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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Thursday, May 19, 2005

American Star Wars - "Fear and loss is a path to the Dark Side"

My son Matthew, surprised me a couple of days ago with the announcement that we would be among the first to see the new Star Wars movie, Episode III. Matt pre-purchased tickets for us to attend The Revenge of Sith on premier day, at the Century Rio Theater located in downtown Albuquerque. We arrived an hour early. To our surprise, the line wasn't very long and the theater wasn't packed at all. From what I could see, only one light saber was brought to the theater. The woman seated next to me must have thought me nuts as she saw me struggle against the darkness to write a few choice quotes on my forearm and hand. Well, at least I wasn't dressed in character and I didn't bring any props. What's more, unlike my brothers who also attended the movie with us, I didn't bring a back pack filled with cokes, apples, Clif bars and who knows what other contraband. I love my loopy family.

Warning! You may want to hold off reading this post until you have seen the movie first. I discuss some points in the plot that are better off revealed in the movie. Otherwise, accept my caveat emptor made famous by Dante Alighieri who wrote in his Divine Comedy, 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

The movie started a bit slow but quickly developed a momentum of its own with its story line about Anakin Skywalker's change in allegiance from the Jedi Council over to their rival, conservative-minded Siths as the archenemies began their all-out struggle for control over their Republic’s destiny. Anakin’s metamorphosis into Darth Vader was also paralleled with a subtle insight of what happens to a society that loses its bearings and supplants Democracy with a more insidious form of government which I can only describe as being Totalitarian and Fascist. According to the Media, George Lucas made an effort to draw the parallels between the fictional Siths and the very real Neo-conservatives currently in control of the Whitehouse and Congress; I am not convinced the message will make its way to the general audience who he actually intended to be its recipients. I think the delivery was much too subtle. Nonetheless, it was not a wasted effort and I commend him for having the cojones to address it at all.

Anakin’s transition also provided a psychological perspective regarding what happens once people have adopted a particular mindset as a core belief; any challenges to the contrary are apt to be summarily dismissed. It appears ideologies that provide quick, easy answers buffer themselves from any onslaughts aimed at challenging their pre-packaged messaging. They require no deep thought to maintain them once they have been internalized. Such ideology becomes something to defend to the death if need be. This was best evidenced as Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin’s teacher was forced to destroy his protégé. As the deadly battle began, Obi Wan growled, "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes." Obi Wan Kenobi roundly defeated Darth Vader after an intense battle. However, he failed to dispatch the legless, one-armed and severely burned rival when he had the opportunity. However, in not vanquishing young Vader, Obi Wan Kenobi inadvertently presented him the opportunity to fight another day. As we are aware from the original Star Wars, this error in judgment will prove to be Obi Wan Kenobi's demise in the future. I can think of a few Neo-conservatives who think in absolutes and I can think of more than a few Democrats who left their opponents to fight another day.

On the other hand, people who resist adopting such a mentality are left with the unenviable Jedi task of fighting to preserve the deeper essence of Democracy. They realized that once the core underpinnings of Democracy have been lost, justice becomes a relic of the past. Consequently, out of profound reverence for their ideal of the Republic, the Jedi resolved to fight in order to preserve the Republic against overwhelming odds.

It seems as though one of the most effective means that a Fascist organization, intent on controlling the masses maintains, is its ability to perpetuate lie upon lie as a means of shielding its true intent to maintain power over the masses. For those of you who might be interested in delving deeper into how such a dramatic shift from Democracy takes place, I highly recommend you review, The Rise Of Pseudo Fascism,, written by David Niewert in February 2005. This scholarly essay is about seventy-five pages (if you include the cover page and 5 reference pages) long but it offers an incredible, contemporaneous analysis regarding Fascism which eerily makes ominous parallels between currently popular American Neo-Conservatism and the Fascist regimes of World War II Germany and Italy. It is not difficult to draw the same parallels with Episode III either. As such, it is well worth your time to sit and read.

