Every now and then, I come across something that makes me stop and say, “Wait… What?”
Today, I read a quote from Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale. This wasn’t just any quote. It’s quite possibly the most audacious assertion of 2018 so far. This quote made me want to go home and rethink my life.
In an interview earlier this week, Atwood stated that the 9/11 terrorists “got the idea” to fly planes into the Twin Towers from Star Wars. Yes, you read that right. The idea for the September 11 terrorist attacks came from Star Wars, according to the author of The Handmaid’s Tale. Here’s a longer quote:
Remember the first one? Two guys fly a plane into the middle of something and blow that up? The only difference is, in “Star Wars,” they get away.
Is She Serious?
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was thoroughly confused. The interviewer reacted with disbelief as well. He actually asked her, “Do you really believe that?” She answered in the affirmative. She seemed completely sincere. In fact, she had been completely sincere throughout the interview. Atwood had spoken about her novel, the Hulu adaptation of it, and how Trump’s election impacted how the show was received. There’s no reason to suspect she wasn’t sincere about her bizarre Star Wars comment. So, the interviewer opted to drop that line of questioning and move on.
I, however, will not move on. We geeks have to make sure we defend our favorite fandoms, after all. Margaret Atwood is not just attributing something horrible to something beloved by millions. She fundamentally misunderstands the pop culture reference she attempts to drop into the middle of an interview.
Let’s Discuss How Margaret Atwood Is Wrong
First of all, if she wants to reference Star Wars, she should at least know enough to specify which movie she refers to. She says “the first one”, but that could be A New Hope or The Phantom Menace. After all, both movies include people flying into things and blowing them up, and both movies can be considered the “first one” of the saga. The Force Awakens does as well, but no one considers it to be the “first”.
Second, the Death Star and the Twin Towers are hardly equivalent. Nerds have debated ever since Clerks premiered in 1994 about whether or not the contractors working on the Death Star were innocent. What is certain, however, is that those in the World Trade Center were civilians. The Death Star, regardless of who was on board, was itself a weapon. It was, by its very nature, a legitimate military target.
This brings me to my final point. Simply put, the objectives of the Rebel Alliance were completely different from those of Al-Qaeda. The sole objective of the 9/11 attacks was to cause death and destruction and fear. The Rebels were causing destruction in order to avoid further death and tyranny on the part of the Galactic Empire. Killing was an unnecessary side-effect of destroying a moon-sized battle station. It was not the end objective.
Life Goes On
Now that I’ve defended the honor of Star Wars and its fans, I can sleep at night. Seriously though, I hope no one gets truly worked up over weird remarks like these. It was a bizarre, perhaps inappropriate comment, but that’s it. There’s much more to Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale than some random assertion made in an interview. In fact, there’s much more to Star Wars than a casual fan would think. We should remember that next time someone says something we don’t like. For Margaret Atwood, let’s just collectively scratch our heads, shrug our shoulders, and move on.
What do you geeks think of this bizarre assertion? Sound off in the comments!