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Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Yoda Say, "Better It Is To Remain Silent and A Fool Be Thought...."

"Wesa in twubble nowsa, boss! Maybe wesa shoulda kepts our mouthses shut. Yassuh!"

A friendly note to George Lucas:

You weren't content to have created some of the finest literary characters and most memorable dialog in movie history (okay...sorry for the sarcasm), you've now cast yourself (before the French, no less) as political prophet, Guardian of Our Liberty, and Spokesman For Our Troubled Times. The casting job on this one was about as good as other recent casting choices you've made.

The London Free Press has the lowdown:

Star Wars is a wakeup call to Americans about the erosion of democratic freedoms under George W. Bush, George Lucas said yesterday....

Thanks, George. Subtle genius, that. Now let me push the snooze button...

Lucas, at a Cannes film festival press conference yesterday, said he first wrote the framework of Star Wars in 1971 when reacting to then-U.S. president Richard Nixon and the events of the Vietnam War. But the story still has relevance today, he said, and is part of a pattern he has noticed in history....

The Great Director...also an historian. Yes, George, we figured you created the Imperial Storm Troopers to be stand-ins for jackbooted American troops My-Lai-ing their way through innocent Ewo....uh...Viet Cong villages. It's the kind of thing we've come to expect from Hollywood--the sort of intellectual rigor that gave us Die Hard III, Alien vs Predator, oh, and Attack of the Clones. Just one problem: Ronald Reagan turned your infinitely subtle little jab on its head with his "Evil Empire" speech, didn't he? Fit better too, didn't it? That's how most Americans regarded the "Empire" anyway--Soviet Russia, know, the real threat to human liberty at the time.

"It is just one of those re-occuring things. I hope this doesn't come true in our country. Maybe the film will awaken people to the situation of how dangerous it is . . . The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we are doing now in Iraq are unbelievable." "At the time I did that, it was during the Vietnam War and the Nixon era. The issue was: How does a democracy turn itself over to a dictator? Not how does a dictator take over, but how does a democracy and Senate give it away?" "They all seem to happen in the same way with the same issues: Threats from the outside; they need more control; and a democratic body not being able to function properly because everybody's squabbling."

Stuff for the ages! I'm glad we have supple minds like yours to figure this sort of thing our for us. Who needs Madison and Jay? Just by-the-by, George, dictatorship didn't come about in Rome, Nazi Germany, or Soviet Russia by the means you describe--your analysis is purile oversimplification. And the US didn't fall into dictatorship under Nixon (last time I looked), although we might have fallen under Soviet dictatorship after Vietnam if Reagan hadn't reversed the defeatist mindset this country was sunk in at the time. I'd be happy to elaborate on each case, but wouldn't need to if folks like you would actually, y'know, read a little history before pontificating on it so confidently.

Congratulations, George! You've now done for political allegory what your forceful midichlorians did for New Age religion--taken it from pseudo-intellectual niche magazines and late-night college dorm discussions and dressed it up suitably for a cereal box. It wasn't good enough to give us mindlessly fun space-opera--you felt you had to be Significant. We ignored it when Peter Jackson compared Bush to Sauron because art often transcends the artist. It certainly does in his case. But George, I've seen his movies and I've seen yours--and you haven't earned the same privilege.


The NYT reports SWEpIII "is quickly polticized:"

More a measure of the nation's apparently permanent political warfare than of a filmmaker's intent, the heroes and antiheroes of Mr. Lucas's final entry, "Episode III - Revenge of the Sith," were on their way to becoming the stock characters of partisan debate by mid-Wednesday, hours before the film's opening just after midnight.

As a rule, Hollywood studios go to great lengths to ensure that their projects - both in the development stage and especially when they are positioned in the marketplace - are free of messages that could be offensive to any great swath of the moviegoing public. Like, say, people who vote for one political party or the other.

All of which calls into question Mr. Lucas's decision to have the premiere of the "Star Wars" finale at the Cannes Film Festival. France is sometimes called the biggest blue state of all, after all. And just what was Mr. Lucas - who could not be reached for comment Wednesday - thinking when he told a Cannes audience that he had not realized in plotting the film years ago that fact might so closely track his fiction?

Alluding to Michael Moore's remarks about "Fahrenheit 9/11" at Cannes a year earlier, Mr. Lucas joked, "Maybe the film will waken people to the situation."

Apparently in all seriousness, though, he went on to say that he had first devised the "Star Wars" story during the Vietnam War. "The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable," he told an appreciative audience.

The article goes on to quote those who believe that Lucas is stirring up controversy as a marketing ploy, "adding sizzle and relevance to a movie that otherwise might have earned publicity only by its effectiveness as entertainment." Nice slam! He has a point, too, but I still think that Lucas actually believes what he has said about the movie and his motives in spinning it as he has.

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