Over the past few years, I’ve used Star Wars Day as a way to talk about two of my favourite things – Star Wars and cybersecurity. I wrote about scammers in 2020 and IoT in 2021, and I really thought I’d write about IoT again this year. After all, there’s no shortage of IoT blunders to talk about and tie into the Star Wars mythos. Instead, an article that I saw changed the direction of this post.
On May 25, 1977, Star Wars premiered. Imagine what it would have been like to be in a theatre on that night, experiencing the birth of what would become one of the biggest franchises in history. Think of the amazing moments you experienced the first time you watched the film, but no one had spoiled them or quoted them to death. I wish I could say that I was there, but sadly I wouldn’t be born for another 1,744 days.
I do, however, remember the first time I watched the films with my dad. There were so many magical moments in that film. One that stands out these days, however, is “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” Seeing that scene play out begs the question is this science fiction or fantasy. That question is asked frequently and argued both ways on numerous websites across the Internet. Nobody asked, but my answer to the question, “Is Star Wars science fiction or fantasy?” is simply, “Yes.”
The fantasy in that scene is the use of the Force. While I’m sure that fit the criteria for Fantasy in the 70s and it definitely did when I first saw the film, I’m not sure that it would feel very fantasy-like today. Today, people routinely give their money and personal information to strangers. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or extraordinary the request is, Jedi Mind Tricks are real. Sure, there are scientific explanations for this, but isn’t it easier to call it the Force than it is to accept responsibility?
The article that I read recently that changed the direction of this post really made me wonder how futile our efforts to prevent scams are. In the article, a family, that had not researched the process or legality of purchasing a helper monkey, was scammed out of thousands of dollars by a fake website. Not only did a member of the family point out that it felt like a scam, but multiple Walmart stores refused to sell them gift cards due to the sheer volume of cards they were purchasing, pointing out that it was likely a scam. The family, however, pushed on. While it may have been fear, anxiety, excitement, or any of the other emotions that make scams successful, doesn’t it sound a lot like a Jedi Mind Trick?
I don’t tell this story to shame the family, instead I believe it makes a good cautionary tale. Obi-Wan used the Force to essentially scam those hard-working stormtroopers. He did so using one of the most famous movie lines in history – a line that even those that have never seen the film can quote. So, in the back of your head, ask yourself the next time you find yourself in an unbelievable situation, “What kind of Jedi Mind Tricks are these.” Then think of Jabba who said, “Your mind powers will not work on me, boy.”
Perhaps, if we think, not in terms of logical thinking, something that often fails us in the situations that scams present, but in terms of our favourite movies, we’ll be better prepared to protect ourselves from scammers. After all, when we’re stressed, upset, worried, or afraid, we often find comfort in our favourite films and songs. If we can recall them during these stressful times, perhaps thinking about scams in terms of film quotes will make it easier for us to understand and recognize what is happening. Then again, maybe I just wanted an excuse to write about Star Wars.