“When Fascism Comes to America it Will be Wrapped in White Plastic Armor and Carrying a BlasTech E-11 Blaster Rifle” — Sinclair Lucas

Suppose tomorrow the Bush administration announces plans to deploy thousands of Homeland Security Troops to American cities, to walk the streets armed in the search for un-American, possibly terrorist activities (such as taking photos where there isn’t anything obviously pretty to be taking a photo of, being overly swarthy, videotaping cops and Homeland Security Troops, etc). These guys would only be answerable to the DHS, and they would be recruited from the likes of Blackwater, Wackenhut, and so forth.

Obviously there would be some outrage, yeah? I mean, not as much as there should be, but a lot of folks wouldn’t care for this at all.

Now imagine that these troops are outfitted exactly like Stormtroopers from Star Wars.

What percentage of geeks would declare that this was awesome?

What percentage of non geeks?


Photo by Keelia Liptak

What is it with Stormtroopers? How have we, as a culture, come to love the faceless face of oppression? Sure, in the movies they bump their heads and can’t hit a sidewalk with a can of paint and talk about that new BT-16 and do the Wilhelm scream and all, but it’s still pretty clear who they are and what they represent.

But people can’t get enough of them. Go to any sci-fi or comic convention and you’ll see several people in meticulously crafted Stormtrooper armor. In fact, there’s a group devoted to this, which is now also marching in things like Fourth of July parades (which is where the first image was taken). Seriously, someone thought Stormtroopers in a Fourth of July parade was a good idea.

This summer there’s a CGI “Clone Wars” movie coming out.

The guy on the left is Anakin Skywalker, who will become Darth Vader, right hand man to the evil Emperor. The troops in the background are the guys who will eventually become the Stormtroopers. Hopefully Anakin and the Clonetroopers can use all their cool ships and weapons and stuff to defeat…the bad guys? As with Attack of the Clones, are we really going to once again be expected to root for the people that we already know are going to enslave the galaxy?

But fascism isn’t just wicked awesome, it can also be dead sexy.

Once the helmet is on you won’t see the face of your oppressor but you’ll see her hot hot midriff and her thermal detonators. This is female empowerment.

It can also be fun! Here are some of the folks who kill for the Empire having a little downtime!


(Picture by waihey on Flickr)

In that last photo, an argument can obviously be made for satire, for letting the context play against the characters as a way to defang and ridicule totalitarianism. It’s also kind of funny!

Still, here’s the 118th Rose Parade. What’s the satirical message here? These guys were trained by a colonel in the real Army.

I’m not suggesting there’s some kind of conspiracy afoot to make us more tolerant of (and, in fact, enthusiastic about) a fascist society.

I’m suggesting that such a conspiracy probably wouldn’t be necessary.

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93 Responses to “When Fascism Comes to America it Will be Wrapped in White Plastic Armor and Carrying a BlasTech E-11 Blaster Rifle” — Sinclair Lucas

  1. David Thiel says:

    About the whole charitable giving thing: sure, it’s nice that you collect a few thousand bucks dressing as space Nazis, but let’s keep it in perspective. If it was all about helping sick kids, there are more focused and efficient ways of accomplishing that.

    The other day I was having a conversation with a coworker who specializes in educational outreach. We were talking about the Rotarians, another service organization that dabbles in charitable giving. Her perspective was that what they did was nice, and it made them feel good, but it was a literal drop in the bucket.

    I’m not saying that the charitable efforts aren’t sincere, but rather that they’re an afterthought to the real reason for the organization: amortizing the cost of space Nazi armor.

    About the Jawa thing: I’ve seen mass gatherings of the 501st at Star Wars Celebrations II and III. Yes, there were a smattering of non-Imperials there. But for every innocent desert nomad there were sixty armored, jackbooted soldiers. Your branding (as Jeff S. points out) is based around the stormtrooper image, make no mistake.

  2. Jerm says:

    Wow, quite a stir, Dave.

    Its wild to me that everyone seems to be totally missing the point. I mean, I get being a little defensive about your hobby, but c’mon storm trooper guys. Isn’t it just a little funny and ironic?

  3. Andrew says:

    It is pretty amusing to read how far some people are taking this – It is an issue that does come up, and people in the 501st are very proud at what they do.