The best line in the movie was uttered by Padmé Amidala, Anakin's wife (mother of Luke Skywalker and his sister, Princess Leia). Padmé bitterly remarked, "So, this is how liberty dies . . . [with] thunderous applause." - I was reminded of President Bush's speech to Congress after the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Center - Padmé said this at hearing Chancellor Palpatine's (Darth Sidious) revelation to the powerless Senate that the Republic was no more. Palpatine further declared the Republic an Empire of which he was its Supreme leader. Prior to this declaration, it was also, mentioned in passing that the Siths now had control of both the Senate and the Courts. I briefly pondered whether the audience actually caught that warning and thought to make the connection with the recent hullabaloo arising from Republican Congressman Tom Delay and Senator Bill Frist's unpopular decision to take aim at the Judiciary in the Terri Schiavo Case (See my 29 March 2005 Archives posting entitled, Republicans, Terri Schiavo and Social Security).

In his bid to win Anakin Skywalker over to the Dark Side, Chancellor Palatine intimated, "Fear and loss is a path to the Dark Side" - and again, I was reminded of the 9/11 terror that gripped this country. It reaffirmed my belief that, as a nation, we were willing to accept extreme limitations on our Liberty because of our 'fear and loss.' It reminded me of our fervor to catch the terrorists and our resolve to do so even if it meant giving up certain freedoms. It reaffirmed why we supported implementation the Patriot Act.

At any rare, lest I be called an alarmist or conspiracy theorist, I will say this; Episode III - The Revenge of Sith was a thought-provoking movie but it did not live up to the media hype that promised to reveal the Neo-con agenda. It appears Washington has a pretty tight reign on Hollywood too.

However, if you squint just "right" (pun intended), you will see Dick Cheney, George Bush and Karl Rove and Condoleeza Rice huddled together underneath the Supreme Chancellor's hood. If you listen to Darth Vader's voice closely, you will hear Ann Coulter - although that is where the parallel falls apart; personal integrity is a necessary requisite in order to become a Jedi in the first place.


4 Comments:

At Fri May 20, 07:05:00 AM MDT, Blogger Falconmyst said...

HERE, HERE!!

Well done; an excelently writen essay with an intuitive eye for detail!

 
At Fri May 20, 09:31:00 PM MDT, Blogger Ken Collins said...

A tribute site for George Lucas has been opened at http://www.thankyougeorge.com thanking him for 28 years of Star Wars. They want to get 1,000,000 signatures and stories to him later this summer.

 
At Mon Apr 17, 12:27:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Voice:

"Anakin’s transition also provided a psychological perspective regarding what happens once people have adopted a particular mindset as a core belief; any challenges to the contrary are apt to be summarily dismissed."

First this is called a motivational bias. Second one could say the same about neo liberals or liberals in general. In fact it has been the experiences of this neo con that when I inevitably back a liberal into a logical corner in a debate that they act in the manner that you just described. In fact your biases are immediately evident further in your post:

“I can think of a few Neo-conservatives who think in absolutes and I can think of more than a few Democrats who left their opponents to fight another day.”

The very manner at which you attempt to spin via overgeneralization neo cons as ridged thinkers and democrats as peaceful and tolerant smacks of the very thing you accuse neo cons of. I could go on to address in a more subsitive manner then other issues you sophomorically couch but I fell it would be lost on you. Suffice to say you are an intellectual fraud. Stop pretending you understand neo conservatism of geo politics in general. Other members of your group think not withstanding all you do is make yourself look a fool to any one with formal training in the area.

 
At Mon Apr 17, 08:12:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

You talk a lot of bullshit - get rid of the "wherefores" and "hither tos" and your powers of logic are nothing more than thr ramblings of a weakling who hides behind the cover of anonymity. You are a wuss and don't flatter yourself, I'd love nothing better than to catch you in some dark alley and watch your life ebb from you. Here's the difference you moron, I am willing to die for what I believe in. You are just a pussy. This isn't some mental game for me.

You and your ilk are on your last breaths - you cannot stand against time because you are all fucking cowards. The only corner you will back me into is the one that I will beat your wimpy ass into.

 

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