Why Jar-Jar Binks is just plain stupid-- not gay, racially stereotyped, or otherwise misunder

by Kim Allen

There's so much hoo-hah about Jar-Jar Binks it's almost funny. But like the character himself, it's really not.

Is he gay? Is he insulting to Jamaicans? Did Lucas have some sort of cosmic plan to use 'ethnic' aliens to further his own straight-white-male agenda?

Calm down, everyone. Jar-Jar isn't worth the effort. He's a simple marketing ploy, designed to be appealing to eight-year-olds. Which is exactly why I hated him. He has no purpose in the movie except to make kids laugh and not get bored with the storyline because it's slightly slower-paced than MTV. The attention span of a 1990's kid is about 5 seconds, so Jar-Jar is necessary to keep their minds from wandering back to Nintendo games.

As an adult viewer, however, I was really disappointed with parts of Phantom Menace because I had to grit my teeth through Jar-Jar's inanity. Let's face it-- the character is stupid, as in lame, immature, and maddening. I mean really, if you were going on a quest to save the Universe with a bunch of important people like Jedi knights and Queens, would you take along a person who talked like a 4-year-old and couldn't follow the most simplistic instructions?

Me no theenk so!

Jar-Jar reminded me of the kids at the mall who trail around behind mommy, deliberately defying all her requests not to touch things, not to wander off, not to spit over the railing. Then the kids whine that they want ice cream, which they pronounce 'ice cweam' in order to sound cute and increase their chances of getting it.

AAAAAaaaaahh!!! When I see kids like this, I just want to squash them. They know that 'being cute' allows them to do whatever the hell they want, even when it infuriates their mom. One sweet smile and she'll cave in-- they know how to milk this to the fullest.

And this sort of silly behavior is even less appealing in a grown-up like Jar-Jar was supposed to be. Call me an old grouch or a child-hater if you want, but I assure you neither is true. Jar-Jar was just plain lame, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I suppose he'll sell more action figures to elementary school kids, but he really had no place in what could have been a higher-quality movie.

Copyright © 2000 by Kim Allen

05/22/06 at 14:16