    I mainly take issue, and I’m sure, most of the other members, with the Space Nazi thing – virtually no one associates us with that sort of imagery, which is good, because it’s not what we’re about.

    As far as keeping things in perspective, yes, there’s a lot of ways in which to help sick kids. A lot of us have found that this is a very good way to donate our time and energy, and it is, despite what some people see in the costume, a very effective means of doing so. I’ll point people to this trailer: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ev3-Z5Cccwo and http://youtube.com/watch?v=6eS_5a8JGIs, for a film Heart of an Empire, an upcoming documentary on the group.

    Charity work for us is not a way to offset the price of the armor. It legitimizes what we do, and makes us stand out from other fan groups, but saying that we only doing for that reason is insulting – I look for events to troop at because I want to help the community. In no way is this an afterthought for me. It wasn’t the primary reason for my joining up, and for a number of other members, but it was damn high on the list.

  4. TR-3456 says:

    About the Jawa thing: I’ve seen mass gatherings of the 501st at Star Wars Celebrations II and III. Yes, there were a smattering of non-Imperials there. But for every innocent desert nomad there were sixty armored, jackbooted soldiers.

    We are going for screen accuracy here. ;-)

  5. Totalitarian Trooper says:

    “But I still think there’s something unsettling about having death squads — even fictional ones — march in freedom parades.”
    As has been stated, we did this to support a local library in conjunction with the Vermont Cardboard Technical Institute. Personally I’m a bit more unsettled by a secessionist movement marching in a July 4 parade than a bunch of movie characters, even Nazis in a Raiders of the Lost Ark float/group. Because they’re there to represent movie characters, not actual Nazis. If you had an American Nazi Party group or a bunch of Klansmen gathering cheers and applause, then I’d agree we’d have a problem.

    “How is that fascist footsoldiers have come to bring joy and smiles to people?”
    Because most people don’t look at Stormtroopers and think “Holy $#!+! Fascist footsoldier!” They think “Holy $#!+! Star Wars!” We aren’t in it for the ideology Stormtroopers represent, and most people (and no one else I’ve come across) associates us with that ideology either. They look at us and see movie characters, not political henchmen (or hitmen, if you prefer). You could put any Star Wars character in front of them, whether good, bad, neutral, or other, and you’ll get the same reaction: People will be excited at seeing an authentic-looking Star Wars character, especially if he/she remains in the character of the character that is being portrayed.

    “I think the only one who has really missed the point here is the guy who somehow takes away from all this that I’m a book-burning neoconservative that worships Ann Coulter. If I’m somehow giving that impression to people then something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.”
    I didn’t get that impression at all. I got the impression that you were quite the opposite of an Ann Coulter-worshiping neoconservative. But to be fair to him, I actually have heard conspiracy theories that Bush is really a reptilian alien who carried out 9/11 (seriously).

    Now, I see, and, to a certain extent agree with, your assertion that there is a cultural obsession with the bad guys, because let’s face it, they usually do have cooler uniforms (one exception is the Gondorians in Lord of the Rings). But to say that this makes the country willing to accept the implementation of fascism is stretching it way too far. Even if the fascists carried E-11 blasters.

    Let me ask you a question: A rising number of people are dressing as the Master Chief from the Halo universe. Does this mean the country is willing to establish a military dictatorship that kidnaps and biologically experiments on children so they can create super-soldiers to crush anyone who opposes their rule? Or is it just a bunch of geeks with too much time and money on their hands having a good time?

  6. Dorian says:

    HAMLET
    Madam, how like you this play?

    QUEEN GERTRUDE
    The lady protests too much, methinks.

  7. Totalitarian Trooper says:

    Technically it’s “The lady doth protest to much, methinks.” ;)

  8. Dave says:

    Let me ask you a question: A rising number of people are dressing as the Master Chief from the Halo universe. Does this mean the country is willing to establish a military dictatorship that kidnaps and biologically experiments on children so they can create super-soldiers to crush anyone who opposes their rule? Or is it just a bunch of geeks with too much time and money on their hands having a good time?

    Unfortunately, I’m the one geek who hasn’t played Halo, so I can’t really get with the analogy.

