Kenobi’s Law

Photo: LucasFilm

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Electronic Frontier Foundation has formulated a new law describing the behavior of internet users. Dubbed “Kenobi’s Law” after a quote by the legendary Jedi master, the law states “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability that someone declaring ‘only a Sith deals in absolutes’ to undermine an opposing position approaches 1.”

Kenobi’s Law is intended to be a complement to Godwin’s Law, which states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” Kenobi’s Law is a reference to a line in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, where Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi states that “only a Sith deals in absolutes” in response to Anakin Skywalker’s declaration that “if you are not with me, you are my enemy.” Ironically, Master Kenobi’s statement in opposition to absolutes is itself an absolute statement.

Godwin’s Law was intended to point out the overuse of Hitler/Nazi comparisons in everyday discussions on the internet. Kenobi’s Law is intended to expose the rampant, unintentional irony present in the majority of moral declarations on the internet. This can occur anytime someone declares that every American should support the elected President despite having declared their opposition to previous presidents; when a fan declares that the Game of Thrones finale was the worst in television history despite having seen the finales for How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld, and Woody’s Roundup; or when anyone patronizingly explains to someone else that they are being patronizing.

Despite relying on a faulty maxim early in his argument, Obi-Wan went on to win his debate with Anakin. Over the course of their fight, he disarmed all of Anakin’s attacks, cut him off at the knees, and delivered some sick burns that left Anakin without a leg to stand on. In the end, Anakin resorted to robotically declaring “I hate you” over and over. The victory was short-lived, however. Anakin honed his skills and adopted a more commanding voice that totally replaced his former whininess. In time, he became the master and completely took off Obi-Wan’s head the next time they met by successfully striking down everyone of Obi-Wan’s arguments. Obi-Wan and Anakin eventually ghosted one another, perfectly illustrating the frustrating futility of arguing on the internet.

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