Grand Wizard Tarkin and Racism in Star Wars

Today on Ask the DM we delve once again into the world of Star Wars:

What the hell is a “moff”? Could I become one if I worked real hard at it?

Simply put, a Moff is a title bestowed upon some Imperial leaders in the Star Wars Universe, but as with so many of my questions this one’s a little more complicated than you might assume.  Do a Google Image Search for “moff” and you’ll end up with one of the most awkward image searches you can get: pictures of a bunch of creepy old men next to pictures of naked women. “I just wanted to see a picture of Grand Moff Tarkin.  What’s with the boobs?” you ask.  “I am deeply offended by these images,” you proclaim.  Or maybe not.  But what’s up with these results?  As our reader so aptly asks: What the hell is a moff??

Moff is one of those words that exists as slang terminology around world.  There really isn’t any one universal meaning of the word.  The best consensus you’ll get is that it means “cool”, as in, “That’s totally moff, bro.”  So, the boobs in the image search results I guess are “cool” (boobs are pretty rad after all, with all their boobness and life-sustaining abilities).  But that’s just a guess.  They are all from the website mashKULTURE, which is a Hungarian website, so maybe moff means something else in Hungarian.  I don’t know.

But on a  side note (you can skip it if you’re in a hurry):

I don’t support mashKULTURE, which seems to like tossing around the objectified female form as much as the rest of the internet without any thought about the cultural implications and consequences of their over-sexualization and exploitation of women.  Not that I would expect any sort of cultural awareness or commentary from a website that spells culture with a ‘K’.   That’s how you know they’re totally moff.

Moving on now.

We now know, that maybe, moff might mean cool, or something like that.  And also, a Moff is powerful dude in Star Wars.  This is Grand Moff Tarkin:

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We can assume from the “Grand” in his title, that he’s way more important than other Moffs.  Or he’s just more moff.  Now the problem we run into here, is that George Lucus made up Star Wars.  Yeah, I’m sorry guys, it’s not real.  There is no galaxy far, far away.  You can’t ever be Jedi Australia, though Lucus knows I’ve tried.  Due to this startling news, we need to assess George’s choice of the word Moff to describe this creepy old man.

What do we know about Grand Moff Tarkin?  Well, he was a dick for one.  He carried out the massacre of an entire PLANET full of people.  The man was responsible for one of the biggest fake genocides in the fake history of everything.   We can draw some parallels between Tarkin and other genocidal dictators, Hitler being chief among them.  We know that the design of Imperial uniforms was inspired by Nazis, as was the name of the “Stormtrooper” soldiers.   We can then say that Imperials are closely related to Nazis.

But what does any of this have to do with “moff”?  I think Lucus chose the title Moff as cleverly disguised racist slight.  I think he really wanted to call Tarkin, “Fucking Awesome-sauce Tarkin”, because Lucus enjoys racism is in films, but he had to hide it all in order to make his billions.  He hid this racism to a greater extent in the original trilogy, and then after he went bat-shit crazy, he threw all caution to the wind with the prequels.

Exhibit A: Jar Jar Binks

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Jar Jar, in his very essence, is a horribly offensive character based on old African American media stereotypes popularized by blackface minstrelsy and actors like Stepin Fetchit.

Exhibit B: Watto

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If Jar Jar didn’t convince you then take a look at Watto: the greedy unscrupulous merchant that will buy and sell anything, including human beings.  If his hat and beard weren’t enough, let’s not forget his uninspired accent and gratuitously offensive nose.

Exhibit C: Nute Gunray

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Nute is a bit less obvious than the other two, but still, the guy’s got an obvious Asian accent, and is portrayed as an evil, cowardly, idiot because he’s not white.  Sure, there are evil white people in the movies, but they’re never depicted as bumbling morons.  They’re cold, calculating and intelligent, like Grand Moff Tarkin and the Emperor.

But really, I think Hooper sums things up best in Chasing Amy:

Where am I going with all of this?  I guess the main point I’m trying to make to our questioning reader is this:  You’re already “moff” because you read my blog, and if you want to be a Moff, it just means you want to be a giant, racist turd, so don’t do it.  More simply put: moff = boobs, and Moff = doucheloaf.

If you wish to submit a question to the Dungeon Master, please e-mail them to dungeonmastermind@gmail.com, or you can Tweet me a question @AskthedDM. And make sure to review the disclaimer.

You can also see me in action in One Die Short.

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5 Responses to Grand Wizard Tarkin and Racism in Star Wars

  1. I totally want to chill at a Mofference…

    In other news, love it when a Kevin Smith clip makes it into RPG blogs. And a very awesome one at that.

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