Game developer Ross Mills noticed something he found, tongue planted firmly in cheek, appalling: a British retailer specializing in educational toys had the gall to sell Anakin Skywalker stuff.
Mills did what any responsible Padawan would: he wrote an email.
"Now, I didn't really mind," Mills blogged. "I merely thought it amusing that the murderer of 'Younglings' would be thought of as a positive character in other section of the franchise, so, on a whim, I sent them an email."
In it, Mills told the Early Learning Centre, the retailer in question, that it was strange it decided to featured Anakin, Darth Vader to be, in a positive light in a store advertisement as well as carry toys featuring the character.
"Personally, I could not be more shocked," Mills wrote. "I thought the Early Learning Centre was a place for positive reinforcement of positive actions for children, but yet, here it was, actively promoting one of the most evil characters in the Star Wars universe. Anakin Skywalker."
Mills did concede that Anakin was not always evil, but explained in detail why Anakin was such a rotten role-model:
* Consistent and flagrantly ignoring the rules, orders and limits set on him by his Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
* Killing an entire tribe of sand-people on Tatooine
* Killing the unarmed Count Dooku
* Cutting the arm off a Jedi Knight, Mace Windu. (Need I remind you that the Jedi Knights are the PROTECTORS of peace and justice throughout the Star Wars saga?)
* Pledging himself to the Dark Side of the force, an organisation based on the teachings of the Sith, involving Brutality, Fear, Anger, and Hatred, including severe humanistic racism when they came into power forming the Empire
* Acted as the right-hand of the Sith Emperor
* Choked his wife using the power of the Force, nearly killing her and undeniably an act which eventually led to her death.
* Attempted killing of Jedi Knight and Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
And, last of all, and the most important
* The massacre of an entire school of young Jedi Children.
Paul, an Early Learning Centre employee replied. Instead of dismissing Mill's wry email, being a Star Wars fan himself, he addressed the lighthearted concerns:
It's unlikely that children of that age have seen any of the Star Wars films, however if they have I beg to offer the following counterpoints to ‘the sins of Anakin'
* Anakin loved his mother a great deal and always treated her with respect
* Rescued his master several times from assassins, pit monsters, droid troopers etc.
* Rescued Amidalla from assassin snakes, pit monsters, the Trade Federation and even found time to romance her in the fields of Naboo
* Built C3PO
* Won the Podrace
* Killed the evil emperor to save his son
* I would also argue that if a child has seen all the films they'll see Anakin as a hero who went wrong but ultimately paid the supreme sacrifice to atone for his sins.
There may be better role models out there for a child, but for the period our toys are aimed at (the Clone Wars), Anakin remains very much ‘hero material' and is a popular and welcome addition to our range.
Well played — on the part of both gentlemen.
View the full humorous email exchange on Mills' site, Touch Sensitive.