    The thing is, at no point did I accuse the members of the 501st of being fascist themselves. (If other commenters here or elsewhere have done this or questioned the sincerity of the 501’s charitable works, tplease take that issue up with that person.) I certainly didn’t imply that “the government is using the 501st Legion as a symbol of fascism at parades and stuff and that all of our charity work is a cover up for our really real ideals.” which is how one person linking to this blog post summarized it.

    I am talking about how prevalent interest in fascism is in geek culture (and non-geek culture) and how things like Stormtroopers, who represent such things, have become watered down to the point where they’re standing in as family-friendly, sexy, or entertaining. That’s my point. The 501 in particular was mentioned in passing as I was pointing out how prevalent people dressed as Stormtroopers have become. I’m neither the first person nor the last to make any of these points.

  9. Dorian says:

    “Technically” it depends on which edition of the play you’re using for reference, as there is no such thing as an intact, authoritative edition of the complete work.

  10. Andrew says:

    I am talking about how prevalent interest in fascism is in geek culture (and non-geek culture) and how things like Stormtroopers, who represent such things, have become watered down to the point where they’re standing in as family-friendly, sexy, or entertaining. That’s my point. The 501 in particular was mentioned in passing as I was pointing out how prevalent people dressed as Stormtroopers have become. I’m neither the first person nor the last to make any of these points.

    And now we get to the good stuff, and it’s an interesting thing to examine.

    I think to some extent, you can argue that aspects of fandom is really a rather progressive movement, and that much of sci-fi and fantasy can be looked at as such as well.

  11. Totalitarian Trooper says:

    Fair point, Dorian. I’ll concede that. It’s just the versions I’ve seen use “doth protest.” Granted, I’m not a literary geek, so my knowledge is far from complete.

  12. Totalitarian Trooper says:

    “Unfortunately, I’m the one geek who hasn’t played Halo, so I can’t really get with the analogy.”
    Oh. Well in that case I would recommend playing them if you have an Xbox, I really enjoyed them.

    In regards to the rest of geek culture, I can’t really discuss that in detail, because I never got into comic books (although I did see V for Vendetta – does that count? =P). So I can’t say whether or not there is a prevalence of fascism in geek culture. Even if it is commonly found, however, it does not mean that geeks approve of fascism or want to see it emulated in the real world. It makes sense that fascists would be frequently used for bad guys. Who better to make the enemy than evil Nazis or fascists? That’s an idea that is definitely not limited to geek culture – the idea that fascists can be universally applied and accepted as evil.

    But to get to your point about people in Stormtrooper costumes getting people to accept watered-down fascism, that I do disagree with. Again, I and several others have said it before, we dress up not to represent the Galactic Empire or its policies, but to represent Star Wars as a series of movies. People don’t see a Stormtrooper at a convention and think “Hey! What are those fanatical minions of a totalitarian Empire doing here?” They think “Hey! Star Wars characters!” I’d get the same reaction if I dressed as a Stormtrooper, Darth Vader, a Jawa, a Rebel Fleet Trooper, or Admiral Ackbar. People are excited to see a screen-accurate movie character, they don’t care what the character did in the movie. In the movies, yes, Stormtroopers represent the totalitarian Empire, but in real life they represent the movies.

    And I did not saying you’re the only person who thinks this, I’m saying you are the first person I have encountered who does feel this way.

  13. David Thiel says:

    >>Charity work for us is not a way to offset the price of the armor. It legitimizes what we do, and makes us stand out from other fan groups, but saying that we only doing for that reason is insulting…<<

    And those might be fair points if I had written either of those things, instead of what I actually wrote: that the real reason for the ORGANIZATION, not the charity work, is to justify owning a very expensive costume that would otherwise be worn perhaps a couple of times a year. I’d argue that “it legitimizes what we do” is entirely the point of the 501st. Without it, you couldn’t wear your armor to the sweetcorn festival without people treating you like they did the alternate juror who attended the Whitewater trial in full Starfleet garb.

  14. Andrew says:

    Ah, that clarifies things a little more, but I don’t think that it’s accurate. People don’t buy the outfits to join the organization, but the organization exists because we all have something in common, Star Wars costuming. In this case yes, the organized effort to promote charity and things of that nature is what legitimizes the group.

  15. Bort McShevis says:

    Hey if it means I get a free set of that cool white plastic armor by joining the Fascist cause, sign

  16. Bort McShevis says:

    me up

    doodz – the commentz windo is like broke.

