Media Services primarily deals with films, so even though we’re part of the American University Library, we don’t often get to talk about literacy and books. But once in a while, we get an opportunity to talk about both.
Ryan Britt, an author at science fiction blog Tor.com, wrote a funny-but-deeply-concerning essay pointing out that no one in the Star Wars universe reads. Almost never do you see a single character pick up a book, read a sign, or get the news. Ancient historical artifacts come in the form of holographic videos. Everyone relies entirely on oral communication, farmers have to buy droids to do math, and the Galactic Senate makes major decisions based on non-empirical anecdotal evidence. It’s exhausting and saddening to read.
Britt suggests that the entire overthrow of the Galactic Republic could have been avoided if people learned to read, picked up a newspaper, and disputed what the Emperor claimed with written facts.
None of this was probably intentional on the filmmakers’ part, but it’s a funny reminder to pick up a book. Please.