, country music, and food, lots and lots of food!

The American Plunge.

The American Plunge.

Dancin' girls at the Silver Dollar City Saloon.

Dancin’ girls at the Silver Dollar City Saloon.

Words of wisdom like this are scattered throughout SDC.

Words of wisdom like this are scattered throughout SDC.

The Powder Keg.

The Powder Keg.

A look from the observation deck of Wildfire.

A look from the observation deck of Wildfire.

I’m a huge fan of roller coasters, and SDC had no shortage of exciting one on hand.  My personal favorite was Wildfire, but if you ever make it out to SDC, be sure to ride Thunderation, The Powder Keg, Fire In The Hole, and Outlaw Run (a wooden coaster).  All of them are excellent rides.

I also highly recommend going on a tour of Marvel Cave which is located on the property.  It’s actually the primary reason that SDC even exists today, as the park was built directly above the cave.  The daytime tour is free, but there’s also a “Lantern Tour” that can be taken for a small fee ($10.75 as of this writing).  The “Lantern Tour” is the last tour of the day.  Marvel Cave is well lit throughout the day, but for this final tour, all of the lights go out, your tour guide wears period specific attire, and takes a small group down into Marvel Cave for a tour that runs roughly an hour and a half and includes a lot more stories (including ghost stories) and even a few looks into places that are off-limits during the standard daytime tour.  I HIGHLY recommend the “Lantern Tour.”  Not only is it a much more intimate tour due to the limited group size, it’s also a great way to learn a whole lot more about this wonderful cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Our tour guide on the daytime tour, Madison.  She rocked!

Our tour guide on the daytime tour, Madison. She rocked!

Now, we didn’t spend our entire trip at Silver Dollar City.  We did take a couple of days to explore the city of Branson as well.  We visited Branson’s Wild World, an aquarium/mini-golf/arcade complex that featured bull sharks (that we got to feed), wolves, dingos, and a cool 3-D mini golf course.  We also saw Optimus Prime in front of the Ripley’s Believe It….Or Not museum.  All in all, it was a great trip.  We also visited the Cliff House Inn in Jasper, AR, which had a breathtaking view of the Arkansas Grand Canyon.

Arkansas Grand Canyon at the Cliff House Inn in Jasper, Arkansas.

Arkansas Grand Canyon at the Cliff House Inn in Jasper, Arkansas.

Branson's Wild World.

Branson’s Wild World.

Optimus Prime!

Optimus Prime!

A-1 Logger burger from SDC.

A-1 Logger burger from SDC.

Red Velvet Fried Oreos!

Red Velvet Fried Oreos!

Red Velvet Fried Oreos.

Red Velvet Fried Oreos.

Peanut Brittle!

Peanut Brittle!

Branson's Wild World.

Branson’s Wild World.

Branson's Wild World.

Branson’s Wild World.

 

As always, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions about anything I’ve posted here, drop me a note or leave a comment!

Bayoucon 2014

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Lake Charles, LA

Bayoucon 2014 is a fan-run convention in Lake Charles, LA that takes place every June.  I have attended this event (and was even the vice president of the convention’s board at one point) every year since its inception with the exception of 2012.  Originally this convention was primarily a science fiction based event, but it took a shot at anime last year.  This year, it seems as if the convention went back to sci-fi, featuring guests from Stargate SG-1, Star Trek:  First Contact, Star Trek Continues, The Walking Dead, and one anime guest.  I’ll speak about some of these later on.

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Photo credit: Garrett Manuel

I attended the event as a guest panelist and as a member of the crew of the USS Lafitte, a Lake Charles based Star Trek fan club that is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.  I arrived on Friday and met up with the Lafitte crew for the evening.  Neither of my two panels took place on Friday night, so I had a lot of time to walk around and check out the event.  I also got to visit with a lot of friends, some that I had not seen in a very long time.  Attendance was okay, but there was still plenty of room to roam around without being crunched shoulder to shoulder with other guests and fans.

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Photo credit: Stuart Griggs

Saturday was a bit more active than Friday night.  All of the celebrity guests were available for autographs, photos, small talk, etc. on this day, and I took a little bit of my free time to speak with the lovely Noelle Hannibal, who many of you might recognize from Star Trek:  First Contact.  A few more of you eagle-eyed fans might remember her from the TV series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and I commend you if you recognize her from that, because she was in full makeup for that show.  We talked for a bit and I got a photograph and an autograph from her.  She was very cordial and a pleasure to speak with.

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Photo credit: Kendall Fontenot

Saturday was also the day that the lovely ladies of Orion’s Envy made their appearance in all of their green glory.  These ladies are excellent dancers and capture the allure of the Orion Slave Girls with perfection.  It’s hard to say anything bad about these ladies because A) they are as friendly and lovely as can be and B) they are real Star Trek fans.  I consider them friends and look forward to seeing them at any convention that I attend.  They performed on Saturday evening for the crowd in between sets by the Consortium of Genius, who jammed out to a ton of original tunes culled from multiple genres.  COG (as many people refer to them) also cranked out an epic version of the theme from Doctor Who, which is my favorite series of all time.

I hosted a panel about the Fifth and Tenth Doctors from Doctor Who on Saturday.  I called it Five and Dime and briefly highlighted the multiple similarities and differences between the men (Peter Davison and David Tennant) that portrayed these two incarnations of the Doctor and how the two relate to one another in real life.  I was shocked at how many people attended the panel.  Apparantly the Lake area is hungry for Who.

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Photo credit: Garrett Manuel

Sunday was much, much more laid back, and attendance lightened as the day went on.  Despite the small numbers, though, I had a nearly packed house for my second panel, Upgrades:  From Mondas to Cybus Industries, which covered the ever-changing Cybermen from Doctor Who.  This panel was much looser than my previous one, drawing a lot of interplay from the crowd, and we even went off on a few tangents like Superman and Harry Potter, but it was still a lot of fun and well-attended.

The event closed with what was supposed to be a panel focusing strictly on Cliff Simon, but he suggested that all of the celebrity guests take the stage with him and it basically became a free-for-all where photos were snapped, autographs signed, and plenty of fun was had by all.

After the convention called it a day, I managed to grab an autograph from Michael Koske, a featured Walker from The Walking Dead.  I asked him how many times he died on screen as a Walker and he told me that of the forty-three Walkers that he portrayed, forty of them bit the dust on the screen.  He was a genuinely nice guy and I wouldn’t mind seeing him at another convention down the road.

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Photo credit: Some random dude who offered to take the photo for me. I returned the favor. Thanks, random dude!

I also got to hang out for a bit with Larry Nemecek, who is bascially a Trek library full of knowledge about not just the many series and films, but of many other Trek related things.  He also portrayed Bones in the first two episodes of Star Trek Continues, a fan created series headed up by Vic Mignogna, who is best known as an anime voice actor.  If you ever get the chance to check out the show, do it!

The best thing about small cons like Bayoucon is the fact that you spend almost no time in lines to meet celebrities, shop vendors, or interact with artists.  Even better than that is the fact that you get to hang out with friends in a very loose environment.

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Photo credit: Garrett Manuel

Bayoucon has had many ups and downs over the years and still seems to be trying to find its footing, but two very important staff members, the husband and wife duo of Michael and Jenni Moreau, have managed to make this an enjoyable event.  They go out of their way to make this event special, and they should be recognized for their work on this event.

If you’re ever in the Lake area during the early days of summer, be sure to check out Bayoucon.  I plan to attend this event again next year, and hopefully with new panels to present.

Header photo taken by Garrett Manuel.