It shouldn’t be too surprising that Star Wars: The Old Republic will allow players to pursue homosexual relationships. After all, the game was created by BioWare, the company that also developed the Mass Effect trilogy, which allows you to participate in lesbian, interspecies, and transgender relationships. (At one point in Mass Effect you flirt with a blue-skinned semi-immortal hermaphrodite, which is exactly the sort of thing your parents warned you about when you moved to the big city.) However, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has a bone to pick with the new homosexual option. In a new mixed-metaphor piece of radio commentary titled “Rebel Fleet Surrenders to Gay Empire,” Perkins said: “In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists… in a galaxy not so far far away, Star Wars gamers have already gone to the dark side.”
It’s strange that Perkins is so upset about an extremely minor game-play addition which will allow a gamer to pursue an extremely quote-unquote “relationship” with a character created entirely with pixels, especially since The Old Republic also allows players to join the all-encompassingly evil Sith Lords and brutally conquer the galaxy. (But who cares about totalitarian despotism? Gay people: screech!) Also, as Stephen Johnson at G4TV pointed out, saying that “homosexual activists” are the biggest threat to the empire actually implies that said activists are actually plucky lovable rebels fighting against horrible scab-faced fascists who fire electricity out of their fingers.
Of course, the main problem with Perkins’ argument is that Star Wars – the creation of that well-regarded Marin-dwelling sandal-wearing hippie freak George Lucas – has always openly welcomed all manner of romantic behavior. Exhibit A: C-3PO, the first great Gay Best Friend in popular science-fiction, and his endearingly henpecked life partner R2-D2. Exhibit B: Jabba the Hutt, a hermaphrodite – hey, that’s twice I’ve written that word, and it’s only Tuesday! – who hosted a nightly cross-species Muppet orgy in his lair. (Jabba’s Palace was like Andy Warhol’s Factory, except less pretentious.) Exhibit C: Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Anyhow, Perkins claims that parents are upset that “their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking.” Well, here’s a thought: Tell those parents that the science-fiction genre celebrates the ecstasy of human exploration and the eternal possibility of existing in our endlessly fascinating ever-expanding universe. And if those parents are freaked out that part of that eternal possibility might involve an extremely G-rated vision of gay love, then they should just let their kids play Modern Warfare 3.
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