Monday, May 16, 2005

May the Force be with you, Democrats!

The light-saber is mightier than the filibuster. Posted by Hello

The Republicans might have Karl Rove, but the Democrats have... yes, James Carville. Fine. I know that. No, I'm talking about... Yoda. And Obi-Wan. And Mr. Skywalker himself. How do I know this? George Lucas says so. Sort of.

Now, I'm no Star Wars cultist, but the first three episodes (i.e., Parts IV-VI) were very much a part of my childhood, and I like them still -- The Empire Strikes Back is the best of all, though the original has the benefit of novelty and Return of the Jedi, Ewoks notwithstanding, certainly has its moments of brilliance. But then came The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and George Lucas was exposed for what he is: a special-effects wizard, but a terrible filmmaker. But there's some positive pre-release buzz for the final installment of the second trilogy (i.e., Parts I-III), Revenge of the Sith, and, well, I suppose I'm actually looking forward to seeing it.

And this time there's a relevant twist to Lucas's hokey, new-agey political-theological vision of a galaxy far, far away, one that should please Democrats.

Here's now critic A.O. Scott puts it in his review in the Times:

"Revenge of the Sith" is about how a republic dismantles its own democratic principles, about how politics becomes militarized, about how a Manichaean ideology undermines the rational exercise of power. Mr. Lucas is clearly jabbing his light saber in the direction of some real-world political leaders. At one point, Darth Vader, already deep in the thrall of the dark side and echoing the words of George W. Bush, hisses at Obi-Wan, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." Obi-Wan's response is likely to surface as a bumper sticker during the next election campaign: "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes."

Scott also mentions that "Lucas's indifference to two fairly important aspects of moviemaking -- acting and writing -- is remarkable". True enough. But at least the message (or the hope) is sound. As we all know, the bad guys win this round, but the good guys prevail in the end. Eventually, even Darth Vader sees the light.

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  • "This is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause," bemoans Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman)as the galactic Senate cheers dictator-in-waiting Palpatine(Ian McDiarmid)while he announces a crusade against the Jedi.

    "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy," Anakin ("This is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause," bemoans Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) as the galactic Senate cheers dictator-in-waiting Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) while he announces a crusade against the Jedi.

    "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy," Anakin(Hayden Christensen)-- soon to become villain Darth Vader -- tells former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi(Ewan McGregor). The line echoes George Bush's international ultimatum after the Sept. 11 attacks, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

    "You sort of see these recurring themes where a democracy turns itself into a dictatorship, and it always seems to happen kind of in the same way, with the same kinds of issues, and threats from the outside, needing more control. A democratic body, a senate, not being able to function properly because everybody's squabbling, there's corruption." George Lucas

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:10 PM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:01 PM  

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