    Oh yeah and its like really hot where I live, so can I get a big green lizard to ride to work too?

  17. David Thiel says:

    Ah, that clarifies things a little more, but I don’t think that it’s accurate. People don’t buy the outfits to join the organization, but the organization exists because we all have something in common, Star Wars costuming. In this case yes, the organized effort to promote charity and things of that nature is what legitimizes the group.

    Again, I never made the claim that people bought the outfits to join the organization. The rest of the above paragraph pretty much confirms the claims I actually did make. The costumes came first and the charity eventually followed. Because doing it the other way ’round would be silly.

  18. Lee says:

    You haven’t been listening to Obama. He is the new face of fascism.

  19. bob says:

    there were stormtroopers at the Texas Renaissance Festival, weird place for a storm trooper, but whatever.

    it is harmless fun, if they bring a smile to just one child, especially one in a hospital, then it is all justified

  20. Ultrahumanite says:

    “Now imagine that these troops are outfitted exactly like Stormtroopers from Star Wars.

    What percentage of geeks would declare that this was awesome?

    What percentage of non geeks?”

    To answer both questions, I would say, “Nearly none.”

    Because at that point, it would cease to be fun. It would cease to be fantasy and become reality, and the entire point of dressing up as space Nazis is to briefly escape reality, not emulate it.

    Villains have an inherent appeal to most people, not just because they have the coolest outfits — this is true whether we’re talking about Darth Vader, Cobra Commander or Ming the Merciless — but because the villains are the characters who can almost always act without fear of conscience or consequence. In point of fact, it is the fantasy of being free to act without being bound by social constraint that drives even a fair percentage of heroes in popular culture, from Batman to Dirty harry Callahan. However, although most people might enjoy a daydream or a weekend fantasy roleplaying the character who, say, whips out the .44 and blasts the bad guys away, most people also understand that while the fantasy may be appealing and even empowering, the reality of having a policeman who disregards all proper police procedure and grimly dispenses hot lead justice is, shall we say, somewhat undesirable.

    So it is with the Empire’s Finest. If you say that Lucas is guilty of using a convenient cinematic shorthand to establish the baddies as baddies in his space opera, I can’t argue with that. Calling the troops of the evil empire “Stormtroopers” instantly tells you all you need to know about the Empire — to begin with, that it is evil, uncompromisingly, thoroughly evil… as is fitting for a fairy tale. Nazis have become our modern point of reference for evil — and with good reason.

    To be fair, Lucas is hardly unique in the use of this shorthand — in fact, it all too often enters political discourse inappropriately. If there is a danger in the idea of fascism losing some of its impact, it lies more in the idea of labeling, say, George W. Bush a fascist or a Nazi, when in fact — honestly — he is far less fascist in policy and practice than either Abraham Lincoln or FDR. Like in “Star Wars”, Nazi has become the go-to phrase when you want to utterly paint your opponent as evil (and by default, yourself as noble) and has begun to become a meaningless term, right alongside “racist” and “greed”.

    Which brings us back to stormtroopers. It’s quite simply the difference between fantasy and reality. Fictional agents of a nonexistent space regime are no more sinister than any other popular villains or anti-heroes, be they crime lords (Scarface), psychopaths (Hannibal Lecter), rogue cops (Dirty Harry), or terrorists (COBRAAAAAAAAAA!). Because the characters have become iconic does not mean that the ideology has somehow become palatable — the characters evoke the fun and drama and thrills of the fictional worlds they inhabit, not their philosophies or political agendas. If children (or geeks, or movie fans, or all of the above) cheer when confronted with a living representation of a bad guy from the movies — space Nazi or not — they are not cheering the underlying ideologies of those characters, but simply cheering the fond memories and excitement that the films themselves evoke. To assume anything else is to credit people with far too little capacity to distinguish the escapist fantasy from the uncomfortable reality.

