The Dark Side for the win
One of my odd personality quirks is that I have a tendency to root for the “bad guys” in fictional movies, video games, and books. For example, I root for the machines in The Matrix and the Helghast in the Killzone series (which is where my avatar comes from). This is partly because the “good guys” win in so many stories that the “bad guys” are really the underdogs, and so I love a story in which the “bad guys” surprisingly win. It’s also partly because the “bad guys” usually have much more complex and interesting schemes than the “good guys”. I like to look for the flaws of the “good guys” and the redeeming qualities of the “bad guys”, which are often overlooked by the storyteller and audience. And, let’s face it, the “bad guys” often look and act awesomely badass.
Star Wars is no exception. I root for the Sith over the Jedi for many of the reasons given above. Although the Jedi/Rebel Alliance is the putative underdog no one in the audience is really all that surprised that the Rebels manage to “miraculously” defeat the Sith and their mighty Empire. The most evil character in Star Wars, Emperor Palpatine, is the one who devised the amazingly complex and brilliant plan to topple the Republic and purge the Jedi. The Jedi (who are supposed to be the most virtuous of the “good guys”) are actually quite stupid and hypocritical, whereas Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side partly out of a noble desire to have the power to save his mother and wife from death. And there is no question that Darth Vader — with his jet black armor, hidden face, deep voice, and propensity to choke people to death with only his mind — is one of the most badass villains of all time.
Given my support for the Sith it’s no surprise that I don’t rejoice at the defeat of the Sith and Empire at the end of Episode VI, which is a rather unbelievable event. Think about it: the Empire was defeated at the Battle of Endor despite the fact that the battle was fought between Ewoks vs. stormtroopers and the (fully armed and operational) Death Star II plus the Imperial Fleet vs. a ragtag “fleet” of Rebel Mon Calamari cruisers and starfighters. There was no contest. As unbelievable as the Empire’s defeat was given these facts alone, I found an article with five scientific reasons why the dark side should have won:
- The color black is scientifically proven to intimidate people
- Thinking evil thoughts and clenching your fist makes you stronger
- Arrogance inspires confidence
- Doom and Gloom makes you smarter
- Speaking with a deep voice [establishes dominance over others]
Since there is a scientific basis for all these arguments in favor of the dark side, we would be well advised to put the dark side into practice in real life. As for myself, you can probably guess from my color choices around here that black is my favorite color. I have actually noticed that I get an adrenaline rush and have better workouts when listening to hard rock music (e.g. Godsmack’s “I Fucking Hate You”) and literally clenching my fist, so I’ll have to keep that up. I’ve also found that when I’m ambitious (arrogant?) when setting goals I perform better than if I had settled for a less ambitious goal — my confidence that I could achieve such a lofty goal apparently helps me reach it (of course, one has to be careful not to become unduly overconfident). I’ve got doom and gloom covered since I’m a pessimist (my logic is that if I assume the worst then I’m either prepared for the worst or I am pleasantly surprised). I don’t have James Earl Jones’ voice but as a man I do have a relatively deep voice — I’ll just have to make sure I always keep it low.
So just remember: use the dark side for the win! Science says so.