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Use the Force, Brazilian Protestors?

20th Century Fox, via Wikimedia.

20th Century Fox, via Wikimedia.

By Oliver Kaplan

This post contains spoilers for the original Star Wars trilogy.

At this summer’s World Cup soccer matches in Brazil there is a real chance of organized protests, either by soccer hooligans or as a continuation of the protests over government spending priorities that rocked the country last summer. To prepare for this, it was just reported that Brazil has purchased “masks inspired by Star Wars character Darth Vader to equip their anti-riot officers” (image and article here). Like the original Dark Lord of the Sith, the helmets are said to have voice amplifiers, not fog up, and even have an oxygen supply (and hopefully work better than that of the Spaceballs’ Dark Helmet, who famously ripped off his oversized helmet and comically gasped, “I can’t breathe in this thing!”).

The design of the helmet is intended to “provoke a psychological effect” among would-be protestors. And such a helmet may indeed provoke psychological effects, but perhaps not the intimidation or deterrent effects the planners are hoping for. Instead, the helmets could provoke an opposite effect, creating an association in the minds of protestors that the government is the “Dark Side” (if they didn’t already believe that before they took to the streets). Is that really the image the Brazilian government wants to project when the entire world will be watching?

Fortunately, some sillier Star Wars-related effects are also possible:

  • That it’s OK for the protestors to “dispense with the pleasantries.”
  • That joining the police is “the only way” to save the galaxy.
  • That the protestors will either protest or not, since there is “no try.”
  • That the police might actually be “your father.”

Lest we forget the parable of Star Wars, the Brazilian government may want to keep in mind that Darth Vader was ultimately defeated by (converted to) the Light Side of the Force. Even though the Brazilian government and police may find the would-be protestors’ lack of faith “disturbing,” going all Darth on them may be one force-leap too far. So, before the World Cup rolls around in June, officials may first want to ask one ever-important question: “What would Yoda do?”

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