Fuck Star Wars! Science fiction for fascists, explained

#1

Maybe this is only new, to me, but what the hey:

http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feature/1999/06/15/brin_main/index.html

Having said all that, let me again acknowledge that “Star Wars” harks to an old and very, very deeply human archetype. Those who listened to Homer recite the “Iliad” by a campfire knew great drama. Achilles could slay a thousand with the sweep of a hand – as Darth Vader murders billions with the press of a button – but none of those casualties matters next to the personal saga of a great one. The slaughtered victims are mere minions. Extras, without families or hopes to worry about shattering. Spear-carriers. Only the demigod’s personal drama is important.

Thus few protest the apotheosis of Darth Vader – nee Anakin Skywalker – in “Return of the Jedi.”

To put it in perspective, let’s imagine that the United States and its allies managed to capture Adolf Hitler at the end of the Second World War, putting him on trial for war crimes. The prosecution spends months listing all the horrors done at his behest. Then it is the turn of Hitler’s defense attorney, who rises and utters just one sentence:

“But, your honors … Adolf did save the life of his own son!”

More here:

http://www.kithrup.com/brin/starwarsarticle3.html

I think he’s dead on, and it explains why something has always kind of bothered me about Star Wars.

#2

Jason,

Darth Vader is the epitome of all that’s evil in Star Wars. There had to be a way to convey that and what better way than to have him slaughter a planet without hesitation.

Hannibal for all his martial feats against rome ended up having his civlization wiped from the face of the earth by the romans whom he irked just a little too much.

At least Darth Vader is fantasy. Rome on the other hand gave Hittler some interesting ideas.

Best,

Greg

#3

Is anyone else as tired of reading Star Wars hit pieces as me? Oh no, every movie doesn’t fit into your narrow, and in many cases absurd, concept of what it should be. As explicit as a film can be about its themes and meaning, there is always an element of interpretation. I’m sure writing Star Wars criticism is really easy and lucrative work, if you can get it, but at some point you’ve got to examine whether you are sabotaging your own enjoyment of the film.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen someone quibble about this or that and thought to myself, “well, if that bothers you, there are other ways of looking at it.”

#4

Joseph Cambpell got to Lucas’ head. Unfortunately, Campbell was only using Lucas to make popular his own ideas when most of the scholars at the time were deriding hiim.

#5

“Unfortunately, Campbell was only using Lucas to make popular his own ideas when most of the scholars at the time were deriding hiim.”

Lucas was using him equally, to give artistic/academic legitimacy to his sorry shit.

#6

It wouldn’t be as big of a deal, I think, if Lucas hadn’t explicitly said in an interview that he thinks democracy is (paraphrasing) “Decadent and doomed, and a benign dictatorship would be better.”

#7

I’m not impressed. Everyone knows that Vader didn’t murder billions on any planet. Grand Moff Tarkin ordered it! Puh. :lol:

#8

Having said all that, let me again acknowledge that “Star Wars” harks to an old and very, very deeply human archetype. Those who listened to Homer recite the “Iliad” by a campfire knew great drama. Achilles could slay a thousand with the sweep of a hand – as Darth Vader murders billions with the press of a button – but none of those casualties matters next to the personal saga of a great one. The slaughtered victims are mere minions. Extras, without families or hopes to worry about shattering. Spear-carriers. Only the demigod’s personal drama is important.

I doubt David Brin actually read the Iliad. The above quote doesn’t make much sense if you have read it, at least. Sure, most of the people Achilles & Co killed were “minions”, but they were actually minions with at least a name and usually a hometown as well. Many of the minions also had some additional abilities linked to them. And the leaders frequently stopped on the battlefield to brag about their own as well as their ancestors’ accomplishments. Sometimes they even talked about their families and how the respective families’ paths had crossed in the past.

All of them had hopes to worry about, the Greeks wanted to go home (victorious) and the Trojans wanted to save their city from destruction and their wives and children from slavery.

#9

While it is true that you often get the entire lineage of a lot of those slain, I think there are a lot of nameless masses in it too, they just mention the heroes. It’s been a while since I read it now but I think I reacted to that when I did.

#10

Well, I guess the Iliad would be quite long if everyone involved in the battles would have gotten a detailed description. Here is one passage I found when browsing through (translated from Swedish):

“Then Achilles swiftly killed Polydoros, the divinly beautiful son of Primos, who had been forbidden by his father to participate in the war because he was they lastborn child and the one he loved the most. In racing he had no equal but in his lack of wisdom, to show his agility(?) of the leg he ran among the men in front row until he was caught by death. Because as he ran past, the fleet footed(?) hero quickly ran his lance in the middle of his back where the golden…” and a detailed description of how he died follows.

If you overlook the fact that this is the worst translation of the Iliad you have ever seen, it should be enough to convince you that the Iliad is one of the worst books to use as an example of the death of nameless minions without family or motivations. Because there are plenty of such examples.

Btw, did you read Björkessons translation Anders? I think it is clearly better than the old one, and that we are really fortunate to have such a good translater of the ancient masterpieces for such a small language.

#11

Indeed I did, both of that and the Odyssey. It really is a joy to read. I also found it really interesting to get the proper Swedish spelling of everything.

#12

I suggest you email Brin and call him a poophead, as he actually reads it all.

#13

There just FUCKING movies people.

#14

Right, and Godfather is “just a movie.”

#15

There just FUCKING movies people.

Yes, Jason, hence the name of this part of the forum.

And games are just FUCKING games and sports are just FUCKING sports and politics is just FUCKING politics. But we still like to discuss them.

 -Tom

P.S. Fuck Star Wars.

#16

Indeed I did, both of that and the Odyssey. It really is a joy to read. I also found it really interesting to get the proper Swedish spelling of everything.[/quote]

Well there’s a conversation you don’t see every day! (at least, not on most U.S.-based game-centric message boards.) :)

#17

So I have recently joined the “fuck Star Wars” camp. Not because of the thought which was assumed behind the original thread, but more the opposite.

This is childish crap with all the emotional and character development of a hanna barbera cartoon.

The Science Fiction bit of Star Wars is also dated beyond belief. Space magic was fine for a while. But SF has moved on and in the 21st century Star Wars is staler than the Lensman series.

I am dismayed by the joy so many people have at a new Star Wars movie & games so I hope to concentrate our hate here rather than messing up folk’s good time in the actual Star Wars threads, they can gaze at this title and know to skip it.

So yeah fuck Star Wars and I welcome my fellow haters to this thread as we celebrate the many ways to hate Star Wars and all it represents :)

#18

But you do hate X-wing or Tie Fighter? I hate Star Wars for a variety of reasons (the new trilogy only cemented my contempt) but you have to admit there are some good games coming out of this POS.

#19

Great games. No doubt. Held back by the IP imho, but great games I agree!

I also put Star Wars galaxies in that camp. One of the greatest MMO’s ever, completely mismatched with the Star Wars IP. Although in that case I dont really blame Star Wars.

#20

Is there room in this camp for folks who say “Meh Star Wars”? I don’t find that the movies really beat up under the weight of all the love or hate that seems to be constantly and passionately directed at it. I mean, it’s fun and all but I pretty much stop thinking about it once I’ve left the theater. (Or I would if I didn’t keep bumping into these threads.) It’s mental cotton candy.