Familiarity is the Path to the Dark Side

Domesticating Political Problems with Star Wars


  • Christina Knopf




satire, political cartoons, parody, rhetoric, metaphor


This paper considers depictions of politicians as servants of the Dark Side in political cartoons and political satire comic books from 2015-2020. Particular attention is given to images of Donald Trump as Darth Vader. The use of such pop culture references provides what Morris (1993) called “domestication” – the conversion of abstract ideas into concrete ones, unfamiliar people to familiar ones, and/or distant events to close ones.  Guided by the interaction view of metaphor offered by the philosopher Max Black, this paper will discuss how different audiences may decode Dark Side allusions in political satire differently and, significantly, how the domestication of public figures like Donald Trump as Darth Vader and Darth Sidious may result in greater public acceptance of egregious political acts.




How to Cite

Knopf, C. (2023). Familiarity is the Path to the Dark Side: Domesticating Political Problems with Star Wars. Unbound: A Journal of Digital Scholarship, 3(1), 24–31. https://doi.org/10.12794/journals.ujds.v3i1.215