  21. Guy in white says:

    Wow. Things got a bit heated over here, eh?
    Let me say this: Dave, I think you make a good point. Over the last 8 years, we’ve seen Americans accept the erosion of their rights and freedoms all in the name of the “War on Terror.” For Christ’s sake, we let the Patriot Act get passed. What was that about? Bush has been using “You’re either with us or against us” for 7 years now, and no one blinks. I believe it was Obi Wan who said “Only Sith deal in absolutes.”
    I think the “asshole” tag on this post got the troopers gander up. Not saying that was directed at us, but I’m sure you can see where that’d get folks riled.
    At any rate, I honestly believe we have more to worry about from Disney. Seriously. While we can pretty much count out white armor death squads marching through our streets, we can’t count out mega corporations twisting people’s minds from birth. I’ve said for years if all the characters in the Disneyworld Main Street parade suddenly unfurled double hammer banners and began goose stepping, people would not panic.
    We’re a nation of sheep.
    One last point, which really brings home the irony: The whole story arc behind the some what painful Star Wars prequels was Lucas attempting to illustrate just how easily good people and good intentions can slip into fascism and with just a little prodding. Anakin had good intentions, you know?

  22. Facist Supporter says:

    C’mon, that’s like saying the Pirates of the Caribbean movies make us more tolerant of rape and murder.

  23. Ultrahumanite says:

    “Over the last 8 years, we’ve seen Americans accept the erosion of their rights and freedoms all in the name of the “War on Terror.””

    Excuse me? How about over the last century? Erosion of freedom goes at least back to the famously progressive racist Woodrow Wilson, with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 (which led directly to the Great depression, incidentally) right through the New Deal, steadily through LBJ’s “Great Society”, right up to Bill Clinton, who, according to New York Times, was guilty of “stripping the courts of their power to protect individuals from official abuse” and “sponsored a counterterrorism bill that became law with a number of repressive features in it” including provisions that had nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with “gutting the power of Federal courts to examine state criminal convictions, on writs of habeas corpus, to make sure there was no violation of constitutional rights” and deporting legal immigrants after arbitrarily branding them “terrorists” and giving them no recourse to obtain or examine the evidence against them. This in addition to a litany of other laws and executive orders that prompted John Heilemann to declare that “[T]he Clinton administration has managed to compile a record on individual rights and freedoms – from habeas corpus to gay marriage and from wiretapping to file-gathering – that is breathtaking in both the breadth and the depth of its awfulness. Indeed, so atrocious is Clinton’s record, it can plausibly be argued that he is the worst civil liberties president since Richard Nixon.”

    Oh, wait, hell… what am I thinking? Clinton was a POPULAR president.. I apologize. You only started losing rights when Bush signed the Patriot Act. It’s all George’s fault. Nothing much happened before he got into office… it’s only the last eight years that your rights have been slowly stolen away from you. My mistake. Please carry on.

  24. Guy in white says:

    Ultrahumanite, I do not disagree with you. I was merely focusing on more current events. This country has a piss poor record from it’s inception. No argument here.
    To quote the late, great George Carlin “Bill of Rights? You think you have rights? You have no rights. What you have is a bill of privileges.”
    Perhaps we’d all be happier if we just cam on out and embraced the fascist in all of us.

  25. TR-3456 says:

    Ultrahumanite, you should also consider that a lot of people who voted for Bill Clinton back in the 90s were a lot less informed than we are today. The internet while in existence didn’t start to become the phenomena it has become today until after Bill Clinton was elected into his 2nd term. I for one am much more informed about the political scene than I was 12 years ago. There are many things that you mentioned that until you mentioned them I had no idea BIll Clinton had done them. Then again I am not one to linger on things that are in the past. There are also many of us who are not as versed in certain parts of history. I mean I know enough to pass a High School Civics but beyond that I haven’t had the interest to delve into the inner workings of things like “The Great Depression” or even the presidents of the early 20th century. For those like me the last 8-12 years are our defining times, and unfortunately the past 8 years have been full of political disasters cause in part by Bill Clinton, but also by Bush’s misguided arrogance during his administration. The ONLY thing he has done right the entire time he’s been in administration was going into Afghanistan. Now only he had kept his attention on the real target I probably wouldn’t be so pissed at him.

    Now back to the topic at hand. I’ll say I don’t agree with how Dave wrote this article. I think he could have chosen a better way to discuss the problem of the American citizen having their freedoms stripped away from a government that seems to becoming more and more fascist as the weeks and months go by. We do have a problem, and we as a country have to realize that we have a problem and that it needs to be fixed. We need new blood in government. There are too many lifetime congressmen and women. We need new ideas to deal with world around us, and we most importantly have to stop thinking we are better than everyone else, and that our way is the only right way because we are not, and it isn’t. I think we’ll figure it out in the end. (well I sure hope we do).

