Jabba Be Thy Name

If you’re brave enough to return for a third week of this bullshit, I’m moving onto religion and the ongoing battle between absolutes and relatives in Star Wars. God (pun intended) I’m gonna be rambling on for a long ass time. Though I do think I finally figured out why I was always so afraid of Jabba The Hutt. And the reasoning is simpler than I thought; there is both good and evil in the world, and sometimes, you can swing from one direction to the other and back. At least, in our world and the world of the force, you can spiral up or down and choose your fate. I mean, even Satan wasn’t always a bad guy, and yes, once upon a time, Hulk Hogan and Darth Vader were good.

But there’s another outlying element that needs to be addressed in an absolute, behind-the-scenes light: the criminals. Beings like Jabba The Hutt, whom were never good, never aspired to be good and existed outside the boundaries of the fight between traditional moral good and moral evil, solely for the betterment of themselves. Jabba commits moral evil, lives in a depraved, decadent manner, and never really wanted to make himself a better, well, hutt. And I guess if we’re going to take into account the symbolism of Jabba, his appearance, his actions and his court really don’t fit neatly into the whole good vs. evil argument. He existed outside the realm of relative religious definitions, because he symbolically carried himself as his own god. And I swear, I just stumbled onto that concept at home reading about philosophy by myself on a Saturday night (but hey, it’s 21 degrees out.) Jabba The Hutt was Rasputin in appearance, David Koresh in theology, and though I hate to bludgeon my own NJ heritage, Tony Soprano in methodology. He didn’t need a god because he believed himself to be a god, and for 600 years, he was pretty fucking good at it.

There was good reason to be afraid of Jabba The Hutt when one existed in or around the “world” of Jabba The God; he decided whether you lived or died. And the symbolism just gets deeper, because Jabba goes to lengths to create falsified, monotheistic deities in his own home. Let’s say you’re a Jew or a Christian on this Earth, you might have a mezuzah nailed to your door frame if you’re a Jew, or a crucifix on the wall if you’re a Christian. Now let’s say you’re Han Solo, and you “sacrifice” Jabba’s cargo so that you’re not caught by the Empire. In Jabba’s world, regardless of the circumstance, this is a moral evil perpetrated by Han Solo against god. The ultimate payback from Jabba is to suspend Han Solo’s body, in a state of not life and not death (much like the crucified Jesus) on his wall, so that himself and his court can basically scoff at it. I don’t know about you, but every time I hear Jabba laugh at Han Solo’s lifeless body hanging on the wall, I imagine him thinking, “You will have no god before me.” So as to say, “You should’ve been worrying about me before you worried about yourself, jettisoned your cargo and escaped from an Imperial blockade.” (And in retrospect, I’m amazed that Christianity wasn’t more outraged at Star Wars…)

No one stood a chance against Jabba The Hutt. He even attested to not being affected by Jedi mind tricks; it was below him. And the symbolism of his assumed status goes even further. Jabba’s palace wasn’t his own. He stole it from monks. But the monks didn’t leave the palace. They simply moved their operations underneath him and let whatever was going to happen above them happen, essentially taking a position as a symbolic hell in the world of Jabba, alongside the rancor and Jabba’s prisoners. Jabba took the only inherent good in that palace and symbolically “turned” it bad, a key component of religious influence. And if that’s not enough, Jabba wasn’t male or female; he was asexual, which is sometimes attributed to deities throughout the all-encompassing world of religion.

We all should know what happens from here. Ultimately, the pantheism of the Force descends upon Jabba’s palace, leveling Jabba’s contrived omniscience, displacing his worshippers and eventually returning the palace to the rightful owners. I don’t think it was meant to be a religious battle, though it does seem to become a sort of Jonestown in the Star Wars universe. Pantheism (jedi) descends upon Jabba’s palace, distort/destroys the Jabba-enforced theism of the court, which in turn pushes Han away from atheism, whereby they come to join forces with the polytheism of the Ewoks, in order to destroy the evil anti-pantheism of the Empire and Sith.

It sounds so poetic in the cinema, though I don’t think we’re up to it in real life were a true anti- ever to arise…

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