Last Friday, Star Wars finally made the jump to light speed and joined the internet age. The 88-second teaser trailer for the seventh installment of the franchise, titled “The Force Awakens,” was released online and immediately shot up Twitter trends, zipping past hashtags of protests and riots stemming from the Ferguson grand jury decision. If people understand how a teaser trailer for a Star Wars movie — more than a year away from release — knocked the media’s love affair with Ferguson-inspired riots off of the front page of the internet, then they can understand why progressive media outlets are attempting to fabricate a racial narrative out of complete thin air concerning its new young star.
The first new image that prequel-scarred fans are given is of an Imperial Stormtrooper popping into frame, panicked and sweating, shortly after an ominous voice states that “There has been an awakening”. “Who is he?,” “why is he panicked?” and “where is his helmet?” are the many questions that run through the viewer’s mind. The teaser has done its job by raising more questions than answers, and fans are hooked again despite being bludgeoned nearly to death by a decade of incredibly disappointing prequels they refuse to acknowledge even exist, save the final 20 minutes of Episode III.
The “stormtrooper” in question is Attack the Block actor John Boyega, and he is rumored to be not just a minor cog in a rebuilding Empire, but in fact the lead of the new Trilogy that will see Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia pass the saber in some form or another down to a new hope. Anyone who has seen Attack The Block can testify that Boyega brings an intense dynamic presence to the screen. He has the undeniably chiseled face of a young hero, comes across as mature beyond his years, and is the perfect candidate for an aging Mark Hamill — now the same age Alec Guinness was when he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars — to pass his skills and knowledge down to a (possible) new apprentice. Other than sporadic leaks about Boyega’s character’s rumored origin months ago, no one knows for sure what he’s doing out there in the desert.
The trailer also introduces an insanely illogical “Sithcalibur” light saber and a stunt-flying Millennium Falcon that reminds fans of just how thankful they are that George Lucas didn’t fuck up the coolest spaceship ever put on film during the prequels. The most anticipated film of the year now has footage that fans and internet obsessives can dissect frame-by-frame until the Super Bowl, or new Avengers film in theaters, when a second full trailer is revealed.
But none of that has been the topic of discussion on the progressive websites that masquerade as nerdgasm sites. The topic of discussion has been all about the purportedly rampant racism online directed at John Boyega himself. Hundreds and hundreds of racist comments about the “Black Stormtrooper” controversy. Yahoo News, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Verge, The Wrap and Mashable all tackled this sensitive subject with a passionate fury. Boyega himself even weighed in, expressing his gratitude and excitement on his personal Instagram saying, adding a somewhat cryptic phrase at the end: “To whom it may concern, get used to it.” It took progressive media all of 1 parsec to assume he was clearly referencing one or two anonymous YouTube comments about his race, and not perhaps a former acting coach, or ex-girlfriend, or anyone else.
The issue of Boyega’s skin color has been such a heated topic of debate online that none of the news outlets who ran stories about fan racism directed at Boyega could cite a single example of it happening. Not on Twitter. Not in an op-Ed, not on movie fansites.
The story appeared at Mashable by Annie Colbert and once again didn’t link any actual criticisms about Boyega’s race. The closest any of them came was Kimberley Dadds from Buzzfeed embedding tweets that mentioned people were outraged yet linked or provided no examples to any actual racist comments to which those tweets were referring to. Variations of this story that appeared at The Wrap and Verge opted for headlines like “Black Stormtrooper fires back at critics” but didn’t reference a single critic. Yahoo Movies took it a step further and used the occasion to slam Fox and Rupert Murdoch but once again provided no tweets, links or blogs. Kriston Capps from The Atlantic wrote a full Op Ed titled “Of Course There Are Black Stormtroopers” with the tone that people were once again objecting and he was simply responding to them. Yet throughout his entire piece, he didn’t provide a single link, tweet or even anonymous YouTube comment, deferring instead to a Mel Brooks joke about the black troopers using an afro pick to “comb the desert” in Spaceballs. If these writers are going to start claiming Mel Brooks is racist they may want to reach further back to minimize any attempt at looking foolish by targeting Blazing Saddles instead.
Reaching to the far corners of the progressive galaxy, the Daily Kos weighed in and, oddly enough, could only muster the same Spaceballs comparison from a Reddit thread, while bringing up past perceived and imagined slights with Jar Jar Binks. (The voice actor for Jar Jar, Ahmed Best, is black and this is considered racist; Darth Vader, voiced by James Earl Jones, somehow is not.)