  26. Ultrahumanite says:

    “Then again I am not one to linger on things that are in the past.”

    Which is true of too many people in this country. Which is why we will be doomed to repeat the past again, and again, and again…

    “For those like me the last 8-12 years are our defining times…”

    Which is exactly my point. You are looking to the last 8 years to define a slow rot which began over a century ago. George Bush is not the instigator, nor is Bill Clinton, nor is any living politician. These people are the logical end progression of policies and practices that were initiated before their fathers were born, such as the establishment of government school systems (which were designed, by the open admission of the men who designed it, to create a populace of compliant workers without critical thinking skills) to the methods and influence of Edward Bernays and his ilk…

    Stormtrooper armor is not what makes us more accepting of fascism. Things like welfare, terrorism, affirmative action, government subsidies, and climate change science ARE what makes us more accepting of fascism. No one cheers when Imperial Stormtroopers march because they have a secret fetish for fascism — but they are exposing their desire to have their lives controlled by a faceless, all-powerful state when they cheer ideas like universal heath care. As Mencken said, “The desire to save humanity is almost always a false front for the desire to rule it.”

  27. Benjamin says:

    I think this is a bit of a stretch. You’re talking about people dressing up as fictional characters as a literal expression of their core beliefs. I doubt anyone is going to argue that a bunch of people dressing up as Captain America is a mass show of support for genetic modification of humans or a bunch of people dressing up as Batman is a call to arms for vigilantes. These people you show in the photos have taken a symbol that was initially negative, and turned it into something positive. The 501st does all kinds of charity work. You’re looking purely at the symbol rather than the intention behind the symbol and that is quite frankly a very lazy way to try to make an argument.

  28. Dave says:

    Once again, at no point have I said that people dressing as stormtroopers in general or the 501st in particular are fascists.

    What I am pointing out is a casual attitude towards fascism in both geek and general culture, and one indication of this, to me, is the fact that stormtroopers are seen as harmless, sexy, funny, and innocent. That is my argument.

  29. Benjamin says:

    Have you even watched Star Wars, Dave? Stormtroopers were always seen as harmless. In the movies, they couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn and were ultimately defeated by teddy bears. They were just cannon fodder for the heroes like countless other faceless villains going back to the beginning of cinema. They’ve been the butt of jokes since 1977. There’s nothing remotely fascist about them other than the vague idea that the Emperor is a bad guy and the work for the Emperor so that’s supposed to make them bad. If anything is causing a casual attitude towards fascism, it’s the way the way people like you and the politicians and “journalists” in Washington bandy the word around like it’s a catch all term for people and things you don’t like. Everyone some yokel Senator doesn’t agree with is “tantamount to Hitler” and disagreeing with the news organization’s slant is “supporting Islamo-fascism or terrorism”. The meaning behind the word fascism has completely changed.

  30. Dave says:

    I suppose I’m reading too much into the totalitarian Empire led by the Emperor who dissolves the senate and relies on fear to keep everyone in line, fear of his battle station, the “Death Star” (illustrated by destroying a defenseless planet), and his faceless footsoldiers who dress like skeletons and are named after Nazis. Not Fascism, you say? I suppose there was a kinder, gentler side to the Empire? Something more…compassionate?

  31. Benjamin says:

    That’s not my point. Yes, the Empire in Star Wars was bad, but so were hundreds of other similar film villains that could easily be interchanged. Why dumb your argument down to film symbolism and a theoretical action by the President when there are so many real life examples of complacency towards fascism?

  32. Kar says:

    Dewd, I can’t believe you didn’t include the Elvis Stormtrooper (found at most cons) and the stripper Trooper who wears a pink thong, garters and heels.

    I think part of the appeal is that you know that 94% of these guys are married computer engineers from California. Heck, at Dragoncon a couple of years ago there was an unofficial contest to bag a stormtrooper by a couple of succubi. Apparently their prey all blushed, held up wedding rings and ran off! So much for the bad boy appeal.

    Which kind of says it all, they’re bad boys but not really.

