Osama bin Laden, Jedi Master
As an unapologetic Star Wars geek, I have a message for my fellow conservatives who refuse to see Episode III: Revenge of the Sith because they’re bothered by George Lucas’ politics:
If you think his politics are offensive, wait until you see his writing and directing.
The only reason Episode III is getting good reviews is because it’s being compared to Lucas’ horrific work in episodes one and two. I’ve seen porn movies with more realistic dialogue than you’ll find in Mr. Lucas’ films, and which generally made more sense.
So if you’re looking for a reason to skip Revenge of the Sith, there are plenty of them — Hayden Christensen’s acting is a great one — but don’t make the mistake of taking the “politics” of the movie seriously. It’s not worth it.
Yes, there are liberals out there who see reflections of the Bush administration’s foreign policy in the Star Wars saga. At the art house grand opening I attended, the left-leaning audience murmured approvingly when Natalie Portman’s character intoned, “This is how liberty dies: with thundering applause.” And yes, I’ve seen the MoveOn.org ad urging that we save the Republic from the Revenge of the Frist.
But it’s all nonsense. The politics of Star Wars simply don’t fit the politics of the War on Terror, unless you’re really, really stupid.
And speaking of George Lucas …
When asked directly about the “Darth W” comparisons, Mr. Lucas was honest enough to point out that he wrote the original nine-part Star Wars saga during the Vietnam era. “When I wrote it [Sith], Iraq didn’t exist,” Lucas said.
But then he went on to connect the dots himself, warning that “throughout history, leaders have used threats from outside as a means of wresting greater control over their country, dimming democracy … I hope that situation never arises in our country. Maybe the film will awaken people to this danger.”
Mr. Lucas added: “The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we’re doing in Iraq now are unbelievable.”
They’re not just unbelievable, George. They’re total fantasy.
To make the Iraq equals Vietnam mathematics work (note that Lucas, like liberals everywhere, always leaves out Afghanistan), you have to believe that we’ve lost the war in Iraq; that the elections never happened and the Sunnis haven’t decided to join the political process; and that Iraq will be less free in the future than it was under Saddam Hussein.
Does anyone believe that, even in Hollywood?
Then there’s the idea that the Evil Empire of Emperor Palpatine represents the Evil America of George W. Bush. To make this parallel work, you have to believe that somebody inside the American government is, a la Darth Sidious, secretly conducting a fictitious war against his own country as an excuse to expand the government’s power.
This only makes sense if you believe that 9/11 was government-invented fiction, that there is no terrorist threat and never has been. Is anyone irrational enough to believe that?
OK, OK. Other than Michael Moore, does anyone believe it?
Sure, Anakin echoes the Bush doctrine when he tells Obi-Wan, “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy,” but in the case of al Qaeda, there really IS an enemy. If you don’t believe me (or George W), ask the thousands of people injured in the first World Trade Center bombing or the subsequent bombings of our embassies, war ships and barracks before Sept. 11, 2001.
I suppose it’s possible to believe that all these attacks were orchestrated by the CIA or the Mossad. Hey, if you can believe Ewan McGregor is going to age into Alec Guinness before Luke Skywalker turns 20, it’s possible to believe just about anything.
And by the way, if the Bush haters are right and W is Darth, doesn’t that make al Qaeda the Jedi? And so Luke Skywalker is … Osama bin Laden?
This is the revealing point of the whole Star Wars/Bush wars worldview: To be a George Lucas liberal means believing that all violence is equal. A hundred thousand imperial storm troopers take over the Republic and end democracy; a hundred thousand American soldiers topple a dictator and bring democracy — whatever. To the enlightened Hollywood Left, it’s all the same.
The fact that America’s military actions in Iraq brought an end to the violent, brutal, terror-fostering regime of Saddam Hussein is irrelevant. America is powerful. America uses force. America is the Evil Empire. Period.
Murder, slaughter, self-defense, democratic revolution — really, once the bullets start to fly (or the blasters start firing, if you prefer), what’s the difference, right? Darth is W is Hitler is Churchill is FDR. The only difference among Iraq or Normandy Beach or Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown is the color of the uniforms.
That is, if you believe the politics of Episode III. If you cheered when Obi-Wan assured us that, “Only the Sith think in absolutes.”
I prefer the politics of the original Star Wars, when idealistic young friends risked death to do the right thing, and the murderous Darth Vader was merely “a master of evil.”
In that world, as in the real one, there are some actions that are absolutely good and absolutely evil, and you don’t need George Lucas to tell the difference. Even if he could.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Some folks have too much time on their hands. There is no basis for the Georger Bush-Annikin Skyewalker analogies floationg around, but float they do like the biggest chunks in the septic tank. So far I like the comments of both Michael Graham and both The Cassandra Page weigh in. Here is Michael's in its entirety: