Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Mandalorian vs. Jedi/Sith
Lately among my Star Wars friends there seems to be this divide. On one side there's the Force users whether they consider themselves a Jedi or a Sith, and on the other side there's Mandalorians. I think it's pretty clear where I stand in this divide, and it's rather nice knowing that the Mandalorian side is growing so much. However, because of this divide I think it's easy for people to think one is better than the other; especially when the topic turns to the ethics of the Jedi which is, I think, a touchy subject since the Jedi are meant to be the 'good guys'. But every time Jedi raising kids away from their families and possibly taking those kids in not so nice ways comes up that 'good guy' title gets a little murky. It also gets murky when the idea of Jedi essentially using a slave army to fight the war is mentioned. Because of the murky waters and many opinions I thought I'd go ahead and jot down my own thoughts on the subject.
When I was a kid I obviously wanted to be a Jedi. What little kid doesn't imagine being a hero? Of running around with a lightsaber or other weapon of choice saving the galaxy? Not many, that's for sure. Sure there are kids that might want to be the bad guy because we all know the bad guys get all the cool stuff, but for the most part it's safe to say that most kids imagine being the hero of the story. I know I did. I wanted so badly to run around with a lightsaber, use the Force to stop the bad guys and fight for the Jedi ideals of peace and justice in the galaxy. Plus, being able to do all kinds of things using the Force would just be awesome! And as I kid everything was much simpler; the Jedi were good and Sith were bad.
As I got older, though, there were more books released on different topics that delved further into the ideas behind the Jedi and the Sith. And I still stayed with wanting to be a Jedi and considered myself someone who stood for the ideals of the Jedi.
And then Karen Traviss came along and wrote out an entire culture for the Mandalorians. So many of the things she talked about swayed me more towards the Mandalorian culture and it wasn't just because I enjoyed the Mandalorian ideas over the ideas of the Jedi, it was because things were pointed out that were flaws in the Jedi thinking. However, I'd like to say that this mainly applies to the Old Republic Jedi and not necessarily the New Republic Jedi. That's a topic for another post. So as Karen Traviss wrote her stories she really pointed out many of the problems with the Jedi.
The number one problem that I have with the Jedi is their use of the clone army. Even before Karen Traviss wrote her stories this is something that bothered me. The Jedi aren't meant to be warriors or soldiers and yet when the army appears they say nothing about it. The Jedi all go along with it and ask no questions about the fact that there are millions of clones that are grown for the express purpose of being killed. And the Jedi say nothing. Not a damn thing. It just seems so very wrong.
The other thing that bugs me is the whole Jedi taking babies to raise them. I try to not get too worked up about it because we don't know the exact process that happens when a Jedi is taken from his or her family. It has been hinted at in the books and in The Clone Wars cartoon series, but nothing too official. But what bothers me most about that is the fact that there are parents out there that willingly give up their children to be Jedi. If anyone has even the slightest idea of what the Jedi do I really can't understand how you would want to give up your child to that kind of life. First of all, the Jedi are forbidden from finding a partner or finding 'love'. And friends? Also not really allowed. Attachments? Nope. I can understand the need to control their emotions because a someone who can wield the power of the Force needs to be able to control that power, but if something that has been shown by the New Republic Jedi, you can still love and marry and have kids and everything is ok. At least, it works if you don't count Jacen Solo.
So basically, I like to believe that the Jedi still stand for peace and justice, but they just seem very ineffectual at their jobs. They spend more time in council meetings talking about ideas of peace rather than going out into the trenches and helping out. Which I think was a major contribution to the fall of the Old Republic Jedi. Being tossed onto the front lines was a major problem for them.
I don't hate the Jedi, and I don't even hate the Sith, and even though I tease my friends that like them and makes jokes at their expense I still have a great respect for the cultures and think that they are integral to the Star Wars universe, I just know that I do not want to be part of that culture or societies. I enjoy the Mandalorian culture and ideals because of their allegiance to their families and the idea that it doesn't matter who you are or were, as long as you adhere to the Mandalorian ideals then you're in. And I don't mind being on one side of the divide with the Force users on the other side. I just hope that all my friends understand that while I am a proud Mandalorian and I may tease the Jedi and the Sith I do it out of love for my friends that are Jedi and Sith and not to be mean or to initiate some kind of 'Mandos are better' club. In the end, we all exist in the same Star Wars universe.