A Commentary on Sexual Identity in a Post–Star Wars Culture

Scott Gibsley

They say that every straight guy is allowed one man-crush. For me, the clear winner by far is Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about those scaly eye stalks and voice that really does it for me. Just imagine the sound of him—“Ooh mooey mooey meesa love you!” and tell me that doesn’t make you want to use the Dark Side of the Force on that rockin’ alien bod.

Now, some men develop obsessions around their favorite athlete, for example, and more often than not they’ll assert wholeheartedly that there’s nothing sexual about their fanship. Me, I don’t get it. One, it’s just an athlete; what’s the big deal? Two, don’t you dare pretend for a second that Jar Jar deserves only platonic love. Give in to the tantalizing siren call that is his very essence. It’s a common misconception that George Lucas wrote the character in as comic relief. Not true. He’s what some refer to as “fanservice.” You watch an intense Jedi light saber duel for a couple minutes, then you sit back and
enjoy some eye-candy in the form of a Gungan from the planet Naboo. Sex sells, and Lucas knows it.

There have also been accusations that Jar Jar’s personality fosters racist undertones, even comparing the performance to blackface. But consider the social context of the film’s release in 1999 America, and you’ll see that this only makes the whole thing even hotter. Interracial marriage had been forbidden by law in over a dozen US states only thirty-two years prior to the premiere of Episode I. That means that below the Mason-Dixon line, folks would have lusted after Jar Jar like forbidden fruit. And to merge two movie quotes from the great filmmakers Kubrick and Lucas, that makes meesa horny.

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