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Land of the Sterile Storm Troopers

When George Lucas first deigned to underwhelm us with his vision of the last days of the Galactic Empire in the summer of 1999, SF writer David Brin responded with a thoughtful essay on Salon.com describing in some detail why the idea of life in the Star Wars universe left him depressed, and the idea of life in Roddenberry's "Next Generation"-era Trek universe didn't.

The short version is that George Lucas is a closet fascist.

That's putting a few words into Brin's mouth, but not many. I found his arguments very appealing, and still do. So I'm tittilated by Anthony Lane's review of Star Wars Episode III in The New Yorker:

... Mind you, how Padmé got pregnant is anybody's guess, although I'm prepared to wager that it involved Anakin nipping into a broom closet with a warm glass jar and a copy of Ewok Babes. After all, the Lucasian universe is drained of all reference to bodily functions. Nobody ingests or excretes. Language remains unblue. Smoking and cursing are out of bounds, as is drunkenness, although personally I wouldn't go near the place without a hip flask. Did Lucas learn nothing from "Alien" and "Blade Runner"—from the suggestion that other times and places might be no less rusted and septic than ours, and that the creation of a disinfected galaxy, where even the storm troopers wear bright-white outfits, looks not so much fantastical as dated? What Lucas has devised, over six movies, is a terrible puritan dream: a morality tale in which both sides are bent on moral cleansing, and where their differences can be assuaged only by a triumphant circus of violence. Judging from the whoops and crowings that greeted the opening credits, this is the only dream we are good for. We get the films we deserve.

Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing a toilet in any of those immaculate Death Star prison cells... Geez. Thanks a lot. Now (on the off chance I do go to see it in the theaters), I'll keep looking for the door to the bathroom the whole time.

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escoles, Iâ??m wondering if Lucas might view experiments of democracy as more incendiary than puritanical visions that Anthony Lane accuses him of.

From CBCâ??s â??Is new 'Star Wars' an anti-Bush diatribe?â?, 17 May 2005:

As research for writing the prequel trilogy, Lucas studied how democracies become dictatorships with the consent of the electorate.

"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."

Lucas said â??he did not set out to comment on U.S. foreign policy under Bush,â? but added that â??maybe the film will waken people to the situation.â?

Well, there are those who already have been awakened quite a while and those who undoubtedly never will be. And I would hope wakening â??people to the situationâ? wouldnâ??t include obligation to the undemocratic solution of his Star Wars. Philosophical meanderings are one thing, but a literal landing could be less than idyllic on the concrete of our temporal world. If corruption abounds, whoâ??s to say that a human demigod would fare much better. If democracy is to have any credence, we need to trust ourselves individually, work together, and stop living in fear that perpetuates division. Heh. Howâ??s that for more idealistic goals... but then, adherence to goals one chooses informs oneâ??s actions in a practical way, I figure.

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