Here was populist web-media pushing a nonexistent narrative with no references other than to those of the cryptic comments of the star. If Boyega is in fact referring to specific racist comments then these outlets should push him to cite the examples he witnessed so we, as a collective fanbase, can shame these people together. This all of course leads to the motivation of these writers and their editors. Fans and casual readers not trained in recognizing these techniques see headlines about racist reactions and are driven further apart; evidence be damned. The authors cite zero examples of bigotry toward Boyega but their 18pt-font headline or tweet says it exists.
You should have a bad feeling about all of this.
Fans will try to shrug this off as no big deal. But it is, because it is a pattern that won’t stop and won’t slow down. This same wing of the media are the ones that went after a rocket scientist for his shirt. This is the pattern of progressive media, shaming anyone and anything away from popular culture that doesn’t politically agree with them. This is the playground bully attempting to keep the kid off the monkey-bars and using any justification they can possibly conjure to make it acceptable to themselves. It is not an accident that, since the repudiation of extremist progressive policies just over a month ago in the midterm elections, this sector of the media is trying desperately keep the focus off of a failing president and his policies. This includes supplementing the unpopularity of Obamacare and Obama’s unpopular executive amnesty orders with imaginary racial narratives in Ferguson, and popular culture’s modern day religion in Star Wars. Just as Mike Brown belongs to progressive media, the hope is that John Boyega becomes their voice in a galaxy far far away and J. J. Abrams floods a new trilogy with narratives and innuendos about climate-change on Tatooine and Wookie birth control. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all bombarded with “Hans Up, Don’t Shoot First” memes.
There is no difference in progressive media creating and fabricating a race angle in the Ferguson incident and the Star Wars trailer nontroversy, and the intent with both is equally malicious. The incident between Officer Darren Wilson and Mike Brown was hijacked by a race-narrative-happy media who are now attempting the same with Star Wars (of all things!), something that has brought people together both in terms of how good and how bad it has been. This is their idea of “fundamental change.” It only happens when the things we all love are torn down and destroyed, only to be rebuilt by the perpetually politicized. That includes Thanksgiving. That includes Star Wars.
There is not a shred of evidence that there were any racial motivations behind Darren Wilson’s shooting of Mike Brown. Mike Brown’s race played no part in him grabbing a shopkeeper by the throat and jacking a handful of cigarillos. Mike Brown’s race played no part in him deciding to walk down the middle of the street in a lumbering effort to block traffic shortly before Wilson stopped him.
Mike Brown’s race played no part when he reached for Darren Wilson’s gun.
Unless Boyega’s character in the new Trilogy is Lando’s son, then there’s no evidence to suggest he was cast for any other reason than his acting ability and no fans have suggested otherwise.
But progressive media needs the race angle to stoke the passions and pain of a community who feels wrongfully treated by an aggressive and militarized police force, and they need the race angle for the Occupy-driven protests to stay relevant. That means politicizing anything that might turn our collective heads away from their circus in Ferguson. There certainly might be a racial divide in Ferguson, MO. But Mike Brown is not Emmett Till. As Ferguson riots entered into their fourth and fifth days and the country sought to turn toward the Thanksgiving table with their families, progressive media wasn’t having any of that either, demanding family members discuss birth control, healthcare, race, race and race or glorifying protesters laying down in traffic. If you think that our films and moviegoing experience is somehow safe from these agitators, think again.
These “critics” are not fans of Star Wars. Just as a barrage of progressive media critics who love to opine about a professional football team name or violence that suddenly becomes acceptable when players raise their hands symbolically for Mike Brown before a game. MSNBC producer Jamil Smith, one of the first to launch into a racist anti-racist tirade about imaginary internet racism towards Boyega, is such an ardent Star Wars fan that he somehow completely forgot that Samuel L. Jackson had one of the most pivotal roles in the prequels, as the Jedi Master that never fully entrusted a young Anakin Skywalker the way Emperor Palpatine did.
For a brief moment, an 88-second Star Wars trailer made people remember what was great about our culture, how we can all rally around something that gives us a new hope. Then progressive media whiners (intent on making sure their shiny new race-war doesn’t fade away) fabricated a narrative out of nothing. They would have a better chance proving the existence of midichlorians than mass racial protests against a long awaited trilogy’s newfound hero. Billy Dee Williams’ race was not an issue in 1980. Samuel L. Jackson’s race was not an issue in 1999. Yet here we are in 2014. What changed?
Boyega is on the verge of becoming a huge star, regardless of his race, and the crowds staging sit-ins around the country next December outside of movie theaters in order to see new Star Wars will dwarf the few hundred protesters laying on the floor in shopping malls or a handful media agitators hoping to cause a disturbance in The Force.
– SM –