  33. Dave says:

    I have addressed those things, Benjamin. This blog is nearly six years old and I’ve talked about that quite a bit. This was a single blog post with a single point to it that has blown up thanks to some linkage elsewhere. You’re free to go through the archives if you like. My purpose with this post was “Stormtroopers: What’s THAT About?” Sadly, the margin of this blog post is too small to also contain the proof of the theorem.

  34. Sienn says:

    Those troopers stand for nothing more than the cult that is Star Wars.

    Oh, and just so you know, the good guys have a similar group called the Rebel Legion.

    Hello there, reality check. You should do one.
    It’s just a movie.

    Like someone else already mentioned; why not look at the real threats out there.

    That said; your blog makes for a good laugh.

  35. Benjamin says:

    I guess it’s my misunderstanding for reading your thoughts in the context provided.

  36. Nick says:

    Many people have too much time too loose.

    I can’t even think about how much time and effort you’ve put in this debate.

    Hello, it’s a movie … and a fu***** good one.

    Sorry dude, but use your time on more intelligent stuff.

  37. Rome says:

    Some of my fellow 501sters might be a bit amused at what I have to say here, considering the position I hold in the organization. I would actually agree with the author’s assertion that the cheering we get and the smiles on kids’ faces might be an indication of the populace’s predisposition to accept elements of fascism without question. I did not read that he equates us to an underground fascist network, slowly undermining society from within. I think that’s a leap to a conclusion that we’re making on our own.

    The question here is “WHY are the kids so enamored with us?” Well, to answer to my own question right now, I’ll say it: the Stormtrooper armor is cooler-looking and is attention-getting. That’s all: vain narcissism, if you will. Yes, there is a disconnect between the representation of the fictional characters we portray, and the motivations for why we do it. That dichotomy is illustrated by one of our cherished mottos: “Bad Guys Who Do Good.”

    We work 150% harder on polishing our image to the communities and organizations we work with to the point of making people such as the author and some of the commenters wonder how it is that society has gotten so accepting of the “bad guy” image. As a kid, I always loved collecting the Cobra figures because … you guessed it … they LOOKED cooler than the good guys. This is a disconnect that I have no answer for.

    The part that usually gets under our skin the most easily is, of course, the apparent equating of “us” to Nazis. At an objective level, it’s true. The CHARACTER of the Emperor can easily equal Hitler, Vader can easily be the equivalent of Himmler, and so on. If we, the 501st, are going to continue to enjoy what we do, we need to remember that those equivalents exist, but that we as the PEOPLE are not them.

    People are cheering for the images of soldiers of a fascist regime, and the author is asking “why.” What does that say about society at large? For our part in the 501st, we don’t have the answer to that, because our interest stops at the appreciation of the movies and not reading much further into the symbolism and imagery beyond the spaceships and laser guns. Call us short-sighted for it, or what have you. Some of you might even believe that we’re contributing to the disintegration of society that way, but we do what we can because we have the cooler-looking costumes.

    Even though they’re hot as hell inside.

  38. Guy in white says:

    Upon closer examination of my own Star Wars and stormtrooper related merchandise, I have to confess the truth: We (as a culture) tend to overlook the symbolism if we think it’s cool.
    I bought a T shirt at Wal Mart a while back of a stormtrooper helmet above two crossed bones. That was the symbol used by the SS. And I bought it because it was cool.
    Not cool.

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  40. Slacker says:

    The whole view of the Empire and their loyal troops, the Stormtroopers, as evil is completely false and based solely on a baseless piece of Rebellion propoganda. To get the truth you must check out http://www.adpov.net

    TD-0013 will set you start on who the real bad guys are!

  41. Bruce Meyer says:

    Storm troopers on parade = raging killer bulls as piniatas = the devil in red tights and a stupid pitchfork.

    Ya take the most evil, scary, dangerous thing, and make fun of it, disarm it. Piniatas were the plaything of rural cattle-farming kids of mexico, whacking the danger out of the killer on the loose, until the candy guts spill out.

    The devil in tights was a way of taking the one authentic power against Christians and holding him up to ridicule.

    No one would ever REALLY want to run into storm troopers. Or a bull. Or the devil.

  42. VestiFali says:

    Äh, das muß man jetzt nicht verstehen?
    aber, macht weiter so!!!

    Ich bin auf deiner Seite, Karl Braun…

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