Gone With the Wookie

Kristin Devine

Kristin has humbly retired as Ordinary Times' friendly neighborhood political whipping girl to focus on culture and gender issues. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of https://atomicfeminist.com/

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8 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    Getting attached to robots has a long history.Report

  2. James K says:

    It’s true that the way droids are treated in Star Wars is really messed up.Report

    • North in reply to James K says:

      Eh, everything about Star Wars tends towards a nonsensical gabble if you look anywhere past the main plot line. Robots exist but slave labor is somehow economical; a single secret planet can manufacture and crew the largest and most advanced fleet of capital ships the Galaxy has ever seen… in total secret. Ships with hyperdrive can annihilate large cumbersome vessels regardless of armor or defenses- yet large capital ships are still an integral part of space battle.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

        I was thinking about this, and it occurred to me that this crazy world, where they have robots but human slavery makes sense is, actually the world we live in right now.

        In some parts of the developed world, the level of technology is astonishing, with robotic devices doing everything from vacuuming floors to performing surgery.
        Yet, it is still cheaper to have immigrants pick fruit than have a robot do it.

        And actual human slavery exists in many parts of the world, and still makes economic sense.

        It seems strange, but it is true that in some cases, human labor is cheaper and more plentiful than robots.

        On a broader note, not everyone on our planet lives in a similar world; In some cases people live surrounded by technology while others live without electricity or running water. The economics of planet Earth as as varied as the people. This sort of labor over here is wildly expensive, while that sort of labor of there is cheaper than a machine.

        For me, what stories like Dune and Star Wars got right was the importance of religion, that people don’t behave rationally, but in quirky irrational ways that don’t necessarily make sense but fit their emotional and psychological desires.Report

  3. North says:

    Great article. I think it’d be bolstered by some examples of the writings of people calling for the sanitizing that you reference but otherwise great points.Report

  4. Chip Daniels says:

    Hero stories tend to be inherently unable to address issues of justice, because they require a fundamental inequality of people where there is some sort of aristocracy of worth.

    The hero is always just somehow better than other people, and acts according to his own code and desires without the messy input of peers. There is never the need to negotiate and work with other people’s inputs and agendas.

    I wouldn’t be the first person to note how the hero is uncomfortably similar to the fascist Strong Man On Horseback.Report

  5. Zac Black says:

    IIRC shortly after the release of Episode VII, a director (I wanna say David Fincher) pitched Disney on the idea of a film from the perspective of droids and how mistreated they are by the setting: not surprisingly, 12 Years a Droid didn’t make it past the pitch stage.Report

  6. Urusigh says:

    Counter-argument: SW Droids aren’t sapients, they’re merely simulations of sapients. The ability to speak and fake emotion doesn’t change their moral status to human-equivalent anymore than Alexa and Siri are human-equivalent. This inhumanity doesn’t prevent people from forming emotional attachments to objects, but it isn’t and shouldn’t be any deeper or more meaningful than that which you would see with a treasured car or other possession (it hurts to see it damaged and there’s a sort of grief if it’s lost/destroyed, but under no conception could it be regarded as an equal to its owner). L3-37 wasn’t a person in a relationship, it was a malfunctioning tool. Its manifest defects frankly endangered Lando. Where you see a romance, I see a guy with a favorite ‘project car’ falling apart and nearly getting him killed at the end. That L3-37’s remains were then incorporated into the Millennium Falcon, rather literally a ‘project car’, wasn’t tragic so much as bringing it full circle: the broken tool was restored to its intended functionality.Report