Mind Games: Five Movie Villains With Better Mind Control Skills Than President Obama

As more and more parents threaten to remove their children from school during President Obama's speech on education next Tuesday, school districts are also getting into the act. HISD is saying they will air the speech, but let parents have their kids opt out of watching. Most others have said they will leave the decision to broadcast the speech to individual schools, while some -- like Dickinson ISD -- will not show it to students at all.

Which is as it should be, of course. Frankly, I can't think of anything more inappropriate for schoolchildren than to be forced to watch than the American President speak to them about education. After all, it isn't like Republicans at all to stifle opposing viewpoints, shout down those with differing opinions, or have such little faith in their knee-jerk hatred of our Commander-In-Chief they're afraid the slightest exposure to him might expose them as ignorant blowhards to their offspring.

But because I'm an optimist, I choose to believe that these unpleasant peoples aren't merely stupid, or sore losers, or not-so-closet racists who still can't comprehend that there's a [N-word] in the White House. No, I assert instead that they're well-meaning parents who have somehow been convinced that President Obama possesses mind control powers. Like these guys:

5. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) -- Star Wars (1977)

Most pre-adolescents -- like myself -- who saw this scene in the theater were pretty impressed by the effortless way the venerable Jedi talked his way past the stormtroopers. But subsequent viewings made me wonder why he didn't command them to leave town, or hand over their guns, or include a single-payer option.

4. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) -- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

I realize Indy is under the influence of the Black Sleep of Kali Ma, or whatever, and therefore predisposed to commit evil acts, but I know I'm not the only one who felt a great sense of satisfaction when he slapped the supremely aggravating Short Round. Unfortunately, he snaps out of it before he can send Willie to a much-deserved death.

3. "Lucky" -- Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978)

For all their problems, the '70s were a happier time. Fleetwood Mac taught us all to go our own way, a young George Lucas could do no wrong, and the scariest things we could conjure up for entertainment were sharks and Satanic dogs. And unsafe lawnmowers.

2. Kaa (Sterling Holloway) -- The Jungle Book (1967)

While his attempts to hypnotize Mowgli and Bagheera ended in abject failure, Kaa remains one of the creepier cartoon villains of my childhood, mostly because Holloway had the voice of every child murderer in my nightmares.

1. Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) -- Conan the Barbarian (1982)

I'm pretty sure this is how the extreme right wing actually sees Obama: a dangerously charismatic, slick-talking black guy who can command their nubile teenage daughters to do things even worse than jumping to their deaths. Just something to contemplate on the Tree of Woe.


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