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Friday, April 12, 2013

Musing: If you could have a light saber, should you?

It's every fanboy's dream. And fangirls'. Fanpersons'?

Anyway, everyone who's a fan of Star Wars (a ha!) has dreamt of what it would be like to wield the iconic Jedi weapon, the lightsaber. The efficient packaging. The crackle of the air on activation. The cool "zjwhoom, zjwhoom" of sweeping it through the air, and the inevitable electricity of battling with it against an opponent's weapon. Gives most of you goosebumps, right?

In a perfect world, in the fan's imagination, you wield it with the skill of a true Jedi, against an evil enemy, setting the record straight and bringing back balance to the force. Or something. That's all well and good, and the imagination is a fair field to pretend like this is a great idea.

How cool you look just before you
got startled and lost a cheek.
But what about the real world? What if tomorrow some company announced that they had finally developed a real world lightsaber, with that compact design, that zjwhooming electricity? All for the price of say a nice assault-style rifle. Should you plunk down your $750 and start to play?

Let's say your answer is yes. Certainly, the first 15 minutes will be awesome, assuming that you have proper respect for this weapon. Keep in mind that this blade will cut right through bone in an instant. Fail to remember that, and your YouTube unboxing video will instead become a Darwin Award Winner.

Sure, honey, I promise I won't
forget to take out the trash.
I've always assumed that there's a reason Jedi (and Sith) are the only ones capable of fighting with a light saber. It's not just because they're all ego-maniacal (if you think about it, they really are, even the Jedi) and want to keep people out of some club. One wrong move and your girlfriend just got sliced in half because she snuck up on you while you were messing around during practice. No, it's essential that you are hyper aware of your surroundings, have good self control and discipline, and the ability to put this weapon exactly where it needs to be.

"I need it for self defense!"
Are you a highly trained saber warrior? Do you have the body control to put such a weapon only where it needs to be? For most of us, the answer to that is no, and we also aren't prepared to put in the time necessary to get there. Best case scenario for you - that weapon gets activated once, then put away. Because guaranteed, if you insist on showing it off to your friends, one of them will be douchey enough to grab it from you and either lose their fingers or slice your cat.

This man should never have a lightsaber.
Have you seen him bowl?
Even if you are a blade expert, though, is it really a practical weapon? Against other bladed weapons, yes, no doubt, and certainly versus other lightsabers. But how many folks out there are fighting with blades? This is a world of guns, friend, and even the best earthbound blade master is no match for a hail of bullets.


Someone is happy to see Anakin.
Now, a Jedi would say "No problem. The Force will guide my hand and destroy all of those bullets." Ah, but we don't have The Force, much less Jedi training. We are not Jedi. Our imaginary bladed weapons expert could not move fast enough. Maybe this guy could get one bullet. But that would probably be it. Not a shower of bullets.

Yeah, right. This is totally a good idea.
And so, lying there dying on the ground, would you still be happy with your purchase? My answer is, no, and much like most of the things we dream about, the dream is much better than the reality. And, in this case, also much less likely to slice a piece off of you.

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